Monday, 25 February 2013

TTouch Workshop

I am pleased to report that Brodie and Brooke checked out fine at the physio last week so are raring to go for the show season!! All three shelties are looking fit and well at the moment so long may it continue :)

On Saturday, Brooke and I had a day out at a TTouch Workshop with Maria Johnston. It was brilliant and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in dogs. We learnt about the basic ttouches and calming signals and then had a go on our dogs. It was amazing how the adrenaline level in the room dropped (both human and canine) once we started working on the dogs. Maria demonstrated body wraps and face wraps for anxious dogs and bearing in mind all the dogs thought they must be there to 'do' something it was a steep learning curve for them as well, to learn to relax. 

In the afternoon, Maria demonstrated some groundwork exercises to improve the dogs confidence and proprioception. We all had a go with our dogs and it was great how Brooke started off quite stressed and offering different behaviours around the equipment but soon settled and focused once she was wearing a body wrap. Her concentration was so much better and she stopped being so 'busy'. Many of the dogs struggled with these exercises as round agility equipment we are constantly raising their adrenaline and telling them what to do. Maria was keen that the dogs were left to walk in their own balance and walk through exercises slowly without being told what to do constantly. Although Brooke didn't do much physical exercise, she was absolutely shattered after the workshop as they had really had to use their brains. Funnily enough, some of the groundwork exercises that we did are ones I used to use when I taught puppy classes years ago. I have a horse book about Tellington Touch and I had modified the groundwork exercises for my puppies and novice dog classes!

Brooke was over the moon on sunday morning as she found a ball on the fields! It was a bit big for her but she managed to pick it up and carried it all the way home. She does love collecting treasures still!! Next weekend is the start of the party season for the doglets so I'll have lots of trials and tribulations to report I'm sure. Only Brodie is competing next weekend as we are ring managing so I'll try and get a video. I'm sure he'll be wild! :)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Edinburgh Trip

Warning - this post is not really about dogs until the end!!

Over the weekend I flew up to Edinburgh to see my little sister and celebrate my Dad's birthday. The weather was really kind to us and we made the most of it! Unfortunately the previous weekend I had slipped and really hurt my knee. I had acupuncture on it last week and again today but am still on restricted exercise. Its very frustrating as I can't ride for another couple of weeks or run the dogs properly :(

Anyway my visit to Edinburgh came at a good time for my knee as I had three days away from mud!!

Amy and I looking a bit rosy after climbing the 287 steps in the Scott monument (below).Yes, it was slightly mad to do it with a sore knee but the views were worth it!

My Dads springer Pepper keeping cosy - she'll be 14 in May!

The train themed birthday cake - my Dad is a HUGE train fan! Amy made the cake and it was modelled on a real steam train. She is the artistic one!!

Amy in the mirror maze in Camera Obscura - well worth a visit!

When I got back home it was nice weather and the ground had started to dry out a bit. The ponies are now getting a wee feed just to keep their condition on and Diva has a very bizarre habit! After she has finished her food, she rolls next to her food bowl, just literally drops like a stone!! Has anyone ever experienced that with their horse? Its quite comical and her breeder said she used to do it to her Mums food bowl, much to Belle's disgust!! I led Diva over a pole today and she just plodded behind me without turning a hair - her brother Rio on the other hand turned himself inside out trying to avoid the nasty pole! 

Onto the dogs! Brooke went to a training session on monday evening with Sian Illingworth. We had a bit of a disaster as Matthew got lost coming straight from work so Brooke didn't see him until her first run. She was a little superstar though and Matthew even did some very nice Ketchup turns! I wish I had video'd but in the rush I'd forgotten the camera and my phone wouldn't work in the indoor school. Its not long until our first shows so we are getting really excited now! Despite my crap knee, I 'ran' Brodie on tuesday with Jenni and Rommy to practice pairs and they both looked great. Ours are off to the physio tonight for their pre season MOT so hopefully I will have nothing bad to report next time :)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Brodie's Birthday and playing puppies!!

My handsome little man is 6 years old now - Happy Birthday Brodie pups. He is the bestest boy ever, I love  spending time with him and he can always cheer me up. He is my comfy pair of slippers on an agility course and what an amazing little dog to put up with me as a handler!! He has taken me from Grade 1 to Grade 7   but above all he's my little shadow - always at my feet. Sorry I've just read that back and it sounds cheesy but I can't describe how much I love this little dude. Brodie will have a new chapter to his career this year as he may become a daddy - watch this space..!

I had to post a photo of both neddies - Max because he was clean (rare event!!) and Diva cos she was having a little siesta with Coco standing by. Look - there is even blue sky!!

Yesterday we went to Lians to celebrate Chinese New Year and play with the puppies who are now 5 weeks old. Its a fun age to meet them as they are developing strong little personalities and are quite active. Lian and Colin spoilt us with lots of yummy food (Lian is a very good cook!!) and we even managed successfully to eat with chopsticks! It was really interesting learning about CNY and trying different food while playing puppies and having a good catch up.

These are a bit blurry as puppies don't pose very well yet! This is grandad Sing (Brookes dad) and three of the puppies. Its great that they have so much to climb on and different surfaces to walk across - I'm sure thats why nothing fazes Brooke in agility!

This is Rae about to pounce on a hoof! She is a very bold girly who will be quite dark shaded sable like her auntie Brooke. She was very playful and couldn't keep still for long!

 This is Isla playing tug with Matthew (and Rae washing her bum in the background!) Isla reminded Matthew and I of our little Bracken as a puppy. I'm sure Isla will end up bigger than Brax tho! She really came out of herself over the course of the day and has a sparky little attitude :)

It was all too much having visitors! This is beautiful mummy Sunny and Storm asleep on the wobble cushion. He is the biggest boldest pup and boy can he tug!!

I'm afraid I didn't get any decent pics of Spirit (the other boy) this is the best one!! He has a white nose and is very handsome. He isn't as bolshy as Storm but LOVED cuddles and tugging Matthews hair!

Whoever ends up with these puppies are very lucky people!! If they are anything like their auntie Brooke they will give you masses of fun and cuddles :)

Monday, 4 February 2013

Dave training for Brooke

Brooke went to a Dave Munnings training day yesterday. She had so much fun and despite not having done much recently did well. Dave's training is great and he did some fab foundation exercises that I will definitely be practicing! I did video a few of her runs but they have't come out that well which is a shame. We came away with a list of things to work on which I love!

First jump focus
Wing wraps (the indoor school surface was rubber chips and caused her to slip a couple of times which     meant her and Matt's timing was out)
Tightening up front crosses
Teaching Brooke to check her stride

The massive positives for us were that Brooke bean was on full power for the whole session and wasn't worried about the other dogs (four new dogs) or the environment. She tugged like a demon and tried very hard to get it right. She was taking strides out all over the place - good on a straight line but she needs to do more work on checking her stride. I'm hoping to do some work in the field with her tomorrow. Its such a shame that Matt can't work with her more than he does as she loves her dad so much. She was such a tired girly after training-bless her! She has some exciting training days coming up - Sian Illingworth, Maria Johnstone (TTOUCH) and Natasha Wise. I'll try and get better videos!

Little Brax is still improving physically on her tablets and seems to be growing in new coat. I have clipped her hair shorter on her tummy and legs as she is so low to the ground (and mud!) Her attitude seems to have changed as well! When we went to the field on saturday she screamed going up the drive and she squawked all the way up the drive to Dave's session yesterday! She is desperate to do agility so I will try and do some with her tomorrow as well :)

I took this picture of Brax's other side but it makes me laugh as Brodie is watching a bird in the tree!