Jackie Gardner’s Blog – January 2014

This year at Christmas we went away for a week to Scotland for a cottage holiday with all seven of our dogs. The cottage we stayed in was in a place called Whauchop in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by beautiful forest walks. Although the weather wasn’t brilliant, being either freezing cold or raining, the holiday itself was fantastic and so relaxing, just what we needed. The dogs had a fantastic time, loving the walks in the forest and swimming in the river. Even our old girl, Wiggy, who managed all the walks, which for a 15-year-old dog was amazing!

We got home just in time to spend New Year’s Eve with some good friends, welcoming in 2014, which looks already to be a good, but very busy year.

I’ve been asked to organise some demonstrations of agility and obedience for the Caravan & Camping Show, which will be held at the NEC. We will be attending on Wednesday 19th and Saturday 22nd February. They are putting in a new arena for us to show off the skills of our dogs. I have 20 people from my SmartPaws Club attending and it will be good fun, and I’m sure the public will love watching the dogs. At these types of events the dogs are so popular and the children absolutely love it. So I’ve been busy trying to get everything together including try to find a sponsor to help with some of our expenses.

I’ve also been really busy organising the dogs for the Activity Demo at Crufts in March. SmartPaws have 15 dogs taking part in this demo. I did the Crufts demo last year with Bertie so know what to expect and how the public will react. Last year the crowds around the ring were amazing and we struggled to get the dogs to the ring, as everyone wanted to stroke the dogs and say ‘Hi’. At these events we can only use dogs who are 100% people and dog-friendly, as it can be a very daunting experience for the dogs and we don’t want anything to go wrong.

I’ve just rescheduled my classes at the club, as with the restricted hours, I wanted to make sure as many as possible got classes that they wanted and needed. Sadly I still can’t run any beginner classes as I still need a new venue for this training, which I’m struggling to find. (Anyone know of a venue suitable for agility and obedience around Tamworth,Staffs? Help!) Ideally I would love to buy a unit so that I can have access 24/7.

Training started back at the beginning of January, and it was good to get back and start training Bertie again. He has the potential to be a real star, but he is very headstrong and sometimes thinks he knows best when we are training. He really amuses me as he just wants to work, work, work. Unfortunately he cut his foot open on Monday 13th December while out for his normal walk, so he is now on rest until that is healed up.

I believe in setting goals and targets for my dogs, so that I can look back and see how they are progressing, so I have set my targets for the year for Bertie. I always start off with something that I know is achievable, working up to something I would love to be able to achieve but may not be possible this year. Fingers crossed we can achieve all the targets I have set.

Del Boy is still having physio treatment on his foot, which is starting to look better, but unfortunately as he has ligament damage, it will take a long time to heal. He is also on VetSpec Mobility now to help him with his joints, so that when he goes back to his agility training he’ll still be in top form.

I’m already working on my courses for the Championship class I’m judging in March at Wyre Championship Show. I love judging Championship classes as I get to see first-hand the top dogs in the country on my courses. Then the joy when I get to award the Challenge Certificate to the overall winner – fantastic.

Oh and I’ve been asked to judge at the IFCS World Agility Championships in Holland in May. This is an amazing opportunity and I’ll be the first British judge to judge at a World Championship event. Such an honour, and also a bit scary. I’ve been told which classes they want me to judge and I’m really excited about this. I have until the beginning of March to design and test my courses before I have to submit them to the IFCS. It will involve a week away in Holland away from my own dogs, but it’s just such a fantastic opportunity I couldn’t possibly say no.

Then in April, as a birthday treat to myself, I’ve bought some tickets to see Gary Barlow – can’t wait as I think he’s brilliant!

As I said it’s looking to be an amazing year already.

2014 you are going to be a good year.

Wiiggy (L) and her litter sister Mur[phy having just had their 15th Birthday walk Training class agilityJackie.

Images show:

1)  Wiggy and her litter sister, Murphy,  after their walk on their 15th birthday.

2) Some of our training class members.

3) One of Jackie’s dogs in action.

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