The term lockdown puppy has over the past year been added to our daily vocabulary. Up until dec 20 most of the Aura litter dogs were able to train in groups. As the stricter lockdown closed down group training, we came up with the Christmas challenge (see earlier newsletter) to keep the eager Flatastics busy. It included training for a great recall, even with distractions. To be able to let go of distractions such as toys and game scent it was important to have the value of returning to handler up high, so some had to work a bit harder on the relationship part. It was a mental game for the handlers too as they had to decide how to build up the runway of distractions taking care of wind direction and doable goals.
Two judges were given the difficult task to choose a winner. One judge looked mostly at the technical performance and the other took a close look at any possible stress signals showing signs of pressure. The level of performance was very high and it was at close call that we could announce Lieuwe & Gurbe to be the winner of the 2020 Flatastic Christmas Challenge. Congratulations to this great duo. Lieuwe had a high level of distractions (cold game and toys) and a very good recall. Gurbe really showed fun when arriving in heal position.
More importantly – all the flatastic dogs were kept in training, their handlers did an amazing job setting up partial goals and I am so proud of them. Mostly because they showed great understanding of their dogs and took them a step further if they were bored or stepped back a step when it became too much. The judges were generous to provide feedback for all participants for them to continue training. Thank you for the effort and time you donated.
For now it is lockdown time – hang in there all my dog friends – keep training even if it is as simple as maintaining your recall and good relationship with your 4 legged friend.
At this point we are in winter hibernation, taking our time to contemplate and design new dog plans for 2021. There are some great ideas on the drawing table – if COVID allows we will have an Aura litter reunion with more retrieving challenges and we hope to be able to continue the planned weekend workshop in spring. Lots of great dogs events to look forward to.