Yesterday we went to a training day with Dave Jolly that was being held by Letchworth club. It was a really informative morning and our doggies really enjoyed themselves. Dave got me throwing a toy for Brodie over the last jump to get him working further ahead of me and it really got Brodies speed up. Interestingly, Dave said he rarely works on speed but generally on getting the dogs confidence up which in turn increases the speed. I don't use toys lots with Brodie as generally he won't have the confidence to tug with other dogs around but I hadn't really appreciated that chasing the toy is more rewarding for Brodie. Bracken is a far more confident dog generally and will work to chase or tug a toy and she'll work equally well for food.
We were also learning about how important the position of our shoulders were and how a lot of handlers confuse their dogs by waving various arms and shouting inconsistent commands. Interestingly, I ran Brodie a few times using hardly any arm signals and he went just as well, if not possibly a bit faster. I know that I'm a great one for flapping my arms about and hoping for the best so it made my runs a bit more tidy!! One of Dave's other comments was about the need for a wait in agility. When I'm teaching obedience classes, we go over waits in so many situations to proof it as I know without a wait I'd struggle on certain courses. I know people who compete and do well without a wait but generally they have very driven dogs and they have to handle them very differently anyway.
After our training, we went out to a lovely pub and Matthew and I had the most enormous, yummy pies! It was nice to have a catch up with everyone in the warm and dry. Thanks must go to Lisa and the Letchworth club for organising a fun Sunday!
On the Saturday, Matthew took both of the dogs to Barking Mad at Keysoe. Brax got a 2nd in the jumping (despite falling over!) and Brodie got two clears but was a bit 'day-dreamy'. Congratulations to everyone we know who did so well in the finals!