Monday, 4 February 2008

Another week has disappeared

I just can't believe where the time is going to at the moment. It sounds so boring that I keep saying: we're so busy, we're so busy .... but it's true, honestly.

I still haven't got round to putting the video clip of our training session the Friday before last, I am definitely going to do it, just got to find a nice little chunk of time to fiddle with the editing.

What's happened in the last week, well loads. Andy has been back and forth to the doctor and physiotherapist. He is currently on a low dose of prochlorperazine. This drug in a higher dose is used to control schizophrenia amongst other things but a lot of success has been achieved using lower dosage for migraine sufferers. This drug hasn't had the awful side effects that Andy experienced when taking beta blockers about five years ago, the last time that he had cluster migraines. Hopefully this drug will control things and allow him to concentrate on getting his neck sorted out as far as possible. The doctor can't be certain if the two things are connected.

The upshot of all this is that Andy's sitting position at the drawing board is exacerbating the problem with his neck and is quite possibly the root cause. So, he has decided to learn CAD and has enrolled on a course. This started today and his brain is aching with all the information he has been given. He goes back on Wednesday and then again next week. The idea is that he learns the program (AutoCAD) in a couple of months and is up and running in about six months. I'm not sure he'd agree with those timescales right this moment! He's currently sat at his PC trying to build some complex menus and there are some strange mutterings going on!

I managed to get quite a few lessons in last week as apart from Thursday the weather was good. This also meant lots of nice dry dog walks with minimal mud!

On Tuesday we had a good training session. We used a similar pattern to the week before with a few tweaks. We concentrated on lots of independent weave entries. Here's the pattern in case anyone wants to use it. It proved really useful with loads to do.

We did lots of variations of staying on the far side of the tunnel and directing our dogs away from us, over a jump and into the poles. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I love training weave entries. As well as entries we did a lot of proofing by not moving and ensuring our dogs completed the weaves by themselves, recalls and other bits like that.

On Friday Mac and I went up to Pete and Val's to have a practise on their astro turf training area. Pete had kindly set us up a combination of jumps, weaves and a pipe tunnel. Both Niamh and Spud were very happy when we walked them onto the surface. They both had a run around and play and then we got down to some training. As I thought, Spud coped really well but so too did Niamh. She had a couple of slips when I turned away from her too sharply but, with Mac's help, I worked on my timing and soon learned what I had to do to enable her to remain sure footed. We worked for about 45 minutes and then had a cup of coffee with Pete and a good natter. We both felt really positive about the training and are going again in a couple of weeks.

Before I left Pete gave me a dvd which he'd done for me. It was the 1998 Olympia finals when Abbey won the morning semi-final and came third in the final. I watched it on Friday night and ended up in floods of tears on the floor hugging her. I had forgotten quite what a fantastic dog she was. She would still be competitive in today's agility without a doubt (not sure the same can be said for me though!) If I can fiddle it, I'll try to extract Abbey's rounds and put them on the blog. God, I looked so much younger then but so too did the likes of Greg and Stuart Harmes!

On Saturday in addition to my usual beginner group, Leah and her friend came for a lesson. Hex was a good boy and her friend Liza's little spaniel was brilliant. She is a gorgeous little dog, I had a job to stop Andy from stealing her.

On Sunday we got up early in order to get to the Arrow Riding School near Dartford where we were facilitating an FCI type training day for Louise and Ann Challis. We started in the morning with a regular training session for club members split in two groups and then the FCI course ran in the afternoon. We set a challenging course and managed to find and resolve lots of problems. We also had a weave entry session. The course was primarily for BSD handlers who are planning to try out at the trials for the FMBB Agility World Champs to be held in May. There were a couple of infiltrators on the course: one with a certain little kelpie called Stihl and another with a strange looking long legged black curly monster. Both aquitted themselves very well.

The worst thing about yesterday was our dogs being in the car nearly all day. They all had coats on and I put a furry bed in for Abbey plus I covered her with her fleece blanket. She didn't move from under that blanket all day apart from when I took them for a short walk at lunch time. She was like toast underneath it which was good as it was quite cold yesterday. Kizzy had her coat on, much to her disgust, and she also had her heated pad under her blanket. She came in to play whilst we set up the courses and whilst we ate our lunch but even so it was a pretty awful day compared with what they're used to.

Leah is doing quite a bit of training with Murphy at the moment, for which Andy is very grateful. He isn't able to do a great deal at the moment (agility-wise) and when he can train he really wants to concentrate on Kizzy. It helps to keep Leah fit as both her competition dogs are currently recovering from injuries and it keeps Murphy happy and hopefully cures all his problems!

They are a good team but with each session you can see Murphy getting stronger. Leah keeps on top of him in a really positive fashion and shows great consideration for Murphy and how he's been trained whilst popping in a few new ideas. Leah will be running Murphy at Mid Downs so the video camera will be going for an outing that's for sure!

I took the dogs for a really long walk today, partly to make up for the fact that they spent most of yesterday in the car and partly because it was a lovely afternoon. I took my new camera and had a good play. I've got loads to learn but I was quite pleased with some of the results; some got trashed though! I will do another post with a selection of photos from this walk.

The worst thing about today's walk was that they all got very MUDDY even Kizzle got smothered. It took me an hour to clean them up when I got home. But they're all nice and fluffy now and they smell nice because I bought them some special grooming spray (recommended by Bernadette.) It's fantastic stuff as it makes it easy to comb through their coats even after you've used the blaster on them. It also helps to get out those nasty teazle things that they always collect on our walks.

Kizzy knocked Poppy over today, can you believe it! Bad sheltie. Poppy cried out and came back to me with a back leg hanging. I gave it a gentle rub and she was OK. She does seem to be getting more and more delicate. Right now although I'm working on getting her jumping fit (she hasn't trained since her mishap at a training day back in October) I'm starting to think that I might retire her. I haven't decided for sure yet but will do so over the next few weeks. One thing is for sure, I really don't want to break her doing agility and she'll be eleven in April so I think I might have a tough decision to make.


  1. Gosh when you start blogging you can't shut up! haha!

    Luv to see the dvd of Abbey at Olympia!

  2. What are you saying: that I talk a lot! That's just not like me.

    Trouble is, I type as fast as I talk so there's your problem!

  3. Yes I would love to see the DVD of Abbey too! great blog posting you have been majorly busy ! x

  4. I love seeing the photos of your dogs on a walk, they have so much fun.
    Think if I was as busy as you I would probably need a holiday every few weeks.
    See you soon.