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I really don’t get this FCI obedience

Uncategorised Posted on Sun, March 01, 2020 20:09:02

Well I entered a competition last weekend. Yoga actually succeeded in getting a first grade the first time I tried class 3, so realizing that all is not lost, I entered her again.
This time it was in the hangar – slippery floor and bloody cold.
My class didn’t start until after lunch, but I was there in good time – mainly cos Lena had baked buns ?
The elite class was well under way, when I arrived. The exercises were split in two sections and in a random order. I stood and watched three sets og heelwork.
The first dog was focused all the way round and didn’t budge out of position as much as a centimeter. Very precise and didn’t look anxious. Scored 6,5.
The next one was very happy, but came completely out of position whilst walking backwards and the handler turned the wrong way on the backward turn. Scored 6.
Last dog moving slightly in and out of position with an equally in and out focus, which meant slightly slow reaction to stops and turns some places. Scored 7.

I don’t get it.

Then in my class there’s a dog with a fabulous distance control. The front paws are like nailed to the floor and the dog is fast changing position. It scores 9 apparently because the back end moved slightly to one side or the other, before ending up exactly where it started.
Yoga is crap at distance control, when she has to do sit to down – there were two of those in this exercise. She moves forwards about 20cm over all and to top it all, she sits crooked at the end. Score? 8,5!
To make the confusion complete another dog with a good few extra commands scores 8.
There is no justice in this. How can a perfect distance control only score 1 point more than one with all those extra commands? How can I get just half a point less?

Stupid stupid point system!

Then there is someone in class 2, whose dog sits up again as she is about to leave it in the distance control. Because she didn’t know all the rules – and less face it, this one isn’t exactly logical – she gives a new down command. 0 points to her, even though the dog performs the changes of position correctly. If she had left the dog sitting, she would have just lost the first position. Where is the sense in that?
If the first position had been the stand, then the dog would have done it from another position, than the rest of the dogs in the class. Is that fair? Surely the dog ought to be lying down in order to start this exercise.

Merrys daughter, Zoey. Winner of class 3

I don’t go to that many obedience competitions and every time I turn up, I’m always thankful that I can do agility instead. It must be so demoralizing for these competitors, who week after week see there performances judged within such a narrow and totally inadequate point system. What’s the point of putting in all the hard work if it’s only going to make half a points difference? Who on earth thought of a 10 point judging scale, where you only can use from 5,5 to 10 unless of course you use the zero? People who have never trained a dog – that’s who!

Yoga managed to get yet another first grade. So looks like I’m gonna have to show up again soon ?

Much more fun!

Changing, and then again not changing tracks

Uncategorised Posted on Fri, February 07, 2020 20:03:08

This too is a fine art. It’s like walking a tightrope – knowing when to adjust to the one side or the other, so that you don’t lose your balance and fall. It’s a case of keeping your focus on the job. It’s a case of knowing, what is not yet learnt. It’s a case of knowing what you’re aiming at. It’s a case of knowing what’s important, when to change your focus and when not to.

If we take distance control as an example, we first need to define the essence of the exercise. There are lots of aspects in this exercise, but they are not equally important and they cannot all be trained simultaneously. The essence of the exercise is in fact correct movement. It’s not waiting for the commands. It’s not building up distance. It’s not the number of positions. It’s not being in each position. It’s not maintaining the position until the next command. It’s the correct movement between positions that is the fundamental part of this exercise. Now all we need to do is keep are eyes on that. Easy, right? Maybe not.


It takes many repetitions of each movement before the dog understands, that it has to move in a certain way. If we reward for being in the correct position, then the dog misses the point – or rather it doesn’t, if it’s us, that’s missed the point by actually rewarding for the positions.

Initially we need to be rewarding for any correct movement. So I’ll be putting aside the aspect of the dog waiting for my command. Actually I’m looking for the dog offering me the correct version of the task all by itself and it can decide the pace as well. Every correct movement gets rewarded. I train the movements in pairs with a clear break between each set. This gives the dog the chance to immerse itself into the two movements in each set, because it knows what the next movement will be. If the dog offers me correct movement to another position, whilst I’m not training that set, I reward that too. This is a beneficial change of track. I’m shifting my focus, because it’s promoting the dogs learning.

It’s only when the movements are always perfect, that I start working on the distance and waiting for the commands with the latter first. Usually I keep training in pairs and only occasionally jumble the positions up. Keeping this exercise well-tuned is a case of holding onto the correct movement.

A common fault is either not knowing this or losing sight of it. There is a general fear of having a dog, that does things before it’s commanded. This always costs points at competitions, so is not really surprising. Without the handler thinking, they let the ‘not waiting for a command‘ aspect override the essence of the exercise. When this happens, the dog misses important learning opportunities, because it perhaps offers correct movement and gets faulted for it. The dog is trying to show, ‘I think I’ve got it’ and the handler replies, ‘No, you’re way off’. This is a change of track, that doesn’t benefit the dogs learning.


Another fault occurs when the dog doesn’t move to the right position, but to another. This is incorrect movement, but often the dog is commanded again and has to move to the named position from another starting position. There’s no useful learning here whatsoever. In fact the dog learns that as long as it moves, it doesn’t really matter how. It’s not able to correct it’s mistake, if it doesn’t take the position from the original starting point and if it doesn’t correct, it doesn’t learn. This is an example of the handler changing tracks and not helping the dogs process.

A third fault often occurs when the distance between dog and handler increases. Dogs see the set up and you might think that your verbal command and hand signal are the same, when you stand two meters further away, than you usually do, but for your dog the picture is very different. This could cause the dog to try and repair the picture by moving closer and in so doing, perform incorrect movement. So increases are perhaps 10cm at a time to start with. The big increases come when you’re already several meters away.

Another common fault occurs when the dog loses its focus. Perhaps it’s tried looking at something else as a way to handle ambivalence, when things get difficult or when the success criteria aren’t apparent for the dog. If the handler waits until the dog checks into the exercise again, then suddenly it has the chance to take control of the whole process. Like any other exercise the dogs focus is of paramount importance. If a dog checks out by avoiding taking contact to the handler, then the handler needs to change track. Loss of attention is always more important than any element in any exercise. Changing tracks here is imperative for the dogs learning – if I point at a cup and tell a child it’s a cup whilst the child is looking at the ceiling, then it’s never going to learn what a cup is. Likewise a dog is never going to learn how to perform a sequence of positions, if it’s got its mind on something else.


For every exercise, it’s merely a case of defining the essence, teaching it, building complexity around it and preserving it.

Piece of cake!

The myth about disturbances

Uncategorised Posted on Thu, January 30, 2020 19:15:57

I hear this so often, ‘Det er godt med forstyrrelser’. Translated this means, that it’s good to train with disturbances.
Are you kidding me? Unfortunately they’re not.

You can compare a dog learning something new to a child learning to ride a bike. To start with, the child has to look down at its feet as it pedals, because the movement is not yet automatic. If you insist on the child focusing on something else, then quite probably the legs will stop doing their stuff.
A dog learning something new is very much the same – if you remove its focus from the job in hand, something is likely to go wrong. By asking a dog to work on an exercise that isn’t in the bag, whilst something else is happening around it, is neither fair nor particularly productive.

If you want stability in an exercise, then the dog really needs to have only one way of performing it. If it has a variation of ways of performing exercises, then you risk being presented for one of the less perfect versions at competitions. To get around this, there needs to be sharp criteria and only one version, that is acceptable. When you train an exercise which isn’t fully learnt yet, you are asking for trouble by insisting working on it in a difficult environment.

Ideally dogs need to be trained initially in a sterile environment. By that I mean, where there are no distractions whatsoever. As the dog progresses and understands what it has to do, the environment can become gradually more challenging. So it’s really only the well trained dog that gets to work in total chaos.

This does not mean, that you can’t do anything, whilst with others. There will usually be parts of exercises, that the dog has an understanding of and these might be ready for the less sterile environment. As a rule, I’d rather do too little than too much and if I have the slightest doubt as to the dogs ability, I don’t try. I need to protect the single version of the exercise at all costs, because this is the key to stability.

Just perfect! Got it all to myself

Having one version is a bit like walking along the same footpath – if you continually tramp the same place, you’ll leave deep tracks. If you walk in a variety of places, you’ll leave many tracks, but none of them will be deep. When a dog has only tried to do things one way, it’s almost impossible for it to do it any differently, but this only happens if the handler holds on to and protects the single version at all times.

An example: I’ve been working on Busy’s scent discrimination, since she was a puppy. I always start with the objects fastened down, so that the dog can’t fail. These are on a board and on a long roll of carpet. At some point I have to set the dog free on the loose objects and when I do this, they are in a heap with the correct object close by, but not touching the others. Gradually I pull the heap apart and after that increase the distance between objects. It’s a very slow process with lots of repetitions of each stage, before moving on and increasing the distance. Every time the dog gets it right, I stop. We’ve only been taking one scent discrimination per session for quite some time now. At home, indoors in the sterile environment, we have the objects about 10cm apart. This last week I decided to venture out and try the exercise in the hall. Because it was a different and therefore more difficult environment, I had to decrease the degree of difficulty somewhere else. This could be the number of objects, the distance out to them or how they are laid out. I chose distance and went back to the heap, with the right object beside the others. This worked and as it worked, we also only did this once. Busy is now 22 months old. She is not the brightest dog in the world and therefore the extra slow process. No matter what, I’m protecting the single version of the exercise and everything else (like where others are with dogs of this age or younger) comes in second.

So what are the criteria for the right version of a scent discrimination? Of course choosing the right object, but working very intensely and not nipping at the others are very important dimensions. If my dog doesn’t have its mind on the job, then I am going to have to start at the beginning again. It’s imperative, that the exercise has such high value, that the dog doesn’t lose focus whilst performing it. Nipping is a lesser problem, that can be cured by reward differentiation. Nipping would be a reason for doing the exercise again.

Building on this exercise has now two dimensions. In the hall, we are working with the heap for at least a week or two, whilst at home, we’re expanding on the distance between objects. Both set-ups are preserving the ideal version of the exercise. I’m not pushing my luck by giving her the chance to do things either wrongly or badly. In the end this will lead to a reliable exercise.

Good job, she’s so cute


Method, effect and ethics

Uncategorised Posted on Sat, January 25, 2020 17:10:24

There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes. The same goes for training dogs. We all start the same place – completely without a clue. We’re all able to relate to the human mind and through that, have an understanding of human thought capacity. It either takes a lot of trial and error or a very good instructor, before our knowledge covers the much more amputated dog thought capacity – even longer before we can use that knowledge effectively in our training.
But this is the key – knowing how a dog thinks and via that, teaching it what we want it to learn. Far too many raise the bar way too high, because they  attribute the dog thinking abilities, that they just don’t have.

In the meantime, there are different approaches and methods to training – some much kinder than others. Some are ethically easier to identify oneself with and that alone can determine the choice. There can be such a strong identification with one particular approach, that it’s negative effects go unnoticed. Methods can become religion and if the religion doesn’t happen to fit the dog, then it’s the dog, that gets replaced and not the approach.

If you aren’t very experienced yourself and you have an instructor with a religion, you will probably spot the very empty toolbox, if you show up with a dog, that doesn’t react in the proper way to the instruction. My point here is,  that for the best results, you need to have several ways of teaching the same exercise, but also several ways of responding to dogs’ different behaviours.

The well-equipped toolbox is the result of years and years of experience, of trial and error, of perseverance, self criticism and analysis. There are no shortcuts. Courses and books cannot compete with hands on experience.

So it’s not just a case of teaching the dog, how to perform an exercise. It’s also a case of how the exercise is performed. Precision is one thing and has definitely a value, but if it’s achieved by putting the dog under undue pressure, then it loses its value – at least it ought to.
Exuberance is another thing. This too has its value, but again this is reduced, when it has a negative effect on precision. In effect the aim is to work between total precision and almost tipping point exuberance, if you are going to get the best result. Everyone loves to see an extremely happy or fast dog being precise. Some don’t mind seeing a miserable dog being precise. I do and if I had to prioritize between the two aspects, I’d take the exuberance any day. It’s much easier to work towards precision with an enthusiastic dog than it is to get exuberance from a miserable one.

So which method, gives the best result? Best result being the unification of exuberance and precision and not merely a question of the judges points. Can I do it another way and get a better result? This does not mean by using radically different methods and set-ups but differences in rewarding, distances and support. Quick fix, although widely used, never works. In fact dramatic changes only serve to confuse the dog or make it unsure and hesitant.

Can I see myself, with my ethical codex, using a certain method? This is a question, we all should be asking ourselves, because if you can’t see yourself feeling good about doing something, don’t go there! And just for the record, hitting, throwing, jerking hard on the lead or showing your anger or irritation, is never okay.

Have I been blinded by another’s results, that I’ve hung my conscience up with my coat and forgotten that it’s even there? Another question we all should be asking ourselves. Is that rosette, trophy or title really worth compromising your right to call yourself a decent human being for? I think not.

At the end of the day and as I have said many times before, I’m never going to be anything spectacular with my dogs. I can be a part of it and be okay good at what I do, but reaching the top will always be beyond my limits. I’m just not ambitious enough to just go ahead and do whatever it takes. I like being able to look in the mirror too much ? and when my dogs or I screw up, it doesn’t really bother me – at least not enough.

My heroes are the ones who do really well and do it by being kind. They might not always score the highest points or run in the fattest time, but they are without doubt the people we all should be admiring and trying to live up to.

So be nice out there.

The fine art of limitation

Uncategorised Posted on Thu, January 02, 2020 17:54:04

Training indoors after my Christmas break went extremely well. I’d made a plan of what to train with each dog. However, having a plan is nowhere near enough. If training is going to lead anywhere, it’s important to have a precise idea of where the dog is in it’s learning process and also what the success criteria are for the particular session.
My training this time round consisted of simple elements and with the sole purpose of getting back into the swing of things. With the exception of Busy not remembering her stand command, each dog performed exceptionally well with their chosen focus areas. Which brings me to the title of this post.

When everything is done fabulously well, it’s very easy to either do repetitions or add other exercises to the session. If the dog performs to the success criteria or above the very first time, there is a risk of the dog achieving less in a repetition. The learning process is supported best, when we stop in time. The only thing that I ended up working on was the lost stand command. All the other things, we did only once. This meant that the session was over after 40 minutes and I had three dogs with me.

They were not tired, but training sessions are never in order to tire my dogs out. If I’d added exercises, that I hadn’t prepared for, then I wouldn’t have had a precise idea of the dogs status or the success criteria. That would be more of a spur of the moment thing, with the risk of me making mistakes.

Remembering this, is very easy for me when I train obedience. I think it’s due to the fact, that I am aware of what I am working towards and can see every step of the way very clearly and in detail. I know when the dog has enhanced its performance and every tiny development has its worth, which I hang on to by stopping in time. Sometimes I stop building on what the dog can and spend some time maintaining the new skill by doing the exercise just once with the same success criteria. This strengthens the exercise, so that I can build on it at a later date without risk of it crumbling away again.

If only I could do this with agility. Unfortunately I can’t see every step on the way and I can’t just feel, when I need to stop up and repeat without building. I get greedy, when it goes well and want more. So remembering to stop in time is something I have to remind myself of every single time I go out. I’m getting better at it and tell myself that it’s better I build too slowly rather than too fast. With this very conscious thought, when I train agility, I can feel my dogs progressing.

So the last two days I’ve trained agility, because all of them are now on heat. I don’t go in the hall at this time for much the same reason for not doing many repetitions – I’d give them conditions that could open up for a deterioration of performance, as they would have to wear something to protect our carpets. They could of course get used to this, but it’s so rare, that it would be necessary, that I have chosen just not to use the hall.

The plan for training was running contacts for all and different sections with jumps, seesaw and weave poles.

Running contacts are new to me. I’m trying to teach it to all four dogs at once, which is probably rather ambitious, when I really can’t see the steps along the way. I’ve been patiently spending plenty of time at each stage and not rushing too much. I’ve got them on the two planks placed on a plastic milk box now. They all learn differently and have different issues with the exercise. Busy Braindead has a recurring tendency to try to make things easier for herself by checking whether or not it really doesn’t give a reward, when she doesn’t do the job properly. The borders don’t try to cheat.

Merry is very conscientious and hits every time. However she is not very fast. I’ve chosen to ignore this and hope with practice she will get more confident.

Yoga is faster. She misses every now and again, but corrects herself next time around. This shows that she is thinking and her making mistakes is also a way of helping her become very conscious of the criteria.

Busy has never had anything but running contacts. She tends to look at me and lose focus on the mat at the end of the dogwalk. I’m changing the criteria for her and only rewarding, when she looks where she is going. As I’ve said before, she’s not that bright. If I use a treat dispenser, she only sees that and not the mat. If I lay the toy on the ground, she just runs and gets it without doing anything. Trying to call her back is pointless. Busy does as Busy wants! Treats landing on the ground at the end of the dogwalk have the best effect.

Baby Swift is without doubt the best of them. All the way along she has been the most consistent, collecting herself jumping in and out of a low box, landing in the same way on the mat on the ground and now learning to hit the mat on the ramp. She is only 7 months old, so I have ages to teach her this. The others are going to be competing again soon, so there is a far more limited time span. This puts the fine art of limitation under even more pressure, making it more important, that I remember to stop in time.

Status after a week of skiing – where do we go from here?

Uncategorised Posted on Mon, December 30, 2019 10:07:29

So I spent Christmas in Norway.

I was a bit sceptical about this holiday, because last time I was away, it was really hard on my legs. Not that I felt much at the time, apart from tired muscles, but when I got home and had rested a few days, my legs suddenly felt like they were giving way. One of them felt as if the knee was about to bend the wrong way and if I sat down, it took ages to straighten it out again. On top of that I stopped training at the gym at the start of this year and have been training at home, with only my body weight as the load. To be honest I haven’t been very systematic with that either.

Unbelievably, my legs have been brilliant. No aches, getting down the slopes with ease and without any stops all the way down. Who would have guessed that?

I had a go at crosscountry skiing again. It’s been my plan to do this, as I have a real job keeping warm because I freeze on the lifts. I have tried a tiny bit a couple of times before and am quite useless at it. I hired some skis and spent the last morning trying to control them and my balance. This resulted in a number of falls, several bruises in the making and stiffer legs afterwards.

The older I get, the easier it gets to give up on things, that are difficult or hard. Remembering always to think, Don’t be afraid to fail – be afraid not to try, I am buying a set, when I get home. That way I will end up trying again and again and again.

This is truly a beautiful country. Apart from once, I have managed to see a moose or two every time I’ve been in Hemsedal and saw one on the way home this time as well. Perfect.

At home Natalie has been dog-sitting. Swift has been somewhere else, so apart from stealing a few toilet rolls and not coming back when called, everything has been fine. Now to get back into the swing of things regarding their training.

I work with a paper trainings diary. To be honest there’s not quite enough space in it for four dogs, but I’ve introduced many abbreviations, so it functions quite well. I am a member of Hotdoghallen, which is a heated building with quality carpets on the floor and all obedience equipment. You can’t train agility in there, because the shock absorbency is no where near good enough. In my basement I have a room with one jump and good flooring, where I can practice without jumping and I have an agility course outside. I live in the country and rather open for a western wind, which means I can’t always train outside. My jumps are lightweight and tip over easily.

A break in training means a couple of training sessions, where we find one another and the exercises, but don’t try to build on anything. Going in to the session with an expectancy of mistakes or slight lack of precision. The goal is to re-establish what we had, before the break. Generally I choose my exercises before I leave the house and I choose which part of the exercise, I will focus on. Unless my purpose is to check whether or not the whole exercise is in place, I never train whole exercises. Most of my dogs only meet whole exercises at a competition and I have never trained sequences of exercises. The word transport doesn’t exist in my trainings dictionary. I have an expectancy that my dog is checked in regardless of what we do and moving from one spot to another in the ring, gives the dog a chance to use its body in the way it chooses, before it again has to use it, as I choose. My philosophy is that quantity has a detrimental effect on quality.  If I train after top quality, I will end up with a very motivated dog. It’s this motivation, that carries the quantity at a competition. Plus seeing a happy dog has enormous  value for me.

All exercises in our program consist of several or many elements and it’s these that I train. Each dog normally has three areas to train, whereas Swift has more, because her abilities only stretch to simple and isolated elements. The more complicated the section, the less things we train and complicated is defined by that particular dog. After a break we start with the dog’s easy exercises, whereas we start with the difficult exercises once we are back in the training process.

I differentiate between training and practice. I don’t practice very often, but always have the dog’s learning in focus. I’m thinking, What does this dog need to learn? When you think in these terms, it naturally limits what you can train and for how long.

Then I’m thinking about how to remove the other parts of the exercise as much as possible, so that the area of focus is visible to the dog. For example you don’t need to do heelwork in order to train the positions on the move. Once the dog is 100% on the verbal cues standing still, it needs to be 100% whilst moving. However you still don’t have to train the heelwork at the same time. You can walk backwards, sidewards and turn as well as moving forwards.

My plan for today is as follows:

Yoga going out to the target in the sendaway, possibly with a smaller target if it goes well at the first attempt. Stand, sit and down commands at my side with no movement. Distance control with focus on both stand and sit to down position.

Busy jumping the hurdle with a dumbbell. Reinforcing her wait and speed of pickup. Sendaway from heelwork position, aiming at not holding her, whilst she focuses on the box. Then heelwork in a long straight stretch, one stand position and another long stretch. This because she tries to stop up by herself after one position. So I’m adding value to moving forward by rewarding for the first stretch, doing one position whilst I stop up and then moving forward again, reinforcing that one position doesn’t necessarily mean we’re taking another and rewarding more after the second stretch of heelwork.

Swift has one-step heelwork to practice, where my focus is on her body and head position and her movement. The retrieve where she walks a couple og meters and sits without adjusting her grip on the dumbbell. Her stay where she holds her position, whilst I move in next to her and doesn’t drop her head, whilst I move away from her. At this point I am still only about two meters away.

Merry is in season and not training in the hall whilst that’s the case.

Let’s see how that goes!

I’m back!

Uncategorised Posted on Thu, December 26, 2019 09:57:48

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since I last used my blog. The pictures need changing, as the dogs I now have are not the same…. or rather are the same with a few additions. I’m changing to English to keep my hand in as I nowadays have very little opportunity to use this language.

To get back to the dogs, Hektor is still going strong at fifteen and a half. Rocket is now fourteen and a half. Both are deaf and don’t see that clearly. Phoenix is soon twelve and Hubert ten and a half.

Competing I have Merry whom has just turned seven and Yoga, who is six months younger. Merry is obedience and agility champion and needing one more certificate for the jumping title. Yoga has one of three results for her obedience title and has also one agility certificate.

Busy is a Miniature American Shepherd with her nose in everything. Very energetic dog but not very bright. Luckily the energy level compensates for the lack of intelligence. She turns two in March. I got her measured for agility in October, not really expecting her to be small before her second birthday, but she was. We’re a bit behind on the training, because I thought there would be at least six more months before, she was eligible for the small class. In the meantime we have trained obedience and she has her Class 1 plus a qualification to the Danish Championships 2020.

Lastly I have Swift, Merry’s daughter with Even, an Austrian born, German agility dog. She is now seven months old and looking very promising in every way. She too is being trained to do both agility and obedience.

And here I am, sitting in Norway quite dogless and thinking about my plans for 2020. Actually I have considered going for a place on the national team with Merry and then again…? I’m not sure.

Getting older and with an inevitable deterioration of the body doesn’t really go hand in hand with the courses we see nowadays, where you need to run like the wind. Not that I don’t think the courses are fabulous. I love a challenge and especially when my only goal with my training is to learn and get better. The worry is probably because of the change of goal. When I go to a competition and have my own learning process as a goal, it doesn’t matter how well we do, if I take something home, that I can train and through that get better. If my goal has something to do with a result, I’m opening up for coming home disappointed. Do I really want to do that? Do I really want my dogs to have that handler? Am I a big enough person to not fall in the disappointment and frustration trap? I’m not so sure…

I’m going to apply, mainly because working with the pressure is also a learning process. I’d like a spot at EO next year, because Natalie can qualify for this and much of the fun of competing is due to being with my daughters and sharing our interest. It’s a bit like traveling on your own – I might as well just look at the pictures of the place, if I don’t have anyone to share the experience with.

So the plan is also qualification for the Danish agility championships. They are the same day as the obedience ones and luckily the same place in 2020. I worked out that I can do both, if the team agility event is in the morning as it usually is.

I’m doing mainly DKK competitions next year and just a few DcH. I’ve taken a year off from judging, but had enquired about becoming a DKK judge. Apparently I don’t have to do the courses, but I bet that those on the courses are recognized judges before I am!

Obedience wise I’m hoping to get Yogas champion title in 2020. The plan with Busy is to take each class one year at a time, as I doubt very much that she has the brain capacity to come further than Class 3. So no more competitions for her until after the Championships and then a Class 2. We are well on the way with our training.

Swift is my obedience and agility hope for the future. She is incredibly intelligent and not just because I compare with Busy. She is inexhaustible and very fast and it’s going to take a long time to train her up, as I’m paying particular attention to detail to a degree I haven’t since I lived in England. I’ve had lots of really good dogs, but Swift could well be my once in a lifetime dog…. if I play my cards right.