Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Suprelorin - Day 20

Just under 3 weeks ago I finally decided to get Chester chemically castrated using Suprelorin. It's a little implant that completely cuts testosterone for 6-12 months giving all the usual effects of a full castration but being completely reversible.

There was nothing major in his behaviour which led me to it but a build up of a few things made me want to see if it was his testosterone affecting him.

The vet warned me that his testosterone would go up before it went down and we definitely went through a tricky couple of weeks. I felt he wasn't quite as settled.

We're now on day 20 so it should be starting to take effect. It's really hard to tell whether it has had any effect or whether it's in my head!

We haven't met any entire males the last few days so I can't judge his behaviour then. We've met a few females where he's possibly been a little calmer, but again it would depend on the dog any way.

I do this he is starting to get more focus on me because he's not constantly following his nose (or balls!) I've been upping his training anyway but I think the combination of the 2 has really helped and so far I'm pleased we made the decision to get the Suprelorin.

I'd like to see if things improve even more over the next few weeks. We have obedience and gundog training this weekend and it will be interesting to see if people notice a difference in his behaviour.

I think his testicles will shrink more but I'm hoping he doesn't lose any condition in his coat or build. The vet said he probably won't and it seems to affect longer haired dogs i.e. spaniels.

Not quite sure what we do when the implant starts to wear off. The vet said it's perfectly safe to repeat but the most it's been tested is 4 years. I think after then you'd probably get them fully castrated anyway.

Good things to come this month as a Munsterlander training is coming to do a session with Chester and Jack in a couple of weeks and we also have a weekend booked with Kimberley Gundogs at the end of the month. Fingers crossed Chester keeps improving :)

Thursday, 23 February 2012


We FINALLY moved up to the next gundog group for our Sunday training. This is excellent because it means we get to learn a lot more and there aren't the distractions of the younger dogs. Looking forward to the next session in a couple of weeks.

Attending a days training this Saturday so thought we better brush up on our skills before then so working a bit harder this week with dummies.

Chester is always keen but sometimes a bit sloppy and over enthusiastic so thought I'd give him some long retrieves to really challenge him (although, not sure it's much of a challenge for an energetic viz!).

We walked our usual route and I dropped a dummy when he wasn't looking. Walked a fair distance, round a corner and into another field. I stopped him and send him back. He went straight back, followed the route we had taken and found the dummy. Lovely present too :) Not sure I've ever send him back onto a dummy he can't see and has seen placed around a corner out of sight. I guess it wasn't quite so hard because he did know the route we had walked but he still did well.

Send him off for another long retrieve. This time he had seen the dummy dropped as we walked but I pushed him on until we reached the end of the field then sent him back. By the time he got back with the dummy he was panting so much he couldn't hold the dummy and just dropped it at my feet! Possibly a step too far .. whoops! I am pleased that he will go back over any distance as long as he knows there's something there to find. I know in the working tests last year there were some long retrieves where the younger dogs were loosing their confidence over the long distances and weren't making the retrieve.

Also been putting in lots of steadiness with the dummy getting faster and faster, closer and closer to him. Really impressed as he sat there while the dummy shot past his head! He did turn to watch it but didn't move.

Looking forward to Saturday's training now. Let's see how it all goes down the pan! Positive thinking needed :)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Not so much 'heel work' but pulling on the lead is probably one of my hardest challenges with Chester because there's no quick fix.

I would love him to walk on a loose lead ALL of the time - no matter the distraction. Also, I don't expect any sniffing (stopping to sniff) or peeing up things while he is on the lead. That is reserved for off lead only.

I find it really difficult to teach when we walk twice a day - on the lead, about 20 mins to get to the field where he is off lead. To teach it properly there should be no pulling in this walk each time we do it. Hopefully someone is having the same problem as me and realises this is pretty much impossible without the walk taking at least twice a long and me getting very frustrated!

I needed to find a method where I could teach heel but still go on our normal walks.

Easy solution - make his lead into a figure of 8 and he walks beautifully but I don't want this to become a permanent thing. I only use in really exciting situations.

So instead, we start our walks using figure of 8 lead and once we are in our stride I can slip it off his nose and he'll continue with a loose lead. If I feel him getting ahead of himself again, I can correct (I usually just stop). It also helps if my hand is in my pocket so there's no tension going down the lead (very Dog Whisperer!).

I can now get about half way round the walk with no pulling at all. Surely some time in the future I will be able to get all the way round?!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

More training needed!

I haven't been doing as much training lately as we're tight on time in the mornings and it's so dark after work. The problem is ... it shows!!

Chester is no problem as a pet, he does everything I ask of him (oh, he did pee up a friend's Xmas tree ... that was not cool!). He's just a bit hit and miss on the gundog work.

His enthusiasm is always 110% but his patience is ZERO. Really noticed it at group training recently when there's been a lot of waiting around. Chester likes to bark/moan lots. I get frustrated and this definitely makes it worse. He did really well in the more advanced group but he needs to pass a test to get into that group permenantly. We attempted it on Sunday but his sit stays weren't brilliant and he kept getting up. FAIL!

I think a stint back at obedience should help with this and the patience. Chester won't know what's hit him!

Also at the top of the list is getting his heel work up to standard. Off lead it's pretty much there but there's a little creeping forward. I can address this fairly easily. On the lead it's quite poor! Again, handler error, really need to work on this. It's amazing how much more you enjoy the walk if your dog isn't yanking your arm off.

I'm looking forward to the Spring/Summer when there's a lot more training days/weekends we can attend and learn new skills. Have signed up to the Kennel Club hunting and pointing weekend in March but not have to wait and see if we get a place. Fingers crossed!

Until then, aim is to see an improvement in his general obedience at gundog class when his excitement level is up and there's so much happening.