Thursday, 28 August 2014

Push the limits!

We went to the FAB show in Oxford at the weekend and did a couple of classes with all of the doglets. The shelties were doing the IFCS qualifiers in jumping and agility and Miss Sparkle did nfc agility and a Newbie steeplechase. I think between me and Matthew we only had one clear round (Bracken in the IFCS agility) but I did learn lots of take away and improve on! 

1-Don't expect poor baby collie to do an Aframe in the ring when its her first time on aluminium contacts and she hasn't done one in ages! She was quite confident but as she didn't have her mat down she strided it all wrong. On the plus side she did a nice dog walk, first time over aluminium and it was bouncy! 

2-Don't run with keys in your hoodie pocket!! Put me off totally in Brodie IFCS jumping run and I handled like an idiot!

3-Support every turn, don't just drop your arm and run off without giving the dog a clue! (This whoopsy can be seen in the Brodie video below!) Thanks to Helen who filmed us :-)

4-If you are at a show all day remember to take Nurofen half way through the day!!

On Tuesday I had the chance to go and train with Lila Zachwatowicz from Poland who is a lovely handler and does the most amazing turns with her dog. Roz who owns three shelties including Brookes niece kindly organised and hosted the day and it was specifically for shelties although luckily Sparkle was invited! We walked the course in the morning and wondered how we would get our dogs round it as it was tricky! It made me realise though that Sparkle and I are ready to tackle some of these trickier challenges. She worked really well and I was very pleased with her attitude even when we couldn't get it right-more my problem than hers! It was also pushing me out of my comfort zone with her as we hadn't done some of the course elements before so I was unsure of my timing and the cues she would pick up on. Even things like rear crosses on a wing wrap are a bit hit and miss so she had a lot to take in and so did I!!

Here is a video of us doing our thing on one of the courses! Late cues from me resulted in a couple of poles and she forgot what a go round was to start with but we managed a lot of it that I didn't think we would! 

After training we went for a lovely sheltie walk in the forest-Brodie and Brax are in the picture below. Thanks to Lian who took it. I took some but they were all looking the wrong way!! :-)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Girls did good!!

On Saturday Sparkle puppy and I had a day out at one of the JFS (just for starters) shows. They are designed for newbie dogs and/or handlers and you can do nfc (not for competition) runs of you want. I have to say when I walked the first two courses I thought they were harder than I had expected! Apparently they were set harder than the last two shows which had flowing courses with no/one change of side. The agility had four changes of sides two of which were after straight tunnels to off set jumps! I made the decision to do the steeplechase for competition and run all of the others nfc. She was a little superstar in the steeplechase, really listened to me and did a lovely wait. I was so proud of her, her first competitive run and she won it-clever little pipsqueak! The photographer got an action of me actually running, just to prove I do occasionally! (Thanks to Des Hassell for this pic)

On Sunday we went to Adams for the day. The shelties were competing and did really well. Brodie did a lovely clear but was one out of the placings. Brooke was 2nd in the 1-7 jumping and also 2nd in G6 agility (with held contacts) Little Brax was amazing and came 2nd in G7 jumping-go diddle!! So here it is...Sparkles first ever sofa picture :-) 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Agility is FUN!!!

Firstly a quick show update! We went to Adams last weekend and had the three shelties running, Brodie came 3rd in a C5-7 agility by turning the wrong way at a jump as his silly handler told him to! Brax won the same class on small height and Brooke bean got another jumping win. She was very close to having an agility win but Matt said weaves as she was in the air over a jump and she dropped like a stone and took the pole!

Dolly came too and did really well getting a 2nd in C1-3 agility with (four!) held contacts. What a good spanner! I still think its a shame that she has to win her way up in Combined classes just because I run her whereas other Grade 1 dogs can also enter combined classes. At least she is showing that she is capable! It just limits what shows she can do which is a shame. Here is her agility run!

And Mr Toad having a zoomie in the field!! Love that little monkey so much :-D

One of my lovely clients has written about me on her blog as she is doing a blogathon during August. Her website is here. She sells lovely bags, wallets and various other leather goods. She is writing a post every day about local people and things she enjoys. Its a lovely idea! Julie has a lovely rescue dog called Reacher who as a first dog has provided a few challenges but is a super lovely boy. They are coming on so well with their agility and he has blossomed from a nervous reactive dog into one that looks to his Mum for guidance. A perfect example of the saying that 'life is about the journey, not the destination' 

Anyway talking to Julie got me thinking. We were saying how it would be fun for Reacher to try a little competition next year and have a goal to aim for. Like many of my clients when we first start mentioning the show word, she said she would only want to do it for fun. I wish everyone who competed in agility thought like that-how true, yes it should be fun for you and the dog. Matthew and I do it for fun and also like to be competitive but how many people are at shows and have lost the sense of fun? I certainly know/have seen a few. The whole spirit of agility should be about trust, partnership and having fun with your dog. It would do some people good to remember that and your dogs will thank you for it :-) If anyone ever sees me leave a ring without praising my dog you have permission to come over and kick me!!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Agility Club and Barking Mad

The gang on an early morning cool walk!

It was so hot again for the Agility Club show. We had Brax in Champ, Brodie in teams and Brooke doing a jumping and agility class. Little Brax ran her socks off and managed to get into the champ final-she is such a cheeky little monkey though and pinged off her dog walk in the final! The jumping course was really challenging and fun to watch-it was interesting to see how people handled the first bit. I love courses where there are so many options and I thought this one was really clever.

Brodie and his sheltie team mates did Crufts teams. Sadly two of us had faults on the dog walk so although we were the fastest team we didn't qualify as one team went clear. It was a situation that Brodie has always struggled with- a tunnel wrapped round the down plank of the dog walk often makes him miss the contact and as I was behind he was looking for me too. We will try again next year as we have an awesome team!

This last weekend we went to Barking Mad which was a lovely show! Netted rings, good caterers and paddling pools for the dogs. Sparkle puppy had her first runs at a KC show and I couldn't be more pleased with her! She had a wait, focused on what I wanted and did a couple of lovely runs! She is not weaving quite yet so we didn't have a clear but it was nice to know she could string stuff together in a ring. We did weaves in the practice ring and she got them (eventually!) so more homework needed!

Brodie needed a new handler poor boy! A little error in each course meant no clears but he ran well despite the heat on Sunday. Little Brax got to do a jumping class too and wow was it a long one! Her and Brooke were in the same Graded 6-7 class (different grades though) and for the first time ever Matthew went clear on the same course with both girls with super lovely runs! Brooke won G6 and Brax came 3rd in G7 :)

Brooke bean was such a good girl winning four G6 classes. Three were jumping and one was agility so she still needs an agility win to go into G7. She worked so well and as usual gobbed her way round every course happily!! Here is a video of her G6-7 agility run

J9 doglets and their handlers did so well too. The best thing was Maria with Willow (Med G3), Jenni with Rommy (Med G5) and Brooke all won their Grades on the same G1-7 jumping course. Am I a proud trainer?? You bet!! They all worked so well :-)

And so Brax doesn't feel left out-here is the sofa pic! Looking at this picture is hard to believe that they are both small height dogs...Yes Brax is a proper midget!