Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tuffley Agility Show

We had originally booked to camp at Tuffley but for one reason or another decided against. I've never been before but always heard good reports and now I can see why. It's a lovely show at a lovely venue with lots to do for all the dogs. Now wishing we had camped after all!

Andy elected to stay home and do some work in the garden with Al (more of that in another post.) So, off I went at 5.00 am on Saturday morning with Niamh and Zeki. We decided it would be better for Tidey to stay home with Andy as she would have a better time; with a champ class each day and the fact that she's still not old enough to be around the rings we thought she wouldn't have a lot of attention.

Saturday was Zeki's champ and I was pleased to get into our third final and be in pole position as we came 3rd in both the jumping and agility rounds. The courses were quite tricky and I enjoyed running them. In the final I was following a brilliant run by Karen and Todd (ending up with reserve) and Sian and Jazzie with an awesome run which won the class, making Jazzy an Agility Champion. I still wanted to give it my best shot although I doubted I could better Todd's run and knew I couldn't catch Sian and Jazz. I pushed too much and pulled her off a jump which was a shame as I would have liked to finish the class with three clears. That said I really enjoyed the courses and Zeki was a joy. She had a fantastic weekend ending up with quite a little haul of 8th, 3 x 3rd, 1 x 2nd and 1 x 1st placings! Clever little Beek!

Clever little Zeki with her haul from Tuffley show

Zeki in the champ final, photos by Joe Upsall

On Saturday night we stayed at a Days Inn hotel which was really very acceptable. You're allowed to take your dogs in for a one-off £5 fee. Bernadette, Lisa and Sue were also staying there and we had pizza together which was fun. Lisa makes me laugh so much with her funny stories. Got any leads for sale Mrs? Good company and a good evening, thanks girls!

Zeki and Niamh in the hotel relaxing after a long day

Sunday was Niamh's champ and I decided to really concentrate on her runs and just do Zeki's classes if they happened to come up when I wasn't busy with Niamh. I was lucky and managed to do all of Zeki's runs in the end! The large champ courses weren't really my cup of tea as they had places where the ability to run fast definitely was an advantage. I didn't dislike them but knew I would struggle and I did! I managed a scrappy clear in the jumping, Niamh was such a good girl to keep going at the finish when I found myself miles behind her. Unfortunately in the agility we got eliminated. She was running really well but my undoing was a huge gap where I lost touch with her, she turned the wrong way and I was unable to retrieve the situation. I was quite disappointed as so many people struggled on both courses that we would definitely have been in the final had I managed to run clear in the agility. Bad handler must run faster. The annoying thing is that I do run faster with Zeki. Zeki brings out the assertive side of me because she is so bold and driven; Niamh is more reserved and that makes me the same with her. I need to try to put my 'Zeki' head on when running Niamh to see if it makes me move better between obstacles.

I had a brilliant weekend of agility, friends and nice walks in the exercise area beside the beautiful castle. We are definitely camping next year!

Here are some videos from the weekend:

Monday, 4 July 2011

Tidey at twelve weeks

I can't believe that Tidey has been with us for five weeks now. She is just the most gorgeous puppy and I love having her around.

The week before last Leah and I went to Bernadette's to do some training exercises for the EO and I took Tidey along. She had a wonderful time in Bernadette's garden whilst we had lunch. I was also able to do some restrained recalls with her in the agility paddock. All good for her!

Last week marked the completion of Tidey's jabs and she was able to go out and about for her first walks. I am taking her with Poppy so that she has company but calm company. I never walk my puppies with my other dogs because I don't want them to get knocked over, learn bad habits or key into the other dogs too much which can create bad habits, particularly with collies in terms of herding and barging etc. Poppy is the perfect nursemaid as she is very calm and friendly with people and other dogs and sets an excellent example for Tidey. Having Poppy makes Tidey much more confident as we approach new things because Pops just takes everything in her stride. This time of year when it's so hot, it's also good for Poppy as we don't go quite as far as with the other dogs so it's perfect for young and old to walk together.

I took Kizzy along one day which was fun but exhausting as Kizzy kept playing with Tidey and I was getting very tangled in the extender lead!

We have been taking our trick training outside as the weather has been nice and have started work on various co-ordination and balance exercises using ladders, peanut exercise ball and wobble boards. She loves these games and it will be good when I get my extra large peanut ball from the states which Bernadette has ordered for me! We have also been practising our go rounds using a cone.

World Championship Tryouts

I'm a bit late posting on this event as it happened a week ago today. We didn't qualify for France but we had a damn good try; I really enjoyed the event and it was good practise for the forthcoming EO's. Although they are very different events you are still having to work your dog under pressure which is good for me and the doglets.

The venue is quite small but very nice and I really liked the surface. Both my girls ran well and overall I was happy with our performance. I think if I had kept my wits about me then Zeki could have qualified but sadly I made two silly mistakes which cost us dear. Both girls got into the final round which I was thrilled with. The only run I was unhappy with on the day was Niamh's final run where I think I had just run out of steam. It was a very hot day with lots of pressure and eight runs. So all in all not bad and I will definitely try again next year but only with Zeki. It was too much, for me, concentrating on both dogs when they are so very different.

In round 3 with Zeki I had done all the hard work and just failed to call her to the jump so she picked up the weaves having already done that loop once when the weaves were the correct obstacle. I didn't turn my shoulders enough and didn't work the turn, I just started verbally cueing the left turn for the jump without thinking about getting her to the jump in the first instance! I have to admit I could have cried after that round, very rare for me to feel like that but I was so angry with myself. My happy, noisy little dog soon saw to it that I wasn't unhappy for long though!

In the final round I simply lost my spatial awareness for the front cross and ended up in a position which cued Zeki to do a go round rather than take the jump naturally.

Niamh did some lovely runs but for some reason we are having weave problems. She has suddenly started breaking out of the weaves and I'm unsure why. I am doing some training with her at home to try to resolve without make to big a deal about it. So far it isn't working very well but I am determined not to get up tight about it. We will sort it out with patience and reward!

Natasha Wise set excellent courses which I thoroughly enjoyed running and which I felt were a good test of various skills required for FCI type courses. The only thing that she was unable to test us on was the size of a typical FCI course but that was due to venue constraints.

Well done to everyone who qualified on the day especially Bernadette with Zaz and Dave with Rusty.

Here are all my runs, the good, the bad and the downright ugly!