Ripley joined us in May 2015. He's a working cocker spaniel; a breed that a friend had had when I got my first dog in 1995. I decided the time was right for me to get one, having warmed myself up with a springer! Again, I wanted a dog that could do agility as well as being a working gundog.
Ripley came from a Field Trial Champion kennel - ten of the first fourteen dogs in his pedigree are FTCH. It's been no easy ride with him; he can get frustrated easily, and expresses this very vocally. The last four years have been a steep learning curve, but I am a far better dog trainer because of it.
I started Ripley's foundation agility training when he was about four months old.
A lot of flatwork can be done at this age with no risk of causing damage to joints. With solid foundations in place, by the time we actually put him in front of equipment he new exactly what was expected. However, whilst Ripley was enjoying agility and was doing well it clearly wasn't his favourite thing to be doing. So I started playing around with other disciplines; rally obedience, scentwork, parkour and tricks to name a few. In simple terms, Ripley just wants to be doing something. He loves training, and is always happy to try something new.
During 2018 Ripley competed successfully in a number of these disciplines, as can be seen by the photo above! Some of these were achieved using online submissions, which is a great way to be involved with dog sports. This year we have already done some agility, rally and scentwork. Ripley has hydrotherapy to help with his fitness; I alternate him between the pool and underwater treadmill. I also use his time in the pool to build his confidence in entering the water as well as retrieving for his gundog work.
Now that I've introduced my dogs, I'll be moving on to more dog related topics in future posts. Let me know if there is anything in particular you'd like me to post about.