Bouncing is what Tiggers do best

Harrjak Tigger came into Lolly Scott's life through Tim Knee and Michelle Townsend. At the time, Lolly was working a rescue collie called Holly at Elementary level and was not used to handling a super fast dog. It's been a struggle but the tears of frustration turned to tears of joy when they won out of Starters at Carn Brae. Lolly has agreed to write her story for the benefit of others who are struggling with a talented but manic agility dog.

Tigger is completely obsessed with agility and has been an extremely hard dog to train. I seemed to be forever in tears, or having a tantrum at training, or at a show as I felt I would never be able to get on top of him and control him in an agility environment.  Luckily I had - and still have - fabulous friends who were always there for me and stayed there with my strops and having to listen to me saying 'Iím rubbish. I need someone else to run him.'

But recently, through sheer determination and being able to train more than once a week, we turned a corner about six months ago. He now listens to me, has a good recall and wants to do what I ask instead of what he wants. He is still incredibly excitable and hyper in the queue, but now has his raggy to chomp onto rather than the lead. He's been known to chew it through and escape into the ring.

What's the secret?
With a dog as hard, fast, manic driven as Tigs, you HAVE to put the work in and practice even if itís only ten minutes on something at home when not at a lesson. Though we may get many eliminations and plenty fastest times with five faults - partly as I go to pot in the ring - when it goes right it goes right! 

I really have to use my voice with Tigs. Otherwise itís 'up yours, Iím going over this jump.' As he is so fast in the ring, I have to over exaggerate everything I ask of him. False turns are a very useful tool. On his turns, I now have to have my arm at waist level and grab his attention with my 'agility finger' as he is so into the slightest movement I make.

If I have my arm up high and then bring it down for a turn he drops his legs and knocks the poles. Heís still knocking the odd pole but not as much. In training Iím forever being told that I've been too late or too early with his instructions. It is hard for me as Iím trying to look where Iím going, where heís at, where his feet are, when Iím supposed to call him. 

We tried all sorts with contacts but the best for me was training on a lead and using Stop as a command. Food and toys at the end didnít work. It may have been a pain stopping him in training to put him back on the lead for his contacts every time but even though I say so myself his contacts are amazing now!

Since competing in September 2005, my gorgeous ladís had five first places (two UKA) and a third.  Tigger has taken me out of Elementary and now Starters too - a brilliant start to 2006! Iíve never felt particularly good at anything and now I feel I've really achieved something with a difficult dog. 

Hope this helps other people starting out with a mad dog.  I certainly wouldnít want Tigs any other way and I love him to bits! Iím hoping for a Tigger pup in a couple of years time, maybe a girl this time!

I would like to thank my good friend Sam for all her hard work and patience!

About the author...
Lorraine (Lolly) Scott
lives in Honiton (Devon) with her two collies Holly and Tigger. She is a member of Honiton & District Canine Society and also trains at Buckland Agility.

Tigger is at stud to approved bitches. Please email for details

For more information about Lolly's dogs visit


© Copyright Agilitynet