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A day at the races...

Bullmastiff, dog training, PIppsway Classical Natural Horsemanship, Wellington, Somerset near Devon

My Son races go-karts and when I go up to the track for the day I always like to bring my dog. Well….I say I like to bring my dog but it would be truer to say I feel I should bring my dog so he’s not stuck at home, but generally he is a pain and I end up putting him in the car to watch the actual races (not on hot days obviously! But certainly in the winter….). It is quite an excitable environment for a dog, lots of people, dogs and noise and he used to pull me about, despite wearing a Halti.

When I first started training with Pip she told me that much of what I was being taught applied to dogs as well as horses. It also occurred to me that if I couldn’t control my dog what hope did I have of controlling a horse? Being very keen to have my own horse and one day be at one with my horse this became a very sore point for me indeed!!!

So I’ve spent these last two weeks implementing changes to our ways of going. He no longer wears a Halti. I am now aware of all our interactions and make sure I am not submissive. I do not chat to friends on the phone during my dog walks but instead have a connection with my dog at all times and ensure he walks behind me and so on.

This last weekend up at the kart track was a rather different experience! He walked to heel on a slack lead and lay quietly at my feet whilst I watched the races. He stayed behind me on our walk through the woods and was generally a delight to have around!

As with the horses this is not a done deal. I have to maintain our new rules and he does check I still mean business! After all, for the two years of his life so far he was allowed to behave very differently indeed!! It is amazing to me, with that said, that so much change has been possible in a very short period of time. There is still more room for improvement and Pip is working with me on this. It is wonderful to have this new and improved relationship with my dog and it’s also fantastic practise for working with the horses.

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