Its been an exciting start to the season. People thought last year was my year, with Lily doing so well, winning into Grade 6, competing at Olympia, but somehow I dont think 1 year is enough. I spend all our money (sorry Rog!) and all my spare time working with my dogs and striving to give them the very best life, the most fun, and hopefully the best home a dog could have. Whether its just walking in the fields around the farm, laughing at Olli barking on every stride as he tries to keep up with Lily & Cove as they are sprinting, or cuddling up with them watching TV in the evenings, or training them in our field on a summers evening. Maybe sat in the garden with a glass of wine and smiling as Twiggy & George run circuits, leaping in and out of the paddling pool as they go, laughing at Dave & Twiggy playing on the decking, there are so many moments in my life with my dogs that I smile and feel proud. Lily was a nervous screaming wreck when I started training her at 15 months old. Couldnt cope with being near another dog, yet look at her now? Olli was meant to be just a gundog, but at Grade 5 he is doing pretty well too. Twiggy has managed some clear rounds already, but apart from agility, she is a different girl. Almost confident! She is funny, cheeky and a huge part of our lives now. Cove is a joy to own, and a credit to Fern. He is such a lovely natured, funny boy who has so much ability he will go far.
Some people are too competitive and unfortunately lose the simple pleasures along the way, of owning and having the company of a wonderful dog. I am competitive, I wont deny that, but I also know that no dog is a robot. I have not lost the ability to enjoy every run in competition, whether its a clear or an elimination! In my opinion, if you get stressed and start to moan because your dog "should've won that" or "never normally misses the weaves!" or "just needed to get that contact" then you need to take a step back and remember that everything that went wrong in the ring is your fault as a handler, and not the dogs fault. This is meant to be fun. I have so many rubbish runs, and its frustrating sometimes, but my dogs have had a blast around the ring, and have no idea they got E'd at the 3rd fence!
So, last weekend we were at Carn Brae and Lily had no clears. Olli managed a clear in jumping, Twiggy had 2 E's and a 5 faults round. Cove had 1 E and 1 5 faults, but a fab round in Agility got him his third 2nd place trophy in 3 weeks!!
A good friend of mine won the Grade 6 Agility, joining me & Lily in Grade 6 and a quarter!!
I am planning on this being our year, and hopefully next year and the year after that too!!!! 226 miles added.
Twiggy has been with us 1 year today. I can't believe I was lucky enough to find her nor that she has been here a year already!! Such a pleasure to own. Loyal, loving, bright & cheeky. Totally love her to bits, and the way she cuddles you is priceless. She actually really loves her dad so much, and its so lovely to see her ears go up, and her head cock to one side as she hears his van drive up the lane every evening. :-) The way she dives on the bed every morning, from halfway across the room like a girl possessed cos its been a whole night since she saw me, and biscuits & tea in bed is the start to Twiggys day, is the best feeling in the world.
Now we have George. 4 weeks ago today he arrived. Not planned, not intentional, I was not looking for a puppy, but George had other ideas. He is incredible. Confident, intelligent, happy and just fitted in here like the final piece of a jigsaw. Twiggys new best friend, Cove & Olli love him and George shows so much respect to them, Stan & Becki just accepted him (just another addition to the pack to them) Dave has not shown anywhere near as much aggression as he normally does, and Lily seems to like him!! It was meant to be. He is so keen to learn, and a very exciting prospect for me. He is the first agility dog in the making, that I will actually be training from a pup. Its nerve wracking really, as he is so unspoilt, and such a blank canvass that if he turns out wrong its 100% my fault!! No pressure!!
For the last 2 days Fern & I have been doing displays at Devon County Show, with Lauren & crew from Devon Dogs. I thought it would be a chance to chill out with the dogs having fun, instead of competing, and also a brilliant chance to do some more socialising with George. We walked the miles from the van on the 1st day, loaded with bags and 2 dogs each, and walked through the gates right next to the fair. Huge machines, hundreds of people and the loud music and sirens from the fairground machines, and George?... well he was leading the way!!!! Striding through the crowds, wagging his tail and enjoying all the sights around him. I cant believe how level headed and confident he is. He chilled in his crate by the trade stand while we were running the others, and then sat with me on the grass, playing tuggy, learning new tricks, and saying hi to everyone who asked. A shotgun went off during the gundog display, right where we sat ringside, and George looked round and in a second was back grabbing his toy. Didn't flinch. He is an incredibly exciting puppy, who has a wise head on his shoulders. Lets hope it continues!!
The displays were a great experience for Cove. The buzz of all those dogs in a ring together, and the relaxed fun way Fern ran him made a huge difference. He was flying!! He actually won the fun knockout on Saturday, beating me & Lily in the semi and Grade 7 Coco in the final!!! Lovely to see him having such fun.
So thats it, now every weekend is competition time, and we are looking forward to SWAT this weekend with all the gang. Lovely lovely dogs will have fun and even if I do swear it wont be at them :-)