Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Back to training Tom

He seems to have got his contacts back!! I did target them but he was back to doing them and his A frame is coming on in leaps and bounds and I seem to be getting my timing right.

Worked with upright weaves and he got every entry although he did pop out near the end once so I put him on the lead and took him through just so he didn't finish on a missed weave or both of us getting frustrated.

One thing that really pleased me was that I made him wait go to the 2nd obstacle and said tyre and the good little boy didn't budge as I'd forgotten to say 'Go'.

I keep scanning Agiltynet for training days as he seems to enjoy them and I think it'll do him the world of good to keep going to new places.

Must think about getting something to eat and going to bed now so will write more soon.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

At last

I'm online and back to bore you all some more with my ramblings.

Firstly I have a boast to make, my little Suzi came 2nd in the Agility Club Small Grade 4 Dog of the Year and received a HUGE crystal vase which is nearly as heavy as her. I will take some pictures at the weekend so you can see what I mean.

Thomas decided last week that he no longer needed me as he knew all there was to know about agility and would therefore no longer be stopping on his dog walk contact, back to targeting every time I think. We went on a training day with Lee Windeatt and Toni Dawkins last Saturday. I learnt loads about different ways to handle and Thomas found a great big pile of horse poo which made his day but frustrated the hell out of me as I had to keep collecting him from it.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Today is my last day here so until I get broadband at home which wont be until next week I wont be able to make any more posts which is a shame as I love waffling on.

See you all next week.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Last night was the first really cold night at training and by the end of the evening I'd had to put Thomas' Equafleece on as he was sitting on my lap shivering, and I thought he didn't feel the cold.

Thomas knocked the first pole a couple of times and Mac thought it could be because he was looking at me rather than at the jump so suggested I watched him and didn't release him until he was actually looking at the obstacle. This seem to work and it's something I'm going to have to remember (another to add to the every growing list). Other than that he was really good, did lovely contacts and really started to work ahead of me into the tunnel. I would really love to be able to send him down a line of jumps into tunnels without me having to go with him and at this rate this might happen.

I keep thinking that everything is going too well and am waiting for the day it all goes horribly wrong!

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Training on Mondays is always really good fun and we always get there early to watch the 'big boys' or girls in this case going through their paces and boy are some of the courses Mac sets them hard. They nearly always make it look so easy too and if we're lucky someone has had a successful weekend and we get to eat the cakes and chocolate they bring!

Last night I took Dudley, who really enjoyed himself which was great, and we were working on pushing them over the contacts but under control. We started off with a real blast all the way round the edge, running the contacts and really geeing them up THEN we had to do it again but stop them on the contacts. Dudley was so excited that only by using the rugby tackle technique was I able to actually get him to stop then he decided that what I obviously wanted was running like a mad thing over the jumps and up the contacts but really slowly down so I resorted to just running them again. I also stopped on a really good run leaving him wanting more so which seems to keep him keen for next week.

Leah's Hex is really growing and towers over Thomas now but does still have a very funny looking tail, I'm sure collies shouldn't have little, whippy, curly ones!

Monday, 12 November 2007

WAG show 11/11/07

Not about Thomas but Suzi today. They all came with my to Minnis Bay yesterday but Suzi was the only one competing as Dudley is taking a complete break at the moment. I would love to say that we came back with loads of rosettes and trophies but that would be a fib as Suzi was a bit wild in the agility, not listening in the jumping and down right naughty in the helter skelter (although Mac pointed out that it wasn't her but me!) Speed, or lack of it, was not an issue as she was flying in all the courses she did in fact she went into mid air over the A frame which was how we managed to get the contact as she landed on it. We weren't so lucky with the dog walk and she missed it by a mile although I thought it was a bit hard of Leah to fault us as we were only about 6 inches away from it. She did a a lovely jumping course until near the end where we had to cross a box and I said 'Suzi, here' and she completely ignored me and jumped straight through the finish, THREE JUMPS FROM HOME, I couldn't believe it, the little monster. She then made things worse in the helter skelter by running straight past the collapsible tunnel and I know I was shouting "tunnel, tunneeeelll" in slightly hysterical tones. Mac said it was my fault as I know she can be a bit erratic about whether she does them or not and I should have made sure she was in before I ran off. God I hate it when he's right.

I try to be cross with Suzi when she goes a bit wild but I only have to look at her face when we've finished and have to laugh. Well wouldn't you if you saw this little thing going over the finish at practically full height with a huge grin on her face.

As you can see she really suffers from a tear stained face but since this picture was taken I've tried a new product I've found called Eye Envy whish really works (I've tried loads of things believe me) and someone told be yesterday of something they found at Paws in the Park that you add to their food so I've had a google and ordered some today so hopefully if you see her at shows next year she will have a lovely white face.

They boys and I went to the beach at lunch time and had a really bracing walk, it was so windy that Tom nearly got blown off the sea wall and even Dudley was relieved when we got back to the car.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Lesson with Yvonne

Took Tom for his monthly lesson yesterday and drove up in glorious sunshine until I stopped to have a cup of tea as I was running very early, the heavens opened and the wind got up but luckily it stopped as I drew up at the house.

I have put a plan of what was set up at the bottom but when we started the seesaw was facing the other way and we started by doing a loop of jump, seesaw, jump, tunnel, jump, weaves (the guides were only for the entry and exit) I've been finding that he will do the seesaw really well for the first attempt and will run to the end and wait but seems to loose confidence when doing it again so we didn't push it and a bit later went back to holding it up and letting it down slowly, this really helped and I'm hoping he will get over his nervousness and as there is no rush I wont be forcing him to do something he is unsure of.

We went on to doing snakes and pull throughs and Yvonne was keen for me to use directional commands and to start sending him on over things rather than running right up to things like I have to with Dudley so made me stay on the red dotted line as much as possible. The plan was that by doing this he would turn tighter and I have to say it really worked. Once he got the idea of pull throughs (coming in through the gap rather that going over the next jump) he was coming so tight I'm sure he was leaving hair on the wings.

I have got to stop repeating the command as when I was saying "left, left" he was doing exactly what I was asking and rather than doing the snake he was coming through to me. This goes back to the not 'chatting' to him while doing the course so he only hears what I need him to do rather than just my voice constantly.

We went on to this one.

I was supposed to only say the command once and try and stay on the line, needless to say I went into repeat mode and had him coming to me on more that one occasion!! By now he had got the hang of 'in' and at number 6 he came round the wing and over number 7 on just one word. The tunnel caused a bit of a problem to start with as when he came out he could see the jump straight ahead and kept popping over it until I remembered to say 'left' as he was in the tunnel and when I said 'left, up' he knew exactly what I wanted and shot up the A frame.

Trying to get an hours lesson written up is quite hard so I hope I haven't bored you and it makes sense.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


I went for an interview on Monday and felt that it went really badly, I thought I was too gushy but have just had a phone call offering me the job. They want me as soon as possible and having talked to my boss here I'm leaving next Friday. It's such a relief and the job sounds great but I'll have to get into the routine of actually doing some work rather than surfing the net all day!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Jump heights

There is a debate taking place on the Agility Addicts forum about the need for a 4th jump height for the smaller large dogs which is very interesting but as usual biased towards large dog handlers which is a shame as I think the problem ranges across all the height bands. Dudley is a small medium who doesn't struggle with the height but being half the length of a lot of the dogs he runs against he just hasn't got the speed and I think the inclination to do well so if he's not in ankle biting mode we may get a nice clear but out of time as the course times are getting tighter and tighter. I'm not going to whinge and moan about the rights and wrongs but I will probably look at doing more UKA shows as he jumps at the old 'mini' height and seems to enjoy this a bit more and I will also only enter him for 1 class a day at KC shows as he is one of those dogs that does it because I want him to rather than it being the be all and end all of his life. Suzi, on the other hand, always jumps huge and would probably do a whole course at full height if I asked her to which isn't bad for an 11" white, fluffy thing and may benefit from doing the smaller jumps at UKA as she might start jumping smaller over the jumps at KC shows. UKA may benefit Thomas too as he can start as a Beginner and get the benefit of nice straight forward courses as well as Steeplechase to help build up his confidence and speed without me panicing over weaves.

So after me waffling on the conclusion is that I may do more UKA shows with a few KC shows next season rather than the other way round and then see how things go from there.

Monday, 5 November 2007

On Saturday the boys and I went to visit my friend Karen and her border terriers Billy and Daisy to have a play doing some weaves and some contacts on her dog walk. Daisy really doesn't like poor Dudley so we have to keep them seperated but she has taken a fancy to Thomas.
I took my weave guides to show Karen how good they are and we had a long discussion on how good they are for starting training weaves but we found that Daisy just stopped as she hit one and we didn't want to put her off so we just used them for Thomas who whizzed through like a pro and then decided that once we'd taken them off he was going to do a set of 12 weaves on his own.
We then did 5 minutes of contacts and took some photos so we could see what the dogs were doing. Here are some shots of Tom coming down onto the contact. I'm somewhere way back as he's far to quick for me and it was a standing start which I'm crap at.

We also went for 2 lovely walks, Dudley had a whale of a time because I didn't make him do any agility and he got to explore some new places.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Too clever by half

Wednesday night's training was the last of an introductory 6 week course at Sevenoaks and all of the dogs have been invited to carry on which is great. As a taster of things to come and to show the handlers what they and their dogs have learnt Mac made us all do a very straight forward up and down agility course (I've put a plan at the end). The weaves were V'd and the dog walk and A frame were very low and I have to say that the dogs that had done no agility before the course were brilliant and all managed to get round as well as and actually better than those of us who had done stuff before.
Thomas did the whole course really well until after 11 I assumed that he would go over 12 as my arm was out so said 'tunnel' and he nipped past the jump and straight in the tunnel. I just carried on and finished as it was my mistake and not his but it just shows that he's a sharp one and I wont be able to assume anything with him!! His contacts are really coming on and with the A frame I said 'Go' as soon as his all of his feet had touched the contact and 'whoosh' he was gone.

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