Alan Bray Training Day - October 2008
It was Sunday, 12 October 2008 and Paula Zupkus found herself standing in a sports field, feeling slightly apprehensive about the next couple of hours. It was the Agility Team GB Supporters Club Training Day with Alan Bray. What was she doing there? Would she make an idiot of herself? Read her account of the day and find out how it went.
I had rather foolishly decided that I would sign up for the Small/Medium training with Alan Bray and had convinced my long suffering husband that he really wanted to spend a Sunday afternoon watching me run around with Jack Dog. We arrived as the Large dogs were just finishing off. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and it all seemed rather light hearted. Maybe I would be all right after all?
Now it was our turn. A collection Small and Medium dogs assembled in front of Alan. We were quite a mixed bunch - assorted terriers, crossbreeds, a poodle and a sheltie. What would he make of this class? A little different from the collies in the previous session!
After a brief chat, the class began.
One of the first exercises involved a line of jumps either end of a curved tunnel. This was run as a relay with each handler running down the line of jumps, sending the dog into the tunnel and running back up the other line of jumps before the next pair set off. This was great for getting the dogs excited and ready to work. Judging by the noise, all the dogs seemed to enjoy this exercise and were ready for some more. Special mention must go to the lovely Border terrier who after every exercise had to complete his lap of honour, squeaking his Wubba!
We then looked at how we could save time on a course by improving the dogs' technique on turns. This was of particular interest to me as Jack Dog is fast, but tends to lose time when he runs wide. What was I doing wrong and, more importantly, how could I improve?
Again Alan introduced the exercise which consisted of jumps and a tunnel and with the help of his lovely Border Collie demonstrated the correct positioning and body language. We all attempted the sequence and, after a few runs, we all seemed to be getting the hang of it.
Time was starting to run out and we just had time to have a go at weaving. Luckily for me they were left handed and not right. The group managed that without too many problems. We ended by having a blast around a complete course and showing off our new technique.
To sum it all up, it was an excellent afternoons training, pitched at the right level. I believe that everyone in the group came away with some new ideas and plenty of homework! I would like to thank Kate Howard for organising the event and Alan Bray for giving up his time to help raise funds.
P.S. The contact training certainly worked. Jack Dog won into Grade 3 the following weekend. Thanks, Alan!