Four things to do when you're old and fat
I keep hearing people say they can't keep up with the dog. Now that we have bigger spacings, the courses are too big and too spaced out and the dog runs too fast.
I can only tell you how I get round this with my dog but it seems to work. Jilly isn't a great speed merchant who streaks round the ring at a hundred miles an hour but she's not slow either. She doesn't wait for me and I don't wait for her.
Seventy years old and overweight so shift the weight
That's me! Age is just a number though. There's nothing I can do about it. The weight I can do something about. Eating smaller portions is key and cutting down on the cake helps too. The weight is coming off and if I just up the exercise a bit I shall be like a nymph in no time. I thank God every day that I can still run and that my body hasn't broken down. Here's my home gym.
Left to right: Pedalling machine £10 from ebay, stepper running thingy £5 from the Hospice charity shop, 1.5kg weights £1 from the Hospice charity shop. Slippers £7 from ASDA.
Running an average fast intermediate dog and getting ahead
My approach is that by using certain techniques I know can easily get ahead of Jilly on most courses. I am not going to get left behind and I don't ever walk a course and think I can't run that fast. We definitely need positive thinking at our age or we're dead in the water.
So how to get round it? The first thing I've done is to train a wait at the start. It took a lot of hard work as Jilly is a serial wait breaker but if I can do it with her then I'm sure lots of other dogs can be trained. I trained in lots of different places. Out on a walk....
.... in the club training field.
..at a friend's house
If you get a course like this with a fast start and you really can't run much at all then train a longer lead out. Shadow is a hundred miles an hour sort of dog but with this great wait Bryan is able to get almost all the way to jump 3 before releasing him and will easily get to the tunnel exit in the corner.
So that's strategy two. Here's a couple more ideas.
Teach your dog to fly on into tunnels
I love tunnels. I know that by sending Jilly into them ahead of me I can easily get ahead of her. I've had to train this but if you want to get ahead of your dog I'd say it was a key thing to train. This course was widely spaced out but sending Jilly on means I can easily get to the jump on the far side ahead of her. I had a really gammy knee on this run as well so it was more of a hobble round the course. I'm amazed we came fourth.
Now I'm behind
and now I'm ahead
The weave is also a great place to catch up with your dog as well and I'm currently working on training great entries and exits so that I can overtake Jilly in the weave and get ahead.
Train a great send on to the end of a line of jumps.
This is easier said than done with some dogs. With Jilly I use the word 'Drive' to send her on to the finish ahead of me. I often see courses where the last few jumps would mean a lot of fast running if you tried to keep up with the dog. At seventy I am not going to keep up with Jilly so she has to do the last bit on her own. It's easy to train. Just use the word 'drive' as you throw a toy and then start using 'drive' before you throw the toy. I also use a dead toy and race Jilly towards it. When she'd learned to 'drive' I sent her on over one jump then two then three then four. On the course below the judge said, 'Good dog' when Jilly overtook me and went on over five jumps to the end.