Grace meets agility

Our agility class had only a few participants around last night so the teacher invited Grace to join too (adapted to her age of course).

This is Grace’s first time experience of agility equipment and she was totally unfazed by it – even the bendy tunnel that some dogs fear because you can’t see the exit. She also immediately understood sitting down, waiting and jumping over objects – all things the rest of us have been practising for 3 weeks now!

It wasn’t a huge surprise to me she loved it – the way she moves naturally in the forest and her intense handler focus have already suggested to me that she will also eventually enjoy agility.

I am definitely seeing the benefits of a thoughtful, responsible and focused breeding programme because she has only been with us for two months so what we see now is her innate ability and genetic makeup. We also have a comparison point of a similar breed with our working cocker Nell, who has bags of enthusiasm, similarly intense handler focus and a keenness to work, but mostly lacks the calmness and composure that Grace has which is a huge advantage in training.

I’m just in awe of this little lady and the grace with which she handles things thrown in her way – she is definitely living up to her name!

A weekend of fun at the Animal Event

This post is a little bit late now but better now than not at all!

A couple of weeks ago we bundled the dogs into our car and headed south to Tilburg for the 13th edition of Animal Event. We discovered it last year but too late to sign up for any workshops so this year we were ready well in advance. With a young puppy, we decided it was best to spread the activities over two days and stay two nights so that it wasn’t too taxing for her, even though she is a real champ. We absolutely loved our two days there so I wanted to write about the event.

Shopping opportunities were plentiful!

The event is packed with opportunities to learn and have fun with your dogs (and other animals) through workshops, masterclasses, games and demonstrations.

Last year we managed to try dock diving and escape rooms, both of which were a lot of fun. These activities don’t require registration so you can decide on the day if you want to do them. 

This year we signed up for a dog massage workshop, introduction to hunting training and canicross taster sessions as well as having a go in escape rooms again. We also had an opportunity to try detection/nose work with Grace.

Escape rooms challenged both humans and dogs!

Both hunting training and kynomassage workshops were short, but enough to spark an interest in getting more involved in both, while canicross… let’s just say we discovered running in a straight line is not exactly Nell’s forte as a hunting spaniel specialised in flushing!

Waiting for our massage workshop to start

The highlight of our weekend was definitely being able to try out detection with Grace in the masterclass given by Wesley Visscher from ScentImprint. She enjoyed it so much we enrolled her on a beginner’s course after the event – without this kind of taster session we would have waited much longer!

Trying out detection

There were more informal sniffing games too – like these ball pits (below) by the major sponsor Farm Foods.

All in all, it was a great event with lots of resting relaxation opportunities too – a beach for the dogs to run on, hammocks to chill out in and even a beach bar for humans and their soggy dogs. We are definitely going back next year!

Tired, wet, sandy – and hopefully also happy!