Sunday, 29 June 2008

UKA Royal Canin Final

Yesterday was the finals days and I'd entered the show as a bit of a warm up and training for Tom. There were 6 weaves in his agility and I was ready to pick him up to put him through the weaves if he'd sniffed but he went in and although he wasn't very quick through them he did do all six and then finished the course and got a clear even though I mishandled coming out of a tunnel as I hadn't appreciated that the line out of it wasn't a straight line and even though I used his out command he couldn't quite make the jump (I would have given us a 5R but the judge was kind to us) We then went straight to his steeplechase course which was going really well until the last few jumps when I shouted 'OUT' making him shoot out and go past a jump. I was really pleased with both runs and then due to both his classes being first in the ring he didn't have anything to do until the final at 6pm so we spent some time sitting at the coffee shop watching the other classes.

Dudley and Suzi were both really bad in their agility classes and I'm trying to remove all memories of the whole course from my mind as I don't want to run away screaming every time I see any sort of contact equipment. After the agility I wasn't really looking forward to their jumping courses but had a go anyway and was very pleasantly suprised that they both came 2nd!! The course was one of those ones that you walk loads of times and find a different way of doing it each time and was a handler frightener but lovely and smooth for he dog, I really enjoyed running both dogs round it even though when I finished with Duds I thought I'd missed a bit as we seemed to get round a lot quicker than I was expecting.

The finals course was really well thought out and another that was flowing for the dogs but had various ways to run it. The toy dogs were the last to go and Thomas was 19th out of 20 to go which left loads of time for nerves to set in and to watch all the other heights go. I watched all the big dogs and realised that the ones that ran it they same way I'd walked it were pulling their dogs quite wide on one bit but having changed the way I was running and made a mess up in the past I decided to stick with what I'd walked. The nice thing about the evening was that everyone stayed to watch so there was quite a big crowd and everyone clapped each round. The start was jump, dog walk so I decided not to make him wait and do a running start which I think was a good choice. I have put a plan of the course as I can remember it, well I did a front cross over number 10 which was where I'd seen the big dogs going a bit wide but thought that I could get him tighter unfortunatly I sent him straight through the gap between 11 and 12 but, luckily, not up the A frame. I was not upset with this as he'd gone where I'd pointed him and but it meant 5 faults, coming out of the tunnel he didn't go straight into the weaves but came back to me really quickly and proceeded to whizz through and finish very well and we finished with 10 faults. I don't think we disgraced ourselves as he was the only one running in the final who is at beginner level and only in his first season too. Roll on next year as I would love to do it all over again.

The only bad thing is that Thomas' tuggy ball on a rope got lost in the long grass in the exercise area which is really annoying as I've just got him to play with after a run.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Watford & Bretons

Watford was a bit damp and cold and a very long day, I got there at 8.30 and ran Dudley in his 5-7 jumping at 9.30 and then didn't have another run until 3pm again with Dudley and Tom and Suzi didn't do anything until after 3.30.

Suzi was really good and got clear rounds in both of her classes but as at 6pm there were still 50 odd dogs to go before her in the Eukanuba agility I gave up and headed home. Dudley did a really nice run in his jumping but I blocked his entry into the weaves so he got 5 faults there and in his agility someone was eating chips sitting by the ring and he got a whiff of them as he went over the A frame, I saw his head appear then disappear which was a bit of a shock as I thought he'd fallen off after that he wasn't interested so I cut the round short and just went over the finish. The chip eater was, in my view, someone who should have known better and who, I'm sure, would have been very quick to point out the error of my ways if I'd done the same thing.

I don't want to keep banging on but me and Tom's weaves are going to give me a nervous breakdown so you can imagine my joy when walking his 1-3 agility yesterday I realised there were NO WEAVES. Other people was saying that it would be the same to win out in a class with no weaves but I wouldn't have cared :) Unfortunatley poor Tom just didn't take off for one jump and hit it with his chest, he must have hit it quite hard as I turned round to see the pole chasing me down the ring and Tom looking a bit shocked but bless his little socks he didn't seem fazed and finished the course which was a fast straight line and I just kept my arm out shouting GO more and more breathlessly while cutting the corner as much as I dared. Andy and Kizzy won the class in about 27 seconds and Tom had done it in 32 which although a huge difference in agility terms would have been good enough for a place so I was well pleased with him. His jumping round was very good apart from his weaves so not too bad a day.

At Bretons today it was rushing about like a loony until about 10 then nothing until Dudley at 11.30 then hang around chatting until pairs at 3.15. It was really nice to sit and just chill out and chat and to be fair I think I run my dogs better if I'm slightly stressed trying to walk courses and not miss runs. Tom's agility was a nightmare in places and I've found out that I need to rethink trying to get to places to get a reverse in unless I can learn to run faster! Nancy suggested that I try a couple of runs where I pick Tom up before the weaves, get him lined up and work them as a seperate thing so after walking the jumping course I had a chat with the judge who said it would be fine for me try it to see if it worked. The weaves were near the end of the course and guess what he went straight in and carried on so I tried to keep my mouth shut and fingers crossed and before I knew it he was over the finish and clear and ended up in 7th place.

Suzi got her dog walk again and another clear in her agility but out of the placings but in her 4-5 jumping she put in a stonking round and came 4th even with a QE2 turn when we did a snake then had to turn and go back down it.

I would like to say a big WELL DONE to Andy and Kizzy and Karen and Todd who came home with trophies today (I'm really going to have to think of a way of nobbling those Obays)

Monday, 16 June 2008

Agility dogs with a sense of humour

Dudley and Suzi have developed a strong sense of humour when it comes to doing agility with the worst offender being Suzi, she thinks it's higly amusing to miss the dog walk contact by running to the top of the contact pausing for a split second so I can see what she's about to do then leap across it which is exactly what she did in the Rescue League Final. I really enjoyed the day even though Leah and I ended up helping on the ring for most of it and it was lovely that everyone who was running turned up for the presentations and clapped and cheered loudly. Other than the contact Suzi ran really well and was back to enjoying herself again which was great to see.

Axstane and another example of my dog's senses of humour. Ring 1 was jinxed for me as during the weekend I had 6 runs in it with 5 E's including Dudley getting clear until three obstacles from home and then stopping for the most enormous poo and while I was picking it up, marking the spot and apologising to the judge he was bum walking thus making it 100 times more embarrasing. Suzi got her dog walk in this ring but then proceeded to do the most fantastic and tight pull through which would have been brillient but for the fact she should have gone round the back of the jump and I know my arm was out and I was telling her to go round. Yesterday she popped out of the last few weaves but I was pushing quite hard so I wasn't too upset until she turned round and proceeded to whizz back down the weaves in the wrong direction completely ignoring me calling her out then laughed in my face and dashed off for the finish ignoring one of the jumps. Plus how many terriers do you know that would completely ignore a tunnel that was two strides in front of their nose with nothing else anywhere near and a mad handler shouting tunnel, tunnel, TUNNEL. I've already told both of them that I'm trading them in for a big dog or maybe swapping them for one of those dogs that are good, you know the ones lot's of hair, pointy noses get 1st places in agility, Oh yes a SHELTIE.

Now to Thomas who had some good bits and some not so good bits at the weekend. In every run there were some parts that he worked really well for me including getting all his contacts, there were some bits where his lack of experienced showed such as QE2 turns there were also some bits where I should have worked him more but was a bit lazy but our biggest problem was the weaves. He got the entry first time every time but invariably put his nose down and got distracted except in one agility class where I had to push him out to the weaves so was able to give him loads of room unfortunately he was going so fast that even though he tried valiantly to get the second weave he just couldn't make it but then rushed back to me and did them again with no sign of a sniff. We had a lovely class to finish the day which was just jumps and tunnels and a straight line start so I ran with him from the beginning and we had great fun even though I left a call too late and he did a HUGE turn, went round a jump which he then backed jumped came back to me and we finished going great guns. He didn't ignore the tunnels, he's a good boy for his Mum.

I always love Axstane and this weeked was no exception even though three clears was all we could manage and it was great to see Nandy coming 2nd in the mini/mixi pairs and Andy & Kizzie winning the agility and getting so many other places during the weekend. (Rubbing my hands together - one less sheltie in Tom's classes) Onwards and upwards to next weekend and graded classes at Watford and another chance to see the development of my agility dogs with a sense of humour.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I've decided to take a couple of weeks off from training with Tom as I think I'm in danger of giving him agility overload which is why I think he was so distracted at the weekend. It wont do him any harm and he will still get to play at Axstane so we will be having lovely walks in the woods instead where Dudley can really enjoy himself chasing whatever it is he thinks is there and Tom and I can amble along the paths until Dudley decides to come back. I know an out of sight dog is an out of control dog but after 6 years I've given up and he's usually only a few yards away anyway as I can hear his bell and the crashing he makes through the undergrowth.

Suzi has the DARL final on Friday and I'm only running her in that so I'm going to leave the boys with their Grandad and enjoy the day with her even if she seems to have forgotten that contacts have to be touched and not jumped over.

Had some retail therapy at lunchtime and bought myself an actual dress!

Monday, 9 June 2008

More downs than ups

My friend summed it up when I was whinging to her about how awful this weekend had been with Tom she said 'I've come to the conclusion that there are more downs than ups in agility' and how right she is. Last weekend we came home with a red rosette this weekend couldn't even do a course with less than 10 faults, lots of sniffing and not listening I even picked him up and walked out of a ring with him on Saturday as I could feel myself starting to lose my temper which would have made everything ten times worse and not achieved anything. Did manage a lovely 4 jump recall and was so busy watching the speed he was coming at me that I completely forgot to actually tell him where he was going next and he did get his contacts yesterday which is more than can be said for Saturday.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

UKA today

Went to the UKA show at Walton on Thames today and must say I like the venue even though there was a boot sale going on at the same time with some not very nice characters wandering about, luckily they didn't stop long after they were announced over the PA.

Both Suzi and Thomas got clear rounds in the steeplechase with Suzi coming 3rd, Thomas was cut up by his less than careful handler which caused a bit of a detour so was a tad slower and finised one out the placings (they placed to 4th). Suzi was really enjoying herself again at last. The jumping course was lovely but both Tom and Suzi were faulted at the weaves, Suzi because she started to go to have a look at the photographer and missed the entry and Tom because I paniced and didn't give him enough room so he ran straight past then had a quick sniff. They both carried on to finish really well. Dudley did a lovely clear in his jumping but not quick enough for a place which was a shame. Then we came to the Royal Canin Agility qualifier, Suzi went first which was lucky as I found some problems with the way I walked it but she still went clear even getting her dogwalk contact but I think I was a bit too forceful with the command and she was very slow for the next couple of jumps but speeded up a bit through the weaves and ended up with a lovely clear good enough for 3rd place. I changed my plan a bit to run Tom and decided to just say 'Go weave' and let him get on with it and worked about 3 feet away from him. The course went jump, dogwalk, jump, jump with just a slight turn into the weaves so I decided to try the 'Go' as he started to come down the dogwalk I didn't have to use the patented Obay finger as there were no pull throughs so no royalties going that way this weekend I'm afraid :)

This agility course was one of those that just seemed to go right, I was in the right place at the right time, I got all my commands out exactly as I wanted including lefts and rights and Tom worked his little socks off and finished the course 9 seconds faster than Suzi. I hung around for nearly 3 hours for the presentation and then missed it because I was too busy chatting to someone and couldn't really hear the PA from where we were, not only had Tom come 1st he was also the fastest toy dog of the day and qualified for the RC Final. I was so pleased as he'd beaten the novice, senior and champ dogs, let's just hope it's not as wet at the final this year.

I've now got two finals in June including the DARL one with Suzi so I'll be a nervous wreck by July.
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