Jilly's Blog

These are previous entries in the blog from May 2013 to March 2015




Training Notes and ideas for puppy training and
puppy equipment can be found in
Jilly's training pages.

Jilly's Blog is now morphing into the dog blog

Friday 6th March - Fancy turns and core strength exercises

The new season is nearly upon us and this year's flavour is running European style.  In my case the term running is used a bit loosely but I do try.  We've been learning our Ketschker turns and blind pick ups with varying degrees of success.  I've been trying to teach dogs to cross behind me rather than me crossing behind them and Sasha has picked it up very quickly.  They both seem happy with the Ketschkers and for all those people who say they can't do that it really is better for your knees.

We've also been playing with balance cushions, the sort you get for Pilates devotees.  Lidl's sells them sometimes for 4.99 but our Lidl had sold out by the afternoon.  Luckily a friend came to the rescue and bought me two from her local store and Jilly loves them.  Sasha's not so keen.  We just about get a tentative paw or two on one of the cushions and that's the lot. 


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Here's Jilly doing her core strength exercises and a two on two off on a stool.

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Jilly doing a simple Ketschker with two jumps and a weave.

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Sasha does Ketschkers as well.  The reason we're doing this turn and not just a simple pivot is that I'm assured it's quicker round the wing.

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This little sequence has a blind pick up where Sasha learns to cross behind me rather than me doing a rear cross or a front cross. 

Here's Jilly doing the core strength exercises


Saturday 7th February - It's Jilly's second birthday

This winter the ground is so hard with frost that can't do any jumping outside.  That doesn't stop us going to the beach for a bit of fun.

Jilly is also training at an indoor riding school once a week and we're attempting learn the new style of handling.  It involves lots of Ketschker turns and blind pickups where the dog passes behind you.

It's a popular style of handling in Europe and it really is faster than all those front crosses and turns.

At two years old Jilly is still showing a lot of immaturity.  She'll be competing this year though and hopefully she'll get some ring experience. 


Here's a little video of Jilly zooming off in a jumping class last week.  She goes right round the ring to the tunnel before she realises I'm not with her.  I love the way she comes straight back on course without pausing although we did muck up the rest of the class!

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Here's Sasha doing the same course.  Her time was about the same as the dogs in second and third place but of course we had a pole down.  If we didn't mess about we would have been a lot faster.   It really is useful having a video though to see where you went wrong.

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Where we went wrong.

My right arm is up in the air and I'm facing the wall instead of the next jump. I recently did a three hour workshop with Barrie James and he told us to imagine we're holding a mug of tea in each hand.  You have to run so that you don't spill the tea.  If your hand is in the air you're going to get wet!

Here I'm looking at Sasha instead of the next jump and so she comes back to me instead of going on.

We redeemed ourselves later though by coming third in the Beat The Clock class. 


Monday 29th December - We've done the last show of the year

Christmas is over and the toys are still intact in spite of the tug of war with one of them on Christmas morning.

We've just done our last show of the year and Jilly had a lot of fun. At 22 months old she's still quite immature although she's not running off to say hello to everyone as soon as she gets in the ring.  Her contacts are lovely but we need to work on the weave.

We had to buy a fixed base weave as the stick in the ground poles tended to wobble all over the place and they were causing Jilly to miss poles.  Sasha never found this a problem but I would say that if you're looking for a weave go for the best you can afford. 

We also need to work on doing things in the right sequence!  I think lots of us have this problem with young dogs but Jilly's coming on.  I need to work on my handling as well so in January we'll be starting our new course of Training at an indoor school plus we have a three hour session with Barrie James and also training with some local trainers outdoors when the weather allows.  We'll have plenty to work on and to get us going in 2015.  Happy New Year.


Here's Jilly having a go at the steeplechase.  She misses a few jumps at the beginning but I keep her going.  If I'd tried to correct all the mistakes she would have given up and gone to play with the ring party.  When I mess up the Ketschker turn and Jilly back jumps I just keep going.  Never let your dog know you've been a total prat! It's great fun though.

Sasha came third in this class. 


Friday 24th October - Winter training is upon us

The summer has come to an end and now that winter approaches we're doing lots of training.  Jilly and Sasha train outside one morning a week and Jilly trains indoors as well with an excellent trainer.  We're booked in for a special workshop with Barrie James in January and we had a lovely two hour lesson with Toni Keating before a show in September.
Here's Jilly weaving in Toni's lesson.  

Hopefully Jilly will be ready to compete next season but meanwhile we still have a lot to learn. 

One thing we have discovered is that Jilly can't learn to weave using the stick in the ground poles.  Even though I bought the best set on the market they still tended to move sideways so that the weave resembled a V-weave.  This has resulted in her missing poles when we use a metal based weave.  I know some dogs pop poles at the end of the weave but this isn't Jilly's problem.  She is very fast and because the stick in the ground poles don't stay upright she can't learn the right rhythm for a good fast weave.

I never stint my dogs and I don't want to hamper Jilly's progress so I clambered into the loft and climbed over a load of stuff in the shed until I found some things I could sell.  The money raised was enough to pay for a metal weave base which is now on order and we can't wait to play with it.

Something we've been learning in our lessons is how to do wing wraps and turns.  Jilly has learned to do ketschker turns and she's getting quite good at it as long as I handle it properly and don't muck it up.  Here's a little video of us at home practising our turns.  I leave the toy on the ground as a forward focus object for Jilly and she can have it when she's done the exercise.  It's taking a lot of training to get her to leave the toy and do the work but it will pay off in the end.  As you can see you don't need a great deal of equipment to practice at home.



Thursday 28th August -  Jilly's taking a break

After all the fun of the Tamisje show and our first result Jilly decided that maybe she was still a bit of a puppy after all.  She had a go at her first Kennel Club show and she really wasn't ready for the competition. 

I chose a small local show for her first jumping and agility classes and Jilly did some very typical young dog behaviour.  She made friends with the judges and ring party and went to see if the scrimers had food in their tents.  She said hello to people passing by and she did the occasional jump but really what she wanted to do was to go somewhere else and play.   She did manage to do some of the course.  Many thanks to Jemma Brown for putting up with us!

Now that Jilly has tried a UKA show and Kennel Club show she'll have a break from competition until next year.  She'll have a chance to do some more training and grow up a bit and hopefully she'll come back and enjoy herself. 

This weekend however, Jilly is entered in a FAB show and she will be allowed to go and do some training in the ring with a toy and treats.  The jumps are only 50cm and it will suit her down to the ground. Sorry Sasha, you'll be the one competing again this weekend but the good news is you can do 50cm jumps as well.  At FAB shows all large dogs can choose large or standard height to jump.  I chose standard for Sasha as she will have to stay at the chosen height for the next year.  If we do FAB shows next year Sasha will be nearly ten years old and so lower jumps will be better for her. 

At the moment though she's enjoying herself at full height competition.

Sasha, two second places in beginners jumping and three clears in jumping and novice steeplechase. 

Jilly, third place in beginners steeplechase.

Clear round in grades 1 to 3 jumping, 5th placing in jumping, clear round in veteran handlers jumping.  Sasha was also clear in her part of the pairs competition.  I bought her a new squeaky toy for being such a good girl.


Thursday 14th August - Jilly gets her first result

The Tamisje show resumed today and on day four Jilly ran all three of her courses for competition.  To our delight she had her first ever clear round In the beginners steeplechase and she was fast enough for third place. Clever girl Jilly.

She was E'd in agility for taking a wrong course but the judge was imnpressed with her contacts and said she did very well.  We won't mention the jumping!  Suffice to say we train with the judge and sometimes meet her on our walks.  You can't explain to a dog that a friend is only a friend when they're not judging. 

Sasha ran well.  She had a clear round in the novice steeplechase and came fifth although the places only went down to four.  She had a pole down in the jumping but she enjoyed herself tremendously.   

Monday 11th August - What fun we had at Jilly's first show.

Both dogs are loving the UKA Tamisje show near Newquay in Cornwall.  It's a great show in a great venue and the weather has been kind to us.  We've just completed the first three days and the show resumes on Thursday. 

I've been running Jilly as a, 'Not for competition,' dog so that we can do the easy bits of the courses and I can carry a toy.  Jilly has got all her contacts and nailed the weaves and if I can just persuade her that she doesn't need the toy we'll soon be up and running as a fully competing partnership.


Sasha absolutely loves competing but she gets rather over excited about the whole thing.  When she goes she really goes and I can't keep up.  That's how we managed to come second in the beginners jumping. She also gained a clear round in another beginners jumping class and was just out of the places.

So what do the dogs think of the show so far?  Well, they both agree that they like the great big field for running about in. I like it too especially as it gave Jilly the opportunity for a major breakthrough. 

Whenever I've taken her to a show she has refused to do a wee all day on the showground and a poo is out of the question.  Jilly says, "You have to be quite brave to wee and poo in public and I really like to do it in the garden."  Nevertheless she managed to do both on her first day and I was so excited people are starting to give me strange looks. 

Sasha thinks it's all very silly.  She says agility is far too exciting to hold it all day and she has to do lots and lots of nervous little wees before and after a run.

Anyway, here's Jilly doing an agility course and a jumping course. 






Thursday 31st July - Anal Glands 50p a go

Many years ago I used to take our animals to a local vet whose surgery was attached to his house. He was a real character.   There were no appointments.  You just went along during surgery times and sat in the garden shed until Mr Newns called you in for a consultation.  Sometimes he'd open the door of the shed, look at all the customers and say, 'Strewth,' before scuttling back to his house.  Other times his surgery door would open as you were going past.

'Have you got goats?'

'Er no.'

'Very wise, he'd grumble' and the door would slam shut again.

It was always interesting going to Mr Newns. The little dog we had at the time used to have a bit of a problem with her anal glands.  They didn't always empty properly so every few weeks I went along to Mr Newns's garden shed and awaited my turn.  Anal glands were 50p a go in those days and it was a quick job. 

'Could you do the glands again please Mr Newns.'

'Right.  Oh yes they are full aren't they.'

A quick squirt and,

'That's 50p please,' and we were done.

'You're much cheaper than the vets up country,' I said to him once.

'Well they've got wall to wall goldfish,' he replied.

How different it is these days.  An appointment has to be made and we sit in a posh waiting room with the famous wall to wall goldfish.  There's a waiting room for cats and another one for dogs so that they don't upset each other.  I don't know what the rabbits and budgies do.

After a thorough examination the anal glands are expressed internally and the bill is paid at the reception desk.  It's 26.  Jilly is the one who had a problem but within a day she was much more comfortable. 

She'd been feeling out of sorts and refusing to jump into the car and onto the sofa and our bed.  This was quite worrying although I did wonder if it was her glands. The afternoon after the trip to the vet she was a lot happier.  She wanted to do some training so we played in the garden and did some contact practice on her new contact trainer. 


Thursday 17th July - Jilly does a wheelie

Well, not quite a wheelie, but she does sit the wheelbarrow and go for a ride.  A couple of weeks ago she was scared stiff of wheelbarrows but a kindly workman called her over and made a fuss of her when he realised she was frightened.  He let her sniff his barrow and check it over until she'd calmed down.

Later, I got our wheelbarrow out and let Jilly sit in it.  She went for ride round the garden and after a few minutes she decided she loved it.  Now she can't get enough of it and if I get the barrow out she jumps straight in it and waits for her ride.

I love Sasha's expression.  "What's that silly animal doing now?"




I did think this might be a great thing to teach young dogs as they need to balance well if they're going to stand up in a wheelbarrow and ride around the garden.  Agility dogs need a good sense of balance at all times, especially on the dog walk and see-saw.  I wouldn't try it with a young puppy though as it could be scary and they could hurt themselves if they jump out, but a dog Jilly's size is fine.




 Tuesday 15th July - Three and a half weeks to go

There's only three and a half weeks to go to our first competition on 8th August but will we be ready? 

Jilly's first show is TAMISJE which is a six day UKA show spread out over two long weekends.  It's held near Summercourt in Cornwall and it's ideal for a young dog's first show.  The only thing I'm not confident about is the flat tunnel.  We haven't had a lot practice with this piece of equipment so unless we're able to get some practice in before the show I'll give it a miss if it's in the ring. 

UKA and some other independent shows allow you to do training runs with your dog.  If it all becomes too much you can take a toy into the ring and just do some easy bits to give your dog confidence.  You're allowed up to the course time to train your dog but in practice people often take a little longer. 

TAMISJE is a lovely little show and it shouldn't be too scary for Jilly.  There's plenty of space for dogs to run and exercise and the rings are well placed for queuing.  Here's Sasha at last year's show getting a nice clear in the jumping.



Saturday 5th July - The cutting edge of mucking about

This morning we went for a walk on the beach then we did some training and finally we settled down to some serious mucking about.  I made the dogs an interactive toy. 

It's an easy thing to make.  You just need a simple frame, a couple of milk bottles and a bit of rod to hang them on.  If you put treats in the milk bottles it's a bit of a challenge for the dog working out how to get them out. 

I reckoned Jilly would chew the bottles and Sasha would bark. 

Here's how they got on.




Wednesday 4th June - Training is going well after the spay

After Jilly was spayed I had lots of advice from lots of people about returning to agility and everyone said they knew best.  The time frame varied from 10 days to two months and none of them agreed.  I took the advice of our vet who has been with the practice for twenty years and has a lot of experience with working dogs.  At the second post op check and 10 days after the spay. This is what she said.

"Jilly should be healed inside and she can exercise normally off the lead.  She can play tuggy if she wants and she won't do any damage inside.  Because agility is so strenuous and she has been resting for ten days she needs to build up her fitness over the next two weeks.   After that she can start agility again over low jumps.  Use your common sense to increase the training as she becomes fitter."

This is exactly what we've done.  The key is not to give the dog too much to do in one go but give them enough to build strength and fitness without getting over tired.  It's now five weeks since the op and Jilly is doing some easy sequences over low jumps and also the garden sized see-saw. 

An easy jumping sequence over 35cm poles.

A bit of contact practice on the garden see-saw

More practice on the see-saw

Sasha has a go over UKA standard height jumps (55cm)


Wednesday 4th June - Dogs aren't cheap to keep

"Dogs aren't cheap to keep," I said as I paid the latest vet's bill.  "This one isn't,"  they all chorused. 

We'd rushed Jilly in there after a walk on Par beach.  Normally the dogs have a lovely time on the beach but on this walk Jilly found a small piece of palm oil.  She picked it up and chewed it and then spat it out. 

For those who don't know, there has been a lot publicity about palm oil being washed up on beaches.  It's jettisoned from ships and occasionally it may be washed up around our coasts.  It forms rancid fatty lumps and as you can imagine it's not very good for dogs. 


There have been a lot of reports of deaths and serious illness resulting from dogs eating palm oil and someone told us that just licking it could have serious consequences.  Of course we rushed off to the vet.  Jilly was as good as gold while the vet looked in her mouth.  Then she explained that the dogs they'd had in their surgery had tended to have mild stomach upsets after ingesting the oil.  They hadn't had any deaths but the symptoms varied in their severity.  Another local surgery reported similar experiences, mostly mild tummy upsets but sometimes an upset that's a bit worse.  Jilly was prescribed charcoal in suspension and she was absolutely fine.

When we got home the Tesco van was waiting for us.  We'd forgotten all about our shopping delivery!


Monday 5th May - None the worse for her op

Jilly was spayed on 29th April and she sailed through the operation without any problems.  It will be a few weeks before she can resume her agility training but she can exercise normally after about ten days.  She isn't very impressed with this idea.  Modern spaying techniques leave the dog bright and happy once the full effect of the anaesthetic has worn off and they want to play and jump around as usual.  No wonder she looks fed up in the picture.

I did a bit of research into spaying which you may find interesting.  It contains some links to useful articles and a couple of products. see Comments on spaying.


Tuesday 22nd April - A big day for Jilly soon

It's nearly four months since Jilly finished her first season. She had quite hard time of it with hormone swings, sudden mood changes and phantom pregnancies.  I gave her a herbal concoction called Stroppy Bitch which helped a lot but nevertheless we don't want a repeat of this performance in a couple of months time. 

Jilly has been booked in for spaying on 29th April.  She will have the traditional spay as I wasn't able to get a quicker keyhole spay in Cornwall.  She will be able to return to normal exercise after a couple of weeks but any agility training will need to be left for six weeks.  Agility is very strenuous and we'll need to take it gently at first. 

Both Jilly and Sasha started scratching in April and I took them to the vet.  Sasha has a seasonal allergy and is taking antihistamines while Jilly has a bacterial skin rash.  Apparently this is common in dogs of her age and it's similar to teenage acne in humans.  She has to have medicated baths for this and it is helping.  She's not keen on the baths however. Rolling in muddy puddles is fine but getting wet in a bath is just horrible. 

Jilly is still enjoying her agility training but we don't overdo it as she's only fourteen months old.  This weekend she'll be able to take part in a little fun run.  When we set up our club show we always hold a fun run afterwards.  It's open to all dogs of all ages.  Last year Jilly was allowed to go in the ring and do a couple of tunnels which she loved.  This year she'll be allowed to do a jumps and tunnels course with the poles at medium height.  This is great for young dogs.  There's no pressure on them and they get used to queuing up and going in the ring with just a few people having fun.


Monday 10th March - What a job we've had training in this wet winter

Like most people we've had nothing but rain for weeks on end but luckily we aren't as badly affected as they are in some parts of the country.   For agility people it's really hampered our training.  Our club usually trains outside but last week everyone got fed up and hired an indoor venue.  Of course the sun came out!  Jilly has never trained on a sandy surface before or done any training indoors and she did very well.  She tackled a full sized dog walk and a full sized see-saw.  We needed help with the see-saw though because at thirteen months Jilly is still a bit young to take the bang as it hits the floor.  She's happily jumping medium height jumps and she went over a long jump for the very first time without batting an eyelid.  Clever girl.  There's a video of her training on the dog walk and some notes on her training pages. 


Friday 7th February - Jilly is one year old today

It's Jilly's first birthday and to celebrate the sun came out.  The best birthday present you can give a dog is to have a nice day so that's just what we did.  We started with games in the garden.


..and then we had a lovely walk on the downs.



Finally we had some fun and games with the jumps and the squeaky toys down at our little agility plot. Unfortunately the ground is too wet to do too much agility but the dogs just love going down there.  Later in the afternoon I baked them some tuna biscuits.  These are easy to make with a bit of fat, some plain flour and tuna all mixed in together.  I bake them in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.  You can use any biscuit recipe minus the sugar to make dog treats.  Just add cheeses or tuna or anything else they like.



Sunday 19th January - Jilly's first season

Jilly is eleven and a half months old now and to celebrate Christmas she came into season.   I haven't told her yet but at the beginning of April she will be spayed.  I feel it's best for her as the season made her a bit hormonal, grumpy at times and very vulnerable at other times.  It wasn't something she enjoyed.  Other dogs we've had have suffered false pregnancies.  It's entirely a personal choice whether or not to spay a dog but I've decided  that's probably our best course of action. 

It is a relief to have got the season out of the way without too many problems.  The biggest upset was not being able to go for our walks.  There are a lot of dogs in our area and there's nothing worse than having your male dog run off after a pretty bitch.  It was such good fun when it was all over and Jilly was allowed out again.

Here we are on the downs and on the beach.


Saturday  7th December - Winter is setting in and we need a coat or two

During November the weather turned really cold and it soon became necessary to buy Jilly her first coat.  I know lots of people don't bother with dog coats but this is Jilly's first winter and she won't get her own full adult coat until she's 18 months to 2 years old. 

If a dog has to sit in a car for any length of time and wait for you at shows or training classes it can get very cold for them and they need to be kept warm unless they're bred for cold climates.  (Huskies, samoyeds etc.)

We thought Jilly looked rather fetching in pink and she seemed quite happy to wear her new coat. 

The following week the weather turned even colder and poor Jilly began to feel it again so off we went to the pet shop for a thicker coat. This one is a bright reflective yellow, it cost us a fortune but it should keep our little doggy nice and warm. 


Thursday 14th November - At 9 months we need a bit more recall training

Now that Jilly's nine months old she's getting bolder and a little bit more independent.  She absolutely loves going for walks and going to training classes.  She's thoroughly enjoying the agility foundation work I'm giving her but most of all she likes Carloggas Downs.  This is a great place for dogs to get some real exercise off the lead and there are lots of walking groups and people who meet each other by chance and walk their dogs together. 

The trouble with the Downs for a dog like Jilly is that it is too tempting for her to vanish into the gorse bushes and not come out again for five minutes or more. 

It's so exciting in there with the thick cover and all the rabbits and other small mammals.  As far as I know Jilly hasn't seen a deer yet but the way she crashes into the bushes they're long gone before she gets anywhere near them.  If she did see a deer I don't know if I could call her away and so this is why we're doing more practice with the recall. 



I know a lot of people have similar problems with dogs of Jilly's age.  This doesn't mean they're naughty, or unruly.  This is just the age when a dog should become a bit bolder and a bit more independent.  Nevertheless we don't want Jilly to get the idea that she can just run off and meet us now and again at strategic points on the walk. 

The advice I was given was to put Jilly on the long lead and then if she ran off I could easily step on the lead and bring her back again.  The person who gave me the advice is very experienced but she doesn't know Carloggas Downs nor the huge thickets of gorse bushes where a long lead would tangle in seconds.

So how would you approach the problem?  I have found a method that's working for me at the moment. 

There are places on the Downs where Jilly is happy to stay with us.  She'll chase her squeaky toy and play with Sasha until they're both tired, so what I'm doing is restricting her freedom a little bit.  I'm avoiding those places where Jilly is likely to dash off and not reappear for a long time.  She can still run off the lead when we get onto the downs and she can still have a good run and a play.  Every so often I call her to me.  I catch her collar and give her a treat and then I tell her to go and play.  When it's time to walk on I put her on the lead until we reach another place where she's likely to interact with me and play with Sasha rather than running off.  As she gets better at staying with us she can be trusted with a bit more freedom on her walks.  Hopefully when she's more mature she'll be happy to stay with us all the time and not vanish into the bushes for hours.  Mind you, she is half a springer and that is a part of their breeding!

Friday 4th October - A trip to Par beach

Now that summer has come to an end there aren't so many people on the beach.  Most of the visitors have gone home and we're lucky to have the beach almost to ourselves.

Jilly's nearly eight months old now and she likes nothing better than a good dig in the sand.  Both dogs can have a really good fast run around and they've invented a new game.  It's their version of a rugby scrum and it involves lots of digging and barking and pouncing on a squeaky toy.

I just happened to be filming them at the start of the game.  They carried on at intervals up and down the beach until they were worn out and then we took them home/  Two very tired and happy dogs.



Monday 16th September - A special agility foundation class

 First of all Jilly meets the trainer and learns not to snatch treats from her hand.  Training is by shaping.  If a puppy tries to take the treat the hand closes and the treat is hidden.  Eventually the puppy (or dog) will work out that the only way to get a reward is to hold back and not just take it as they please. 

Shaping forms the basis of a lot of training.  Dogs are quick to work out ways to get rewards but they don't always understand if you keep saying, "No."  In agility, saying, "no" can put a dog right off.  A sensitive dog like Sasha will switch off altogether and go and sit in the car if I let her know something's wrong and it's usually my fault anyway.

In the next part of the lesson we went on to practice balancing on the wobble board and doing various rear end awareness exercises.  We learned how to use an upright pole to teach a front cross and how to go around behind a dog to teach a rear cross.  This is something we do in rally obedience as well.  We were shown some loose heelwork exercises.  That was interesting as I did quite a lot of that with Jamie and I'm going to be using it again with Sasha to try and stop her spinning and turning to face me when she's running. The idea is that the dog concentrates on being by your side rather than constantly coming around to the front of you for rewards.  Finally we did some puppy bumps.  These are just pieces of guttering placed on the ground between jump wings and spaced at approximately 7 feet from each other in a straight line.  They were a little too far apart for Jilly and when we do them at home I'll space them at 6 feet.  She was a bit younger and smaller than the collies in the class.  The idea is that you get a good bounce between the jumps and that the dog finishes in the right position which is by your side and not at your front.  Here's a video of Jilly doing her first puppy bumps. 


Finally, Jilly is tending to sit down on everything she balances on instead of standing up so I'm using her skateboard to encourage her to stand.  She's already learning that she can push the skateboard along with her hind foot and make it move and she can't do that if she sits down!


Wednesday 4th September  Nearly seven months

Jilly is nearly seven months old now and she's at the hooligan stage. This is where all the careful training goes out of the window and you wonder what's happened to the dear little puppy you used to have. Recall is a nightmare, barking increases, and chewing can start again or get worse.  I know a lot of people despair when their puppies go through this phase and some puppies even end up in the dogs' home.  It is just a phase though.  It might last a few weeks or a few months but you have to stick with it until it passes.

Jilly has been having a lot of fun throughout her puppyhood.  She's learned to walk to heel after a fashion, sit and stay, down, recall, and many other things that will be useful to her when she grows up. She has also entered her first Kennel Club rally trial.  Dogs can compete at level 1 from the age of six months.  All the work is on the lead and there should be nothing scary that Jilly can't do. Sasha is also entered in the trial but she will do both level one and a special level 2 class.

On the agility side Jilly has been to a couple of foundation classes for puppies and she has another one in a couple of weeks.  At the moment it's all flatwork and we've been concentrating on balance and rear end awareness. 

Here we are at the Cornwall Agility Club summer camp 2013.  Trainer Angela Rogers has brought all sorts of things for the puppies and young dogs to walk on and balance on if they can. 

Training is done by shaping.  The puppy is allowed to explore the equipment and sooner or later it will put a paw on something and this is when you click and reward or say, "Yes," and reward.  It doesn't take long for a dog to work out how to get the treat.

By the end of the class all the puppies were confident enough to go on the wobble board and clamber onto all the other things.  The idea is to teach them how to use all four legs and how to balance and place themselves to the best possible advantage. 


In the pictures below Angela shows us how to balance on a stool, and Jilly has a go on the wobble board watched by Zing.

Below: Class in full swing.  Jilly is exploring the "peanut" while Brody checks out a skateboard.  In the pic on the right you can just see that Jilly has managed to climb onto the peanut.  It's a bit wobbly but we're there.

Jilly did think the very bestest thing was the skateboard, especially when I pulled her along on it.  I had to go out and buy one for her when we got home.

Sunday 4th August  - Three rosettes for Jilly

Our clever little sprollie won three rosettes at a fun dog show today.  The show was held at the St Francis Home for Animals in Newquay.  This is the place Jamie came from and one of his predecessors Hazel.  We hadn't visited for many years and it was interesting to see how the home had developed and expanded over the years. 

Jilly won the best puppy class for puppies 4 to 12 months.  She also won the class for the dog the judge would most like to take home and she came fourth in the waggiest tail competition.

Sasha is not a great fan of fun dog shows.  As far as she's concerned you can keep them but she does love the "Have a go agility."  Here she can show off to her heart's content and zoom around the little jumps they put up for beginners.  "There, that's how it's done.  Clever aren't I?"


Friday 2nd August  - Our first competition

Jilly will be six months old on 7th August but she still seems quite babyish.  She's doing her last puppy class next week and after that she'll go on to Intermediate Life Skills.  On 22nd September she'll be taking part in her first competition and this will be a Kennel Club rally trial. 

She will only be able to do level 1 classes until she's older but that's more than enough to cope with.  To take part she will need to walk to heel, sit, down, and wait.  She'll also need to do some of the basic exercises for level 1 rally.  Oh dear.  I have about 8 weeks to train my baby and she has the attention span of a gnat so where do I start?

The first thing she's learning is walking to heel.  It's not always easy with a lively puppy and as they don't pay attention for long it's best break it up into small chunks of training.

In the photo on the left I'm teaching Jilly to start in the right position on my left side and facing the way we're going.  She shouldn't get ahead of me or wander off to play with her toys so it has to be interesting for her. 

A bit of turkey does the trick and we spend a happy five minutes training in the garden. 

I've put the actual method I use and a couple of video clips on the training pages.  



Tuesday 9th July  - Puppy recall away from other dogs

Jilly has learned so much in the last two months and she's grown a lot.  She goes to puppy lifeskills classes where she learns all sorts of things that are going to be useful as she grows up.  One of the most important things is teaching a puppy to come away from other dogs.  Once Jilly gets stuck into a game it's hard to call her away but she is learning.  Here's a little video of her on the beach.  She spots a couple of small dogs and races off before I can stop her.  This isn't generally a good idea but Jilly is only five months old.  When she's older and more sensible she'll learn to be like Sasha and have more control when other dogs are around. The dogs are not too pleased to see her and so a recall is made that much easier. 





Thursday 9th May

A Good Recall

Today we practised our recall when out on a walk.  Jilly loves to get on a scent and follow it and it can be difficult to distract her but that's the spaniel half of her.  The collie half recalls beautifully!

Look who sits first in the second video.






Sunday 5th May

K9 Crusaders Spring Fling Online Dog Show

Jilly wins her first rosette in the cutest puppy class.  They were all cute and I wouldn't have liked to be the judge.  Here are the three places in the class.


1st = Luge (Olivia Toop)

2nd Jilly (Pat May) 3rd Evie (Jackie Edwards)

The online dog show was run in aid of K9 Crusaders and raised 100. 

K9 Crusaders is a Cornish Dog Welfare Charity.  They say, "If it's about dogs we do it!!!  Including; Rescuing and rehoming dogs, Running an advice line, Offering behavioural support etc."  The rent for their kennels is around 1600 a month and they do need to raise lots of money.

Saturday 4th May

Jilly has finished her puppy classes at the Pelyn veterinary surgery in St Austell.  She's had a lovely time meeting lots of different puppies and learning to play nicely.  She's been weighed every week and she's been lifted onto the examination table and fed titbits.  This will make sure that she can see the vet without fear whenever she needs to.  She's also been handled by lots of other people.  Here's her last day at puppy school.

Jilly starts her junior class in a couple of weeks where she'll learn some life skills and do a bit of general training.  Jilly is now registered with the Kennel Club and her KC name is Jillity Bits. She won't start jumping classes until she's around ten months old.  She'll start with very low jumps for the first two or three months. In the meantime she can go and watch the club training classes and get used to all the dogs and the venue.  She went to the set up day for an agility show last week and behaved very well.  I wanted her to see the fun competition but by then she was tired and was fast asleep.  What a shame, she missed Sasha's clear round.  At 12 weeks old she weighed in at 7.1 kg and measured about 33cm.

The only thing she's scared of is the weimaraner puppy next door.  It's huge!  It's the biggest dog she's ever seen.  She's also met the neighbours next door and the children and is quite happy to be around them.  After short periods of activity she has to learn to have a rest and go to sleep.  Puppies don't need masses of exercise and they certainly don't need to be worn out!

Earlier blog entries  (very cute little puppy pics involved here)

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