Sunday, 27 April 2008


Sevenoaks usually do ring party at Lewes and this year we had loads of us there which is always good as it means no one has to do more than one job at a time and you can run your dogs without feeling guilty.

Tom had 2 runs, Dudley 1 and Suzi 3 so not much dashing from ring to ring either. First run of the day was Tom's Grade 1-3 Agility and he was a really good boy doing fantastic contacts and weaves and no sniffing, unfortunatley I made a slight handler error where instead of saying left round I just said left and bless him he turned left and went in a straight line instead of an arc over the next jump then went on a bit of a detour but we only got 5 faults as I got him back without him going over another jump or anything.

Suzi did what I thought was a lovely clear on her 4-7 Agility until I went to check her time and she'd got 5 faults, I don't know where as I didn't see her miss a contact. Oh well better luck next time.

Dudley was really up for it and didn't bite me and in his 4-7 agility he would have been 4th but they only placed to 3 which is the down side of small medium classes.

Just before lunch I ran Tom in his 1-3 jumping, I put him on the line and he shuffled forward, I said 'Ah, Ah' and he shuffled back to where he started when he'd sat down again I did our '1,2,3 Go' and we were off. He worked so well and didn't even look if he was going to sniff. As you can see the course was quite straight forward but with a nice bit of handling near the start, once he went over number 9 I just shouted tunnel and he flew ahead of me into it before I'd even got to number 11. He got to the finish way before me too so I shouted 'Yeah' so he knew he was good. This is something Nancy suggested as when I say 'good' it can sound a bit hard and 'Yeah', in the same tones as the Fones 4 U advert, sounds more exciting. I went to check my time and he was in the lead but I didn't really think too much of that as there were 80 dogs entered and we had run quite early but at the end of the class I went back as I was hoping for a place and found that he'd held the lead and we had come 1st! I was so pleased with my little boy and loads of people congratulated me which was lovely.

I was on a high for the rest of the day as you can imagine.

Val Clark who judged the course has sent me her plan which just shows that my memory is even more crap than I thought :)

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Directional commands

Last night we were doing lots of stuff that needed directional commands be it with our body or actual verbal lefts and rights, I really enjoyed this although I think Mac was about to resign as our instructor cos boy were we crap to start with, not so much with the commands but with remembering the courses and they weren't even that hard :)

Tom is really starting to whizz ahead of me and I was having to work really hard to either get ahead of him to get a turn or combine verbal with body language. The thing I was having trouble with was whether to say his name first then the direction or just the direction. Saying his name seemed to work if I wanted to turn him towards the side I was on as it made him look back slightly but if I did this to turn him away from me he needed an extra stride so he could glance back then turn. Any ideas anyone?

It's so much easier with Dudley as I'm nearly always ahead of him so can push or pull with no problems and Suzi seems to turn in mid air and isn't as far ahead of me as Thomas so a quick 'here,here,here' usually gets me out of trouble.

As Dudley knocked some poles on Sunday I decided to train him for half the class last night as I think the trouble was we were at a UKA show the weekend before and his jumps are lower with them. He went very well although his weaves were slow but I put that down to the surfaces and the fact the big dogs leave a rut and I'd forgotten to fill them in. He is so funny as he ran along the dog walk slowed down as if he was going to stop on the contact and then leapt off from about 6 inches before with the biggest grin on his face. He's a very naughty border terrier who makes me laugh a lot, what more could you ask.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Can it really be a year?

At this time last year I'd known Tom for about an hour and he was steadily worming his way into my heart. He was such a happy little dog, smiling at everyone with his enormous eyes showing nothing but trust. I spent the whole of the day getting to know him and when I took him home he was going to be called Vernon by the time I got home I realised that it wouldn't suit him and he became Thomas.

This year has gone so quickly and I have to say that although he has got a few 'quirks' I can honestly say I haven't regretted having him at all and I have never seen Dudley play so much with another dog. The all in wrestling matches they have are so funny to watch and when Suzi joins in too I just have to laugh out loud.

I'm am forever grateful to all the people who spent the whole day putting up with me and to Dan who as I was going home said 'Don't be pressured into having him' which I thought was really sweet and for all the support they've continued to give throughout the year. I'm not going to turn this into an Oscar's acceptance speech but the biggest Thanks goes to Leah who knew I needed another dog even if I didn't ;-)

I'm looking forward to the next year even if Dudley sometimes still looks at me as if to say 'when's he going home?'

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Wallingford 2008

I can't believe that a year ago at this show the weather was glorious and I got my first sight of a small ginger boy that would become Which Way Now Tom Tom. The weather today wasn't what you'd call glorious but I think the small and medium handlers got the better deal today as it stayed dry and the sun even came out at about lunchtime and it wasn't as cold as I was expecting.

The show was down to 6 rings which was nice but even though the classes weren't that small there was still a lot of running around to walk and run classes but then again I was finished by 1.30 on the road by 2.45 and home by 5 having been to muck out Fenella and drop Suzi at home.

Both Suzi and Thomas had 4 runs including a brace class where I had to run both of them one after the other and like a fool I thought there would only be about 10 jumps but there was 16 including weaves and 2 tunnels! I decided to run Suzi first as I thought my helper Karen would be able to get hold of her easier than Tom but she had to rugby tackle her as she wanted to come with us. Suzi got a clear but Tom got 5 faults for a refusal as he went all the way round a jump and then off on a sniff but came back quickly and finished well. They both did G1-4 agility and the little minx Suzi got 5 for missing her dogwalk and I worked so hard to ensure she got it. Tom on the other hand was a star and went clear, he ended up 2 out of the places but I know where he lost time which was on the seesaw as he really hesitated plus he went a little wide on a couple of the turns. He also went clear in his G3 agility and ended up 1 out of the places and again I know where we lost time as he got a sniff of something while we were doing a pull through which could have been down to me as I'm finding the sniffing seems to be more when he's a bit confused rather than just the need for a sniff as when this happens he comes back quite quickly. His seesaw in this class was much better and I don't think he could have gone closer to the end without falling off:-)

Poor Dudley didn't have a very good day, we were supposed to be doing pairs with one of Karen's dogs who doesn't really like Duds and always barks and grumbles at him which hasn't been a major problem up til now as he usually just ignores her but today it really worried him and he slunk along towards the rings practically on his belly and I had to carry him after a while as he wouldn't move, he was really shaking and stressed out while we waited for the pairs class to start and as they were faffing about getting started I decided to run him in his agility which was running at the same time. I thought that once we got away from the other dog he would calm down and cheer up and although he seemed to he wasn't happy in the ring and even knocked poles which isn't like him I felt really bad and scratched him from the pairs and took him back to the car to be with the others hoping this would make him feel better. Luckily these were the only runs he had and he was fine after I took him for a walk and he had some ice cream.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

God my instructor is nasty

No she really is, just because she's qualified for the European's. You'd think she'd be happy about it wouldn't you and be nice to her paying customers OH NO she made us do a horrible exercise that she said Nancy made her do although I can't believe that Nancy would be that horrible.

The above shows how how the jumps were set up and she made us do reverse turns all the way down and all the way back again, with Dudley I don't think I would have worried as to keep him going to do lots of reverse turns and blind pickups as I tend to be in front of him most of the time but the first time I did it with Tom I kept trying to cross behind him. He was very patient with my although since the school has been resurfaced it's much more sniffy and he was tempted away a couple of times.

I'm off to Wallingford tomorrow and like a fool I've entered the brace class with Tom and Suzi, not sure i'm going to survive running one after the other without oxygen :-)

Took them to another new walk today and although I know it's good for all of us I wish I lived somewhere less hilly. The walk was lovely and we will go again but I think it might be very popular in the summer so perhaps one for the evenings and winter months.

The Oldies Club

Although my main affliation is to Many Tears I also like to donate to the Oldies Club if I can as they take in old and infirm dogs and try and find them new homes but if they can't they look after them to the end. It's so sad when old dogs find themselve homeless for whatever reason and it's such as shame as Dog Pages (supposedly a forum to promote dog rescue) have banned any mention of them as they take dogs from a rescue that is may or may not be a not very nice place. To me this is stupid as surely the Oldies club are doing a service to these dogs and should be applauded. I have, therefore, put a link to them on here, please have a look and see what they do.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

UKA Prested Hall

Last weekend was my first camping show of the year and it was so cold on Friday night that all the dogs slept under the quilt with me and really didn't want to get up on Saturday.

I'd registered Thomas with UKA before he started competing at KC shows so I was able to run him in the Beginner classes which I think is great as these courses tend to be straight forward flowing courses with, usually, only one or two changes of sides with no pull throughs so lots of being able to send on to the finish. I think if these were the only courses we had the chance to do boredom may set in but for Tom they were ideal as it was his first outside show and I wanted to be able to just keep going to take his mind of sniffing. I needn't have worried as he didn't seem interested in sniffing at all and only got distracted in one run which I out down to him being tired. Unfortunately my handling let him down so we only managed 1 clear during the weekend but I came home pleased as anything with him as his contacts were perfect and his weaves were fantastic. In one class I flung my arm out and sent him wide which meant he couldn't get his weave entry but boy did he try hard to get it and I'm sure if he'd had a bit more experience under his belt he would have made it. His first run of the show I set him up and he did a beautiful wait so what did I do.......instead of making sure I was in a good position for him to see where to go I stood wide said 'Go' with my arms by my sides and he ran past the first jump and straight to me, see what I mean about the handling, I popped him over the start and without those 5 faults he would have come 2nd. Ho Hum the joys of agilty. After that I made sure that he was looking in the right direction and that my arm was up and didn't have the problem again. This is obviously something to work on as I would like to be able to start wide of the first jump sometimes.

The other two had a really good weekend although Suzi wasn't her usual self on Saturday and seemed a bit flat, she got 2 nice clears in agility and steeplechase but not with any speed so I pulled her out of her last class and had decided to run her first class on the Sunday and if she was still the same I wasn't going to make her do anything else. Needn't have worried as she got a 4th in agility and was just out of the placings in jumping and steeplechase. She's now gone Novice at UKA as we have eventually got enough agilty points.

Dudley is a midi at UKA and these classes tend to have only a few dogs and the less dogs there are the less points you get. He's had enough places to have gone senior but as he only tends to get half the points I'm not sure we'll ever get there. This weekend he had four runs and got four places, he got 2nd in power and speed and for those of you that know him I know he's not really got the speed part of this class but he zoomed round so don't laugh. He also got a 3rd and two 4ths so maybe now he's got enough points. I know that if the classes were bigger he probably wouldn't have go so many places but I'm proud of him anyway as there was no ankle biting and he was really enjoying himself which to me is the main thing with my best boy.

There was also qualifiers for the Royal Canin Agility which I was hoping to get at least on of them in but our times weren't fast enough, maybe next time.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


Poor Fenella gets a bit neglected nowadays what with all the agility shows, I've had her since she was about 8 months old and bought her from some gypsies. When I got her she was pregnant by her father which she unhappily aborted about 3 months after I brought her home, in a way I'm glad as she was far too young to be having a foal but it would have been nice if she'd had it, maybe if she had things would be very different now as I probably wouldn't have started doing agility.

She's a funny little thing and is about 12 hands with loads of character and would make a good little Pony Club pony but I can't bear to sell her and although she is broken to ride I haven't got a small, confident rider for her so she spends her time bossing the other horses around and generally being cute. I might consider putting her out on loan but only to the right person.

This is the only picture I have of her at work and is quite old, she's gone much lighter as she's got older.

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Today was Downlands and even though we woke up to about an inch of snow I decided to go anyway because it was indoors. Dudley had 2 runs today and the first was G1-7 agility, the little terrierist wouldn't wait so it was lucky I could get away with a running start and he spent much of the course attempting to bite my ankles but by shouting 'out' at him every time he made to grab me I was about to get him round in a reasonable time for him. There was a large contingency of medium merlies there which came 1st to 5th so no place but I was really happy that he was enjoying agility again, his jumping was a lovely course set by Amanda Pigg and apart from a missed weave entry which was probably my fault he did a really nice round so a successful day with regards to him.

Suzi was a bit cold even with her coat on and never runs at her best like that so I was pleased to get 2 clear in the steeplechase and the jumping, her agility would have been better if I hadn't confidently and in a very positive voice sent her into the weaves instead if the up the seesaw. Oh well there's always next time and she did get all her contacts which I'd struggled with at training last week.

Now to Tom, I'd love to say that things had been fantastic and to be honest parts of each round were brilliant but other parts were just a complete sniff fest and in the jumping I got completely lost and stood right in front of the jump he had to go over then forgot where to go next, 'Oh cock' as James May would have said.

All the time we were there the snow kept coming down so I thought I'd take them for a walk on Ashdown Forest on the way home. Dudley loves snow and gets very over excited, Thomas wasn't too sure but soon got the hang of dashing about in this funny white stuff until we came round a corner and met a snowman which was very scary and had to be barked at in a very manly way. Suzi hated it and stayed right behind me for most of the time.

Here are a few photos, I would have liked to take more but the battery went of the camera about 10 minutes into the walk. The first couple are at the stables this morning when I went to turn out my pony Fenella.

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