Kennel Club Name: Brave Little Toaster
Date of Birth: 09/04/15
Breed: Working Cocker Spaniel
KC Grade: 5
UKA Level: Beginner
Toast was supposed to be a dark whippet bitch, but instead I impulse bought my first ever spaniel puppy and he came home at 10 weeks old. He was the easiest, sweetest, cutest puppy I had ever worked with – he loved the girls but still chose me over anything else. He followed me happily everywhere, had no real fear issues and was confident with everything I asked him to do. He also learned quicker than any dog I have owned before, and he loved working!
I have been a lot more lazy with Toast in terms of agility than any other dog I have trained. Some of it is unintentional whilst some of it is on purpose. When he hit teens he remained a very sweet dog, but totally forgot his name, recall and didn’t enjoy engaging with me outside of the house at all. I decided to take a couple of months out of agility which I think paid off – we then returned with a slightly different structure and as he has started to grow into a “man” (!!!!) his focus has improved a lot. He is a very powerful agility dog and I think has the potential to do fairly well, but I do struggle to turn him so we’ll see how it goes!
I have stayed quite lazy with his training even now, as to date he doesn’t have full contacts or weaves. But I’ve really enjoyed what we have done so far – his age worked out really nicely as have done lots of winter series where we can train in the ring or take our own line. So far his focus issues have barely been a problem and not been a problem whatsoever indoors, in November he even won his first UKA class. So it has been very different to what I am used to in terms of training, but I hope I’ve done the right thing so far…!
As for his personality – he is awesome. I absolutely adore him. He is hilarious, sweet, happy and gets on so well with the whippets. He is always carrying something, he likes to hide my shoes specifically before work and he full on wolf howls instead of barks!! A very big thing for me is to have the dogs you want to live with – instead of just for agility. I was aware going from a whippet to a spaniel was a bit risky. I definitely got him with intention to be competitive, but if he couldn’t compete… I would still be so smitten with how he is both in the house and out on walks. I did have to train it – but he is nice and chilled at home which is important to me.