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Welcome back Vickie!

What a stunning weekend to finish off the week with! We managed to keep a ship afloat while Vickie was down south, and it looks like she had a fabulous time. She’s back to work now- so make sure you treat her kindly while her system adjusts!

Tuesday marked the end of our movie poster competition- congratulations to Belle, who won with her 'Psycho' display, and over 200 likes! She went home beautiful and white on Wednesday- and less a whoooole lot of hair. It's spring time folks- now is the time to book your dog in for a deshed! Check how much coat Belle lost- and she's a short coated dog!

Mark joined Vickie down the line Thursday for the Fielding Jumpers Champ Show. Some awesome clear rounds over the weekend, with KC achieving her JAG title- Jumpers A Gold. This means her and Mark and collected over 70 clear rounds at the highest level at Jumpers Champs Shows! You may now address her as KCMEGO ADXA Gold JAG. She had 5 clear rounds out of 6 this weekend! Not to be outdone, the pocket rocket Steel also achieved 5 clear rounds, and nabbing a 3rd, 4th and 5th place. Mitch also pulled in a 4th place, well done team!

Meanwhile, I spent Saturday at a Rugby 7’s tournament and as usual, made it into a training opportunity. Taking your pet to the local sports game can be a fun experience... or it can also be an absolute nightmare. The difference is in the approach 😉

You really need to consider your dog before you do this- it saddens me to see the amount of stressed out dogs I see in locations like this. Your bombproof family dog might handle this with ease, but your nervous, high energy terrier might need a bit more careful of an approach.

My youngest dog Pika is a good example of a dog that needs a careful approach. I got her from the pound 6 months ago, and she can be a very sensitive dog. When things go right, they go RIGHT. But should they go wrong, she takes a while to recover from them.

We've had a bit of practice in these scenarios- she’s attended Rugby games on and off through the season.

There are a few different challenges at a sports game:

-Loud, yelling people. This can be really scary for a sensitive dog, they often take the yelling to heart.

-Loud whistles

-Mobs of people

-The ball being thrown at high speed… No Pika, that’s not your ball, and you cannot chase the humans carrying it!

So with this in mind, my approach on the weekend was:

I was prepared. I had favourite treats, a chew, toy and an appropriate leash (no flexis here). I gave Pika as much distance as she needed. We started off with a bit of distance between us and the sideline but progressed really quickly. I only asked her for behaviours she *knows*. While I might consider this a training session, only in the sense to ‘proof’ her existing behaviours. This is not the time to be teaching something new! She already has a pretty solid foundation on her ‘settle’, and this was a time to practise it.

We took breaks. We went off to sniff around the park and play with her ball. She wasn’t required to be performing a task for me every single second, that wasn’t the aim of the exercise. I wanted her to relax. She was allowed to explore her environment, and she earned a lot of treats for simply doing ‘nothing’!

I also had to be an advocate for my dog. While I was more than happy people and kids to come up and give her love (she loves people), I had to stop a few dogs from approaching. Not because she’s not great with dogs- the opposite really. She’s a total moron around other dogs. And the side of the rugby pitch is not the place I want to be dealing with dogs tangled in leads, and Pika potentially starting a very fun game of chase.

We were joined about ¾ of the way through by Sav’s puppy Pixie. And what a fun experience for her! Pixie is Pika’s little doppelganger (though not for long, at 4 months she is going to outgrow her very quickly!). Pixie coped really well with the environment- a perfect example of a well bred, stable dog that’s had an awesome upbringing. While she has been to agility events, a rugby tournament is a whole different ask. But her and Pika were far to busy trying to bait each other into a game to worry about the big loud men running around!

This might seem a little contradictory to what I’ve written above- but what’s important for Pixie is different than what is important to Pika.

This was Pixie’s first experience at a sports match- and although she loves me, I’m not her Ma! I wasn’t worried about perfect settled behaviours, I just wanted a fun, positive experience. Plenty of time to achieve those other behaviours later!

Ok folks, that's my novel done for the week. I'm off to bury myself in Uni assignments! Chat soon :)

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