What a weekend

Friday afternoon I packed my thermals and my sleeping bag and headed off out on a Scout Camp. It was such a blast! I love being on camp. Yeah it’s cold and it’s hard work and it’s tiring but it is so fricking fun and all of the kids enjoyed it, which is what makes it worthwhile.

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I’m also quite impressed and proud of myself too as considering I’m 26 and have been going on Scout Camps for years and years, this weekend for the first time ever I sucked it up and joined in with Man Hunt, and loved it. I’ve never been brave enough to play because I don’t like embarrassing myself (although I seem to still do it a lot) and I know I’d be rubbish at it, and although I was pretty pants I had a right laugh.

For anyone who doesn’t know man hunt is a wide hunt which consists of two teams, the attacking team and defending team. The attacking team all run off and hide and then when the game starts they have to try and get back to base without being tagged by one of the defending team. Because it was pitch dark it was really fun as you could hide quite easily. I managed to get pretty close to the base until I came face to face with Ash, one of the only people on the other team I knew I couldn’t out-run! I set off and just as I was nearly back he reached for me, tripped over my legs and the next thing I knew I was eating dirt as we both landed in a heap. I couldn’t get up for laughing so much.

Another first was I actually learnt how to use a proper big axe for the first time. We were chopping some firewood and I realised I’d never swung a big axe so had a go. On first attempt I kept missing the log, or hitting it but straight on and not in the same place. But on my next attempt later that day I really got the hang of it and was putting quite a lot of effort and accuracy in. The only problem is my back wrecked afterwards and still does now! I clearly haven’t used those muscles much before.

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On Sunday morning I left camp early to go to Sheffield to spectate a Helen Phillips Clicker Gundog workshop. I was gutted to leave camp but the course had been booked and paid for a while a go.

Well… Helen Phillips, what a woman! She is awesome. She is super positive, which is sadly such a rarity in gundog training, she talks about premack, motivation, cues, timing, marker words/clicks, consequences, sequences, back-chaining. She has such a good theoretical understanding of dog training with brilliant practical applications and her style of coaching people is a joy to watch. I learnt so much. She talked about non-reward markers and how she believes they are punishing and she was a big believer in waiting, giving dogs time and letting them make choices.

It was just fantastic. I’ll definitely look for more workshops from her, maybe with my own gundog one day too. I just wish we had more people like her in the gundog world. And it was inspiring to see the people who had chosen to come and learn from her and how they were handling their dogs and the positive relationship they were building. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to shout at or hit your dog.

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