Sally Grant is making a trip to a centre with a green carpet specially so her dog can practice agility.
It’s not mad: they are the lengths many proud dog owners would go to if their two-year-old working cocker spaniel had got through to Crufts – with its distinctive green carpet.
Sally, known to many dog owners in the district from her dog walking service Cherished Paws and her training classes at Quadring, will be taking Pippa to compete in the Novice Cup Agility Final at Crufts in March.
“She’s a cracking little dog, she’s a superstar,” says Sally, who owns two other dogs who have competed locally in agility but never shown Pippa’s qualities – she beat off competition from 165 dogs in her class to earn a place in the final.
Sally says: “I very quickly realised she was in another level. She has just got that little extra something – extra drive, she’s very fast and accurate and loves learning.”
Pippa has clearly been through the Sally school of dog training, described as ‘life skills for puppies and for older dogs’. They are being held at Quadring Village Hall but will switch to Frampton’s St Michael’s Hall from the New Year.
Developed by behavioural scientists at the University of Lincoln, the training takes a slightly different approach to traditional obedience classes, with the focus on ten key life skills that dogs need to live in harmony with the real world.
Issues such as dealing with surprises (the sudden appearance of a noisy lorry in the road, for instance), being touched and learning self-control are just three of the topics covered.
Other important skills a dog needs to know are the ability to stay calm, to listen and understand the rules – and sometimes this last one is as much about educating the owners, says Sally.
She says: “We spend a lot of time making sure everybody in the house knows the rules and everybody is going to be consistent. For instance, is the dog allowed on the sofa?”
Seven-week sessions will begin at Frampton on Tuesday, January 17 – 6-7pm for puppies and 7.30-8.30pm for older dogs. In time there will also be a Trick Training class.
Tel: 07908 176927