Sunday, 6 July 2008

Busy few days

Well, what a busy week it turned out to be.

After posting my photo of Zeki's flying ears, I took her down to West Sussex to visit her Gran'Ma and get them fixed. She now has perfect ears but how long they'll remain that way we'll have to see. I am massaging the ears every day and keeping my fingers crossed. Quite perverse really as I love my collies to to have pricked ears (what went wrong with Naughty Niamh!) but I want my sheltie to have tipped ears. No pleasing some people!

Whilst I was there I had a little training session with Bernadette which I found very helpful. I have been doing lots of stuff with Zeki but after my lesson I have much more to do! Bernadette focused on getting Zeki to have her head stroked and collar held without backing away. Those who have shelties will know this is very typical of the breed. She also suggested that I now get Zeki doing her little positions and tricks by my left and right sides as well as in front. I have been working on all of this since my visit and I think things are progressing. I would like to get another video of her training this coming week but trying to get any time from Andy at the moment is hopeless. He is overcome with workload and trying desperately to get things tied up before he goes out to support the EO team in Germany in a couple of weeks or so.

Kizzy is moulting like mad. I have to comb her every single day otherwise she has horrible little clumps of undercoat showing. I can't bear to see this. I hate it when you stroked someone's dog and can feel all the lumpy undercoat. It looks and feels awful. Poor Kizzy, it seems as if she's only just regained her full coat after her last season and now it's all falling out again. At the moment she's still quite glossy as it's only a shed of undercoat, she looks far worse when the top coat sheds but I'm hoping that shouldn't happen this time round. She looks so much smaller when her coat is depleted. Here she is on top of her haystack whilst out on our walk yesterday.

Naughty Niamh's new harness arrived in the week, together with her new double clip lead. I just can't use a head collar on her any longer, not on a regular basis anyway. She pulls so hard and rubs her face on the ground so hard that she ends up with a bleeding, raw mouth and I just can't bear it. I have tried every head collar on the market including a really soft webbing one which I had especially made for her. Anyway, I'm hoping the harness with double clip lead will work. I need to have some control of her head/neck area when we're in crowded areas and particularly if young children are flying around. She is worried about children and so I need to have absolute control at these times. Here she is modelling her new harness:

She has two sets of labels for her harness: Girl Power and Monster. I think I know which is the more appropriate ...... she's modelling it in the photo above!

We had an outside chance of being called up for a reserve at the Royal semi finals but I didn't get a call on Thursday afternoon so assumed that I wasn't needed. Then on Friday morning at 7.50 am I got a call from Pauline Barr saying that someone had pulled out due to their dog being ill and would I like to run. Obviously I wouldn't get there for the invitation run but the semi final was at 12.30 pm so I would be OK for that. I said yes I would come and then flew into a blind panic. We had planned the day out to get as much work done in the office and of course that had to go out the window!

Andy packed us off just before 9.00 am and we arrived up at Stoneleigh at about 11.30 am. I was very lucky and found a friendly car park attendant who showed me where all the other competitors were parked and so I ended up in a spare space right next to Leah and Elspeth. They were very sweet and waited for me to get organised so I could walk up to the ring with them. Much nicer than being by myself.

Unfortunately for us we had two poles down. Very unusual for Niamh but I was pushing hard. We were drawn number four and the course was a very quick one so we had to go for it. As it happens we wouldn't have been quick enough, there were lots of clears in the end and we would have dropped out of the top five even if we'd managed a clear. The course was very straight forward so it was going to be fast and furious. I personally prefer a more technical course but at the end of the day everyone has the same chance. I heard that the following day there were only four clear rounds, I'm not sure if it was a similar course pattern but that's the way these semis always seem to go. Some days there are lots of disappointed people with clear rounds outside of the top five and other days not enough clears to fill the top five. I have never been someone who enjoys these events, they are to be endured in order to achieve a coveted run at Olympia. That said, I did enjoy Friday. The weather was lovely, the company was good and Niamh proved to me that she can focus in any environment. I was slightly concerned to begin with as there were lots of ferrets caged nearby and I couldn't get her nose off the ground but once we stepped into the ring she was ready to go. I did not enjoy the drive home, we had to come off the M40 due to traffic and divert down the A34 and home via Newbury.

I had a reserve position for today but didn't get called. To be honest I wasn't disappointed because I would have to have taken all the dogs by myself and it would have been a bit of a nightmare. Luckily I have another chance at the KC Festival semi final and also a couple more heats to run yet.

Andy and Al went off Saturday morning to Cornwall to judge at the Mid Cornwall agility show. They travelled down in torrential rain and set up their courses in similar conditions. They had bed and breakfast with one of the club members and when they called me last night there were all huddled round the wood burning stove as it was like a winter's night! At the time I was sitting outside in Dan & Mac's garden playing with Abbey, Poppy and Zeki. They invited me up for supper as I was all by myself - how kind. Zeki had a lovely time and spent quite a bit of it standing on her hind legs looking into Chops's run. Chops is their rescue rabbit (via Leah of course!) and she is a very cool rabbit. She isn't at all afraid of dogs and just sits up by the wire teasing them!

Earlier in the week Abbey really struggled on the walk. I got quite upset as she fell down several times and we had to keep stopping and resting her. I decided then that if the weather is at all warm I would no longer take her on the big dog walk but instead walk her with Zeki.

So yesterday off we went for a lovely shorter walk with Abbey, Pops and Zeki. They had a lovely time and we were walking for about 40 minutes. This was perfect for Abbey and she was much happier. Here is a little picture of Zeki on the walk. The little tri sheltie pups have "hot cross bottoms", I tried to get a photo of Zeki's but it wasn't easy, I think you can just about see what I mean if you click on the image to enlarge it! I will try to get a better photo before her coat grows properly!

"wait for me!"

As soon as I got home from the walk I loaded up the other four and we went on a big dog walk with Niamh, Murf, Becky and Kizzles. They had a wonderful time and went swimming in the river. The earlier photo of Kizzle was taken on this walk. They have cut the hay fields so it's all much more open at the moment. It's nice for the dogs as they can have a really good run across the fields rather than just through the path ways.

Here they are enjoying themselves:

Well that's us about up to date. Next week will also be busy as we have loads to do before going off to the Rugby show on Thursday. We always go early to help set up the show. We are going to put up an EO course for practise on Tuesday evening and then on Wednesday we're looking after a friend's sheltie pup for the day. OMG eight dogs, I'm not sure how I'm going to cope!


  1. Oh NO you can't change her ears !!

    I love Niamh's harness but judging from her expression I'm not that she does :)

  2. I like Zeki's "hot cross bottoms"!! I have one too, Sizzle!!

  3. In my experience a bath does wonders for getting a sheltie quickly over a shed; it loosens more hairs at one go.
    And my guess is that what you experienced last time with Kizzle was the youngster shed where they seriously change coats. She is not likely to do more than lose undercoat, unless after a litter of pups. So I wouldn't worry about her going "bald" again ;-)

    And many many congratulations on your wonderful little Zeki. She looks really gorgeous.

    Best wishes,
    Nanna & the mad tris in Denmark

    P.S. Looking forward to more training videos with Zeki.