We have some fantastic handlers and dogs coming on but thought we would just focus on one this week - Bertie the Scottie with Elaine.
When we first met Bertie we could see the potential, but Elaine was far too nice for Bertie's naughty little terrier ways! He did his own thing! Plain and simple. We would see a spark of excellence, then he was off thundering around the paddock on a mission to collect whatever had taken his fancy earlier. Even if we removed the offending item (could have been a toy/leaf/stick) he still wouldn't forget about it. How Elaine kept her patience we don't know. He wasn't particularly interested in toys that Elaine had, but he does love his food and his treat box, so we just used his treat box as a toy instead. But of course, being a terrier, he even got wise to that and would still act the fool and do nothing but run to his treat box and for a while he didn't seem to progress.
So, we broke everything down into smaller sections and Elaine would run round with handfuls of her lovely homemade treats, rewarding all the good behaviour eg doing one jump and coming back to her and super-rewarding (we call it jackpotting) the really, really good behaviour eg a tight wing wrap or several jumps in a row, and we also found what Bertie excelled at - the contacts, especially the seesaw.
And also Julie introduced the 'naughty corner' and Bertie was allowed one zoomie, and any more then that and he had his lead put back on and taken off the course - no telling off, just taken off the course and not allowed his fun!
Well that has made a huge amount of difference and this week (which is only about the third week since the introduction of the naughty corner!) Bertie did not do any zoomies! And not only that, he actually ran a full agility course, with all the contacts and channel weaves in! He even looks different. That typical terrier 'I'm doing my own thing' look, has been turned into a look of determination and you can see him wanting to get things right.
And not only is Bertie a star, Elaine of course has a lot to do with it! All the time she was dealing with Bertie's antics, Elaine was quietly learning all her moves and how to handle and yesterday they were both amazing. Bertie hasn't exactly got the longest legs and Elaine hasn't got the youngest pair of legs but they both ran round that huge course wonderfully and not only did they go clear, but Elaine put in a perfect European turn - the Ketscher turn - on the first time of trying!
Elaine asked me the other week if she would be able to compete and the answer I gave her then was only at a fun show with enclosed rings. Now, it is a different matter, and I can't wait to see these two compete at whatever shows they choose to do.