When we take up a new activity with our dogs we do so because we want to spend time together, learning, bonding and having fun and no matter what that activity is, if our training has structure and goals, the more successful our canine partnership will be. In agility, we are continually updating our training plans and can measure our dog’s understanding and progress through competition and the results we achieve, but not everyone has their sights set on the competitive world.
Take the low impact and fun dog sport of Hoopers for example. Canine Hoopers UK have introduced the Good Hoopers Awards with achievable fun goals at four different levels (Puppy (6-12 months), Bronze, Silver and Gold). Having completed our Hoopers foundation training, I thought it would be a good idea for Team Flyte to put our newly acquired Hoopers skills to the test and try our paw at the Bronze Good Hoopers Award.
The Good Hoopers Awards Scheme is offered by all Accredited Canine Hoopers UK Instructors and in order to complete the award successfully, all sections of the assessment must be completed to the satisfaction of the examiner and if any sections are not completed to the required standard, the assessment will be rated as NT “nearly there” and handlers are informed which areas require a little further work.
The Bronze Award is divided into five exercises for assessment with the first three exercises being based around the specific Hoopers equipment, Hoops, Tunnels and Barrels. Upon instruction from me, Flyte was required to demonstrate her understanding of and ability to negotiate these key pieces of equipment, choosing freely to pass through a Hoop and the Tunnel whether by handler recall or send away with a wait in front of these obstacles thrown in for good measure. The Barrel requires a different skill with Flyte having to prove to the examiner that she could perform a circle around the barrel from both directions when instructed to do so by me with a little distance added also to test her ability further.
So far so good and with the specific obstacle assessments completed, the fourth exercise would test Flyte’s impulse control and her ability to remain in a wait with a 2 metres distance recall from me, testing both her understanding of remaining in a position until instructed to move and her ability to return to me. Things were still going well with one final exercise to complete. Flyte and I needing to prove to the examiner that we were able to move around calmly and demonstrate good behaviour in the presence of other dogs and handlers, without entering another dog’s or person’s personal space, a simple exercise encouraging the dog to want to remain with the handler for 60 seconds or so.
The assessment was complete and with Flyte having displayed no exam nerves whatsoever, we passed with flying colours, being presented with a certificate and a very large rosette to mark our achievement. What a clever collie! So with our foundation skills in place, it’s time to raise the bar and take on the challenge of the Silver Good Hoopers Award in 2019!
Maria, Jasmine and Flyte