Big-dog-little-handler: have a little faith.

Picture it. You have a lovely if some what boisterous dog. You lay the foundation down. You dog sits, lays down, comes when called and follows lots of other commands. However…he’s easily distracted and therefore messes up when distractions are around; a dog barks and he goes to investigate, a sheep in a nearby field catches his attention, sometimes it’s just a far off noise. He chases the odd bike, reactive dogs catch his attention so on, so forth and forgets to follow your command. So you lay down more ground work. But do you trust him now ?

Duke our little monkey!

Duke attends several training sessions a week. He’s gotten better and better at following instructions. He’s off leash more. In general I’m more confident he will do as told. But sometimes I still worry.

Duke in the training hall.

Today we were both put to the test. Agility training has started. We rock up to the training field and adjacent is a field of grazing sheep! And on the other side cattle! One of which has escaped and although ushered back into the field it was making the most horrific racket. The fences where low (jumpable) especially for Duke. We were meant to stay for 4 hours. I felt stressed. My heart was hammering, I felt unbelievably stressed. Dogs were barking, running, being dogs. So to Duke they where being exciting. He was swinging around on the lead. My chest actually felt slightly tight and I felt on the verge of tears. One of the ladies gave me a little pep talk. So I relaxed a bit. We are lucky to be surrounded by such supportive people. They are amazing.

Once class started and the dogs where calmer, we had success! And quite a calm dog. Calm enough for me to wait our turn and run round the course. He loves the tunnels and jumps.

I was even able to drop the lead and walk ten paces away without fearing he would be gone in a jump and a skip! The cows had settled down but I was still really aware of them and knew Duke would be. I put some faith in our training and hard work and Duke. It went surprisingly well. He came when called and even did his emergency stop; all the things that potential gave him the opportunity to run off.

I was even able to relax while we were sat down. I even managed to pop him on the ground spike and speak to the other dog mums and dads! He was pretty happy to sit and lay down when told. And even accepted a bit of fuss from two humans he didn’t know! All wins.

A little bit of faith goes a long way. I’m just glad it didn’t end in tears.

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