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.