Thursday, 31 May 2007

Meet our new arrival

Meet 'Sid the Sit On'

Andy got a bargain out of the local free newspaper and its now sitting in my Dad's garage until we move house! The chap selling Sid bought him new and his engine made a clunking sound so he just bought another tractor and Sid's been sitting in his garage ever since. Andy took a friend with him who works as a mower engineer and he reckons there probably isn't too much wrong and he'll fix Sid when we get to our new house. He was only £450 and would cost about £2500 new! Result!!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Earlier I was chilled, now I'm just cool

We have three dogs beds built under one of our kitchen worktops. All our dogs love these beds. Kizzy doesn't get to use them very often, normally when it's sleep time she goes in her kennel. However, this evening we gave her a bit of free time and she decided to try out all three beds ...... much to the disgust of the collies (oh and Murphy!)

As an aside, can you believe the people buying our house are going to have cupboards put here! Outrageous!

Then she decided to try out one of Abbey's most bestest squidgy beds ....

and then one of the furry beds ...

and then the stalky bed on legs ...

We had another person from a removal company come in to give us a quote today. Strangely, he was the third one to mention that they would need an extra lorry for the dogs beds in our house. Can't understand that mentality! Perhaps the new trailer will come in handy after all!!

Oh and by the way though, she saved the best bed to last!
What the hell, she's seen Niamh, Poppy and Murphy in there often enough even though dogs aren't allowed on chairs in this house!

Chilled Sheltie

No, it's not a recipe! It's Kizzy's favourite pastime after: eating; walks; training; playing and being naughty, i.e. chilling! Unfortunately she might be doing a bit of that today as it's foul outside. Not nice for training in the garden so I think that's been cancelled!

Luckily all the dogs are really tired today as they all had a big walk yesterday when the weather was pleasant and then Kizzy, Murf, Poppy and Niamh had training last night. I think the walk might get cancelled today so instead we'll play games indoors. If it clears up then we'll do an evening walk.

This weather has to improve at some point, it's just so miserable. I feel really sorry for all the people in caravans .... and worse still tents .... at Supa Dogs. It must be really awful. Our friend Nat packed up her tent and came home yesterday. She'd had enough. She came training and then a group of us went to the pub for supper. Very nice it was too!

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Mud, mud, mud

Well, I went to Supa Dogs this morning and I turned round and came home. Liquid mud and me are not good friends. I would think they'll be towing a few units off the venue come Friday if the weather forecast proves correct. The main tracks are just liquid mud, it's not at all pleasant.

I feel really sorry for everyone, it must be horrible. From a selfish viewpoint I am just so glad we didn't take the caravan down there.

So instead we're off for a walk in the forest and then on to Sainsburys and a visit to Mum. Then it's back to the dreaded moving house tasks! I hate packing but right now it's preferable to being in a muddy field!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Rain, rain, rain

Well, we're certainly paying for the lovely April we had!

We were booked in for Supa Dogs yesterday and today but it was just too wet. We don't much like dogs shows in the rain. Spoke to Jackie this morning and she said her garden was under water in Suffolk. It's just so depressing at the moment. I know its good for the garden and for the reservoirs but enough is .........

So, instead we have done some more packing for the move and have outed four black sacks of clothes for the charity shop. Andy tied up a tree in the garden that was on the lean and also planted three little shrubs which have been sitting in pots for a few weeks. The up side is the ground is very easy to dig at the moment and the shrubs won't need any watering in!

I gave Kizzy, Poppy and Abbey a good groom. Look out Niamh, Murf and Becky - your turn later!

Dan sent me some nice piccies of Niamh in action at Supa Dogs on Saturday so I've put them into a little montage.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

Supa Dogs - Day One

We had a lovely day at Supa Dogs today. Kizzy played and trained round the rings and had her ears trimmed by Berndatte. Natz took Becky round the trade stands and Abbey had a lovely play with Miranda's four shelties.

Murphy and Andy had a couple of near misses. If only they could get a clear round, they'd probably get a top 3 place at the same time!

My runs came thick and fast and I had to constantly swap between Poppy and Niamh. As always one or other of them suffers as I try to switch between the two dogs. Today was poor Poppy's turn and we collected 3 E's out of 3 runs. Really bad. Pops was great but I messed up.

I totally missed walking one of Niamh's classes and should have run no. 2. Don't ask how I managed this (well, I thought the run was on Sunday's list!) I asked Debbie, the judge, if I could run and she was very happy for me to do so - what a nice judge! Naturally I couldn't walk the course and there was one tricky three-jump combination after the weaves which gave me concern and that's were I got it slightly wrong, pushing Niamh back over a jump she'd already taken. I kept flowing and she completed the round well. We then had an E in our Grade 4-7 agility, just lack of experience (and training my push offs on contacts). Then in our Grade 5 jumping we achieved a clear round at the end of the class and went into 2nd place, where we remained I am pleased to say!

We were supposed to be camping at the show but had a lot of work to finish in the office on Friday and just couldn't get the caravan ready in time. With that and now getting involved in stuff connected with our house move something had to give. I will probably go back for a couple more days at Supa Dogs but maybe not tomorrow and Monday due to the weather forecast!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Training obstacles in a send away

Andy and Kizzy have been practising the obstacles individually and have now started to put some together in a line. The sequence is tunnel, tyre and jump wings.

Andy is trying very hard (and mostly failing) not to lunge forward as he sends Kizzy. This is something he knows he shouldn't be doing but finds very difficult not to. It's a bit like an affliction! He has exactly the same problem when trying to release Murphy off contacts, he just can't help lunging. We keep telling him Murphy doesn't need any encouragement but he does it anyway!

The most important thing is that both Andy and Kizzle are enjoying training together!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

A lovely walk in the forest

Between us we had a really busy day today. We had a lot on in the office and also I had stuff to do to get ready for Supa Dogs; two sets of toe nails and feet to trim (the other four I did yesterday, makes it less tedious if you spread it over a couple of days!); a mountain of ironing plus a visit to see Mum (who was a lot happier in herself today, thankfully).

We decided to do a late dog walk and get back in plenty of time to sit and watch the Chelsea flower show. We left home at about 4.45 pm and got back at 7.00 pm! It was so lovely in the forest that we just wandered around and had a lovely time. Andy took a few photos with a new lens he has borrowed for the camera. Most of the photos weren't very successful so more experimentation required but that's the beauty of digital photography, you can do just that and delete the rubbish! Murphy was with us on the walk but isn't in the group photo, as usual he was chasing squirrels!

Kizzy really enjoyed herself. She had a busy day with two training sessions (one practising her downs and the other with her tunnel and mini tyre using a toy not tit bits!) She was very good in both sessions and progress is being made! Then she had her usual lunch time play followed by the two hour walk. When we got home the collies fell into their beds and we thought we'd settle down to watch the flower show. Kizzy decided different and insisted on engaging Andy in tuggy games mostly using his fingers as a toy! She had a little chew on a bone and then went and got her best friend 'Wilson' (her grey dog) which she isn't really allowed to play with. He's her 'crate companion'. I had left the door to her kennel open so she shot in and fetched him. It's really funny how she plays with him, she tells him off by making funny little cat-like sounds. She always does this at night when we put her to bed for about 5 minutes and she did exactly the same when she brought him into the sitting room. Anyway she then started to get hysterical and spiteful so we put her to bed and she collapsed. Knowing Kizzy she won't want to get up until about 8.00 am in the morning. She likes a good lie in after a busy day!

Here are some photos from our lovely walk.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

This & That

We had a busy weekend with BATS and then on Sunday Al came for the day to help us start dismantling some stuff ready to move. We have six weeks until the big day but with all the dog shows we have booked that time will fly!

Al and Andy had a good day and replaced all the lights with standard fittings; dismantled Andy's complex wiring systems for the surround sound; took apart my lovely armchair that wouldn't come down the stairs and removed the wood burner which proved a big task and a back-breaking one. Andy could barely walk after they carried it out to the garage, it weighs around 150 kgs! Andy also dismantled the spare bed so we can use that room to store stuff. All this effort finally brought home to me that we really are moving. It's scary!

We will need two new mowers for our new garden. In the walled garden I have stipulated that I want stripes on the lawn so we had to find a cylinder mower. Al's work had one for sale so we bought that and he brought it with him on Sunday. It's massive! I can't believe it. Anyway, Andy loves it (sad; man thing). For the other part of the garden we need to have a tractor mower so we're scouring the local papers for a second hand one. They are very expensive to buy new so we won't be going down that route. Andy also has a new project, my sister has given us a little trailer that she doesn't want and it will be very useful for us taking some stuff over to the new house and once we get there for collecting the grass and taking stuff to the dump. It's in rather a sad state though so we have to get new wheels for it and it needs a good clean.

Andy's new love interests:

One of our first jobs at the new house is to demolish the existing garage and build a new one together with a utility room. We were searching for garage doors and Andy went into a local supplier and had a bit of luck. The chap said he had just the thing for us in his warehouse, a pair of doors which had been mis-measured and were useless to him. We got them for a bargain price! They're now sitting in our current garage which is beginning to fill up with all sorts of stuff related to the move!

Andy had a lesson with Bernadette yesterday. The weather wasn't very nice and Kizzy arrived home rather frizzy and damp! Andy has lots to work on! His main challenge at the moment is to improve her sits, downs and comes. Sometimes she does them really well but other times she gets distracted and just won't do them at all. He started work on them this morning and is going to concentrate on those three things for the next few days.

Last night we did a training evening for the Dartford Agility Club. This is the second one we've done so we knew most of the people and their dogs. They're a great bunch and the evening was good fun and certainly seemed to go well.

Mum is now installed in the Kent & Sussex hospital but is not at all well. She has the C.Diff bug again and also a chest infection. She seems to have more awareness of her condition and is getting very distressed by it. It's heartbreaking as there is so little you can do for her.

Up until now her demeanour has been happy; this has changed since moving from London back to Kent. She has no awareness of the move between hospitals but it certainly seems to have had an adverse affect on her but I guess the two infections are also a big factor.

This week we're off to Supa Dogs. We haven't camped at this show before. Andy is coming for the weekend and then going home on Sunday evening as he has work that needs to be finished. I'll get the caravan ready to roll on Thursday evening and then Andy will come back Friday morning and we'll hitch up and set off to Hinckley for the weekend. Andy's judging the championship class there on the Saturday. I love the Hinckley show. They're a great crowd and the venue is one of my favourites. Let's hope for better weather than we had at Tunbridge Wells!

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Niamh at BATS

Niamh is trying so hard and I'm trying too hard I think! I really want to get a good result in the KC novice Olympia qualifier but it just ain't happening! Today I really liked the course, there was plenty of handling but always something obvious for the dog to do. I didn't allow for the collapsible tunnel blowing up just as Niamh ran through it so she hit hurdle no. 3 a bit quicker than I anticipated and just clipped the pole. Bother 5 faults again!

I immediately went into 'training mode' but whereas with Poppy I need to hold my contacts, with Niamh I need to put in a few quick releases .... but what did Nancy 'Control Freak' Hudson do, of course she held all the contacts. I think I need therapy!

Anyway, here's a little video of the round. I think she's showing potential on the bits where she's allowed to have her head!!

BATS Agility Show

We had a lovely day out at BATS today.

We met up with Jackie and Terry who we haven't seen since Easter which was nice. Steve was there with his poorly foot which meant that Sara had ten runs with the dogs (Dan couldn't run Aggie as he was at Eastbourne show in order that he could leave in time to get back for the Cup Final oh and getting more rosettes!) Tomorrow will be a good day for Mac as Chelsea won but not such a good day for Karen as Chris supports Manchester United. Oh dear!

Agility-wise. Pops got 8th in the collies Helter Skelter. She really enjoyed herself and gave it some wellie. Sadly Niamh and I blew our KC Olympia novice qualifier as we had fence number 3 down. Tears- this is the class I so want to do well in but seem to muck up! We had a place in our jumping class but got the big E in the helter skelter which I was rather pleased about as Niamh took her own line and didn't listen to me! Hurrah! I want her to start doing this a bit more!!

Murphy had only one pole down in the helter skelter but was bad bad bad in the G6/7 agility. Pops however, was brilliant but I gave her the wrong command at the jump/tunnel combination and she went in the wrong end of the tunnel, totally my fault. It was a shame as she worked a quite difficult course really well; picking up a completely flat weave entry without me and doing three really tight pull throughs. I was rather cross with myself to say the least! Notwithstanding, Andy was crosser moreso with me than Murphy which makes a change!!

The non-workers (Abbey & Becky) also had a lovely day out as there is so much space to walk at the venue. They had two walks each and are now upside down in their beds.

Kizzy - well, what can I say. She stomped round the rings, she walked, she played, she tugged and then she slept all the way home. We looked forward to a peaceful evening watching 'Joseph' (I know, sad but we like it!), how could we be so stupid ... all evening Kizzy rampaged and at 9.45 pm became rather spiteful so has just been put in her bed for the rest of the evening whilst we watch the 'Jospeh' result (sad I know but I've already been there!) Oh dear. Daniel went out, he was rather good and I hoped he would stay in a bit longer!

Here is a little video of Kizzy playing with Tickle the poodle who belongs to our friend Kate Smith and also includes a bit Kizzy 'tugging' by the ringside. This was an item of homework Andy had from Bernadette and with lots of practise it has definitely improved! The proof of the pudding though will be on Monday when Andy and Kizzy go for their next lesson!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

New ways to keep your sheltie small

Kizzy is getting very close to the maximum height for small dogs. In truth she is most likely going to be a small medium.

However, it doesn't stop us using various measures to try to keep her small. This is Kizzy's night time crate and we make her squash into her small plastic sheltie bed which is really too small now (but she loves it still!) During the day we make her walk round with a large bag of flour tied to her back and squash her into a shoe box for a few hours each day. We make sure there are sufficient air holes. I jest of course!

Kizzy will be perfect whatever size she ends up! We are, naturally, completely biased on the subject of Kizzles but like to think we're quite subtle about it .........


Sunday, 13 May 2007

Now where were those cobwebs?

The bad sheltie stole the duster ...... again!

This is Kizzy's favourite 'toy' and she knows where it's kept, behind the grandfather clock in the hall, she escapes from the kitchen goes straight to the clock and grabs this. She then does about 50 laps of the coffee table in the sitting room with the duster in her mouth. Then she dumps it on the hearth rug and barks at it. Lovely! I will try to capture this on video at some point. It's quite funny ... most of the time!

Hurrah we've exchanged on our new house

We got the call on Thursday whilst we were at Ardingly to say that the exchange had taken place on our purchase. We were so relieved and very happy. We will be moving on 4th July!

The bungalow is really nice inside, haven't got any pictures yet but lots of the garden which is lovely. There is a nice big walled garden at the back and then an archway leading to a much bigger area where we are going to put our agility equipment and do our own training plus some private lessons. Can't wait!

Wet and windy Ardingly

Well, what weather after such a lovely April!

We went to Ardingly on Wednesday to help set up the Tunbridge Wells show. Luckily Andy got the rings set out in reasonable weather and we took the dogs for a lovely walk on the cross country course. That night the wind really got up and I thought the caravan would blow away.

Thursday was reasonably pleasant and Andy helped with the equipment etc. while I came home to Tunbridge Wells. We'd had a call whilst at Ardingly to say that Mum was being transferred from King's College to Kent & Sussex hospital which is a huge relief as we won't have to make the journey into London again. She is still on the waiting list for a place at the Edenbridge cottage hospital. I went in to see Mum and she was reasonably settled in. I took my three girls with me and we had a lovely walk in our usual place at Eridge Forest. Andy walked his three on the cross country course again and I got back around 5.30 pm. As the evening arrived so the wind got up again and Thursday night was even stronger than the previous night. We hardly slept at all.

On Friday we put the finishing touches to the show, setting courses putting up the ring tents etc. and I did a stint on the gate as the competitors started to arrive. I was on the gate from 12.00 - 2.00 pm and was absolutely frozen by the end of the session. But, I was lucky as it was mainly dry, poor Derek and Ian who took over from me did most of their stint in the pouring rain. That night was blustery but no where near so windy however it poured with rain and at some point in the night a thunder bolt struck. It was like an explosion and really scary. Lots of dogs barked but our lot slept right through it including Kizzy who isn't bothered by much at all! She was very cosy in her little soft crate at the end of our bed.

We scribed for Alan on Saturday so it was quite busy. He set a very good course which I really enjoyed running. Sadly I got all the way round it and used the wrong release word for Poppy on my dog walk sending her over the wrong jump to finish. Alan and Andy (who was scribing at the time) just stared at me in disbelief! Oh well, Pops enjoyed herself. Andy did a stunning round with the Mad Black dog and sadly just missed the weave entry. Murphy has had some very near misses recently. He's such a difficult dog and it would be wonderful if he could get a result because when he gets it right he's quite stunning. Our A team came 2nd in the Pedigree Team Relay, that was Jay and Shy, Sara & Shaggie, Leah & Herbie and myself with Poppy. All the courses I ran on Saturday were lovely, just right for the level and fun to run!

Here are a couple of shots of Poppy taken by Lynn Sheridan. As always Pop's is totally focused on her work, these were taken in the Power & Speed class.

The Naughty Niamh did three out of four rounds clear with a couple of good places. Sadly she knocked a pole in the KC novice qualifier which was the one I really wanted to do well in. I have to start releasing her contacts faster, we are about 1 second off the winning times in most of our rounds and she is spending easily that on any one of the contacts. I think I'm releasing her fast but am told that isn't the case. I really need to get more rounds on video so that I can see exactly what I am doing. We've ring partied at the last three shows we've been to so I'm looking forward to some shows where we can spend more time together and with our dogs plus doing stuff like videos and photos.

I started a cold on Thursday night and it got worse during Saturday. By the end of the day I felt really ill and couldn't face another wet or windy night in the caravan. So, we packed up and came home early. It was a shame to miss our Sunday's competition but I really didn't feel up to it and if the weather was anything like it was here at home then I'm quite glad we came home.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

A Sheltie's Rightful Place & Stuff

Kizzy likes a morning cuddle. This morning it was my turn to make the tea so Andy got the cuddle. Naturally the collies weren't impressed!

When I got back downstairs Niamh had installed herself in the chair as protest. The dogs are not allowed in those chairs under any circumstances, a fact she is well aware of but decided to over rule!

On Sunday I did a training day at Polly's which was great fun. We worked on courses in the morning and then did workshop stuff in the afternoon. The dogs and handlers were pretty tired by the end of the session and so was I but I think we had a good time! Karen did a few bits with the Naughty Niamh and they worked really well together. Niamh kept looking at me but she stayed with Karen and had a good time. Karen did lots of clicker work with her which she loves.

We went to Vyne on Monday but didn't really enjoy it much due to the rain and slippery conditions. Andy scribed most of the day and decided not to run Murphy as he was fairly early in his classes and the conditions weren't too good. I ran Poppy in one class that was nice and flowing but didn't run her in anything twisty. Niamh ran all three of her classes but slipped in two of them and then made one mistake in her third class which was totally my fault as I had missed walking the course and didn't get one angle onto a jump from a collapsible tunnel quite right. She worked the class brilliantly with the best contacts we've achieved in competition. So all in all I was very happy but it would have been nice to have had one clear from the three runs!

Kizzy had plenty of time round the rings and met up with Bernadette and lots of other friends. She was very tired by the end of the day. Abbey didn't enjoy the day and refused to eat her food all day long which is always a worry as she is likely to have problems if her stomach gets empty. Because it was so wet she didn't get out much and she really doesn't like being stuck in the car all day. Luckily she was fine when we got home but I don't think we'll do any more day shows when the weather is wet.

We're off to Ardingly today to help set up the Tunbridge Wells show for the weekend. Andy has to mark out all the rings and stake them out. Then we have to help with the equipment when it arrives on Thursday. Sadly the weather isn't looking good but I guess we'll just have to get on with it!

Rain Cloud Umbrella Rainy

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Kizzy's Agility Training

We did this little video of Kizzy doing some bits from her garden training regime. She was a bit tired as she hadn't long been back from over an hour's walk. We wanted to capture this now so that we have something to measure her against in a few weeks' time!

Her sliver of puppy canine tooth fell out sometime between yesterday evening and this morning thankfully!


Friday, 4 May 2007

Lovely walk in the sunshine

I took three of the dogs on a lovely walk to our local forest yesterday. It was really lovely with the sunshine and bluebells out. Kizzy had her first walk completely off lead as we had just Abbey and Becky and so things were nice and calm. We did lots of recalls for treats and she was brilliant about coming back. She really enjoyed herself and has put in a request for more walks with just these two!

Later I had to visit my step-father to check out his dogs and do a bit of housework so I took the other three with me and we went for a huge walk out in the fields at Edenbridge (the walk we'll be doing every day once we move back there). I wondered why me feet ached last night.

We had to take Kizzy to see Jim (our vet) to check out one of her canine teeth. We thought the whole puppy tooth had come out at Haslemere last weekend but it turns out that there is a sliver of puppy tooth left alongside the adult canine. Jim has told us to leave it but keep an eye on it. He's hopeful it will come out of its own accord but if he has to do anything doesn't want to touch it until the adult tooth is fully through and can't be disturbed. So now we watch and hope it falls out. Sadly it was still in place this morning!

We were very sorry to hear about Dennis and Bernadette's caravan being stolen. What a complete pain, it's not just the caravan disappearing but the fact that their weekend plans are in tatters for the time being. There are some lovely people about not!

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Pictures from Wallingford Show

Meant to post these with my April Sunshine entry on the blog but I forgot! What a surprise.

These lovely photos of Kizzy were taken by our friend Lynn Sheridan. She takes so many super pictures of our dogs.

Poppy's 10th birthday

It was Poppy's 10th birthday on 6th April and Dennis did this lovely montage for me. He took the photos at the Easter Celebration show and the result is lovely. Poppy is still mad for her agility and shows no signs of slowing up yet. She doesn't quite match the times of the top dogs now but isn't very far behind which is pretty good for a dog of her age. Her enthusiasm is second to none so it'll be for me to decide at some point when she retires as she would keep going until she fell in a heap!

Kizzy's Training & our House Move

Andy took Kizzy down to Bernadette's yesterday and came home enthused. They both had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

He has a clear plan of action for her training over the next few weeks and is really looking forward to getting stuck in.

For the time being Kizzy is going to withdraw from her weekly class at our training school so that Andy can really work on getting her to pay full attention to her tugging rather than eye balling the other puppies and going off to play with her friend Daisy.

We will be bringing home one of our rigid tunnels to put in the garden so that he can use that for practise using clicker training. Kizzy loves the clicker and it was well worth spending all the time getting her clicker trained in the early days.

Our house move has come a step closer. We exchanged on the sale of our own property yesterday and hope to exchange on our purchase later this week. We are still awaiting the return of one local search. I just can't believe how long the local authority takes to provide this information. It isn't rocket science but they certainly like to take their time. So, at the moment we are officially homeless. I might have to ring my Dad to ask if we can park our caravan in his paddock!

We have Vyne coming up next weekend. It is going to be a huge show which I find a bit daunting. I'm always afraid of missing walking courses and to be honest with all the numbers (rather than class names) now involved find the whole thing even more confusing! We're scribing for one of our club members, Becca, for her first judging appointment so we won't get to see many people or even each other's runs which is a pain. We might be asking Bernadette and Dennis to have Kizzy for a little bit of time - maybe not, don't want her learning to bark too much!!