Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Holes in my plan!

Well no sooner do I post my plan, do I find substantial holes in it!

I went training with Hex at Nancy's today. Firstly he was brill, but already there are holes, well grey areas in my training plan.....

1) Do I name the hoop? Not so easy! When Hex runs through it away from the contacts I had been saying "Go", but as Nancy so rightly pointed out does go now mean duck under a hoop? NO, that was not the idea, so from that I have decided not to call the hoop anything, and instead just have it at the bottom of the contact to stop him from jumping or bailing.

2)For my turns off the contacts do I want left and right, or do I want more acute angles, therefore would different words be best? I think I will stick to left and right.

So already that's the training plan amended! (I knew this was a bad idea!).
It was funny when I got to Nancy's as she had already read my blog so knew and remembered more of what I'd said than I did!

Any way back to his lesson.....
We did lots of new stuff, and like a pleb I forgot my Video camera. We focused on straight lines as Nancy observed that Hex is looking at me too much, and not powering forward. We also did the see saw and a really low dog walk. I love going to Nancy as she always can give me something to think about, actually normally loads!...

The see-saw:
Nancy propped either end on a stool so that it didn't move too far. Needless to say Hex didn't think it was at all scary and hit it pretty fast the first few times, and then pretty much full wack the last. We targeted to a blob of squirty cheese at the end, and like a true male, Hex's stomach ruled his head, and he just kept going back round!

The Dogwalk:
I'm especially pleased with the dog walk as Hex (up to now) has only done 1/2 a down plank.
First we started on the down plank propped on a caravan step. We placed the hoop at the bottom, and targeted him to his toy set 4 ft (ish) back. This he did with huge gusto!
Next we put the up ramp onto the stool to effectively create an A-Frame, and we got him running happily over that. Then we put the whole thing up on a baby trellis, and back chained it back.
The first couple of times (from the start) Hex wasn't sure that was the quickest way and bailed out by galloping down the side. But very quickly he got the idea. I was thrilled because he maintained his stride throughout and ran through with a nice low head position.

Well he did a whole hour and I was stupidly hoping he may be tiered, instead he is galloping around with Riot as I write this, oh well here's to hoping!

I have booked another lesson on Sat with Nancy, so will look forward to that (I have also roped in Jay to film it, so especially for Sarah you can see him work in the light!) 'Till then I'd better asses my Criteria again!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Week three training and other stuff...

Well time seems to be galloping by when it comes to Hex, but standing very still with Link and Herbie. Well maybe that is unfair, they are progressing well, but it just has been such a long time!

We have already had our third agility lesson, and scarily Hex just gets faster. He is quick to learn (must add to training notes!), therefore if I don't have a clear cut idea in my head things could go tit's up very quickly, so I have decided I will put my training plan (if that's what you want to call it) this way it will make me stick to it.

Here is week three's video (will try and get Jay to film contacts from the front next time)

So to the training plan/ideas:

What do I want eventually?

1) A confident, happy dog (excellent already there! he he )
2) Independent obstacle performances IE can complete the weaves on his own, or do the contacts to the criteria set.
3) Speed (another tick!)
4) Control (This maybe harder)
5) Excellent directional commands
6) Tight turns
7) A good understanding of jumping (not like Link)
8) Obstacle discrimination

Super loads of work.......


This is harder.... I have decided (after much to-ing and fro-ing) that I want to teach Hex a running contact ( I'm sure I will live to regret this!), so I guess the first step is to set criteria?

what I will aim for.......

1) A low head position
2) Not to break stride across the contacts (although I will teach a stop see-saw)
3) A set hit zone (IE where on the contact he must hit)
4) Front feet hit. I decided this as I feel if he is allowed to hit with any foot on any point of the contact it will be very hit and miss, where as if he has to hit within a hit zone, with his front feet only, it should create a much more accurate behavior (hopefully).
5) Tight turns off contacts, or a good send on

So to be able to run (and not get eliminated constantly) I must teach Hex good obstacle discrimination and accurate left and rights.

I plan to do a lot of grid work with him, so he understands how to jump, and can see a stride.

Well I've probably forgotten loads, but if I have I will update it later!

So back to today. I went for a lovely walk this morning, it's really nice as Link and Herbie are able to come again, even though they can't go mad. It was beautiful and sunny, and by the time I got back I was boiling. The dogs had a great time playing chase, and delving through the under growth. By the time we got in they were all pooped, and have been flat out.
I have had to wait in all afternoon for the chimney sweep (who still hasn't been!) as yesterday Jay kindly lit the fire in the morning (as this is the only heating for the whole house), and by the time I got back from work the house was filled with smoke, so anyway I hope they turn up soon, as it is getting cold and I can't light the fire!
Tonight we have training with Nancy and Andy, I can't wait as I get to run the wonderful Murph. Then tomorrow I have the dentist (yuck!) and then a lesson with Hex at Nancy's, so we are looking forward to that. Thurs and Fri are full of agility lessons and then Sat and Sun morning I have an agility clinic, which I am holding, after that on Sunday afternoon I have an FCI training day, which will be great, so all in all a pretty busy week!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Thanks a lot Bernadette!

Well it was back to training with Nancy and Andy on Tues. Had a great lesson! "You have no dogs!" I hear you all cry. Well thanks to Andy's generosity I got to run the wonderful Murph! Oh my god, I love running him, he is like a finner build Link. He is great fun, and so quick I have no time to think, I dare say that Nancy will tell me off for saying such wonderful things about the "wig"!

Any way back to the thanks a lot Bernadette.......

When people put up on their blogs puke inducing exercises, they should bear in mind us poor mortals, especially those who are borrowing very quick dogs!
After about 2 attempts of the "wing spin", my legs were like jelly and the sick was rising quickly. (he he he) No really this was actually a hard exercise, especially to get tight and tidy. I'm sure that had I done it with Herbie, he would flick out to the opposite wing as he always likes to turn away from me. So as soon as we are back training this will be a great exercise to try. I dare say my lot will have to try this tonight and tomorrow.

In all seriousness I love looking at courses and exercises, therefore can you all put more on please? :)

Hex has got his 3rd lesson tonight, can't wait. I am really enjoying running/training him. Was thinking I should really write down a training plan for him... all the things I didn't do/teach to my others. Now the question is should I be a fool and post it on here, so in a years time you can all say "you said you were going to teach him that" etc, or should I wimp out and keep it to myself? (I know what I should do and what I want to do, they are very different!!!)

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Past times

(left to right.... Herbie, Link, Shy and Reaga)

I was just adding some bits when I found this lovely photo of my collies (before I lost Reaga, and before Hex came), just had to share it even though it makes me sad and happy at the same time!

Week 2 of hex's lessons and other stuff.

Well already we have done our 2nd lesson. Hex has now found a new enthusiasm for agility (if that is possible with an already MAD merle!). We are having great fun in our lessons, although I can see that my "wait" could slip fairly quickly, so as you can see in the vid, I do not allow the slightest foot movement, hopefully it will sink in?

At the weekend we went to Ribble. I really like this show, but have to admit I found it quite hard not to run a dog (as my two are still off). Jay did well, he handled Stihl really nicely, and finally didn't allow any creeping on the start line, subsequently he had brill waits all day!
Shy found a new speed (not bad for an 8yr old dog!), and got placed in each of her classes.
I spent my time getting Hex to focus on me whilst there is a lot going on (which he did really well!) and doing some waits outside the rings (again he was very good!).

Whilst we were at Ribble I got a lot of comments like "what's happened to your dog, he is so ugly now!", quite harsh I feel, I know I'm the first to say he is an ugly duckling, but he is my dog so that is OK, felt quite bad for him by the end of the day, if his tail would stay down he'd look great, oh well.

So anyway we are back to training at Hilders Farm tonight, I will take Hex and work some more on his waits whilst I watch.

Link and Herbie's feet seem to be getting better, we even got to go for a beautiful walk on the Ashdown forest on Sun, they both had to stay on the lead, but it was nice seeing them out again! If they continue to do well hopefully they will be back competing around March time.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Bloody rain!!!!!!!!!

After all this rain (which is coming in through my door!!!!), the river outside our house is just about to completely flood!It isn't as bad as poor Andy and Nancy Hudson, it is just about to come into thier house! Any way i have attached a quick Vid, but whilst making it, it has completly flooded!

Friday, 11 January 2008

Good and Bad!

Well it's been a really mixed week......
Firstly the bad,
Herbie injured his toe a while ago, thankfully it healed really well and we were back working, all going well etc. I decided that before the agility season kicked off I would re-x ray his toe just for piece of mind, to know it healed correctly. Well it had, BUT the problem now was that he was developing chronic arthritis, so the only thing to do was to take away the problem, which was a tiny piece of bone. So the long and short of it is that Herbie is off work now until the end of Feb (boooooo).
The good,
Hex had his first pre-agility puppy class. He was fantastic! He is so fast and so quick; I already struggle to keep up (oops!)
Any way it is really nice as 3 out of the 6 pups in the class are Many Tears Rescue dogs! They all look like they are going to be great as well, a good reason to get a rescue puppy/dog.

Jason kindly recorded the class, so I have put together a vid. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Two blogs in two days......

A few people have asked me for a video of Hex so here goes...... I will do an updated one tom'.......

Friday, 4 January 2008

Olympia and stuff.......

Well yet again I've managed to let my blog slip! But I do have good reason, I have had really bad flue for a week and a half now, which has now progressed in to Bronchitis (great!)
Well the dogs are great, Herbie recovered and we went to Olympia (see below), and Link has now had his pins removed and is starting to use his foot again. The vet seemed very pleased with his progress, and hoped he will be able to do agility again some time soonish!!!


Well we got there despite many problems along the way. It is obviously a very special place to get to and the atmosphere is second to none, but I was especially lucky that my mum took time out of her extremely busy rescue to come and watch me, I also had Jay, my gran, my sister and her boyfriend and one of my best friends, who could ask for better supporters?

Well the morning started with my normal "I want to throw up!", that didn't really stop, but I did slowly calm down once I saw Sharon and other friends.
Once we got going I started to feel better, for me Olympia's running order was a who's who of agility, and then there was me!!! I had no expectations of getting through to the evening, but was just thrilled to be there.
This year if you managed to get through to the top ten in Olympia then you get an invite to try out for the European Opens (which I would love to do!), so that would have been my ultimate goal, but I had resided my self to not going!

Any way Herbie and I ran 6th, personally I didn't like this running order, as you have no idea what you need to do, so you have to go all out, so that is what we did. I have to say that I think that this first run was possibly one of the best that Herbie and I have ever done, it just felt great!
When we ran we were the first to go clear, and 24 dogs latter we only dropped 3 places. I was ecstatic!!!!! Not only did we get to the final, but we also got an invite to the European Opens!

Well the final maybe didn't go as well, I let Herbie getaway with a bit of a creep at the start, and he knocked the first jump (which is totally unlike him!), I also under worked my dogwalk, and he left it a little early, BUT, I have to say that I had an amazing day no matter what!

Below is the video of the day, kindly taken by Jay. x

Other stuff

We still have Riot my foster pup, he is quite mad, and very noisy! I enjoy having him, but not quite as much as Hex!

Hex starts his agility lessons next week (well pre-pup training!) I can't wait. He is an extremely smart pup and just loves to learn, whatever I ask of him he soaks up! Sadly he still looks like an over grown JR, but maybe his like the ugly duckling? We can only hope!
I will get some more photos of him soon.
Well I think I'll get back to dying for now........

Hex- 3 weeks - 19 weeks