And all that Jazz...
In 2009 with retirement and a major house move looming, Fran Cobb decided to get a Border Collie to train for Heelwork to Music. She'd previously only done 'pet dog training' which she had really enjoyed, eventually becoming a KC Good Citizen Scheme instructor at the Derwent Valley DTC in Derby which was really good fun. She didn't know what she was looking for in a Collie but ended up with a little grey merle ball of fluff.
I knew I that the Stillmoor line was doing well in HTM so, with two wonderful friends Carole and Chris Briggs, I went to Worksop to see some grey merle puppies. I was really excited when, a few weeks later, I brought Jazz home and started his training. He was perfectly behaved from day one!
At 16 weeks Jazz started his GCDS training and quickly got his Puppy Foundation Certificate, followed rapidly by his Bronze and Silver award before he was six months of age, and at the same time began his basic HTM training.
When he was nine months of age, we completed our house move from Derby to near Trowbridge (Wilts) and so all the training had to change. The nearest HTM class we could find was Cotswold HTM in Slimbridge which was 50 miles from where we live, but I was totally committed to get Jazz trained so we joined the Club and went to both the Obedience and the HTM classes each Thursday.
Jazz seemed to enjoy his training but wasn't over excited by it and wouldn't play tuggy. His reward for doing well always had to be food treats. Nevertheless, we started to compete in 2010 and usually ended up doing training rounds to get him motivated in the ring. In September 2010 we went on a Mary Ray HTM training camp for a week on Anglesey. This was to be our turning point!
Since that day I can truly say we haven't looked back. We came back home and immediately signed up for agility classes but still continued with our 'doggy dancing,', competing during 2011 in both the Freestyle and Heelwork sections with Jazz getting some good results including a first place which gave him his Ex.HTM.St. after his name.
We started competing in agility at UKA shows and Jazz showed once again that Agility was what HE wanted to do, and at the end of 2011, I told everyone we were giving up dancing for a year to concentrate on Agility competitions so it came as a huge surprise when, in January of 2012, Jazz was awarded the Heelwork to Music Starter Dog of the Year trophy by the Paws & Music Association as well as HTM Dog of the Year by the West of England Border Collie Club.
We really enjoy our training with Nicky Harrell and look forward to competing during 2014 in Grade 5 and hopefully winning some points for Chippenham Agility Club where we also train.
I've got a 10 month old puppy Divo who is distantly related to Jazz and comes from the LeeBearDream kennel. I wonder whether he will follow in his Uncle's footsteps? Everyone says what a special bond Jazz and I have and that he seems to just know where I want him to go on an agility course. He really is very special and I believe my once in a lifetime dog!
Fran had a wonderful Obedience instructor Chris Briggs in Derby who helped and encouraged her. She enjoyed it so much that she became a KC GCDS Instructor at the Derwent Valley Dog Club. She also trained Tilly to do Heelwork to Music and managed to do a few competitions but found it very stressful because she was worried about her problems with the other dogs around.
After Fran's husband passed away in 2006 and with retirement fast approaching she decided to buy Jazz in 2009. She is now 65 but thinks that doing Agility keeps her young and fit and has made her many new friends. Her only wish is that she had started doing it when she was younger.
First published 23 February 2014