Thursday, 29 May 2008

New Header

Thank you Karen for our new blog header including Zeki!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Zeki pictures and clicker training

I thought I'd do a little video of Zeki doing some clicker training. It wasn't one of our best sessions, it always seems to go wrong as soon as I'm being video'd! She is totally focused when the food and clicker come out and is always happy to tug at the end of the session. She is more focused on her tug if I've used dog training treats, I have to work harder to get her to tug if I've used sausage or cheese!

I'm struggling with the roll over trick. I can't get her to turn her head back without standing up. She's too impatient. I'm hoping that Mary will spare me some time at Hinckley this weekend. When I get stuck she always helps me break through the sticky areas! She has helped us with all our dogs over the years and I could watch her train tricks with puppies all day long.

We've started our "walk backs/reverses" but they aren't very straight yet. I also need to work harder with the paw shakes as I'm not being clear with my hand signals. It seems such a long time ago I was training Naughty Niamh all these things and my co-ordination has slipped! Still, I'm working on it and will get better.

As well as the video are some nice pictures of her showing off her new collar and yellow duck from Aunty Karen. The collar was bought especially to match her new harness! She also has a purple critter that Paula bought her. These two toys she loves. She snuggles up with her duck in her car pod and in her overnight kennel and loves to play with him as well. The purple toy she just loves to run around with in her mouth. The red furry spider I bought her she really isn't bothered about ..... typical! You can also see her following in big sister Kizzy's footsteps by putting in some hours at the drawing board!

Hhhmm, need to recalculate that!

Can't figure it out, need the ruler

Lost interest, I'll just eat the ruler instead, much more fun than this boring drawing!

My new collar to match my Crazy Dog harness. Crazy Dog is quite appropriate for me so I'm told!

Here I am with my best friend - Mr Duck

And my other best friend Mr Purple Critter

Monday, 26 May 2008

Bad Sheltie

Due to the bank holiday our recycling and rubbish won't be collected until tomorrow. We put all the recyling in the garage ready to put out tomorrow morning. We normally leave the garage door open as the dogs like to wander in there. When we went out to the kitchen at lunch time today no Kizzy to be seen, we looked in the garage and this is what we found!


More mud!

Boy, are we glad that we aren't camped at Supa Dogs! We got a text from Leah early this morning to say that competition for today had been cancelled. Hardly surprising as we've had rain all night and it's still raining now.

We went along on Saturday and had a lovely day in warm sunshine. I wasn't looking forward to it as I wasn't sure what I would be able to do with Zeki at a day show. However we had a lovely time. Jan kindly let her have a good play in her garden with Teazle and Megan (both of whom were lovely with her) and then Jay put up some windbreaks beside his caravan and we parked alongside so had a nice little compound which she could play in. She had lots of visitors and by the end of the day was the most exhausted I've seen her. Hurrah!


I have to get my act together with Niamh. I'm still making one error in each class which is costing her some really good places. I know it always sounds easy to say this but I can feel the difference in her. She is at last starting to use some of the power she displays on walks and at training within the competition environment; her contacts have improved a great deal and she is changing so much. I feel we are on the verge of some good results if I could just hold it together better.

Dear little Pops got 2nd in the veteran jumping. It was a really nice course with a little bit of handling and some weave poles (yippee!). As soon as I come over the finishing line with her I just want to run back to the start and have another go. I so love running Poppy (sorry if I keep repeating this but it's true!)

Kizzy was working much better than at BATS. She is still not quite as focused as at training but things are improving a lot. She came 2nd in her G1-4 jumping on Saturday, beaten by just 2/100ths of a second. It was a really good round with a full set of weaves. She had one slightly wide turn which obviously cost her the win but Andy was really thrilled as she worked brilliantly.
In her other classes she made a couple of errors but her contacts were brilliant, fast and accurate.

Yesterday Andy went back to Supa Dogs and had some nearly rounds. They were "nearly" because in one of them Andy was marked on his A-Frame, she did leave it earlier than planned but friends around the ring remarked that she clearly got the contact but only with back legs. It was last but one obstacle in the 1-7 agility and she had really motored round the course. I think she (or was that Andy) possibly got a little carried away as they neared the finish. She is really keen for her ball at the end of the round so perhaps this was also a factor in her contact not being as good as it should have been. It is good that she is driving for her ball though! Again Andy was pleased with the speed of her contacts.

In her other two rounds she again targeted obstacle numbers (as she did in one of her rounds at BATS last week): once at the weaves and once at the tunnel. Andy was really disappointed as the rounds were going really well. We need to get the numbers out more at our training club and get some for home. It's something we've never really trained much as it hasn't been an issue with our other dogs. I think maybe it's something that attracts smaller dogs more? Our numbers aren't nearly as large as those you meet in the competition ring so we're going to stick paper plates on them to make them appear larger and put them in lots of odd places at training. Kizzy learns fast so I'm sure we'll soon overcome this little glitch!

Leah got two clear rounds with Murphy yesterday. He came 20th in his qualifying class and not sure yet if he got anything with his other clear, apparently that one was a little messy. Leah was really pleased with him. She is having a good time at the moment having got reserve ticket with the lovely Herbie at Nottingham. Well done, we're so pleased for you.

I stayed at home with the other dogs as I didn't fancy looking after a puppy in the rain and mud. I'm glad I made that decision as Andy said I wouldn't have coped very well with all the mud! We had a rather lazy day to be honest. Zeki had several little sessions of tug and one clicker training session. We've started her "walk backs/reverses" and progression of the elephant trick which I'm finding rather a challenge as she wants to sit on the tub all the time! I'm also starting to teach the roll over but again this is challenging as she keeps standing up. I'm going to have to take it slowly and be patient (not easy for me!) I am working hard on her tug at the moment, she really loves to tug and I just want it to continue and get stronger. I have also started to send her to her dead toy, so far so good!

In the afternoon we all went out in the garden and had a lovely time. I took Zeki down with the other dogs on her extender lead as I don't want her tearing around or getting knocked over. At one point I was picking up a poo and when I looked up she was right at the end of the extender standing in the middle of the dog walk cross plank. I almost had a heart attack. I just prayed she'd stand still and quickly got over there and plucked her off. I need to pay more attention as she's such a bold little thing and climbs on anything in front of her. She did the same with Andy in the week and climbed the seesaw and had to be plucked off. I don't mind her trotting through the tunnel but no dog walks or seesaws just yet please!

Late in the afternoon we had a bit of a grooming session for the big dogs and when Andy arrived home from Supa Dogs he helped me with Zeki. He held a biscuit for her to nibble on while I did all her toe nails and trimmed her feet plus a full groom. Andy's thumb is now like a pin cushion but at least I got my puppy groomed! He bought her a present at Supa Dogs - here she is groomed and trimmed and wearing her present. I asked him to get me a pink collar so that I can return the borrowed one to Lian. I was thrilled with his choice, I never thought Andy would buy a pink bling collar!

Here she is all groomed, trimmed and blinged up! Isn't she gorgeous!

I am so lucky to have her!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Training - Tuesday 20/5/08

I'm surprised I found any energy to train on Tuesday night but I did, from somewhere. We decided to have a slightly easier course this week as we've been doing lots of really tricky courses. We used the G6 agility course from BATS at the weekend. It wasn't quite as it should as we had to reuse the start as the finish as we couldn't fit the extra row in for the finish but apart from that it was pretty accurate.

I really enjoyed the course when I ran it at BATS. Niamh ran it really well and we layered #2 - #3 which ran well. Niamh is good at layering as long as I keep focused on where we're going she never glances at the obstacles between her and me. We found this worked best for everyone at training. Some dogs seem to take to it naturally others we had to work harder with but once they got the idea it was good.

On the day my mistake came at #15 which Niamh took from the back instead of pulling in. I think this was due to me being complacent about an offset pull in which was pretty tight and also the fact that I've been training so many "go rounds".

Kizzy was promoted from the puppy class to the last class which has lots of G7 dogs. Andy really enjoyed the class and was inspired by some of the really good partnerships that run in this class. Andy has lots of work to do with Kizzy to get the kind of performances she produces at training into the competitive environment. Like lots of young dogs she is taking a while to settle into running at shows and often doesn't focus as we know she can. Andy has to work harder (ha!)

Pauline Barr was the judge of this course and it was a really good test and one that I thoroughly enjoyed despite my error so near the end of the course.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Zeki Update

As you can imagine things have been a bit hectic this week so I haven't updated the blog since getting Zeki. I will try to do this on a regular basis from now on! I'd really like to try to track her training on the blog for my own benefit as much as anything so hopefully I'll get around to doing this.

For now, a brief idea of what we've been up to:

Our day starts around 5.00 am when she yells to go out. As this is rather early I've been getting up and letting her on the patch to do her business. Then I put her back to bed for a couple of hours. She complains (loudly) for about five minutes and then goes back to sleep and we get up around 7.00 am.

She goes out again and then I take her into Andy who plays tuggy with her in our bed whilst I sort out the big dogs (and Kizzle) and either give them their breakfast or a biscuit if they're going on a really early walk. Then Andy gets a cup of tea in bed (lucky him) and I retrieve Zeki. So far this week we've then gone down the garden for a nice walk for about fifteen minutes or so. Each day I take a different dog with her. The first day was Abbey, the second Niamh and today was Kizzy (big mistake - too noisy that time in the morning!)

Then we go indoors and have a little training session with food and the clicker and finish with a game of tuggy which she really loves already (thanks Bernadette!) After this she has a mooch round the kitchen whilst the big dogs are out on the decking and then it's time for her breakfast and morning sleep.

This week she's had a visit to a building site with Andy and Kizzy - lots of big machines and noise. Andy said she took it all in her stride and wasn't the least bothered.

She has also been to dog club in her pod. To start with she screamed the house down so Jan suggested I cover the pod and this worked really well. Nobody was allowed to take her out for a cuddle unless she was quiet so she quickly realised that screaming didn't get her anything. She then got passed round everyone and had a very pleasant evening biting peoples' noses and generally being a bad puppy. Of course Steve has given her a nickname as he does with all our dogs. Kizzy is Pinocchio; Niamh is Ben (as in Nevis) and so forth. Zeki has been christened Gonzo. Well done Steve, this is very original and witty. I had thought you might pick Beaky to rhyme with Zeki but no Gonzo it is. Bastard.

This afternoon we took a couple of hours out to go to Orpington Caravans to try to get sorted with a new awning. We took Zeki and Kizzle and carried Zeki around the shop and in and out of lots of caravans. I did say we were looking for an awning but we can't resist looking inside the new caravans! We didn't spend anything but rather like some of the new layouts. We can't decide yet what to do about an awning. However, Zeki got another new experience!

This evening I took her to meet our new vet Ian. He really liked her and was impressed with how bold she is. She has put on a little weight since I got her and got a clean bill of health plus she had her first jab. She'll go back in a couple of weeks for the second one and then I think it's a further two weeks 'til she's safe to go down on the floor. She was extremely well behaved at the vet with no screaming tantrums. She even cuddled with the receptionist whilst I wrote out a cheque. She did steal her pen but that was all! We met Mac and Spud on the way out of the vets. Spud was going in for his booster jab. He totally ignored Zeki while she had a cuddle with Mac. I love Spud, he's such a gorgeous dog.

We are very lucky with this big garden as it's a wonderful space for her to burn off some energy until she can go on real walks. We didn't have this with our other puppies and it's a real luxury. Without fail she shoots through the pipe tunnel each time we go out for our garden walk!

She is a monster to catch though. I have some real work to do on my recalls. I have even taken to having her on her extender lead if I'm short of time as I just can't catch the little blighter.

So far the other dogs have been really good with her. Even Abbey and Niamh are much better than they were with Kizzy. Of course any contact is supervised but Niamh seems much more tolerant. Typical Niamh really. This is her second experience of having a puppy around so she's pretty cool about it. I think Abbey has mellowed a bit in her old age; either that or she's so doolally that she's hasn't noticed the puppy!

Zeki is very different from Kizzy who was really an almost perfect puppy. Zeki has a temper and an extremely loud voice and isn't afraid to use either. She is being groomed twice a day as she hates this. So far not much change in her tolerance level of this activity but IT WILL GET BETTER!

She is very quick to learn which is wonderful. She came with quite a repertoire of tricks and a great understanding of the clicker process. Where else would you get a puppy like this, I really admire what Bernadette (and Dennis) do with these puppies.

Anyway, now it's down to me to take her training forward. She could already turn to the right and sort of to the left; sit; lie down; offer both paws and nose target to hand. She could also interact with any object you set on the floor near her.

So to this list we have so far added: improved turns to left; stand from sit or down; the start of the circus elephant trick; sitting in a box; jumping into a little bed and touching nose to a clear target held in the hand. I have done a tiny bit of recall but not much. This is on my urgent to do list (ha!) We have also done some play retrieve which she is very natural at and loads of tugging. I make sure to finish every clicker training session with a good tug game. At the moment she switches easily from food to tug which is good. I hope I can continue with this and strengthen it. My plan is for 2-3 short clicker training sessions a day followed by tug; separate tug sessions; pure play session at least twice a day; two walks round the garden (one with another dog; one without) and one new experience where possible plus the dreaded grooming. I shall try hard to maintain this level but no doubt will fail sometimes!

Tomorrow my step father is coming for a visit so she'll go for a ride round the garden on his mobility scooter. God help my flower gardens as he doesn't have much control over this machine! I'm also going to take her into our little town for a walk about and a visit to the pet shop and if the timing is right to the primary school gates when the children come out of school.

As well as this we've been pretty busy in the office, lots of lessons and just the other six dogs to care for and walk! I've been trying to take time out to give Niamh, Poppy and Abbey some extras too. I get overcome with guilt about them when I spend time with the puppy. So lots of clicker work with Niamh this week (which she loves); some agility with Poppy and a good deal of tugging with Abbey!

That's about it for now; here are a couple of photos. I hope to get some better ones later in the week!

Monday, 19 May 2008

Introducing Zeki

OMG I've got a puppy! This was a real surprise. I was on Bernadette's list for a puppy but when they were born (around Crufts time) there were not enough puppies in the litter for me. I was very disappointed at the time but once over the disappointment didn't think too much more about the puppies. As a fan of the OBay blog I kept in touch with what the puppies were up to but didn't get too involved for obvious reasons!

During this time the smallest puppy who had a bad start in life started to pick up thanks to the special care from Bernadette and Dennis. Last week Bernadette spoke to me at Tunbridge Wells show to say that after all there could well be a puppy for me. If Terry, her sister, picked the little puppy then the big girl puppy would be available for me. This was a real shock as I'd talked myself out of having a puppy after all. We agreed if Terry picked the big girl then I wouldn't have a puppy as Bernadette was very keen for the small puppy to go to a home with other small dogs. I was in complete agreement with this as I would have been too scared to bring the Little Mouse into a home with boisterous collies (especially one called Naughty Niamh!)

Yesterday morning I got a call to say I could come and pick up my puppy! Terry had immediately fallen in love with little Mouse and so the big girl puppy was mine. I'm still in shock!

We picked her up yesterday and she is settling in well. I'll do a better update later but as you can imagine I'm rather busy at the moment! Just sneaking this update in whilst in the office doing some technical notes for Andy. He's had to take a phone call so I've taken the opportunity to write this!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

More Kizzle Training

Tonight we're going to Leah's training and she has kindly offered for Andy to come along with Kizzy (damn cheek, it's mine and Naughty Niamh's night out together!!) Anyway, we're going to continue with some distractions whilst Kizzy is weaving in another environment which will hopefully help to strengthen her behaviour.

Andy has also been working every day on her contacts. She hasn't been powering down the contacts recently so we've gone back a stage and doing lots of work with her target training. Sometimes her target is on view, sometimes partially on view and sometimes not at all. She has been doing it really well so hopefully we'll get over this little glitch.

She is looking rather beautiful at the moment because she was bathed a few days ago. When we got back from Vyne Kizzy had developed a rash in her ear which we hadn't clocked. When we got up on the Tuesday morning after Vyne she was going frantic scratching her ear; shaking her head and panting like mad. Andy rang our new vet Ian who is really lovely and he said to bring her straight in. Ian couldn't find anything in her ear and said we'd caught it before it became infected. She had a steroid jab to calm things down and cream which we had to put in her ear for a week. This did the trick and her ear is back to normal, a nice healthy pink rather than bright red. The downside was that it left her ear hairs really greasy and horrible. So, poor Kizzy had to have a bath! Actually she doesn't mind being bathed in the slightest and she always looks so lovely afterwards.

Naughty Niamh had a head and shoulders bath on the same day as she decided to roll in fox poo. She is such a naughty dog. Mind you, Poppy is our biggest culprit for rolling. Mostly she doesn't roll in anything horrible she just spends half her walk upside down rolling for the sake of it. Just occasionally she catches me out and comes back with nasties clinging to her neck. God, I hate it when they roll. Mud is bad enough but smelly fox poo (or worse) is just awful.

Training - Tuesday 13/5/08

We trained over one of Johanna's courses on Tuesday night. It was a tough course that I had already tried at Bernadette's a couple of week's back.

We couldn't set it out exactly the same because our school is oblong rather than square so we had to lengthen it and in one respect it was more difficult in that the run to #9 was a greater distance so even harder. However, we softened it by making a clear gap between the wings of #9 and #10 and moving the seesaw back creating a clear path through to #8.

We had lots of fun doing the start and weaves in various ways.

Thanks Johanna - everyone enjoyed this course!

(The collapsible tunnel wasn't part of the course we just put it in for practise and it linked in quite nicely for some other exercises)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Tunbridge Wells Videos

I didn't get any video on Saturday with Andy being at Beacon. Typical it was on Saturday that Niamh and I did our best round. We made mistakes in all our Sunday classes but hopefully we are continuing to improve in our new style. The mistakes are all mine and related to pushing for more speed.

You can also see what a handful Murphy can be in his G6 jumping. There were some really good bits and when they get it together it's great to watch.

Please note in Kizzy's round how well Andy matches the equipment!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Kizzle Training

Well, we've started distraction training in the weaves. We took ten minutes out this afternoon and did some weaves. Andy layered the weaves with a jump and collapsible tunnel between him and Kizzy and just let her get on with it. Then I stood in the middle of the weaves on the opposite side with her favourite football and bounced it up and down as she weaved up the paddock and then back down. She didn't bat an eye lid and just kept weaving so she'd get her tennis ball from Andy at the end.

Tomorrow we're planning to repeat the exercise but have me running up and down the weaves and then we'll gradually introduce noise and other distractions. I will probably take Niamh out and do some trick training with her. Other ideas welcomed! Please don't suggest that I perform cart wheels though! I never was any good at those!

Tonight they're going training at Leah's school and hopefully will get the chance to do some more weave proofing.

Beacon and Tunbridge Wells

Andy took the caravan down to Ardingly last Thursday morning and got it all set up. Then he had to mark out the rings for the show and help set up some courses etc. I had a lesson here and also took the big dogs for a nice long walk. Andy had taken Kizzy with him and he said she had a great time helping him to set up the rings. She rode round on one of the little buggies and generally had a good time.

I got to Ardingly at about 5.00 pm and it was very nice that I didn't have to do any caravan setting up! This reminded me of the days when I used to work very long hours and arrive late to all the agility shows when all the work was done. I rather like it, maybe I should do this more often!! Might be a bit expensive on the fuel front though!

Anyway we had a pleasant evening with Jackie and Terry who had travelled up from the depths of Suffolk. We can still just about understand what they say .......

On Friday there was a bit more setting up to do (which I managed to avoid as I was doing some ring party on the Saturday). Then we just chilled out. It was very pleasant. Andy left about 4.30 pm with Kizzle as he wanted to go home and have an early night ready for his early start to Beacon show on the Saturday. We decided it might be a bit disruptive for him to get up that early in the caravan as all the dogs would have woken up and disturbed everyone around us.

Andy really enjoyed Beacon and would definitely go again. The only pain was that the Champ class had to be re-run. Bernadette was involved in this class and as Andy was giving a lift home to her instead of leaving around 3.00 pm they left well after 5.00 pm and got home much later than planned. I felt really sorry for all involved especially those who didn't get through to the final who had done so in the first place. There's really no perfect solution to a situation like this but I still think it was probably better to re-run it as they did than to perhaps have let the tickets be awarded and then withdrawn by the KC at a later date. That would be truly awful for the winners. Like others, I too wonder why the situation wasn't addressed at the very start of the first class. I can't understand why anyone would do this after the event and not before.

Anyway, Andy got a 7th place with Kizzy in the Burgess qualifier (G3-7) which he was very pleased with. He let Kizzy down on one of her courses by taking the wrong course and then she popped out of her weaves in her other class. Their team was unlucky with one of the dogs falling right off the dog walk which was a shame, thankfully she was OK.

I had a mixed bag on the Saturday at Ardingly. Niamh's first run was in the KC Olympia class. I loved the course which was judged by Steve Treamer. It was quite a tricky course with lots of handling. So tricky that when I did a stint scribing it was about 15 minutes or more before I actually got to fill in a dog's time, i.e. there were a lot of E's. The eliminations happened in lots of different places, not just one sticking point. You had to work hard for your whole round there was no where to let up.

Anyway, it got to Naughty Niamh's turn and we managed a really good run. At the time the qualifying times were around 34 seconds and she put in a time of just over 35 seconds which I was really pleased with. I could have save a lot of time had I remembered to run down the dog walk instead of waiting for her to catch up. I should have been past the dog walk and doing a front cross as she arrived in order to negotiate a tricky "go round" on the penultimate jump. Instead I arrived behind her so had to make her wait whilst I got into position for the front cross. That was the only part of the round which I was disappointed with (myself, not Niamh.) In the end the class was won on a 32 second round and there were a few more rounds of similar times but I still ended up in 14th place which is much better than I had hoped for. She is definitely on the up.

We did our best in our G6 jumping but a stupid error on my part meant that Niamh was eliminated. Then we just had our G6 agility which I was really looking forward to as there was a combination of jumps that I was going to handle by doing push throughs. Unfortunately we didn't get that far. In the queue I couldn't get Niamh's nose of the ground and this continued as we made our way to the start line. She was still sniffing when I put her in her wait. She did stop and we set off but she wasn't really with me and I let her take a jump she shouldn't have. Once we went wrong down went her nose again and I struggled to get her back. When we approached the A-Frame she decided she would rather do agility but I stopped her and picked her up and carried her out of the ring. I have never ever taken any of my dogs out of the ring in 22 years of agility. I was really upset with her. She wanted to play ball when I put her down in the aisle way but I told her no and just took her back to the caravan. She was very put out as she loves her game of tug at the end of each round but I felt that she needed a "time out" to think about things. It was a shame this was her last round of the day as it left me with a horrible feeling. I wasn't cross with her just disappointed.

I was left wondering how you can achieve 14th place in a really important senior class and then look like you've never done agility in your life! Hey ho, dogs are great levellers!

Andy got home around 8.30 pm and Jay was very kind and cooked our supper. We'd all had a few glasses of wine by this time and Jay needed a little help with co-ordinating the chips and burgers and salad! Later on he entertained us by charging round in the dark with his flashing strobe light. Make of that whatever you will!

On Sunday the weather was nicer. It was still very hot but not as humid and with a bit of breeze. Andy had a mixed bag with Kizzy. They didn't have a good round in their KC Olympia class. It started really well but it was a hard weave entry and Kizzy just didn't get it. Andy is a litte bemused by this as he's trained every weave entry you can imagine. I do however believe he's doing something with his arms that he doesn't do in training, i.e. he tends to leave her to her own devices in training but is perhaps over-working her in the ring and she doesn't understand it. Kizzy is also skipping the last weave which she doesn't do in training so it's time to up the ante in her training and start putting in some distractions when she's weaving - as advised by Mary and Bernadette. In her G1-3 jumping she got 5th place which is great but she can do much better. She didn't weave as fast as she can; plus she seemed to spend rather a long time in the pipe tunnel which cost her time.

Niamh, well we had three eliminations but I wasn't at all concerned as a) she worked her socks off and b) the mistakes were mine. The best round was her G6 jumping where I achieved my best push through yet and then ran for home (in order to achieve a push through at the finish) and left her on a corner forgetting to put my arm out so she came with me.

I was really worried that she would sniff the ground again as her first run was in the same ring that she lost concentration in on the Saturday. Bernadette offered to keep her in the shade whilst I queued and this was really helpful because I found she was much less stressed than normal. She was pleased to get to me with only a couple of dogs to run and was much more focused. Andy queued for me in the next two classes and I sat in the shade with Niamh and actually got her doing tricks and tugging her ball. I've always queued with her myself but having either someone keep her away from me or queue for me definitely seems to make a difference. It's just a pain to have to ask people to do this for you but if it works it's worth the effort. Mostly Andy is around to video me so he's happy to queue on my behalf.

The best thing about Sunday was that my little super Pops won the veteran jumping. She really enjoyed herself and as usual I blubbed as I came over the finish line. It's so lovely to see her enjoying herself and feeling important. She won a lovely 3D glass trophy and the biggest red rosette.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Dordale runs

Here's a film of our Dordale runs. Saturday was lovely but Sunday was mostly wet. We had a great time and will definitely go again next year.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Training - Tuesday 6/5/08

Here's our course from last night in case anyone fancies trying it. We were really tired but somehow found the energy to train. It was fun though challenging!

We found layering the box (in both directions) worked best. The short exercise in red circles was fun. We worked #1-5 off our right hand and this proved a challenging weave entry. Some managed it others didn't. I'm pleased to report that Kizzy and Niamh both achieved this first time! Obviously the seesaw had to be turned for this comibination!

Dordale & Vyne

We had a great weekend starting with Dordale. What a lovely show, well organised and really enjoyable. Definitely one for our calendar next year.

Kizzy was brilliant at her first show. On Saturday she came 3rd in her G1-4 jumping class and then on Sunday 2nd in her G1-4 agility. She also got an unplaced clear in G1-7 jumping. She did some other really good runs but popped out of her weaves (bad sheltie) and also got caught up in the cloth tunnel when it was soaking wet. She wasn't very happy about that and Andy had to ask the judge to hold it up so she could do the obstacle happily.

Niamh is getting much stronger in competition which is great. The downside is that I'm still really struggling with her in the queue and on the startline but I guess that's a small price to pay! We had some near misses on Saturday and then on Sunday we got our best result since we got to G6. I wasn't that keen on the course (G5-7 agility) because it was very big with huge gaps. Niamh was brilliant and we came 2nd. We were beaten by 1/100th second by a G7 dog. We were the only two in the class on 29 seconds. I was very proud of Naughty Niamh and quite pleased with myself. I ran the course exactly as I walked it with just one tweak suggested by Leah which was to stay far side of the wall so that Niamh wouldn't cut in at the weaves or look at the A-Frame. This proved very sound advice as lots of dogs missed the weave entry and some ran at the A-Frame. Leah has helped me to look at courses in a different way and I'm really grateful for all her help. It's given me a new angle to work with and I'm finding it really challenging and enjoyable.

We had a nice evening at Dordale on the Saturday just sitting outside the caravan. Kizzy had a wonderful time running round and playing with various dogs that we had out with her. She was very tired by the end of the evening.

We left Dordale on Sunday and travelled to Vyne show in Newbury. It was one extreme to another. From a small show with just six rings to a massive show with about 13 rings or so. I know which I preferred.

Leah and Jay and Jan arrived quite a while after us as they had to get towed off the rugby pitches at Dordale as we'd had quite a bit of rain on the Sunday. They were very tired when they arrived but we had a pleasant evening sitting outside 'til quite late. Leah has four orphan kittens to look after. They were only a couple of days old and very vulnerable. She was having problems with the food they were eating but I'm pleased to report that things have improved and the four kittens (three girls and a boy) are all doing well.

Andy wasn't a happy bunny as he'd rather have run Kizzle but he was booked to judge the small/medium championship class. He did try Kizzy out on his courses and she worked them brilliantly. Her little weave and collapsible tunnel glitches seemed to be OK as she did both obstacles very happily.

The champ class ran ok despite starting really late. Luckily our friends helped out and we managed to get things moving eventually. It ended too late though, I felt really sorry for the people who won the events as the show was packing up around them as the rosettes were handed out from a trestle table in the middle of a roadway! Two superb winners: Nic and Indie and Toni and Minx both of whom gave faultless performances and were lovely rounds to watch (I was being a good scribe but I did have half an eye on the dogs but don't tell Andy that!) It must be nice to judge the champ class when somebody gets their dog made up to Agility Champion as was the case for Toni & Minx on Sunday. I felt even more sorry for us as we had the caravan to pack up and tow home - we eventually arrived back at 9.00 pm.

Consequently we've been really tired and trying to catch up with stuff this week (poor excuse for not updating the blog I know!) Andy is off to Ardingly tomorrow with the caravan. He has to mark out the rings for Tunbridge Wells show. I'll follow down later with the dogs once I've done some office work and a couple of agility lessons.

Andy is really looking forward to some more competition with Kizzy. On Saturday they're off to Beacon and I'll stay at Tunbridge Wells with the caravan. Then they're back for a couple of runs at Ardingly on Sunday.

I took quite a bit of video at the weekend but just haven't had time to process it yet so this will follow. Meantime some photos of the Hudsondoglets lounging in the caravan at Dordale and one of our clever little Kizzle!

The Hudsondoglets snoozing on MY BED!

Abbey on her beanbag in the caravan.

Andy & Kizzy with their 3rd place rosette

I'm very tired .....