Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Has it really been nearly a month ...

ooops ... bad blogger ...

Hmm .. so what have we done since I last posted?

5/6 July was Wellingborough and Tuffley. The former was a very successful day, the latter a disaster ... At Wellingborough, Sassy and our pairs partners Susie Josty and Jack managed to win the Eukanuba Mixi Pairs, beating some very good teams in the process. This should give us enough points to run at Crufts next year ... YAAAY! We also had several other good runs / placings that day, and I was just generally delighted with how she ran for me. That is definitely a show to go back to in my book, apart from the small exercise area.

12th July, we had a small local show, at which Sassy was a very clever girl, winning the agility and 2nd in the Gamblers and stupid handler syndrome for her other 2 runs. On the Sunday, we were supposed to go to Fairford airshow, but it was cancelled ... :o(

19/20th July we went to Caerphilly. Lovely show, but we were crap! Just one thing going wrong on every course...

This weekend I am judging at the Agility Club show on Saturday, and competing Sunday, with all 3 of my runs in the morning so I should be home by lunchtime.

Then on Monday we are off to the UKA week ... yippee!!!! I finally get my week away .... oh, and Rush makes his debut in Nursery ... he won't be ready to compete, but the experience is bound to be good for him!

Monday, June 30, 2008

What a clever princess

Well, my little princess was a superstar on Saturday at UKA in Newbury.

We had 4 runs plus the Royal Canin final and it was a brilliant day out.

Sew What pairs was up first for us - I ended up having to do a "scratch" pair, as my entered pair didn't make it. We were matched up with Sally Jones and her youngster Rudi, and what a great team! Sally and Rudi did the agility half and we did the jumping. Neither of us went flat out and we took a while to do our baton changeover ... but I'm delighted to report that we came 2nd and will be strutting our stuff in the Sew What Pairs final at Scrambles UKA in September.

Champ Jumping was second run of the day and we were hysterically funny! Sassy and I managed to fit in 27 obstacles ... I think the poor judge was a bit bemused as he had only set 19 or 20! I think Sassy was still feeling proud of her efforts in the pairs ... and I was just being blonde ....

3rd run was Champ Steeplechase and I was a bad handler and changed my handling plan .... and got us eliminated for the privilege.

Champ Agility was next and I decided not to opt for a training run, but rather to try to push my contacts a bit (then put her back on if she came off) .. but she didn't ... so we ended up in 2nd place.

We had to hang around until 6pm for the Royal Canin Grand Prix final to start, and it was well worth it. The course was nice, but a bit too "blasty" to really suit Sassy. That said, she ran really nicely and we ended up in 3rd place, with a lovely trophy, rosette and bag of food!

Just for amusement, I put Rush into the training ring for a minute .... and he didn't run off or do anything too embarrassing, but I am definitely sure he is not going to be a dog who will be ready at 18 months!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rush training update

Well, we are on 2 weeks break from training at Ant's as he is away on a school trip this week, and then next week he has a training session for the world champs.

With no training with him, I have decided that Rush and I need a "little project", so I have started him on my upright weaves, with enclosures so that he knows where he should be going!
I personally love training the dogs with enclosures as it makes it so easy for the dog to get it right, and to understand about finding the right entry. I also love the fact that you can practise all of the "independence" stuff and vary position and noises / distractions without worrying quite so much.

I still like channels for confidence and speed, and think that variety brings the most confidence in the dogs.

So .... on Monday night I set up the weaves with their enclosures, and Rush only took 3 attempts to go through the whole set before he figured out that it was not a good idea to come out of the enclosures.

After 3 days, we are now at the stage where I can wind him up and send him to find the entry and he will stay in and go to the end without worrying about where I am. I am practising recalling, sending on, me running alongside on the right, me running alongside on the left etc etc etc

Once I feel we are "bombproof" on understanding what I expect of him, I will slowly start to remove the enclosures one by one .... whilst still working channels at Ant's and at home.

In general terms, I am very pleased with how he is coming along. He is definitely a dog who wants to be confident about what is expected of him before he will fully commit to using his speed, but boy when he IS confident, he is stunning!

Sassy and I are really enjoying our season so far. Last weekend at Watford, we didn't come home with any souvenirs, but did have some nice work. Her 6-7 agility was nice, but after quite a few "I'm running really fast and can't listen any more" runs at previous shows, she was trying so hard to listen and concentrate that she got a refusal at the jump after the seesaw (as I had made sure she didn't take the weaves or a-frame). Her jumping run was dreadful, but that was largely due to the fact that they were suddenly calling to the end, and we were rather rushed to the ring. Sassy needs time in the queue to get her head together, and we simply didn't get that so were unprepared.....

We got another double clear in the pairs, but Susie and Jack had a slight "spatial awareness" issue, so it was not a fast one, and we were out of the places. Still, we have got 20 points already, having had 2 x 6th places, and another chance at Wellingborough in a few weeks time

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

oooh .. bad blogger

Ok .. ok .. so I've been a tad slack on my updates.

I'm sure most people know that Supadogs was a washout this year, so don't need to report on that.

Rush is now completely over his op, and is back at training. We had a private lesson with Ant last week and he was a really good boy (Rush, not ANT!!!). We have been working at home on channel weaves and FP for the DW, so I was a bit keen (just a bit!) to check him out to see if he was able to make the connection between the position on the plank at home, and the position over the whole DW. I needn't have worried. I put him straight over the DW and he raced to the end and stopped in FP beautifully, rocking back excitedly in anticipation of being released, and as soon as I released him, he shot straight over the full height jump which was in the general direction I had thrown his ball. Bless him ... don't think he's stressed at the thought of full height (although only doing mini height for exercises still). For the rest of the lesson we did mostly jumping and tunnel combination exercises, along with some more detailed work on the DW.

Then it was the Princess' turn.... As she hasn't had any training for a couple of weeks now, she has been a bit "wilful", and was true to form in the lesson. However, by the end we had got things back together and she was being a bit fat hairy showoff.

Her good form was maintained at Thames on Saturday, with 2 eliminations (but good ones), plus 6th in the Eukanuba Mixi Pairs with our pairs partners Susie Josty and Ag. Ch. Spratt Attack, and best of all 12th place in her Gr 6 Agility. The 12th may not sound like anything much to celebrate, but it was not really our sort of course (quite scopey and spread out, where we prefer the more twisty courses), and she beat some really good dogs so I was delighted.

This weekend we have Axstane, for round 2 of the Eukanuba mixi pairs, so we're after more points there in our bid to get to Crufts next year. It will probably be Jack's last year competing, according to Susie, so we will be doing our bit to try and get him there in the pairs.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mr No-Nuts

... well ... I have made the decision to have Rush neutered, and have done my usual "carpe diem" and had it done already. The reason for moving swiftly was in the interests of his training, as Ant moved our Tuesday class to Thursday last week(which I couldn't make) and then we are off to Supadogs on Friday this week, and the vets could only offer me last Wednesday or the 3rd of June .. so in the interests of his training, he has been done....

I am sad but happy .. in reality, I would not have wanted a puppy from him for another 4 - 5 years and don't want to have an entire male dog for that long really. He is quite a dominant dog in terms of his body language and just easier to have him done now that he has properly matured.

Friday, May 2, 2008

He was awesome...

Well, last night's lesson at Ant's was awesome! Rush was such a good boy ...

First exercise was a 3 jump line / sendaway to his toy and Rush decided that was very easy ... so easy in fact that he bounced between each jump. We did variations on the theme - ie me running with him, sending him, recalling him, etc ... I was so proud of him., even on the couple of times he cheated slightly...

Then we did some work on tunnel .. then jump tunnel, and he was really starting to power on.

Ant's comment was that once I start working Rush properly, Sassy is going to feel really slow .... That has slightly mixed emotions for me, as Sassy has been so amazing for me, but Rush is a very exciting prospect....

We moved on to some work on FP for the A-frame, and Rush was doing really good work with Ant catching him to stop him sliding off - by the 3rd repetition, Ant was really only guiding him slightly, so he had grasped the concept of the FP quite well.

We finished off with some channel weaves ... no problem with those either.

I am so proud of my little man!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Eeek .... Training tonight

Ant has just texted me to say he can fit me in tonight for a sesh with Rush .... exciting! We were supposed to have a group lesson on Tuesday night but Ant had to cancel as he had to stay late at school. So 7pm tonight Rush will be "onstage", working by himself for a private lesson, which is probably a really good idea ... How sad is this .. I have butterflies about it ...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blog updates are like buses ...

2 posts in two days probably is a bit ridiculous .. but I have something to say ... again ...

Sassy has decided she doesn't want to compete this weekend at WBSDS ... she has been favouring her left hind leg and I am concerned that she might hurt herself more seriously if I try to jump her this weekend .... it's only supposed to be a hobby after all, not an obsession ...
I will still go to the show on Saturday (as am down to help on a ring and don't want to let them down) and will see how she is, but if I am in any doubt, I won't run her.

But there is good news ... I had Rush in the garden last night doing some basic one jump exercises (practising my different turn options with him and teaching him to power out of turns - NO problem there at all!!!). Having previously done single turns around the jump wing left and right, I tried a figure of 8 once with him a few weeks ago ... last night he managed a single figure of 8 (then game) ... followed immediately by a double figure of 8 (then bigger game) ... and then just to tempt fate completely, I did a triple figure of 8 (I'm surprised no-one heard me screaming with delight when he managed that!!!!). He is really thrilling me already as he seems to really want to try for me.

He doesn't seem to see the point in having to wait at the start of an exercise though and gets real ants in his pants ... bless him .... he does a real "bum-shuffle" wait .. ie sit .. twitch up .. skip forward a step sit and try to wait again ... etc ...

Roll on next Tuesday when we get started for real ...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

time for another update

ok... ok ... so loads of people have been hassling me about getting started ....

So ...

Rush is now 13 months old and about to start his agility training "proper" next week ... I feel excited .. nervous .. concerned about how he will cope in the group ... wondering if I'm a delinquent mother cos I've not done much with him ... etc etc ...

I guess I am mostly feeling a bit nervous because I only get a dog once every 4 or 5 years, so am a bit "out of touch" with what I can do at what stage.

We had a lovely holiday in the Lake District last week, and Rush was introduced to DW and A-frame there and didn't seem too worried ... he also did some jump grids and has a huge stride on him and a big powerful bounce. I love watching him run as he lopes along so easily, but man do you know all about it when he opens up the throttle.

I think I am going to have loads of fun training him, but he is sure going to be different from Sassy.

Sassy is now 5 1/2 and is Grade 6 for her agility. She has been the most amazing little dog for me, making so many of my agility dreams come true... I do wonder what the year ahead will hold for us ... her training is bound to be compromised by me getting started with Rush ....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Getting started

Today is the first day of the rest of my life ... and now obviously more complete now that I have a blog....