Saturday, 22 November 2008

Backs, legs and judging

Took Tom to see Julia at Galen on Wednesday and she confirmed that he had a very sore back and spent ages working on him avoiding Tom attempts to stop her with his teeth. I’d already booked an appointment at the vet but she also advised that I take him as she was a bit concerned about his knee but wasn’t sure if it was his tight muscles causing it or it causing his tight muscles. I took him today and the vet diagnosed a subluxating patella in both legs but did say he doesn’t think surgery is necessary and that there is no reason why he should give up agility but we’ve got to keep an eye on it. I’m a bit upset at the moment but determined not to look it up too much on the internet as I’m sure that would make me worry even more. Julia did say that if he was diagnosed with it there is loads we can do with the massage and fitness exercises so I’m sure the end is not nigh.

Leah kindly let me run Shy at training on Thursday and made us do some really horrible stuff which she is hopefully going to get paid back for on Tuesday night. Shy is such a lovely dog and worked hard for me even though it was only the second time I’d run her and my timing was way out. I hope I haven’t undone all the hard work Jason has put in with her especially as her release command is OK and I kept saying Go.

Although I enjoyed judging on Tuesday night I don’t think it’s something I would want to do again and think I’d rather put back into agility by doing ring party and that sort of thing.

Took Dudley training on Wednesday, in Tom’s class, and was pleasantly surprised to find that where I would normally get a blind cross in I couldn’t as he was going too fast and I left him in the weaves and he stayed in which I’ve never been able to do (don’t think I’ll have the guts to try it at a show though)

I’m hoping to wake up to snow tomorrow.

Monday, 17 November 2008

C Side

Off we went to C side with liver and liver cake and all three dogs tucked up in their new cages and prepared for whatever weather there might be. The first surprise, a nice one, was the exercise was in a different field and not too muddy the second was that Tom’s agility course started with the weaves. It was nice course and I was looking forward to running it, Tom started off really well, focused and keen but, unfortunately, after turning right over number 7 to turn back into a tunnel he went lame. I thought he’d put his nose down to sniff so went ‘Tom, Tom, Tom’ but the poor little bugger was on three legs and came hopping over to me looking very sorry for himself, he didn’t cry which surprised me as he’s a bit of a wimp and usually screams the place down if he hurts himself. The judge and I both had a look and a feel but couldn’t see what he’s done so I carried him out and back to the car where he actually put weight on his leg but later on he was hopping on the other leg, when I got home last night I gave him a bit of a massage and think the problem may be in his back as I found a very tender spot so he’s booked to see the vet and the massage lady later in the week.

After that it was a long wait for the afternoon classes and running the other two, luckily it wasn’t cold or wet and there was three trade stands so I bought new fleecy coats and harnesses for Tom and Dudley and saw a very fetching pink teddy bear outfit that would have suited Suzi down to the ground but Leah said that if I bought it I would be banned from training.

Eventually the open classes started which meant lots of dashing about with Dudley and Suzi and a bit of panic as I thought I was going to miss Suzi’s jumping while I was queuing with Dudley. I think the open courses were great even the agility that had a twiddly bit with a long send into the weaves with the added trap of coming back past the jumps we’d already done. Suzi was flying round the course but I was working so hard trying to prevent her back jumping that I put her in the second weave so ended up with 5 faults. Dudley did a cracking jumping round and was also working well in the agility until the weave entry when he had to have a bark and a bite but after I got him in he worked the rest really well.

Jason was busy working so I also ran my first ever large dog and worked Shy in the jumping and agility, she’s such a good girl and ran nicely for me but I managed to get to Es but really enjoyed it. Don’t think I’ll be getting a large dog any time soon though, couldn’t possibly walked courses with so many other people.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Just made some liver cake and it's risen higher than any of the ordinary human cakes I've ever made! Not sure if it's the wholemeal self raising flour or the silicon cake tin I've just bought. I was expecting it to smell awful when cooking but it's actually not bad and I'm just waiting for it to cool down so I can cut it up and try it on the boys. Think next time though I'll do it in a square tin.

It's supposed to freeze well so I'll bag it up in training session sized portions and I'm thinking of making some pichard cake next.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Bless Leah

After reading my blog she worked out a plan of campaign for me and Tom, first I got a phone call to say bring really high value treats to training last night so I toddled off to the butcher and bought some lamb’s liver which I cut up into some nice bite sized pieces. When I got to training the next part of the plan came into action, I was only to do 3 bits of equipment and treat and praise once completed, if we had a longer course I had to treat him between each section of 3 and when he wasn’t working he stood away from the other dogs and chilled out there were also to be no ‘wait’ starts until his agility drive is back.

I’m not expecting miracles but I have to say the difference was amazing, the liver combined with the short sections really seemed to work and the chill out meant he was up for being back with me and working. I need to alternate the treats so I’m going to look at making some treats of my own including liver cake and fish cake and the smellier the better.

I also ran Dudley round a couple of courses and for a dog that wont usually touch anything in the raw meat/fish line he got a real taste for the liver and caught me out by running faster than I’ve ever seen him and actually catching and coming past me down a line of jumps and over the dogwalk.

I’m so lucky to have such a fantastic set of trainers, especially Leah who takes real pains to help us with all our different problems and she even held some raw liver which must have been awful for her as she’s a veggie. Please don’t tell her I said that as she’ll have trouble getting her head through the gateway at training!

All I have to do now is be consistent and just work 3-4 obstacles at a time and not get over excited and let the red mist take over if he’s going nicely.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Oh the frustration…….

Most people you hear about are having problems getting a wait on the start line I’m having the complete opposite. Thomas just sits there and wont budge even when I get excited and 1,2,3 he is poised to go as you can see him rocking but he just wont move. Not sure what the problem is but it seems to be when there are jumps involved as outside agility I can get him to wait for the length of a football pitch and when I say ‘Go’ he powers towards me. I have been doing running starts with him just to keep him going but I want to get back to him doing lovely starts :(

We went to WAG on Sunday and I’m sure Leah was trying to kill us all with her extremely long but fun courses and guess what Tom was back to sniffing, our agility run was a nightmare but he did get all his contacts and when he eventually decided to come back to me he did lovely weaves and to be fair each run had some really good bits so even though I was upset that he was sniffing I was pleased with the majority of it. It was a lovely day as I took Wendy & Woody leaving Dudley at home with Dad so we just had the two dogs which was really relaxing I must say, we took them for a walk on the beach at lunchtime and they had a whale of a time. It makes me realise how enjoyable shows used to be with only one dog to run, no rushing from ring to ring to see how classes were running being able to sit and chat with people and looking round the trade stands without panicking that all the rings were going to finish.

Last night at training I was finding it very hard to stay upbeat and not get frustrated with him as either his nose was down or he wouldn’t go and the courses we were doing need a wait to get in the right position. I tried to take on board what Mac was saying about not getting to far away from him but I don’t want another Velcro dog and want him to be able to work either ahead or behind me and not rely on me always being near him. When the others went to work at the other end of the school I spent time with him working on getting him to ‘GO’, I used a toy and treats and even the tunnel as an incentive to get him moving but with only limited success, I found that he would normally go if there was only one jump between us, about 2 metres, but if I tried to go further than this he just wouldn’t budge, perhaps this is outside his confidence zone which is very strange (might take my video camera tonight and see if I can get some evidence in case someone can see what I’m doing) That said he did some brilliant work when I practised our ‘steady’ he wrapped himself round the wing and powered away, I tried working close up and from more of a distance.

The sniffing is more of a problem and more frustrating as I know it’s an avoidance thing and I don’t know how to deal with it, I try and make myself more interesting and praise him loads when he comes back and would like to play with his tuggy with him but he just switches off to it and goes off again, at WAG someone leant over the fence and shooed him away which helped a bit, what didn’t help was that he did actually find something to eat so got himself a lovely reward.

I’m entered for C Side but can’t say I’m really looking forward to it as the venue is one of the worst for lovely smells for Tom, he seems to remember the time he found a huge pile of horse poo half way round a course so spends him time looking for more.

After I posted this orginally I got a call from Leah so I'm going armed with raw lamb's liver tonight.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

My cage is ready and I'm going to pick it up next Friday, I very excited even though I've got to to the other side of Peterborough. Think Dudley is looking forward to not having Tom jump all over him every time he gets in the car.

After the being out every weekend of the agility season not having a show at the weekend is actually really nice and restful and only having one lesson in the last month has actually been quite nice, just walking the dogs and watching the telly is something I'm sure I'm getting too used to luckily we're back to training with a vengence from tomorrow.

I've also been asked to do my first judging appointment, luckily it's a club night but I'm still quite nervous and have been trying to work out some courses as I have everything from real beginners to G7s.
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