Friday, 5 September 2008

I nearly forgot

How could I forget Poppy. She won the old timers jumping at the Summer Show and then the Allsorts Agility (yes, it was agility so she was very happy) at Letchworth. My dear little Poppy she so loves to do her classes.

The breaking news though is that Becky ran a novice jumping class at Dordale where there were only six weaves (Becky only ever does 1o weaves) and she got 16th place (the last place in the class). She is such a sweet dog but just slightly ever so dumb! Here she is doing her stuff.

That really is it, we're off for our holiday. Wet gear and umbrellas to the ready me thinks!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Summer Show, Dordale, Letchworth & Trent Park

Phew, almost up to date.

I didn't like the Summer show which was held at Ely. I'm sure it would have been better if we'd been in the main field with the rings but because we weren't helpers we were put in the back field which was surrounded by housing and right next to the leisure centre. Loads of public wandering around and kids playing on motorcyles etc. Not my idea of fun. We had to lock the dogs in the car whenever we left them. Niamh was a good girl and got 2nd in the G6 jumping and had a nearly round in the agility but I pulled her off the A-Frame. If I recall the A-Frame and move to soon she strides over so I must do more training of this. Kizzy had a 4th in the Eukanuba qualifier but blew out on her graded classes.

We only did one day of the summer show (Friday) and in the evening off we went to Dordale. This was a gorgeous venue up on hill with panoramic views across the valley. The classes were great and I got some good places with Naughty Niamh but still not the elusive 1st place in G6. Kizzy had three wins at Dordale, one of them being a G1-7 agility so Andy was very pleased with that. Kizzy qualified into G5 at this show which was Andy's goal. Back to the friendly rivalry between Andy and Neil - they are very supportive of each other but also have a good competition going to see who can win most in one day/weekend. Dordale was Andy's show but look out at Chippenham/Gillingham - Bex is going very well!

We absolutely loved Dordale and will go again. I had one bad experience which involved a very stupid person who was using a spray collar on their dog at ringside. Niamh freaked and I was very cross and had a row with the man's wife. I still ran my dog because I didn't want to impose on the person behind me in the queue - had I only known it was the person with the spray collar so I should have let him run. I ran the round really badly and it was a course I really fancied. Hey ho! Saturday night was rather sleepless due to an all night rave somewhere in the valley. It was very noisy and most people were very tired on the Sunday as they hadn't slept well.

Letchworth was great. Lovely show with loads of different trade stands. I have been getting very anxious about winning a G6 with Niamh and it was starting to spoil our enjoyment so I decided to back off for the rest of the season and instead concentrate on getting my contacts really solid ready for Olympia. She has, as always, responded brilliants and her contacts are the best ever. I semi-trained a G6 agility at Letchworth (just the A-Frame and Dog Walk) and ended up 4th. I was really pleased with the contacts but couldn't help wishing I'd gone a bit faster, I didn't expect to end up 4th with such solid contacts in a G6 class!

Andy spent quite a few classes working on Kizzy's contacts. They have gone a little OTT shall we say. She's doing them great at home and at training but this hasn't quite transferred to the ring. Much work for the winter is required. I believe Dennis has a very good shot of her orbiting from the dog walk!! Kizzy did win a jumping class at Letchworth to make up for all the agility rounds that Andy trained!

We came 2nd in the mini/mixi pairs at Letchworth which hopefully might give us enough points for Crufts, we have to wait and see.

We travelled home Saturday afternoon and on Sunday went to Trent Park. I really enjoyed this show despite getting three eliminations. Andy got 11th in the Eukanuba qualifer and won his jumping class. This brought her total number of wins in Kizzy's first season to 20! What a good little thing she is.

Niamh did a lovely G6 agility but I was too complacent about a wrong end of tunnel after the weaves. The gap seemed large so I thought Niamh would just follow me to the wrong end but she didn't and went in the wrong end of the tunnel. It was a shame as there weren't many clears as a tricky choice of jumps after the dog walk was catching out a lot of people. Because I was training Niamh's dog walk it wasn't a problem and the rest of her round was so neat. Never mind.

In her G6 jumping we had a lot of fun. Toni and I bet each other on who could get a front cross in after a long run down hill. I think we were both mad as there was no way but I was so stubborn. I'm not sure who got E'd more, me or Toni but we both made a pig's ear of it. I can't remember who won the bet - it must have been me. Mand had a go with Jag and actually made the front cross but it caused Jag to have the pole down. Then Karen went with Jess and very wisely put in a rear cross and ended up coming 2nd! Well done.

That's about it for now. We're off on holiday to the New Forest for two weeks. I think it's going to be very wet but I'm still going to enjoy it! I have some video of other runs and will put that on the blog after the hols. Right now no more time left!

Here are some lovely pictures of Niamh which Jay took at Dordale. She is my gorgeous girl.

Zeki Update

Well, poor Zeki hasn't had a look in on the blog for ages. When I look back and see how much stuff we wrote about Kizzy it makes me feel very guilty. I guess the main difference is that Kizzy was a winter puppy and therefore I had more time to update the blog whereas Zeki was a spring puppy and the agility season has been in full swing throughout her puppyhood.

Zeki and I have been busy with lots of things. She's had plenty of socialisation in all sorts of situations and has also benefited from being allowed to wander round the agility rings since she was four months of age, so this started at the Rugby show.

She can do quite a few tricks:

  • Shake both paws
  • Turn left
  • Turn right
  • Recall to front
  • Recall to each side
  • Recall to between my legs (ready for startline routine hopefully!)
  • Jump in the box and sit in it
  • Sit on the box
  • Elephant Trick (still in progress as she won't do it daintily and insists on hurling herself round the box by spinning on her front legs)
  • Round the cone on either hand
  • Weaving round two cones
  • Touch her nose to a target on either side of me and in front of me, always facing away from me
  • Jump into my arms
  • Basic heelwork on left and right with turns away or into me on either side
  • Just started teaching her to beg from a sit position
I have to confess my recalls are not very strong if I don't have food. So there is much still to work on with these. That said I am happy with her progress and am working a lot on her tugging which can be good and sometimes is not good at all! Most of her tricks are much stronger for food but I'm gradually introducing more of them for a tuggy or ball reward. She is starting to get the idea and it has the added bonus of strengthening her tug.

Here she is lounging in the awning. I was cooking some supper and peeked out the caravan door to find her curled up in my lounger. Cheeky little madam.

She is a lovely girl and the most cuddly, affectionate dog I think I've owned. She loves nothing better than to be in your arms or on your lap and is very content just to be hugged and kissed. If I talk in a baby voice to her she pushes between my legs just like a cat. I haven't done any decent shots of her lately because her ears are still glued and it don't look too pretty! Once the glue has finally grown out I shall give her a good bath and then get Andy to take some proper photos. I'm really hoping that her ears won't have to be glued again now that she's finished teething.

Often at weekend shows she has a bit of time in Aunty Jan's garden and loves to play with Teazle. This little video shows her playing at Dordale. We arrived quite late and Jan had her in her caravan and garden whilst we set up the caravan. Zeki and Teazle were having a great game in the garden but as always they stopped really playing when I tried to film them.

And here she is peeking out of Jan's caravan window

Aylesbury, KC Festival & Dogs in Need

I have been a very bad blogger over the last month. So much has been going on and I just haven't managed to get round to updating the blog or downloading any of our video runs from the camera. I hate my blog being so out of date so here we go with one of my megga updates!

We've had a good time over the summer with both our dogs running really well. That's not to say we haven't had glitches and issues but overall they've been little super stars.

I've lumped together Aylesbury, KC Festival and DIN as we were away from home for all three of them! I won't go into too much detail about Aylesbury other than to say the camping and running ground isn't for us. Bit too rough. It's a shame because the club obviously put a lot of effort into organising what would otherwise be an excellent show but the ground lets them down (IMO). I didn't run Niamh the first day as it was wet but I did a couple of rounds on the second day without any success. Kizzy clocked up two wins.

KC Festival

This was a blast. I love this show even though it's absolutely huge. It's well organised and I think the committee do a terrific job of running a really professional show.

We arrived on the Sunday straight from Aylesbury in order to assist with marking out the camping. We were part of a decent sized team and everyone worked well together so the task was good fun and we got done in very good time. This meant we had chill time on the Wednesday before we had to get set for receiving campers on the Thursday. It was lovely having the venue to ourselves and I got loads of recalls done with Zeki which was great.

On to the competition itself, Niamh ran well the whole weekend. I was so happy when she qualified for Olympia as this was totally unexpected. I hadn't really bargained on her getting to any semi finals this year so to qualify was just fantastic. She also got placed in both her British Open qualifiers and made it to the final. I think she was the only G6 dog in the final and came 6th on a really quick course. I loved the semi final course which was judged by John Gilbert. There was quite a bit of handling in it and it suits me much better than some of the faster courses. I had one dilemma which was whether to pull and send over the jump after the dog walk or do a complete front cross (reverse turn in old fashioned language!).

I was lucky to be running quite late in the competition so I walked it both ways and decided if there were loads of fast clears I'd go for the quicker method of pulling and sending, if however there were only a few clears then I would go for the safer option of front crossing. In the event quite a lot of people made mistakes on the course (several at this very place) and so I decided to go with my safe option. We almost had a disaster at that jump as Niamh contemplated turning into me at the jump but then realised I wanted her to flick away from me, I can't tell you how close it felt to her back jumping that fence. Luckily for me she is an honest girl and did her job. I love this series of pictures which Dennis took of our dog walk. My face is a picture (not a particularly pretty one at that!) I love the way Niamh is focusing down to her target point. I think I slightly over cooked the dog walk final position but who cares - we qualified! Nobody could doubt her down dog walk that's for sure!

Here is the film of Niamh's run in the Olympia semi and the KC British Open. I am very proud of her in both of these runs.

On to Kizzy. Well, she had a mixed KC Festival. She had two wins and a second placing and managed to scrape into the final qualifying place for small novice final. Her round was going really well with only five obstacles to go. For some reason she shot past the A-Frame to follow Andy. It wasn't a case of her old injury re-surfacing just one of those things. Andy was very disappointed as up to that point she had been going so well. The only consolation was that our friend Neil won the final with his gorgeous little spaniel Bex. They are a partnership which is developing really well and at a rate of knots! More about their friendly rivalry later!

Dogs in Need

We arrived at Ipswich on the Monday morning and got set up. It's nice to get there and plug the caravan into the electric hook up. Wonderful. I like this show as it's quite relaxing with only two runs per day. That said when you've only one dog it would be quite nice to have three runs a day. I didn't enjoy the show quite as much this year as I found a few things a bit irritating: the prize givings which didn't seem to run too smoothly; the cars speeding down the road which runs behind our pitch - this was worse than ever and lastly the trophies for the finals were a bit disappointing.

As already mentioned Kizzy was a little star and won the small novice final. This went a long way to making up for not going clear at the KC final. I know we're in difficult times but it is disappointing to get a glass plaque rather than the usual crystal that this show has provided in the past. I suppose it's even harder for us because we've both judged their finals and handed out the lovely crystal, so expectations are high and it was a little bit of let down. Last year Niamh came 2nd and we got a beautiful decanter. Never mind, it's the winning that counts. In addition, take a look at this lovely trophy that our friends bought for Andy and Kizzy after winning the small novice final:

So tasteful (not!)

Here is Kizzy's final run. As you can see they had a glitch at the end of the collapsible tunnel as Andy took the safe option for a pair of jumps before the tunnel and it resulted in Kizzy thinking that he wanted her to turn left towards him instead of right. Just shows you what a quick little dog she's become as she won by a good margin despite the error.

During the week Kizzy clocked up 3 wins and 3 2nd placings as well as her finals win. Pretty good going I think.

Here are a couple of photographs of Kizzy in the final. If you look at #1 you'd think they should be handing back their trophy, thankfully Jay also captured the moment just before that photo was taken and in #2 you can see they did deserve the trophy after all!

She missed it!

Oh no she didn't!

Niamh was a good girl but we just didn't get the places in the right classes. She led a G6 agility right up until the last dog and got beaten by 2/100ths of a second. Damn! I so want a G6 win and just can't seem to get it! I blew out in most of her qualifying classes so no DIN final for us this year. I was disappointed but not too much, still being on a high from the KC Festival helped!

We had a good time at Dogs in Need despite the niggles I mentioned and I guess we'll go back next year as I still thinks it's a really good event.

Take a look at some of the candid shots captured by Dan and posted on his blog.