I’ve always grown up around dogs, and I’ve known from a very young age that I wanted to be surrounded by them. After moving to Cheltenham, we got our beloved family dog Max, a collie x springer spaniel, when I was 5 and he was the most amazing dog. When we sadly lost him in 2017 to cancer, I couldn’t help but feel a space in my heart that needed filling. It never seemed like the right time to get another dog, until last year…
I got a message one morning from my housemate Meg who works at BJ Pets Resort, saying ‘THE PUPPIES ARE HERE!’. The kennels had not long taken on a RSPCA rescue collie who had been surrendered, very pregnant, very young. With that text came a picture, and from that moment I just knew this puppy was mine. 8 weeks later, Bucky came home!
I happened to scroll through Facebook one day and saw Barking Buds Puppy Classes on a promoted post, so I looked into it a bit more as I knew collies were very energetic, strong willed and intelligent and needed that push. We joined the puppy programme in the summer of 2022, and it was amazing! Aimee taught us all of our foundations we needed, our calming games, and helped cement our basic training. It really was great! We graduated classes, but again being a high energy intelligent boy, I knew I wanted to take Bucky’s training further.
In October we joined a newly formed immersion class. I still remember getting a message from Beth apologising for the fact we had a number of barky dogs (including Bucky) in our class. But honestly? It was the best thing for us! I feel so incredibly lucky to be in a class with 3 other dogs and their owners who share the same struggles as us! It really has been a blessing. We’ve all been together since the start of the class, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside these guys every week.
Training hasn’t always been easy. We had a major blip mid October last year which led to some nervous behaviour exhibited from Bucky. He had always shown some signs of nervousness – having a puppy as a mother certainly didn’t help – but this experience seemed to really knock him. We booked a 121 with Beth straight away, and it was the BEST. Having someone to talk to about what happened, the struggles, how to move forward etc was amazing. Beth helped me identify some key areas to work on, wrote up a training plan straight away, and relayed the information to Aimee so we could also work on bits in our immersion class. It really helped to calm my nerves as well as Bucky’s! Don’t get me wrong, training is a journey – we still have days now where Bucky can be a nightmare, but that’s the joys of having a teenage boy! Some days it can leave you feeling really down, you feel like you’re putting in all this effort and it’s going backwards. But then the team at Barking Buds and the community Beth has built are always there to let you know you are not alone, and always on hand to offer tips and advice on sticking with it and pushing through. I couldn’t be more grateful for this community, it really is like one big family.
Barking Buds has given me the set up I need to help Bucky through his puppy stage, his adolescent years and beyond. We look forward to continuing in our immersion classes, working on frustrations and managing Bucky’s excitement as well as learning many new things along the way. Next month we are taking part in an agility taster session that Barking Buds has put together, and we could not be more excited. We are also currently working towards our advanced masters trick titles – something that Bucky is incredibly enthusiastic about and loves learning! We couldn’t be more thankful for all that Beth, Aimee and the team at Barking Buds does.