Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Suffolk Five Rivers

What a great show this is, the venue is nice and level with a lovely running surface and the loos were magically kept stocked with loo roll, paper towels and soap (I didn't once see anyone in them stocking them up so it was a bit spooky that every time I went in they were clean and well stocked - Think I may be getting a bit obsessed with loos!)

It was Dudley's first Grade 6 show and I have to say that I was really nervous about it which was silly really as everyone in the queue were the same people we've been queueing with all year. All his classes were graded over the weekend and the lovely show committee had decided to place to at least 10th however many dogs there were in the class this meant that he managed to get placed in all his classes. In fact I came home laden with rosettes as Tom and Suzi were placed too.

Tom still had some weave issues on Saturday but got all his contacts and only got eliminated due to my over zealous use of 'out' in his agility causing him to go right round and back jump and then I forgot to say left at the end of his jumping so he went straight on and over the finish. On Sunday I used his power and speed class to work on his weaves as he just kept going straight past as if he hadn't seen them. He did a lovely clear round in agilty and came 5th, he was going great guns in his jumping until I sent him into the tunnel and got myself into just the right position to work a snake from behind when I realised that he hadn't come out of the tunnel, looking back I saw that he was having a good sniff but he came out when I called and carried on to do 12 weaves and finish clear. He hadn't done anything in the tunnel as the judge could see him all the time and it became clear that quite a few other dogs had done the same thing so there was obviously something really exciting to sniff in there. He finished about 5 seconds behind the leader but must have wasted at least that which was very encouraging.

The weather was glorious but chilly at night and on Saturday we prepared outselves for the Led Zepplin tribute concert that was scheduled but I have to say that we were pleasantly suprised to discover that even though we were parked quite close to the venue we could sit outside and still hear each other talk and I managed to go to bed and sleep before they had finished, in fact it was less intrusive that the disco at Aylesbury.

Can't wait to go again next year :)

The weekend was only marred by the very sad loss suffered by Bernadette and Dennis when the beautiful Hex passed away on Thursday, my thoughts are with them at this awful time as I'm sure are those of the whole agility community.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Happy waits

A training last night I really wanted to work on getting 'happy' waits with Suzi as she tends to cringe and creep when I ask her to wait at a show. I've been doing the 1,2,3 GO with her when we go for walks and doing it with all three dogs so they all charge off as soon as I say Go, this has not always worked as they only one I've got with a really solid wait is Tom who sits like a good boy until I say Go even if the other two have gone on 2 :)

Not sure if it was the happy waits we were doing or the full moon but she was really up for training last night and didn't slow down even towards the end which was was great especially as we were doing some quite intense stuff including TWO tunnels under/near the dogwalk. She was a star and didn't put a foot wrong although she did get a bit erratic with her contact when I had to run wide around the tunnel. Something to work on there methinks.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Paws in the Park

Tenterden put on a good show, well organised with lovely judges and they even managed to get the weather sorted out but I don't like the Hop Farm as a venue and have decided not to do any more shows held there which is a shame as it's so close to home but having to walk miles to the rings, the refreshments and even the exercise and the fact that they charge the earth but can't keep the loos stocked with loo roll really doesn't make for an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. This was nothing to do with Tenterden, I hasten to add, who I think did a great job under not that easy circumstances.

Agility wise - it was Dudley's last grade 5 show and I was hoping to finish on a high but on Saturday he got 10 faults in his agility over an interesting course and wasn't helped by me saying tyre instead of weaves thus getting him 5 for going in the wrong side of the weaves, they other 5 were him leaping off the dog walk. As the weather had really warmed up by the time his jumping was due to take place I didn't run him and took him to have a go a terrier racing instead which he's done before but not out of the traps. I think he enjoyed it much more than he would have the jumping :) Sunday although sunny was a bit cooler so he didn't seem to mind running even with a long wait between his jumping and agility, in his jumping he knocked a pole which is unusual for him but did run nicely and didn't try to bite me which was nice, however, in his agility although he went clear he incurred 1 time fault which I'm sure we wouldn't have got if he hadn't grabbed my ankle quite so much, still he finised 2nd but they only placed to 1st so no rosette. Suzi was very naughty over the weekend and her wicked sense of humour took over a bit as she managed to get all her contacts but on Saturday completely ignored the fact that I was calling her and moving in the opposite direction and shot into a tunnel at the wrong end getting a big E, she did redeem herself a bit and got a clear in the helter skelter. I pulled both small dogs out of the 3-5 jumping, Suzi at jump 4 because she was walking and Tom because I felt that it was a bit too naggy and would probably have blown his mind at that time of the day. On Sunday she was doing a cracking round in her jumping then went over a jump that I wasn't pointing or looking at to get another E but did do a nice agility round but just a bit too slow for a place, I think the dog walk was a bit springy as she started up it at speed then slowed right down, quite a few dogs did this and we all agreed that it moved as they went up it. Large dogs are obviously not as sensitive :)

Now to Thomas, as it's his blog I suppose he should get a mention! Well this weekend will not be remembered as his finest hour, although parts of every run had some excellent moments, as out of 4 runs he got 4 Es. He seemed very distracted and not at all as relaxed as normal and the fact that we had to queue for quite a while before most of his runs didn't help. He did get all his contacts though which was lovely especially after the inconsistency of Duds and Suzi but everything else seemed to go to pot a bit, I'm wondering if he picked up on me being a bit stressed out with all the walking backwards and forwards as I couldn't always hear the PA and they didn't often repeat the message so most of the time you only heard the 'calling to the end' or the 'closing in 5 minutes' bit but you didn't know what class or what ring.

Talking of the PA, in this world or wireless and digital etc why are most of the PAs so rubbish, you either can't hear them or they boom out so loud that they are distorted and why can't people repeat the message as usually by the time you realise that the tinny little squeak is the PA you've missed two thirds of it and have to wander round asking people if they heard it and keep bumping into people asking the same thing so you then have to walk the 10-15 minutes to your ring to find out that it was nothing to do with your class. Even the one that you can listen to over the radio isn't much good if they don't repeat the message plus in my car you have to have the engine switched on for the radio to work so it's no good anyway.

Blimey it's lucky we're near the end of the season if something as simple as the PA starts to send me off on what could end up as a continous rant :)

Friday, 12 September 2008

Leah has restructured her classes and Tom has moved into another class with mostly all new dogs. We worked really hard last night and I don't know about Tom but I was knackered, more to do with that fact that we've had a break for the summer and that I had to think much harder about how to run the courses than how unfit I am :)

The class is also longer than he's used to and I thought he might get over tired and was prepared to only do half the class but by popping him out for a chill out and a wee a couple of times he lasted the whole class without getting sniffy or distracted and I was very pleased with what we achieved, just wish Leah hadn't gone off the the Europeans and come back with some weird European ideas for weave entries and obstacle discrimination!!

One thing I did find was that he couldn't seem to see one of the pipe tunnels even though it was straight in front of him and kept either running past it or looking back at me, not sure it this was the lighting but I must keep an eye on it. I'm also going to go back to targeting his dogwalk for a while as although he goes across quite fast he's started to creep down to the contact, he's still faster than Dudley though.

Just found another blog gadget and have added it down the bottom so if you fancy becoming a Tom Tom follower I think you just have to click on it.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Stour Valley

The weather was awful when we left for the show on Friday but I decided to go anyway as I was ring manager on the Saturday and had booked camping, when I got there I got soaked setting up the garden but had been allocated a lovely spot right by the rings so not far to walk and I could keep an eye on it while managing.

Saturday was a day of cloud, heavy showers and wind but everyone just got on with it and my ring party were fantastic, they were a mixture of Sevenoaks club members and people who just offered to help and we were looked after really well by Stour Valley with a packed ring box of tea, coffee and biscuits plus a box of sweets and in the afternoon lovely posh cakes. Andy Longley was a great judge as he did what has told and trotted off between each class to do his presentations :)

Once we'd finished for the day we left Angela Lucas to tweak her course for the next day and a couple of friends joined me for a cup of tea, suddenly Angela shouted 'it's coming' and ran for her van, there was a clap of thunder and you could hear the rain coming towards us and it was as if someone was chucking buckets of water at the camper and this went on for most of the night.

On Sunday I walked a course and really felt that I had to ask the judge why he felt that he needed so many pull throughs, his answer was because it was a 5-7 class and that if he could get his grade 3 round it we should be able to get our dogs round. My point wasn't that I couldn't get my dog round the course just that why did he think that we would enjoy a course that didn't run smoothly for the dogs just because it was a 5-7 class. I did have a go but managed to eliminate Dudley at jump 10 by not waiting until he was committed to the pull through before moving off and making him back jump.

Results wise Dudley got a 3rd in grade 5 agility, Suzi got a 7th and a 10th in her jumping classes and Tom and some very nearly clears. I was really pleased with him as he had some brilliant bits in all of his runs including great contacts and lovely weaves but he was let down by his handler more than once.

Stour Valley was a great show with and excellent venue that drained really well and even though we had all that rain the going was always good and you could hardly see where the dogs had been running in the rings and I hope that Rob let's them use the venue again next year.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The time has come to be sensible and get rid of my Subaru Legacy and take over Dad's Renault Scenic that just sits on the drive since my Mum died and goes out perhaps once a month if it's lucky. It's an 03 with about 20,000 miles on the clock and has aircon and eveything, including a few cup holders and lots of little cubby holes which I'm not sure what you would use for but you never know they may come in useful :)

I've been hunting around for quotes for a double cage and suddenly remembered Bernadette's recommendation so gave them a ring and they are £200 cheaper and come with locking catches which is just what I wanted so I've ordered one today, hopefully I'll get something for my old car which will go towards the cage. I've got to wait about 8 weeks but I don't mind that so now I've just got to muck my car out and try and sell it.

Training started again last night and I took Dudley as I thought he might like it and I also took cakes for his win. He was a very good boy and worked very well at the weave entries, especially as they are not his favourite thing to do, and we also did some go rounds and working ahead. I don't think he'll ever be happy working ahead of me in the ring but he did try hard last night and I couldn't ask more than that. Tom starts again on Thursday and I'm really looking forward to it.
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