Thursday, 22 December 2011

Brooke 9 months and Merry Christmas!!

Brooke and her handsome brother Sonic are now 9 months old! She is such a happy, bouncy beautiful young lady and we are so lucky to have her. She has had a very exciting week as we have a lovely Lab called Alfie staying with us which Brooke has found soooo exciting! We haven't done much with her agility wise recently apart from teaching her to go round the coffee table from a distance!

Matthew was poorly last friday so his shelties thought that they would make him feel better! Its funny how dogs have a sixth sense about it. Brodie had been out with me helping Mr Mitch the greyhound get used to other dogs - Mitch coped really well considering Mitch was worried by Brodie last time they met. It was lovely to see them walk so well together :)

Brooke had a 1-1 agility session today with Dan Shaw and LOVED every minute! She did her first ever jumps (only 4" high!), tunnels and bendy grids amongst other things. The half hour was plenty but she worked so well through the whole session considering she was in a new environment. I meant to take videos but was too busy watching!

I have to say a massive WELL DONE to Lian with Brodie's brother Sizzle who have been picked to represent England at the World Agility Open Champs next year (the one Brax did this year) and also to Jackie Scott with her lovely Cocker Mr George who won Grade 5 agility recently - go George!!

Lastly I'd love to wish all my friends and their lovely dogs a very Merry Christmas and great 2012!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Feeling Christmassy!!

After feeling not at all Christmassy I have got into the Christmas spirit a bit more this week. Decorations are up, cards are sent, some pressi's wrapped and I've had some lovely evenings out with great friends and family. My Mother In Law had booked tickets to see the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House, something I have never seen and always wanted to!

Well it was brilliant! Beautiful to watch and amazing music, such a treat! I'm so lucky to have a lovely Mum in Law who appreciates culture more than her son does! ;)

At St Pancras station they had built a Christmas tree out of Lego!

The dogs have had a busy week - Brooke met a sable boy sheltie called Alfie yesterday on the common and after being a bit hesitant she ran around with him for ages. Her new trick that Matthew has been working on it getting an instant 'down' at a distance, something that she enjoys doing, even in mud! It nice that she seems a bit less of a princess than Brax who won't do anything in bad weather!
Brodie is still getting better - he has been off his lead when its just him and Brax as she is kind to him! I leave him on if Brooke is off so they don't whack into each other :) Here he is looking handsome in the winter sun, my wee sweetie!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Agility withdrawal...

I have been missing doing agility a lot, especially as Brodie and I should have been at the UKA National Finals. The good news is that he is seeming better and can do his stretching exercises much easier now so we are on track to get back doing some agility in the new year. I was missing agility so much that I ran Brax at training last week (rare as she is Matthews dog) and I have the bruises to show for it!! She was soooo excited that she nipped me a couple of times after runs, cheeky girl! I didn't mind as she ran beautifully (that and Matt has always let her do it, grr!!) and we had so much fun :) Usually in winter she runs like a snail but this year she is much brighter - I think that being out walking a lot more during the day and not shut in a cold, dark staff room may have something to do with it!

Brooke pups is now 8.5 months old and is gorgeous and crazy! Love her to bits!! She is turning into a snuggle monster and loves laps. The two sable girlies are very similar in a lot of ways and have started playing much more. They are both unusual as well in that they hardly have any white hairs on the tip of their tail. In fact, both of them have black tips to their tail. Brookes coat is getting darker in places but its hard to get a good pic of it!

The two older dogs went to Rommy's house for a get together and watched him do the weaves in his garden which he did beautifully! Brax had a go as well but Brodie had to content himself with watering the garden! I love the pic above as it has all three common sheltie colours and they all look so sweet! :)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sheltie Obedience Training Day

Matthew and I had such an enjoyable day yesterday at the Obedience training day organised by the ESSC working section. I really think that even if agility is our main hobby, it is so good for the dogs do some obedience work, especially around new dogs and in a different environment. Agility is just obedience at speed with a few obstacles after all! Our trainer Domini was really enthusiastic and didn't once make us feel inadequate because we don't generally compete at obedience. She was very into motivation and rewards to create drive and desire to work - just like agility really!!

We worked all three of ours and they all did so well at the different exercises. We did stays, distance control, heelwork, retrieves and sendaways/recalls. Brooke pups got lots of lovely comments from the obedience people and bless her she did so well for an 8 month old pup. She even did her first sendaway :) She didn't get distracted at all and couldn't take her eyes off Matthew. I worked Brodie and we both worked Brax and they had great fun too! There were so many lovely shelties there and it was great to see how enthusiastic they were no matter what level they work at. Domini really broke exercises down if the dog was struggling by shaping behaviours with a clicker - this helped a lot of the younger dogs with retrieves in particular. Matthew got to work one of Domini's collies at the end which was interesting as he is sooo used to little dogs! They all slept well when they got home!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Brooke is 8 months old!!

Our little bundle of fun Brooke is now 8 months old and it only seems like yest that we picked her up! We had great fun on saturday as she did a puppy training day with Leah Gardner in Kent and there were two other sheltie puppies present - her brother Sonic and little Shark. It was a lovely class and it was really fun and informative :) They worked through waits, recalls, ladder work, tunnels and had lots of play. The video below is from Lian and was filmed by Colin

There are a few short videos on my YouTube page of the exercises but they are not as good as Colins video!! Brooke has still only done the basics but its so nice to see that her waits are solid and her speed is improving as she gets more confident. Her tugging is better and less polite as well! She is an amazing little puppy and we love her to bits :)

On a sad note, Brodie and I can't take part in the UKA national finals. The dogs had an physio appointment with Caroline from Galen and she confirmed my fears that Brodie wasn't right :( Brooke had side slammed him a few times during the summer, once taking him off his feet and they were playing rough together in the house as well. It is amazing how much damage dogs can do to each other in free play. I've never been a fan of dogs bundling each other like nutters but whereas Brax will tell Brooke off, Brodie is so sweet that he doesn't! Coupled with Brodie being a small medium (and jumping 9cm higher than his back at KC shows) despite not doing many shows this year he had obviously managed to sustain an injury to his neck and also was found to be tight through his back, shoulders have a tilted pelvis. Poor boy, I could have cried :( Anyway, Caroline being the star she is worked wonders and we also have some exercises to do. He is moving more freely already and cocking his leg better again. He can also now turn his head to the right!!

The signs that something wasn't right were
- being reluctant to do heelwork in obedience (he couldn't turn his head right and look up)
- coming out of the weaves (especially the narrower ones, wider spacing seemed ok)
- turning left when I gave him a right command (this happened in the Champ final where he won his RCC!!)
- not trotting on walks but trying to canter or pace
- not cocking his leg properly
- measuring slightly on KC sized spread jumps
- grumpy when being groomed (not like Brodie at all)
- going 'flat' at competitions and lacking power

Looking back I think that there were issues brewing in August and the worst moments came at Letchworth. I put it down to him being tired from being in the tent and competing but I pulled him out of several classes. Still, I could kick myself that I didn't get him looked at sooner. In the future I will keep a closer eye on him. I do wonder whether he is prone to injuries after falling off the dog walk a couple of years ago. I'm not going to do any agility training with him until Jan and will spend Dec building up his fitness. Brax on the other hand passed with flying colours, bit tight in a couple of spots but normal agility dog wear and tear. We have done much more warming her up this year and it has paid off :)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Brooke Videos

I've been so hectic that I am blogging late again! Its great to be so busy though and I feel so lucky to spend everyday doing something I love and seeing all my fab clients, both human and canine!! I am really impressed by the hard work and dedication that some people have to their animals. We are privileged to share our lives with them and can all learn a lot from spending time with them, no matter what the species (ok, possibly not goldfish although they are very therapeutic to watch!!) One of the most amazing people I know is a lovely lady called Sarah who with her husband Simon take on retired and sometimes elderly greyhounds. They have four hounds at the moment that vary in age and have a few issues that most people wouldn't be able to deal with. One of them is nervously aggressive to anything that doesn't resemble a greyhound / lurcher type and they have put in SO much work to help him overcome his issues. Put it like this, if I came back to earth as a dog I'd want to live with them - they are possibly the most dedicated, selfless people that I have ever been lucky enough to know. If only all owners were so good...

It really makes me think about whether there should be a test to pass before owning an animal. For example, the number of people recently who I've seen walking round our village with their dogs off lead on the pavement of a busy road is ridiculous. I narrowly missed running over a terrier this evening which is what prompted this rant. I don't know whether these people think they are clever or amazing dog trainers but actually IT'S ILLEGAL (and stupid) to have your dog off the lead on a public highway. Is it worth the risk?? My dogs are well trained but I wouldn't do something that potentially is fatal to my dogs! The poor terrier I almost hit got grabbed by its owner and then smacked - poor dog probably wanted to push her in the road :(

Anyway, I rarely rant on the blog so I do apologise! Anyway, here are a couple of videos of Miss Brooke taken this week. We realised that we hadn't done handstands for a long time so here are a few of the attempts

This a a short video of Brooke doing her running contact on the raised plank for the second time ever. Her striding ok, she gets the contact with all four feet but I would prefer her back feet to be a little bit more split if I was being fussy. What I was pleased about was that she did about 10 reps and only missed once which was better than I thought she would do. She is thinking about it a bit now rather than chucking herself around like a nutter!!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Family Reunion!

On saturday we went to visit Lian and her shelties, including Brooke's brother Sonic. We had a lovely time and the dogs were so worn out by the time we got home that they slept all the way through the firework display on the common!

We decided to take the train to see Lian as its good for the dogs and quite an adventure :) It involved train to St Pancras International, tube to Victoria and overground again to Mitcham. Brax doesn't particularly enjoy going on the train but got better each time. Brodie LOVES going on the train but isn't keen on escalators (he doesn't understand why he is moving!) and Brooke loves all of it!!

We had a lovely time seeing Lian, Colin and all the shelties. Brooke met her little half brother Scampi and his sisters Fly and Sweep. Beautiful puppies and we had so much fun playing with them! Brooke was fascinated with them and played very gently with them as did Brodie. Brax just steered clear! This is Brooke and Sweep - how cute!!!

Brooke also got the chance to run around like a nutter with her brother Sonic! In the video you can see their Daddy Sing watching them and Sizzle who is Brodies brother. Please excuse Brax yapping in the video!

Lian managed to take some lovely photos of the dogs - I've put the one of all three of them on the blog heading - thanks Lian! There are some great action shots on Lians blog as well. This is Sonic and Brooke with Sing, what great smiles! Sing has a poorly paw so we all hope it gets better soon.

Here are Brodie and Brooke chilling out on the train
This is me and the woofs at St Pancras - couldn't get them all looking at the camera!

This is Brookes little brother Scampi - he is adorable and wow does he have attitude!!

This is little Sweep having a cuddle on my lap-she is a very pretty girly.

This is Fly who is a very playful pup, she fell asleep on their food toy!

Brax was worn out barking all day so fell asleep on me all evening - bless her!

Brodie snuggled up in his bed when we got home

and Brooke puppy claimed her spot on 'her' sofa!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Brooke Balance and Coordination Workshop

Brooke went to her first winter workshop on saturday, Balance and Coordination by Hannah Banks. It was very well run and informative and the dogs really enjoyed themselves - thanks Hannah! As an observer it was obvious how their confidence and balance got better and they started to think things through rather than dashing into everything at 100mph. I'm going to do some of the exercises with Brax too as she isn't that well balanced and goes at everything like a bull in a china shop :)

Brooke doing the wobble board, you can see that she worked out to sit in the centre as that was where she was most stable - clever pup

Brooke getting the hang of walking through the ladder SLOWLY! Slower the better for exercises like this as they can't use their momentum to cheat and jump through

We also have been proofing her waits now that she understands what is required of her. Lots of rewards for not moving while me and Matthew jump around like lunatics! :) She is really getting to grips with it, even with distractions.

I'm loving the fact that its now November and the sun is out, its mild and fairly dry at the moment. I took this pic along the canal as the leaves were so striking.

Brodie and Brooke at St Albans market waiting for Matthew - look at that ear fuzz on Brooke!!

Sleeping beauties!! Awww :)

Brooke taking over the sofa

Look what clever Brodie got in the post!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Rommy came to play!

Yesterday Rommy the handsome blue merle sheltie came round for a walk and general sheltie party! Brooke loved seeing him again and chasing him around in the field :) She is such a cheeky girlie!

Here are some pics - not great quality as on my phone. Rommy is a lovely marked merle, he is related to Brodie through Blenmerrow Barnaby.

Rommy and the ginger girls - Brax looks headless!!

Brodie had enough partying by this stage, bless him!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Obedience Show

Its very rare that the Burdett shelties do obedience shows but I think its great for them to do for a change - very different from agility in so many ways but attention and focus with distractions around is vital in both. Motivation and the dog WANTING to work with you is important in both and its great groundwork for a young dog to get ring experience with judges, stewards, dogs barking, etc

Brodie and Brax have done bits of obedience before but it was Brooke's first time in the ring and we hadn't done masses of work on her stays so she didn't do them. Her heelwork was lovely despite the odd distraction and she held her wait and even managed the finish! What a superstar puppy :) Love her! She didn't get placed but she got her first ever rosette. The judge gave her a special rosette for her lovely heelwork and for showing so much potential at 7 months - you might say we were a bit proud of her! Here is her test - sorry about the video shaking, I was quite nervous for them!

Brodie and Brax did really well too, Brax got a 6th in Pre Beginners, 2nd in Beginners and Brodie came 4th in Beginners (only 0.4 marks behind Brax!) Very pleased with how they worked, particularly Brodie as he had a chunk of hair taken out of him by a show dog on the way into the venue :( No apology from owner and although Brodie was a bit worried at the time, he worked nicely in the tests. In Novice he did well in his test but lay down in his sit stay as I think he was quite tired by then. We are doing an obedience training day with all three of them in a few weeks time which will be interesting!!

Talking of training days, we have some fab agility ones booked up for wee Brooke! Coordination, balance, motivation, drive and basic obstacles are some of the things we'll be focussing on. I'll try and keep the blog up to date as to how we get on.
These cute pics were taken by my sister on holiday - thanks Amy!!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Brooke 7 months already!

Our gorgeous pup has turned 7 months today - I can't believe it as it only seems like yesterday when we met her for the first time. She is such a beautiful young lady, great attitude to work and so very affectionate. She has recently discovered the joy of sitting on laps when its cold and will really snuggle up! We just love her to bits and can't imagine life without her :)

We have been away for the last week in the Peak District and also celebrated my Mums 60th Birthday in style with a big party! Despite my Mum feeling under the weather, she had a great time and we all enjoyed catching up with people that we hadn't seen for ages. There was about 40 people in total and the shelties and Tresca (my sisters dog) had fun mingling with people and hoovering up the food that was dropped!! The picture below was taken just before all the guests arrived - what a wonderful team of people that hosted the party and organised food.

The rest of the week we spent doing some lovely walks and some included walking to dog friendly pubs! We stayed at Wheeldon Trees farm which is very dog friendly and the owners Martin and Deborah are lovely and so helpful. The cottages are fantastic and there are enclosed dog paddocks as well as the fab walks. Also every cottage has an enclosed patio or garden area.

Here are a few pics from our holiday, Brodie's face is hilarious on the photo below :)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Watch out Britains got talent...

What a talented puppy! For fun I had taught Brooke to put her back feet on a small pile of videos which she was quick to learn. Then inspired by Silvia Trkman's puppy trick training, I thought we could turn it into a handstand. Well, Brooke decided to skip about 5 stages and got it straight away! She cracks us up though as she is so serious about working :) Here are the 3 short videos of her attempts at handstands

And much quicker to get it in this clip

Obviously she is young so we have kept the training very short and sweet as with everything at the mo but she loves it. We did another demo at an old peoples home on friday and she was a star. The other two really enjoy doing the demos as well and payment for them came in the form of ginger biscuits! Agility wise we have nothing else planned so can concentrate on Brooke training, keeping Brodie ticking over and retraining Brax's contacts - watch this space!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Our 5th Anniversary!

Last week was our 5th Wedding Anniversary and I just have to say how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband who has been so supportive of me in general but also in my new buisness venture. He is also my best buddy to bounce ideas off, have a laugh with and its so nice to see so much more of each other - life is definitely too short!! (Still wondering why I didn't do this sooner?!) It is also so lovely to be able to share a hobby with someone who understands the highs and lows, helps with training issues and shares your excitment at a good clear round! It seems like only yesterday that we got married yet I can't remember not being with Matthew, I guess he has put up with me for 11 years now! :)

Anyway, I got very exciting pressi's from Matthew, a new crate, a slow cooker and a Manners Minder which I have wanted for a while! For those of you not in the know, a Manners Minder is a remote controlled dog treat dispenser so it is excellent for teaching the dog independent behaviours. Already Brooke has been going up the hallway over her little jump bumps to it - what a great game!! I haven't got any videos of her with the Manners Minder yet but here is a clip of her going over the jump bumps to her ball.

We also managed to get her up to the arena to do a tunnel somewhere other than puppy class. Here she is racing through a slightly bend tunnel for the first time.

I have to say a huge WELL DONE to Paul and Maria with Chester the Beagle as he has now won into Grade 5!!! What an amazing first season they have had going from Grade 1 up to 5 in as many months and winning the Agility Club Starters Cup along the way! Very proud of you all for all your hard work and dedication :)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Brooke 6 months Birthday!

Brooke celebrated her half birthday with a lovely walk in the morning, a big biscuit at lunch and a fun time at school in the evening!

Here are the shelties on their early morning walk
Brooke had fun at school again and I finally managed to take some little videos of her. (I must explain that Matthew is wearing smart trousers and trainers because he had just driven from his work in Kent and hasn't got time to go home first! ) The first video is her doing turns off lead and from watching this back I think we'll do obedience if agility doesn't work out - what a trot!!

This video is Brooke practising her elephant trick but as with all behaviour, its very different with distractions present. She is tentative and unsure as her box is a lot smaller and she doesn't normally have 6 dogs watching her! Bless her she manages ok with a bit of help from Matthew.

The last video is Brooke going through the straight pipe tunnel which she loves!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Brooke photos

Here are a few pics of Brooke puppy out on a walk this morning. We went without the others to get her a little more confident about meeting other dogs and she was very good - even wanted to play chase with a HUGE pointer! The photos also show what a huge amount of hair she is developing round her neck and chest! The pics below are her practising her 'waits' - what a cute expression :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Brooke almost 6 months!

Brooke is now attending school on a monday nights! She has had two lessons and is doing really well. Its a group of seven dogs of all sizes from a Russian Black Terrier to a tiny JRT! We were lucky to find a puppy class which is all positive and that is geared towards developing foundation agility skills. So far Brooke has done targetting, restrained recalls to front and side, directional commands whilst walking round cones, walking over weave poles on the ground, waits and LOADS of play! She was much less distracted the second week and was much more attentive to Matthew. I'll try and get some video next week.

At home we have been doing our homework but also working on wobble cushion and being a bear to help her balance. Today for the first time I was sending her away to a target up the hall over jump bumps (which in our house are wrapping paper cardboard tubes cut in half!) and she seems to get to grips with the game and her striding quickly.
Here is a video of her being a bear - she is such a gorgeous girly and soooo serious about her trick!

She fell asleep on Matthews lap after school and she had her tongue sticking out! I managed to take her pic when she was just waking up - ahhh bless!
Brodie and Brax deserve a mention as we did agility at the weekend and they both won their jumping classes at AJAXS UKA show. My friends Kate and Heidi came and ran their dogs for the first time and did really well. When you have been competing for ages, you do forget how nerve racking it is the first few times you get in the ring. Think they may get the bug though..! We have only got a couple of shows left this season but we have some ace training sessions lined up for Miss Brooke :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Holiday Part 2 - England

I have been very late with catching up on the blog as we were away over the weekend at Letchworth show. Anyway, back to holiday!

After staying in Scotland with my Dad we travelled down to Durham and spent a couple of days exploring the area. We really enjoyed going to the Beamish outdoor museum which allows dogs except in the buildings. Brooke saw pigs, chickens, horses, other dogs and loads of people, she also got to ride on the trams!
On the friday we went to Preston as we had planned to go to Wyre Agility Show on the saturday and sunday but they were very sensible and cancelled it after a huge amount of rain on the friday. We decided to go to Blackpool and explore a bit and we found a lovely big park with putting (Matthew won again!) and the dogs had a great time :)

On the sunday we did champ at Wyre in the rain. They had saved a ring for champ but the conditions were still not great - footie boots were def needed. Brodie did a clear in the jumping qualifier with a dodgy turn (I said right and he went left!) and Brax went clear despite hating the conditions! In the agility qualifier, Brax did a nice clear again and after a flying start, Brodie failed came out the middle of his weaves. Watching it in slow motion on the video I think he lost his footing a bit and didn't turn tight enough. Any, after that I handled like a numpty and got a refusal as well! Brax made it through to the final and ended up 4th, not bad as it was such a long way round on mud for such a small sheltie!!

After Wyre, we did the monday at Northern Week. It was in a massive field and had a huge exercise area which meant that little Brooke had the chance to run around after her ball like a looney! The champ agility course was good but quite challenging in that it forced you into handling in a certain way in places but both dogs ran well, despite Brax flying off the dog walk - grr! Brodie almost goes airbourne over the Aframe which worried me a bit! The qualifying rounds are on Youtube. Brax ran well in the jumping qualifier as well until racing up the last straight and running INTO the wall. I think she was chasing Matthew and missed her stride. She used to take a lot of poles until we started grid work with her but she hasn't done it for ages. Brodie did another clear run in the jumping to put us into the final. Brax also got through as so many dogs had been eliminated.

The final was probably slightly harder than the qualifying rounds which is unusual in champ as often it is more of a blast in the champs I've done. The tunnel under the Aframe caught out loads of dogs but so did the start. The push through meant that you started the serpentine behind the dog but then needed to be the other side of the dog walk. I went for the legging it and sending him out option and to be honest was just pleased to go clear. I had a hairy moment when her turned left instead of right again but managed to save it! Brax had a refusal and ended up 4th. Imagine my shock when I found out that Brodie had got the RESERVE CC!!! Steven Richardson and Libby won the ticket making her Ag Champion so lots of hugging all round! I am so proud of my little Mr Toad, going from a nervous grade 1 up to a reserve ticket, he really is my dog in a million :D :D :D His brother Sizzle had won the Reserve Ticket at Kingdom of Fife two weeks earlier - what clever boys!

He really is my dog of a lifetime and he has achieved so much considering I got him to show and do some fun agility with! Love him to bits! Here he is posing with his posh rosette and ticketAfter three days of being on cloud nine we had to get organised to go to Letchworth 3 day show which is our club show so we were ring managing and helping. I think agility wise that the dogs were tired after holidays and also we stayed in a tent so none of us slept like normal except for wee Brooke! Brodie had some lovely runs on the first couple of days including getting 7th in the EO qualifier and one out of the placings in a couple of other agility runs. I know when I am helping that I don't warm the dogs up as much as normal and I think I made some silly mistakes when running. In the pairs on sunday Brodie just wouldn't run at all and kept looking at the judge. It reminded me that dogs are great levellers and have moments and we should never take consistent runs for granted! He is a quirky little dog who used to do this a lot but hasn't done it all year. Turns out that he had a sore tummy and wouldn't eat or even walk later that day - what a bad mummy :( I felt bad for making him run and should have realised but I was rushing around, poor boy. Fortunately he seems better now - he has a chicken allergy and someone had fed him treats without me checking what they were first so think those were the culprit. (No videos from Letchworth as didn't watch each other run) Here he is feeling much better on a walk this weekLittle Brooke had great fun at the show, helping me call and meeting lots of other dogs. We bought them new beds and the fav is a big blue bone shaped bed which the two girls love.
We also got Brooke's new harness through the post - big grown up girly now. Its really padded but best of all it fits - yay! I like the design as it has a loop on the back that is good for winding her up for restrained recalls. She started school this week and did really well - more of that in another post.