Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Power Of Positive Feedback

We all know about positive reinforcement when it comes to training our dogs...

But what about the power of positive feedback, or even, come to think of it, the power of negative feedback...

I know personally how easy it is to latch onto a negative comment, it leaves you questioning, doubting, wondering if what you're doing is right. I know it definitely didn't leave me excited or inspired about the next training session. And I'm sure there are some out there, that have thought about throwing in the towel or even actually calling it quits.... all because of the power of negative feedback.

So why is it sometimes easier to criticise, than to offer something nice to say? Do they have method in their madness... is it to toughen us up... make us try harder to get it right?

If I look at how I train my dogs, mostly it's positive.... but being honest there is a negative side, take shaping for example. My dogs will offer random behaviours...each time potentially failing until I click and treat (giving them that positive feedback). BUT here is the thing... and you can see it in dogs, JUST as you can see it in people... the more you fail, the more you question, the less enthusiastic the performance or the desire to do the performance becomes.

Lets look at positive feedback. I know for me, even when something seems hard especially when training the dogs, any positive comments received keeps me coming back for more! It makes me want to try harder, it leaves me motivated and excited about the next training session. I've been really lucky with the people that have played a huge role in teaching me. They were positive, they inspired me with their feedback, so I can SEE the difference for myself.

Don't get me wrong... I've had moments in my life when things have come out of my mouth and I'd wished the earth would swallow me up, because lets face it, I can be as subtle as a brick at times :-P   But the more I teach, the more I'm extremely mindful of the impact my opinion can have on others. I don't want to go home at night and think that I've left someone feeling disheartened, I want to go home hoping that I've left people inspired!!

I think it's really important to remember that words are incredibly powerful, especially when you teach, or give feedback if someone asks...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Treadmill Trendiness ;-)

I'm not really one to buy the latest 'gadget/gizmo/thingybob' and technically they've been around for quite some time... but.....

I bought a treadmill for the dogs :-D

And I'm super excited about it!.....the dogs? well it's growing on them ;-) Edge was going great guns until Epic decided she wanted to get on to....WHILE Edge was on it and scared the crapper out of him :-P Liryk initially thought it was the machine sent from hell to destroy her.... and Epic... well I can't get her off! She'll even go and sit on it, waiting....and waiting.... just incase it may come on and random treats will start falling into her mouth ;-)

Anyhoo, I've got the next 4 weeks to get them used to it.... yes 4 looooong relaxing weeks.... because I'm on HOLIDAYS :-D Nothing booked, no flights away, just chillaxing around the house or out on my parents 20acre property. Bliss :-D

With all this time I may even be able to manage regular blog updates :-P

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Nationals and Top Dog

Just over a month ago Liryk, Edge and I experienced the Nationals in QLD. For both kids it was their first time at such a massive event, but both really took it in their stride.... ok to be honest Edge MAY have thought it was.... thebest5daysofhislifesostartlinestaysarenotallowedsothere:-P.... but considering it was such an exciting event he really did an amazing job. No finals, but we were so close on several runs. Our first agility and jumping runs just had the last bar down. And he only had 1 run (out of 10) where he was soooooo excited he just couldn't quite keep it together :-P

Liryk just blew my mind, I put quite a bit of pressure on myself coming into the Nationals and I almost lost it before it had even started. A very good friend shared some valuable words and put everything into perspective and for 5 days we enjoyed every single moment in the ring together. Liryk won the first jumping heat and the third agility heat, putting her into both finals. Even a month later it blows my mind that the little black dog beat over 100 other brilliant dogs out there....stunned...I'm just stunned! Finals we had a ball, in Jumping we had 1 bar down :-P Agility we got 80% of the course, a bar came down and I lost connection with her and we dq'd. BUT I can honestly say I couldn't have asked for anything more from her, she worked her little bootie off and I'm sooooo proud!

The other news we have to share is just over a week ago we got mail. A letter congratulating Liryk on winning WA's Top Jumping Dog for the Year. Eeeekkkk!!! Now if winning a heat at the Nationals blew my can JUST IMAGINE what it did when I read THIS letter ;-)

2014 is turning out to be one awesome super spectacular year!!

Brilliant photos from the Nationals by PawSnap Pet Photography.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2 Weeks To Goooooo :-D

In 14 days time Liryk, Edge and I will be in QLD for the Nationals!!! To say I'm excited is the UNDERSTATEMENT of the century!! 2 years earlier and I was cancelling flights and completely devastated that Liryk had to be pulled out of the last Nationals....

Sooooo it'll be both Liryk and Edge's FIRST time competing at this level! :-D I'm nervous.... excited.... and above all completely and utterly chuffed I get to play with my kids against other super cool dogs!!

Interestingly with this rather large event rapidly approaching.... hurdles appear to be setting some challenges for us ;-)

Over the last 4mths Liryk has gone through flying off her seesaw... which meant some retraining...missing her d/w contact... because of all the turns we've been seeing of late...again some retraining required ;-) and most recently she's decided that launching herself off the aframe would be good to try :-P Nothing like cutting it fine!!

Edge... well my focus coming into the Nationals with him has been timing, handling and bars. I'd even packed away my dogwalk....actually he's probably not been on my d/w since the end of last year... BIG mistake! Again with so many turns (even in Excellent) his d/w has deteriorated. Once a very solid straight exit performance has now turned into him launching and missing the contact zone completely. Just last weekend he missed 2 for 2 dogwalk contacts with straight exits .... YIKES! So 2 weeks out from Nationals and I'm wondering if there is enough time to fix it??? Oh well.... only one way to find out right :-P

Either way I'm sure our Nationals adventure is going to be memorable... I'm hoping the good kind of memorable :-P Rather than the naughty blown contacts kind of memorable ;-)

Good Luck to everyone travelling!! See you soon :-D

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Turning Your Challenges Into Your Strengths

I'm pretty blessed with Liryk and Edge being sooooo drivey :-D But there's a part of me that wonders if they'd still be that way.... if I didn't have Epic first...

You see Epic is quite the opposite. She shuts down easy, she's hard to motivate, she doesn't play well with others, unless you're in her 'inner' group ;-) Basically Epic is CHALLENGING.

Some find these types of dogs to much hard work... and they're right... it IS hard work.... but if you delve outside your comfort zone, use the many resources available to us on the internet, you end up with a dog that is so much more confident :-D One that WANTS to play with you :-D AND you end up with a wealth of ideas for your next dog ;-)

Epic is nearly 8 1/2years old. And she has so many more achievements than the others. I don't mean she has titles or wins in agility. I'm talking about MUCH bigger achievements in the world of... her life. Not many people know, but there was a time that Epic would attack the other (now passed) dogs in our house. She would go through 'episodes' of hiding under the dining room table. She HATED tugging and there's NO way I'd ever let her off around other dogs!

Today she's LOVES tugging! She LOVES Liryk and Edge, there isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't play with 1 or both of them :-D She's so much better with other dogs, I'm still careful, but her group of buddies is growing :-D And the thing that makes me the most happy is that I can see her smiling all the time! I could have chosen the path of her being in the too hard basket.... but I'm so glad I didn't! And I think Liryk and Edge show how much I've learnt, from one little scared dog that I wouldn't give up on :-)

Sunday, February 23, 2014


It really is, so very precious.

It's amazing how one little puppy, blessing us with 12 days of joy, could be taken away, even though you've fallen head over heels in love with him. I mean what is with that?

I thought it would be easier having the "dad" but from the moment that little merle boy came into this world there was a very strong emotional attachment. I can't imagine how Simone is feeling right now, spending almost every waking moment with him. Or poor Spryte who has lost her little baby..... The loss is profound and there is no doubt that we are all heartbroken :-(

Hug your kids, each and every one of them is so very special.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


So many adventures, so many fly by the seat of your pants moments.

It seems just yesterday we were running and playing together :-)

Love you forever squeally pig xx