Friday, 29 May 2009

If only he'd had a camera

Dad went into the garden yesterday to see why the dogs were all barking, not just general barking but deep big dog barking, and witnessed something that would have probably made me some money if only he's had the video camera :)

There was a large cat sitting on the gatepost teasing the dogs but got cocky and decided to walk along the top of the gate but wasn't expecting the gate to move slightly when hit by an angry dog, everything would have been fine if it had fallen outside the gate but it over balanced inwards and landed on Tom who proceeded to scream as if his back had been broken. The cat took off towards the house with Suzi and Dudley in hot pursuit, Tom was still screaming, it shot under a small seat and straight up the fence, Suzi got under the seat but got stuck, and then fell back into the garden ran down the path and over the fence at the bottom with Dudley slightly too slow to react. All this time Tom was still screaming but also running to join the fray but too late to be any help.

It was all over very quickly but gave Dad the best laugh he's had for ages and Tom was non the worse for being landed on by a large cat. I think the news may have got around that you can make the ginger dog scream as there was another cat in the garden this morning but left when it saw Dad.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Go means run fast Mum

I think that I may be confusing Tom with my release and weave entry command, nothing new there really, and when I say 'Go' or 'go weave' it means something different to Tom than it does to me. I think I've taught Tom that 'Go' means run really fast and jump anything in the way and not what I thought it meant which was 'you can now get up and jump the jumps' or 'look for the weaves'. Now I know a lot of people would say that they aren't that clever and they wouldn't think like that but why else would he sit at the start and on the dog walk keen as mustard and twitching to get started and then not actually move when I say 'go' but if I say it as he comes down the dog walk he'll power down and zoom off? 'Go weave' is the same sort of thing the 'go' seems to cause some confusion and missing of entries so at the weekend and at training last night I just said 'Tom, weave', I put the Tom in to get him to slightly look at me so the entry wasn't dead straight, this worked quite well and I will endeavour to remember not to shout 'go weave' in an excited manner at the weekend.

Now to the release command....Well last night I used OK as this seems to trip off the tongue quite well and is easily remembered BUT can also be used at the wrong time like when your instructor is talking to you and you say 'OK' to intimate that you've understood them which is why I don't usually use it but it worked as did 'come' when we did a wait.

I must be a dog trainer extrodinaire as I've also taught Suzi that 'look' means jump right over the white bit and Dudley that 'get off' means bite my ankles as much as you like and 'get down' means jump up the person in front of you and cover them in mud.

On the plus side of last night Tom had no hesitation in running across the dog walk and over the A frame and did some really nice pull throughs which is not something we always get right and I also learned that blind pickups out of a tunnel with him can be a bit scary when a small ginger bullet appears as I'm starting to cross the tunnel entrance.

Looking forward to UKA at the weekend.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Oooooo luverly

Just thought I'd share Tom's moment of pure bliss on Saturday.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ups and Downs of agility

Whilst I know I'm not the best handler in the world I do try but today I felt that I was just useless when running Suzi and Dudley over their jumping course that needed some thinking about but was quite nice.

I'd arrived at 9.30 as none of the dogs had a class first in the ring and Tom's agility was first, I stupidly joined a queue that was too long and not helped by the fact that the caller was 'taking anyone' in a class of 112 and the fact that the sun came out today and it was boiling. To give him is due he didn't switch off completely but I think he may have got a bit warm, I'm thinking of clipping his chest and tummy if the predicted hot summer actually happens, as the round didn't seem that fast and he was very slow on the downs of his contacts. I had to lure him down his A frame! Weaves, though, well he didn't even hesitate and did all 12, there was no sniffing and as usual he did a really good go on to the finish. I checked his time and he was about 9 seconds off the lead which was disappointing but I really think most of that was lost on the contacts but he had gone clear and the jumping bits were nice and tight and in control so I was chuffed to bits and he eventually finished in 11th place so 'that'll do Tom'.

It got hotter and hotter and by the time my first run with Suzi came round I just couldn't seem to concentrate or actually remember where to go and put her back over a jump we'd already done and eliminated her, she was panting a bit which was concerning me but she speeded up and I tried to run her better but just couldn't and poor Dudley suffered worse as I was clear until 18 then did the reverse I wanted to but then completely missed 19.

I know it was probably a cop out but I decided not to run their other classes as I just didn't feel that I could put my all into it and it wouldn't have been fair on any of them. I haven't felt well for a while and think I really must make an appointment at the doctor.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Seeing as this is supposed to be Spring it was bloody cold at BATS on Saturday but luckily not too wet, I'd decided that if it was raining when I got up I wasn't going to go but it was dry so I crawled out of bed and went.

Suzi was back to wild but in the 3-4 agility we managed to keep it all together with a slight blip when I couldn't get where I wanted to for a reverse turn and she headed towards the A frame but I managed to get a call in and a scooped her into the weaves and she was clear and eventually came 5th which I was a pleased as punch with. Tom was a bit hesitant on his contacts and I lost him behind me during a turn and his nose went down and he sniffed for a bit but did lovely weaves and finished with just 5 faults. The 3-4 jumping course was a bit more challenging and I messed up by trying to cross behind Suzi in the weaves, I think it would have worked in a straight line but we were coming off a turn, she then flew the next bit and came out of the pipe tunnel so fast that we collided when I forgot to say steady to get her to do a push through after that it went a bit pear shaped (think she blamed me for the collision) but she looked like she was having fun. Tom had to do the same course and I stupidly tried the same thing in the weaves as I thought it wouldn't hurt to try as I wasn't expecting to get him round. It was a huge mistake as he went for a mighty sniff but when he came back he flew round the next part and I couldn't catch him where I wanted to do a recall over a jump and he just went straight to the finish line.

I didn't run Tom in the Olympia but did run Suzi and think going from one ring to the next doesn't work with her as she was quite slow but did get a clear so 2 out of 2 dog walk contacts HURRAH.

Dudley had 2 runs and although he wasn't too bitey he was gobby and we ended up with an E is agility when he just ignored me when I wanted him to go in the wrong end of the tunnel, jumping - well apart from some really awful handling he didn't do too badly even though we got a refusal at a jump that he just stopped in front of, think I stopped dead to move across for a front cross, and a refusal in the weaves after once again I was in the wrong place and tried to cross behind him, don't know what I was thinking as I've never been able to do it with him. I'd walked it keeping my bum in to the jump but run it by stepping back - RUBBISH HANDLER

Much prefer Suzi wild but think i may have to lose weight and get a bit fitter if she'd going to carry on like this.

I did have one question though - what is it about agility people when even though it was freezing cold and nearly blowing a gale the ice cream van seemed to have a good day :)

Monday, 11 May 2009


Set off on Friday lunchtime and by the time I got to Ely it was really windy and after nearly becoming a kite when putting up the garden I abandoned the idea of putting up the awning but managed to put it up in the morning as the wind had dropped, it was great having the extra room and when it got really hot on Sunday it was somewhere nice to shelter from the sun for the dogs.

I've come to the conclusion that Suzi really hates camping and isn't happy when we go away so I've decided not to take her again, luckily I haven't booked anything until September and between now and then there are only day shows. She spent most of the time sitting on her cushion looking miserable and when it came to agility she was very slow and not at all like she's been lately. I know I've started to get frustrated with her not listening and even though I sound like I don't know what I want I think I prefer her mad and happy than accurate, slow and miserable so if you hear me moaning about her doing her own thing please remind me what I've said here.

Tom got 2 clear rounds on Saturday in Helter Skelter and Agility and while I was really happy with this I couldn't get over a nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right with him as he seemed really slow. People watching said he wasn't but I really though he was measuring the jumps but forgot to get anyone to video us which was stupid. In his agility I tried to work his dog walk wide as I wanted to recall him over the next jump to get a reverse in to turn him to the A frame which was parallel with the dogwalk, he got a nice contact but getting ahead of him slightly meant that his nose went down and he wasted loads of time and finished in 43 seconds, the winning time in his grade was 36 seconds so to be honest he wasn't actually as slow as I thought. Yesterday wasn't so good as we had the big E in jumping as although I thought I'd called him early enough I think I may have just said his name rather than any directional as he went straight ahead into a tunnel rather than turning right. His agility was much better as I remembered to say left and right but we got some faults as he got a really good weave entry but I think something twinged as he came out after a couple and went for a sniff. Lovely contacts all weekend and no problem with stopping on the top of the A frame.

Dudley gave me and the judge the biggest laugh of the weekend in his grade 6/7 jumping yesterday - the course could have almost been designed by Leah with lots of reverse turns backwards and forwards to parallel jumps (hope that makes sense) and I was looking forward to running it but wasn't expecting him to go very fast as it was so hot. Well he got to the collapsy tunnel and I thought he'd got stuck as I could just see a writhing ball of cloth when suddenly he appeared, on his back, having a lovely roll which carried on as he wriggled out. Have to say that both the judge and I dissolved into laughter and she said it was a shame the photographer wasn't there, I carried on but laughing for the rest of the course and chuckling to myself all the way back to the van. I can always rely on Dudley to make me look a fool.

I had the day off today and had booked Tom and Dudley in to see Julia at Galen who found that both of them had some sore bits which she treated so hopefully I will super fast dogs again at the weekend but looking at them I don't somehow think so as the are both flat out fast asleep.

Not only did I have nice cold wine at the weekend but nice cold Pimms with ice, lemon and mint - Summer is definatley here but may have now been and gone.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

For the first time....

since competing with Suzi I lost my temper with her in the ring, this was in a boxed pairs class which I should never have entered as I hate them as the rules are always different but that should have been easy to do but she would just not take any notice of where I was telling her to go. I've never lost my temper with her in the ring and I'm determined never to do it again but I was so frustrated with her from her jumping round that rather than doing what I always tell other people to do, forget that round and move on to the next, I let it build up and it burst out when for the third time she'd missed her weave entry and our pair had to come and take over who then missed the entry and we had to take over. I didn't do any harsh handling or anything but I did shout 'SUZI, FOR GOD'S SAKE BLOODY LISTEN TO ME' which was bad enough.

The reason I was so frustrated was the in her jumping we had just the tunnel and a jump to go clear and probably into the placings when she cut across in front of me, nearly tripping me up, to back jump the long jump, of all things, and this was dispite me saying 'tunnel, tunnel, tunnel, TUNNEL'. Things seem to be getting worse with us and it's so hard to replicate it at training as she doesn't run the same on the indoor surface as she does on grass and at the moment she's getting faster and faster and more confident about being away from me which should be a good thing! In her agility I was determined to stay up beat which I did even though she once again missed her weaves and THEN going flat out into a pipe tunnel she obviously felt that I wasn't committed enough as she stopped dead and backed out and THEN missed her down contact on the dogwalk. If I didn't know better I would say that this is all deliberate

Dudley was especially barky and bitey in his jumping and after he came out of the weaves to get me I made him sit for a second before carrying on which didn't really make much difference and he'd forgotten by the time we did agility although he did go clear which was the only one I had from 7 runs (I had 5 E's and 2 with faults as Dudley got time faults)

I don't think Thomas was 100% on Sunday as he sat on the top of the A frame for a while and was quite sniffy but he did two sets of 12 weaves which was an achievement and worked well in his jumping.

I'm at Godmanchester at the weekend for out first camping show and I'm really looking forward to it even if the agility has lost it's appeal at the moment.

We've has some news at work that has put a bit of a downer on things at the moment as they are closing the Westerham office in August and we are all relocating to Bracknell in Berks which is 50 miles away and on a good run takes about an hour but on a bad M25 morning, most of them really, can take two and a half hours. I'm going to stick with it for the time being as they are going to be paying my mileage for the first year.
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