Sunday, 21 September 2008

First working trial lesson

I have been trying to find someone to help me teach Finn tracking for ages now, and have not been able to find anyone locally. We had a go at Schutzhund last year but I'm not really convinced about the manwork aspect, so we have been trying to find somewhere to do working trials and finally came up with Carole at Aricia Dog training at Whitchurch which is about 130 miles away! We had our first long awaited lesson on Saturday.
As it was such a long way to go I decided to make a day of it and set off bright and early with picnic for both Finn and me. We stopped at Nant yr Arian, a forestry centre just north of Aberystwyth, where they feed Red Kites daily between 2 and 4. We missed that, but we had a good mountain walk to let off a bit of steam and help us concentrate on our lesson.

Look at the view Mum

Just a quick rest

And another one

Just time for a coffee before we set off again.

We stopped for about 2 hours before resuming our journey and arrived at our destination a bit early, intending to wait quietly outside, but Carole's dogs came out to welcome us and we were invited in for a cup of tea before we started. I hadn't got much idea of what is actually involved in a Trial so Carole and her husband explained everything and then we went out to work. First we went through some obedience and I got lots of advice on how to improve my heelwork and retrieves. I've never tried a send away so we did a few of those then we went into the field to find objects in slightly longer grass. He brought the first article back, but didn't quite see why he should go back for anything else! Then I was shown how to mark out the search area.

Awaiting instructions

Sit stay.

Then we went on to do the agility part. In agility the long jump is 5 foot, in working trials it is 9 and the dog has to wait for the handler to go to him after completing the jump. The high jump is also marginally higher than in agility and the dog has to await the handler after this as well. I was quite interested in how to teach the Scale, which is eventually 6 foot high. We stared off at just under 4 foot, high enough for him not to jump it but not high enough to frighten him.

As you can see he did it.
After all this hard work Finn was quite tired so he retired to the car for a well earned dinner and we had tea and cake, while Carole made out some notes to help us with our homework.
We left at about 4.30 and stopped at Nant yr arian on the way home to cool off in the lake.

Hey mum look at this

Many thanks for a lovely day Carole. We're looking forward to our next lesson.

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