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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mixed weekend and a lesson learned :-(

This weekend we were at Lansdown show. Always a lovely show, and with the added bonus of watching the Omnipro Starters cup final on the Saturday, and seeing some of the top handlers in the country in the Crufts classes on the Sunday. A friend of mines husband was in the Starters final with a young dog, his first agility dog, and he had a foot perfect round. He came across the finish and dropped to his knees and hugged his dog. Brought tears to my eyes and still does writing this! So lovely to see so much genuine love for his dog, and as an added bonus he won the cup!! Too many people don't seem to appreciate their dogs. Fern & I stood and watched some of the grade 6/7 jumping on Saturday with another friend of mine, and we were amazed how many top handlers don't reward or play with their dogs as they come out the ring. The higher up the grades you go the less people seem to praise their dogs. Now before anyone starts going off on one, I am not saying all higher grade handlers, as I know their are plenty that do, but a lot don't. Maybe they should remember that the dogs got them to those grades, and the dog gives its all in every run, not realising its gone wrong, and the reason it has gone wrong is because its been given the wrong signal by its handler or been trained incorrectly. Dogs don't have the emotional capabilities that we have. They cant decide to do it wrong to wind you up, or to just be naughty for the hell of it. It is always our fault. I also saw a few people around the rings being very harsh and berating their dogs for lunging at others, or barking and misbehaving. If they don't have the ability to work with their dogs issues properly, then remove them from the situation! On the plus side, we watched Dawn Weaver run one of her beardies (sorry I think it was Breezer?) in the Crufts singles and she missed her weave entry and Dawn laughed and said something along the lines of "never mind darling, lets try that again" and was still smiling and rewarding her as she left the ring. 
Anyway, that's my rant over for now.
Our dogs this weekend? Well Twiggy was a little star, having a blast and getting the weaves beautifully in her runs. No clears but she had the best fun and so did I running her. Its all coming together now and as long as she continues to be happy, that's all I care about. Her day will come.
Olli did some great stuff getting just 5 in the G5 agility, and 5 in the ABC qualifier because he just didn't recognise the wall as a jump at the end and I was too far behind him to help! Probably only ever seen a wall twice before so that's just unlucky. He had fun though in true Olli style.
Lily had a fantastic run in the 6/7 jumping. We were E'd because i was sooooo late with my "in" command on a fast pull though, she didn't have a chance, but the rest was beautiful. Then as she was nearing the end of another brilliant agility run something went wrong, Lily seized up and my heart stopped. She tried to complete the last few obstacles but in pain and I was devastated. I walked her slowly out and straight to an animal chirpractor who was on site. She said she was very tight across her shoulders, so gave her some gentle massage and we returned to the caravan, me nearly in tears. I was so worried all night but although she was a bit slow to get up Sunday morning she was soon looking near normal, and although I missed running her on Sunday I was so glad to see that twinkle in her eye. It seems now that she jarred her shoulder, it went into spasm across her neck and like us she had a crick in her neck brought on by attempting to turn right in mid air after another late call from me. It was a cold wind and she hadn't done anything for a few hours, so my lesson learned, to warm Lily up a lot more than I did on Saturday. Chiropractor visit today, and all clear. She is bouncing off the walls so I know she feels fine, thank god :-))
Cove came home with 2 more trophies!!! His 2nd Grade 2 show and a 2nd & a 3rd in jumping. Really consistent boy and showing more confidence in every run. Fern has taken over as chief duster and polisher now!! 
Others in our group came home with trophies too so a very successful weekend. 
Georgie had a lot of fun, sometimes too much fun watching the rings but he does come back to me and his toy very quickly so I think we can work on that. I love his enthusiasm and drive so I don't want to stop it, just steer it in the right direction! He even managed to do some waits and real proofing, in the middle of all the rings. Even when  Schnauzer walked past and nearly pinched Georges toy which I had thrown a few feet away, George held his wait!!!! Mind you the look on his face was priceless!!! Love him lots.  198 miles added.

A few photos of Cove, his cousin Phaze and his half brother/cousin Tatty, enjoying a game in the lovely long grass around the race course. :-)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Back with a vengeance!!

Where did June go?? Well we spent most of it at home weekends due to a couple of coughing dogs. Lily started coughing the day after we came back from SWAT show, on the bank holiday Monday, and then Olli Cove & Twiggy. Horrendous, thought that they had kennel cough, so trip to the vets and a few days of honey & Benylin (which they all loved!!) Neither my Vet or me think it was "Kennel cough", although that is actually a very vague term. Dogs like humans, can get a cough, or a bit of a cold, and some will catch others while others dont, but as soon as a dog coughs they get labelled. None of my lot were at all ill, no temperatures, no miserableness and in fact were driving me mad wanting to run miles as usual. The dogs that coughed were also the only dogs that had walked in our field at home that had been spread with fertilizer, and I am still convinced that was the cause. George or Becki didnt get it at all, neither did any of the 8 dogs that live on the farm here, and within 48 hrs everyone was better. Not what you would expect from true kennel cough but we had to stay home for a few weeks to keep the peace. I did feel a bit miffed that certain people felt they had to tell us not to go to shows, and not to take the dogs anywhere public. I am not stupid, and am a very responsible adult, so I managed to make that decision by myself. Its a shame more of these people weren't actually concerned for my dogs wellbeing, but thats people for you.
Missed Hinckley and Thames, 2 of my favourite comps of the season, and although it was lovely hearing how the rest of my agility friends were doing I admit I was jealous. We decided to have a BBQ on the Hinckley weekend and invite all those friends who are not agility addicts, who we rarely see through the summer, and it was a brilliant night. Far too much to drink, but good laughter, great fun and the dogs all enjoyed helping with the clearing up!!!
We have also spent the last few weeks training a lot at our field, and all the dogs have been on fine form. Georgie is growing like weed but is also extremely bright and fun to train. He learns so quickly, and is such a joy I am thrilled he came into my life, even  though unexpected! He had his first puppy workshop last week, and he impressed me a lot with his focus and enthusiasm. 2 hours of concentration, playing tuggy, and various exercises, all carried out with a waggy tail and sparkle. Really looking forward to seeing him develop.
Last weekend we set off to Golden Valley show in Worcester. Its a nice friendly show, although not that small with 8 rings, but always has a good atmosphere. It was Coves first grade 2 show and he also had a Starters cup qualifier, and Georgie is now officially old enough to be round the rings in the thick of things, so after 3 weeks away we were very excited! Cove did some stunning runs, a few silly mistakes but looking more experienced and attacking the courses a lot better as his confidence grows. He pushed himself out of the trophies in the jumping as he almost picked up the wrong tunnel, and how he didn't get 5 faults I dont know, but the judge is a lovely lady who was very fair to the beginner dogs, however it cost him a few seconds so he ended up 7th. In the starters cup he did a lovely round and was 3rd. Beautiful glass trophy as you would expect from the Agility Club, so another successful weekend for Fern & Cove. 

Lily was off her head!! Did some lovely stuff and some mad stuff, so we had 4 E's a 10 and a 5 faulter. Not very productive but she is so much fun to run. Hopefully she will be a bit calmer this weekend!!

Olli was a star and had 3 out of 3 clears Saturday, including a 9th in agility, and another clear on Sunday. Such a great dog, very consistent just needs that extra gear to beat some more collies.

Then Twiggy, who has definitely started to gain confidence in the rings, did her Grade 3 jumping. It was a tricky course with a couple of pull throughs and 12 weaves. She set off at a good pace and was clear up to the weaves. I held my breath as she entered them perfectly on her own and i counted....... as she completed the 12 poles I nearly screamed with delight, forget where I was going and got in her way on the final snake line so she took the jump out. It was my fault but I was thrilled that she weaved and was so happy with herself.
 Next was the grade 3/4 agility, and again not a straight forward course. 8 weaves this time. She was confident on the seesaw, she was through the weaves, over the A frame all be it a bit slow, and 2 jumps and a tunnel later she just had the dog walk and the final jump. Across the dog walk, slowly down the end plank, touched the contact and flew across the last jump. The screams from both myself & Fern could probably be heard across the Malvern Hills!!! Her first KC clear round. I collapsed in a heap of tears and cuddles with my wonderful girl Twiggy. The future now looks very exciting. 

Georgie was great fun all weekend, although he has discovered that what goes on in these rings is very exciting!! Squealing excitedly watching other dogs go round, and pulling hard to go and join them, but with a bit of encouragement he came back to me to play with his tuggy. If we can build on this we should be ok, but he is a very strong character! He had puppy plays, lots of people cuddles and pretend queueing, and was a star.
Even Dave managed a fast fun round in the pay on the day steeplechase. Not clear, but 100% focused on Fern, and its the first time he has run outdoors whilst an agility ring was running next to him, so we think he is finally able to start competing properly. He will be one to watch.
296 miles added.
So off to Lansdown this weekend, and Olli has another bash at qualifying in the ABC Olympia stakes. Its such a shame they dont split the grades. 218 dogs in the class, grades 1 to 7 and only top 4 go through. Dont hold out a lot of hope really, but all I do know is Olli will try his heart out. He is special. Would be nice to try & get a clear with Lily this weekend, instead of running round laughing at her, and who knows maybe even Twiggy may do it again!! Will be the first time for a month that we will be with our gang of witches too, so lets hope the weather cheers up a bit and we all have some successes.