Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The KC Festival was massive! Lovely venue. Bit of a mix up with camping, the helpers and non-helpers camping areas were miles apart and despite being down as a helper, I was not sent the right pass. Thanks Sara for sorting that out! Although not with Karen, I had a nice spot near the exercise area. These things make a lot of difference to how much you enjoy the experience! I timed the journey to the rings at 7 minutes which didn't seem too bad. Well, not bad if you only do it once. Example, the journey done four times (there and back) to walk courses, four times to check on progress, six times to run = 28 x 7 = 196 minutes (if walking @ 4 miles an hour that over 12 miles!!). In actual fact it felt like non-stop walking all day. Wow how small things build up! Now if we apply the same principle to dog training, many small things that don't seem very much on their own could build up to something really impressive. While away I loved being with my dogs 'full time', and felt our bond really strengthening. I had the time to do everything how I wanted - individual attention. Now that I am back at work I am really hating my lack of time! I had time to worry about being made redundant while away, it would mean a complete career change. Well maybe from my dogs' point of view that would be a good thing! There was some fantastic agility to be seen, and I did try to make it to see the finals (unfortunately missed a lot as I was working on the rings at the time). Zazzy did very well and qualified for the novice cup finals (someone said there there were 500 dogs entered, but possible there were more, I thought there were 150 grade 3's in each of 3 parts, plus there must have been 100 G4 and another 100 G5, that would be 650, perhaps someone still has a ring plan?). Anyway my handling let her down in the final, I tried to tighten the turn off the second jump too much and pulled her right off it, I should know better than that, disappointing! As an example of the standard of competition, Zazzy came third in one class with the first place dog only 0.04 seconds faster.
Straight onto DIN, I like that venue too, lots of dog walking around it. Will have to continue later as I am late for work!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
You can just see the caravans of people camping at the show nestled in the valley in the background. These pictures are taken from Butser Hill, the highest point on the South Downs Way. If you keep going on the road you can see in some of the pictures (the A3) you get to the south coast. It is just beautiful on the top of the hill, looking in all directions.
Despite being small, don't be fooled into believing (as I hoped!) that the competition would not be fierce! It holds the last Olympia qualifiers of the year, so for many an all-or-nothing run was called for. So I was very pleased with Zazzy, who got good places in all but one run. Thank you to all the lovely people who mentioned that they could see a difference in the way she is going. She is much happier, and I am still looking for, and finding, little things to make her even happier and more confident. I hope we can keep making progress. I was thrilled and surprised and happy when she placed fourth in the Olympia qualifier. She came fifth in the last one and sixth in the one before. Shame, then, that it was the last one this year, as only the top three qualify! However the big news comes from Becky yet again! With her good friend Jessica (run by Karen Cole) she came second in the pairs, qualifying for the Pedigree pairs final!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Last weekend I went to a UKA show nearby, intending to do some training runs. Unfortunately, after Zazzy's contacts didn't seem that good on Saturday I noticed that she had scraped a pad. Not too badly, but I decided not to do any more contacts with her. Instead, I used the time to reward her waits. After having to put an enormous amount of work into Kaydee's waits (she is a nervous, can't sit still for a second, twitchy fidget!), Zazzy has been a dream. But it can't hurt to take the opportunity to reward her anyway! However, she did do (and win) a senior jumping run (can't remember if I mentioned she has won up to senior level in UKA). Becky also did some training runs, and also won a champ jumping (and got a couple of seconds). As I only do one or two runs a day with her now, I usually enter agility runs. But I noticed that she only needed a jumping win to gain her the UKA title of Win Champion of Agility Performance (WCAP). So clever girl, she has got that now. Actually she also has nearly enough points for a second CAP. I am very glad for UKA shows, providing a place to train if you want to, where Becky can compete at a lower height which has brought her back out of retirement, and where even Kaydee got to do a casual run over low jumps and tunnels. She was very happy about that, and grinned for the rest of the day!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Zazzy's training went really well last week, I was trying to keep her flowing forward smoothly and things seemed to be clicking into place (dog walk will need more work though!). I'm still doing very short sessions with her, and she shares her training at Bookham with Becky now. I have been doing a bit more with Becky and she is loving it! I keep a close eye on her though, at 9 1/2 I worry that I will make her shoulders stiff if I do too much. I am pretty sure it's to do with her conformation, her wrists and back are not very flexible and she has always jumped in straight lines and then turned on her shoulders. Anyway, she is really enjoying herself and I am enjoying running her. She can't be faulted for lack of keeness! I have done something crazy, and entered her into the championship class at Rugby(July). It will be her last champ class, a bit of fun.
At Golden Valley (lovely venue, on a hill, great views, new toilet and shower block!) we had a quiet weekend, as Karen et al. had gone to Axstane. I was very pleased that Zazzy qualified for the Alpha Agility final (out of a class of around 430 dogs!) which will be at Stoneleigh on the same weekend as the Olympia semis and pedigree pairs and team finals. She came second in her agility on Saturday, and I was kept in suspence as she was in the lead for around 230 dogs in her agility on Sunday, but in the end, bridesmaid again!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
On Sunday Zazzy had three runs, a pairs run where she met a wall for the first time (it took two attempts, sorry Karen!). She is looking happier and that is such a relief to me! It was horrible running her when she was flat, in fact I realise now probably a big mistake, as apart from the obvious, that it isn't nice, I wondered if long term I have taught her to do agility slowly. But I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, as I didn't really know what what going on until we tried it and it wasn't right, and also with her three months off over the winter for various other things, she would easily have had six months off and we would be starting from scratch about now! Anyway things are what they are, and I have what is in front of me. I am very pleased with her performance over the weekend. Her running A-frame was good, and her dog walk was not too bad. We have had some homework because of my bad handling; in the last few shows she had been hitting the AF contact a bit high, and her dog walk was getting slower and more creepy. Both of these problems were my fault. I had been trying to encourage her to go a bit faster, so she was trying to leave the AF faster (shorter strides = not hitting low enough) and I was releasing her DW too early (confusing her criteria therefore uncertainty was making her creep - how many times have I advised other people not to do that!!!). Thames is a large competitive show, and so I was pleased that she came 6th in ther KC Olympia qualifier with a very shabby wide turn (bit of homework needed there!), and 8th in her jumping where she got caught up in the cloth tunnel and had a real struggle getting out! I thought that the KC qualifier course (judeged by Rob Davies) was really good, it looked deceptively easy! Zazzy's brother Spider (with Laura Derret) came third, and we thought had qualified for the semi, but I am still to find out whether they have, as Lauren Langman (who won it) has already qualified, but there was uncertainty about whether it was Matt's dog that she was running in that class. (By the way Lauren, is there any chance that I could have my wobble board back, please?) I couldn't decide what to enter Becky into (choice was highly demanding KC or Crufts qualifier courses, championship.... or veterans - talk about extremes!) wallowing in my indecision I ended up missing the closing date! So apart from helping me to test out my course, she didn't run. I really enjoyed watching the championship, the pangs of not running in them myself any more are still there but not as bad, although I still miss running Kay terribly. It was great to have a chat with Char about Tia who is going through the same type of thing. Thames is a very well organised show, and top of the list of 'must do's ' because of the Saturday nights! Overall a very enjoyable weekend! (I didn't want to come home - shame I have to go to work now!)
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Little Zazzy showed today that she is feeling better, she came third in her grade 3 jumping and second in her agility, so she can now enter the Novice Cup at the KC festival.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I attended a fantastic meeting on the evolution of flowers at the Royal Society in London this week http://royalsociety.org/event.asp?id=7434, absolutely brilliant and inspiring. I have worked with one of the organisers, Peter Crane, when he was the Director at RBG Kew, and admire him immensley. He has phenominal intelligence, ability to see the BIG picture (I'm talking evolution of plants here which is a massively large subject!) and focus on the detail at the same time (I have carried out and published results of two pollen projects with him). All this while being in charge of the Gardens, he was jetting off to a different part (or parts)of the world every week, and has a family. Rumour has it that he only needed four hours sleep and was out running round the Gardens at 4am. Shame on me for thinking it is sometimes a challenge to fit dog training around work!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Only a couple of bad things, the most important of course was missing Karen's happy fun company on Sunday, and the second is that I realised that there hasn't yet this year been a day at a dog show where there hasn't been an upsetting incident involving dog aggression.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Who is herding who??!
Back at Pollys field (Monday) - the sun comes out at last! (have you seen the triangle of collies behind Polly?!)
Last walk of the weekend (Chobham Common)
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Zazzy had a little scrape on her pad Monday, but I didn't want to take any chances with it so she had a quiet week, and it had healed by the weekend. Saturday we went to Waverunners, a local UKA show. Freezing cold wind! I kept my dogs in coats most the day! Becky had a run in the casual agility class which meant she ran at standard height rather than large ( I have always run her in large without measuring her because it is the same height as KC jumps). She LOVED it! (and got 1st place for her efforts). I decided to get her measured, and she is easily inside standard height, which is fantastic news as it will be great fun to be able to keep competing with her (I had decided to run her in veterans classes this year, which I will still do at KC shows). Better get her a bit fitter! (Do you think at nine years old it is too late to teach her to wait at the start?!)
Well isn't it so much easier to see where other people could improve than do a perfect run yourself?! Zazzys first run was snooker. I walked my course, then thought about it, and decided I would do a training run instead. Except I found myself running my pre-prepared course and only realised I wasn't going to get to do the bits I wanted to train when the whistle signalled my time was up. What a fool!!
I thought most the 'beginners' courses at the show were very hard, two that I did needed a recall across the entire ring (three or four obstacles); happily Zazzys waits were fantastic. (Well I say fantastic, sometimes I wonder if she is ever going to move!) She is still a bit flat, I have been told this could go on until the puppies would have been due, so I guess there could be many weeks of this yet! Zazzy's responce to my handling was very accurate, just one misunderstanding. She slipped and nose-dived going into one set of weaves, unfortunately just as I was crossing behind her (no comments on the size and/or weight of her nose please Toni, you are soooo rude), so she came out of those. Otherwise her weaves were good, also her see-saw was confident so I was happy with that (she has been very unhappy doing see-saws for a long time due to an early scare which had made her very cautious). There were no dog walks (taken out due to a very strong gusty wind). She didn't miss an A-frame although one was higher than I'd like, so we need to build on that technique a bit more. She won her steeplechase by three seconds, and I'm pleased with her jumping style. We are starting to do a few grids and turns in training now, I think this will be really beneficial. I'm looking forward now to doing a few more shows as I am hoping her confidence will grow with more experience.
Sunday I had a Toni Dawkins training day, which was a hoot, and included rather a lot of hilarious banter forming the background to some very good training. I was disappointed again as about 30% of Zazzy's A-frames were higher than I wanted (although again she didn't actually miss any). Toni had us recalling the A-frame from beyond other equipment, a good way to see if our body positions are affecting the dogs performance. We did some handling of more testing turns, and with a bit of help from Toni I was really pleased with our progress. Between those two things I have plenty of homework!
Monday, March 23, 2009
Natasha Wise's training was excellent (as always) and my lack of fitness quickly became apparent! Now this is the second time I have been told that Zazzy needs much, much earlier indication of turns so I must make sure that I don't need telling again! (Kaydee would respond instantly to positional changes, but Zazzy has a very long stride).
On Sunday Polly and I did a short session working on building speed on the contacts and I was thrilled with Zazzy. She is still a bit flat, and very cuddly in the evenings, but bless her trying really hard.
Then I rushed off to prepare for the co-ordination and balance course. I failed to make a decent small ladder for the sheltie pups, but in the end they got on very well with one rung of a normal ladder. It was a superstar class, many of the pups had already been doing lots of similar things and were very impressively co-ordinated and balanced.
Have to leave for work now, so will write more later.
Good luck to Jason with his cabbage diet. I will be egging you on (from a distance ha ha ha). I can't pretend to have that kind of self discipline, but I have been for a run this morning, and (birthday permitting) will be trying to amend my ways (at least until the clothes fit again!)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Every time I have a moment to look up and catch my breath another week has passed! But I seem to have little to show for my work, probably because I am being landed with heaps of other peoples’ 'grunt work' which I am told gets priority. That means that my own research is not getting done. Bit demoralising. Today I looked out the window to see some beautiful sunshine out there, and I just wanted to be out having a nice long walk with the girls, but unfortunately it’s just work, work, work at the moment! Never mind I will be able to take lots of leave later in the year. More worryingly, there are rumours of redundancy rippling around the place, and the likelihood of my department having no operating budget at all from April. Maybe I will be getting more leave than expected lol! The standard response to ‘how are you?’ has become ‘clinging on to employment’! At least people are still joking about it.
It’s important to have something good in your life, which is why I am grateful for having my dogs, and all their wagging and grinning when I get home!
I haven’t rushed to write about Zazzy’s first two KC jumping classes. Compared with a couple of practise runs that I have got on video, done before all her problems and time off, well she just didn't seem 'up for it'. She was concentrating and careful, ever the thinker bless her! Unfortunately I over-encouraged her through the weaves in the first run as she was going really rather steadily, and this resulted in her coming out. In training her weaves are good, but obviously more proofing from distractions are needed! Her second run could have been tricky, but she was looking at me rather than attacking the course, so no problems with getting caught out taking the wrong course. She got the weave entry but then seemed to loose her way again and came out. At the end, for the first time in her life, she didn’t want to play. Worrying and upsetting for me! Perhaps because we got caught between the queue of lunging barking dogs, and the dog on course coming up to the finish, while waiting a long time for her lead and toy to arrive; must see if I can get a kind person to make sure she gets a toy as soon as she finishes in future! Despite this, I have felt great progress in our relationship and training recently. I am looking forward to building on this with a couple of training sessions in the next few weeks. I am hoping that Dawn Weaver will be able to help with her running A-frame training, we have had a couple of set-backs in the last two of her weekly training classes (the only two I have been doing A-frames in!). The courses were too testing for her level of understanding. I have learned too late that it is a mistake to get a young, thoughtful dog to attempt more testing running contact scenarios for the first time in a club environment (those that cause a shortened stride rather than encouraging the long stride necessary for a running A-frame). (The first week the A-frame was up in the corner of the indoor school close to and pointing into the wall, and unfortunately there was also a target left at the bottom. The second week it had a tunnel underneath it, difficult for her to do from an extended stride off the A-frame). My ‘allotted time’ ran out with the problem ongoing so I had to end the training session there, resulting in one confused dog and one frustrated handler. Bit tricky training with different training methods to the trainer! I have also got booked some training with Natasha Wise, which should be a fantastic injection of enthusiasm, drive and energy. Then our last training day for this season, the last in the series of Toni (Dawkin)’s Winter Agility Training (work out the acronym that the group proudly calls themselves for yourself!) (what a shame Zazzy missed nearly all of these!).
It was lovely to meet up with everyone at Mid Downs, and I am really looking forward to the summer season now, I remembered how much I enjoy travelling around to shows, camping and spending time with friends. With the winter down time and Kaydee having six months off last year, it seems like a long time since we were out and about (fingers crossed that we get some good camping weather this year!) A year ago a lovely handsome blue merle dog called Kye (handled by Bridget Fletcher) caught my (and Zazzy’s!) eye, and he did so again at Mid Downs. He has a lovely temperament (just like Zazzy), is calm and quiet when not working, yet keen and clever when asked (just like Zazzy), and has a strong athletic build and is beautifully put together (just like Zazzy). I can’t help but think that they would have wonderful puppies together! At completely the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, I was gutted to hear that one of the two rescued puppies that Leah was hand rearing has lost his fight for life. I am hoping and praying that the little girl keeps going from strength to strength.
I’m looking forward to (or is that bracing for?) a busy few weeks now, not least of all looking forward to the last co-ordination and balance course that I’ll be running this season, which will be on Sunday. There will be a gathering of O’Bay sheltie sisters; I am hoping to finish a bespoke sheltie puppy sized ladder in time! It is also a big month for birthdays, including my Mum’s, two of my nephews, and lots of other friends and work colleagues, as well as MINE!!!!
By the way my sisters clever boyfriend has (I think) worked out how to get my camcorder videos onto here. Unfortunately (for me) they are both on holiday in Vancouver this week - top of my list of places I'd most like to visit. But there you go, somehow they have to make up for not having the three best dogs in the world sharing their lives. Poor them!
Monday, March 9, 2009
She is in South Wales, and with my weekend taken up by judging and a day at Crufts, I have not been able to go and see her, although if Leah says she would have her if she could, I have no doubt that if I did see her I would want her too! However, I have made a hard decision, I have waited such a long time for my long coated scruffy little dog, that I will wait a bit longer, and so the beautiful but smooth coated Snoopy is still available! Her description was taken off the website over the weekend, but will be back again soon. However, if you can offer Snoopy a wonderful, active home, it would be better to get in touch with Many Tears as soon as possible before someone else sees her!
Many Tears Animal Rescue can be found at:
TEL - 01269 843084
We are open to the public every day from10:00am to 4:00pm
We DO NOT accept telephone calls before 10:00am or after 4:00pm
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Sunday I had a fantastic day at Crufts. I got to see the two qualifying runs of the small, medium and large championships, unfortunately I didn't have a ticket to see the finals. A fantastic acheivement to qualify to be there, it was thrilling to watch. Huge congratulations to Toni Dawkins for winning both the medium and large championships (in fact Minx won the medium jumping and agility qualifiers as well as the final), and to Bernadette for getting Zen from maternity leave to reserve champion. Also well done to Nicola Garrett winning the small champ with her sheltie Indie, and Dawn Weaver for getting the reserve with the tiny little pocket rocket papillon, Puzzle. Well I've been up at 4:30am both days, and got home at 10pm tonight, so I better end this post now so I can get up for work tomorrow!
Monday, February 9, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I also had great fun running Becky and Karens poodle Tikka round some low jumps, they were so joyful and enthusiastic it was brilliant. Kaydee had to settle for some tricks and learning to run to a mark, but she enjoyed that. Then we had a lovely long walk over Chobham common where the views from the hilltops were gorgeous in the weak winter sunshine, although there was a bitterly cold wind there were some pretty mini flurries of snow.
I really want to mention Karens new sheltie puppy, Yazoo. She is astonishing! At eight weeks old she came trotting out today with real confidence, gumption and attitude, she is wonderful! She already has a brilliant attitude, shows great understanding (can a puppy be wise at 8 weeks old?) and aptitude for learning, and she is amazingly co-ordinated for her age, my goodness Bernadette has done a fantastic job with those puppies!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Zazzy's weaving progress: I'm happy to say that I did manage to bodge together two weave poles to work in my living room, although it was a bit disconcerting that Zazzy spat out the chicken breast I was using for reward (it was supposed to have been my dinner!!), but that's another story! Anyway, it seems after sleeping on it, Zazzy has remembered about what to do with weave poles, and in five minutes yesterday she worked up to four, she was picking up the entry and driving through really well, from all angles with about 80% success (she missed a couple of really tough angles first go). I was using her favourite toy and she really picked up speed as well for that! I am really pleased with her progress. Amazing what can happen in 5 minutes!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Oh well never mind that, I am off to find a way to make two weave poles stand up in the middle of my living room...
Monday, January 26, 2009
I've been tagged too :-)
By Karen (http://just-todd-bykaren.blogspot.com/)
Open a document or file folder
Click on the fifth folder
and then the fifth photo
Post the photo and describe it
Unfortunately this gives a photo of a teleconverter I have not yet got round to putting on ebay. Boring huh? Sorry!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
While Zazzy is about to start out, Kaydee has reached the end of her competitive agility career. After a very thorough examination and discussion, I think I have a much clearer picture of what is going on with her. A region of her spine is not mobile, possibly an arthritic response to an old trauma (she suffered a nasty accidental collision when she was younger). This lack of mobility causes a problem during the highly demanding athletic requirements of training and competing in agility, because the muscles in that area cannot function optimally where her back does not flex where it is supposed to. Although she compensates pretty well, the compensation causes soreness and problems in other areas that have to work harder and stretch further. This at first causes muscle soreness, then over-stretching of muscle, ligament or tendon, thus causing tears and injury. So my job now is to think of something she can do that will keep her physically fit and mobile, and mentally challenged, without causing any problems.
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