Been a bit slack with the blog recently, as had a few down moments and also fairly busy so a few things to catch up on. ISO Quality audit at work which is always such a drag, stewarding at our local Point to Point meet last Saturday and in between times trying to fit in training my gang.
My last post was me feeling deflated and miserable that I had been so useless handling Lily at a training workshop. Well quite a lot of my good friends gave me a bit of a talking to, and reminded me that we all have off days, and the best time to have one was probably at a workshop rather than on a show day, so I picked myself up and decided to start training my 3 every day in the evening, now the nights are drawing out and concentrate on my handling more.
Lily is incredible, and with me actually back on track with my timing she is working like a true Grade 6 dog, more than capable of being in the top places this season. Her weaves are incredible, her honesty is incredible and we are right back in tune again. She is also completely fit and well as I left her 5 weeks after her operation before starting to train her, but had spent weeks lead walking her twice a day. Don't think she has ever looked so well :-) I cant wait to get into some tough courses with her this season, and just beat the course.
Olli is doing some amazing contacts, after nearly a whole season of being removed from the ring every time he missed one!! He is enthusiastic as ever, and very capable but needs some basic work on his left hand weave entries, and maybe a gag too as he doesn't shut up!! I am doing some 2 x 2 and channels now to sharpen up his entries, as that is all that lets him down, and will stop him moving to Grade 6.
Twiggy is going from strength to strength. Her confidence is really shining through and I love how much she gives me in the way of effort and love. Fern and I went to a new training field belonging to a good friend of mine last week. My friend Fiona, had her 2 adult collies out and her new puppy, and Twiggy said hello, but just turned to me and I had 100% attention. Off the lead the whole time we were there, and she just played tuggy or sat by my side while Fern worked Cove. I decided to try her round a whole course for the first time, and apart from the weaves, (which are still a work in progress, so I left them out) she did a clear round!! Lovely 2 on 2 off contacts, beautiful turns, speed and effortless grace, and her tail never stopped wagging. I was gobsmacked. Every single time I work her she shows improvement, just little things but huge things for her. For example, after 2 weeks of trying to train her weaves, last week she looked straight at the poles as soon as I set her up! That moment of "I know where you want me to go mum" focus had champagne corks popping for me. The way she suddenly grabbed the tuggy I was holding as Fern set off with Cove around the course, was an "Oscar" winning moment. She is so rewarding to train, and although she is not quite ready yet for real competition, I am so looking forward to when she is :-) What is, and will always be a mystery to me, is how really simple tiny things can freak her out and turn her into a nervous wreck in an instant. Things obviously from her past. The simple clicks of a collar, the buzzing of a fly, me raising my voice at Stanley, almost deaf terrier. On the other hand a seesaw, which some dogs take a while to get used to, done in the first attempt, fell off and got back on. Cloth tunnel, through it just twice with me raising the cloth and then blasted through it 3rd time, job done. She is as hard as nails, and the happiest dog in the world.
A few good friends have lost dogs to illness or just old age recently, and it always makes me give mine that extra cuddle, I can not imagine life without any of mine, it will tear me apart when the time comes. As I write this I am sending healing thoughts to my bosses spaniel, Ollis Auntie Megan. Aged 9 she has suddenly and mysteriously been struck down with something, and awaiting results from tests. She was perfectly normal mad spaniel in the morning, practically paralysed by the afternoon. These dogs are so much part of our lives, and deserve our unconditional love, and commitment, which sometimes means making the hardest decision in the world.
Big hugs going to Gemma, Megan and Snuffles. Our first three girls who have been running riot at Rainbow Bridge for many years.