Monday, 23 February 2009

So that was grade 3 then..........

So off we went to Newton Heath, I have to say with no expectations, as the naughty marble bum tends to choose still if he will go on to the contacts first time, but any way......We had two agility classes (potentially an awful day.......)

Hexy was first up, with what I thought was quite a tricky little grade 3 agility, but I went in as posatively as I could. Because Hexy still isn't always sure on his contacts I don't make him wait to long on them, but he does have to see through the criteria I have for them, which is front feet to the floor, back feet on, the seesaw is pretty much please go up it!!!!!!! The reason I don't make him hold them too long is because he is the sort of dog who wants to do it right, so will creep to make sure it is perfect, rather than try it fast and get it wrong, therefor if you hold them, he will go slower and slower to try and please you. We are working hard on this and by letting him do a stop go method he is getting more confident.

So with this in mind off we set. We ran 10th and apparently went straight into the lead by 2.5 seconds and that is where we stayed! To say I was shocked would be an under statement, but there were plastic pole, which a lot of dogs knocked, and it was quite tight, but he took it all in his stride. He was such a good boy!!

Nat and Kai also had their first class ever and came 6th!! Well done......
Jay got 2nd and 9th with shy in grade 6 agility and 4th with Stihl in grade 6 agility, and Herbie won grade 7 agility..... so not too shabby!!

Here is the proof.......

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Valentines day.....well training days!

Well today I had two training sessions, the first was a 6-7 group. I had fantastic dogs on this with already very talented handlers so this was a tweaking and refining session.
We started off walking the course to the right, everybody ran the course as they would normally handle it, we then went back and re-assessed the course and handling techniques.
Firstly a couple of people tried 1-3 as push throughs to varying degrees of success (those who didn't wanted to but had not done it before), This was defiantly how I would have done it as I believe done well it is the quickest and smoothest way to handle it, as it allows you to progress up the course.
So we spent some time on breaking down how to teach a push through. After 3 go's everybody was able to complete all three as push throughs.
The next difficulty came tunnel to dog walk, a few understood the difference, but generally this needed a little work, so we spent the next exercise breaking this down, and lavishly rewarding the right choice. From the dog walk was a VERY hard 90 degree weave entry which required the handler to stay very straight allowing the dog to find the entry, anybody trying to "shape" this ended up putting their dog over jump 13.
The rest of the course was more straight forward with just a couple of handling choices. 9-11 worked best for those who stayed the seesaw side of 10 and 11 to enable a push through on 11, and allowing the handler to progress past the seesaw, to help pull through the dogwalk/weaves channel through to jump 13. The only choice left after this was which way to turn on 14. On the first run everybody went right (it was quite close to the wall, so people felt it was hard to push the other way). I personally felt that you achieved a quicker, neater and more powerful line by turning left on this. Then it was the line of jumps, some on angles, some very tight bounces and others with very long strides, every bodies dogs coped really well with this.
Once we had broken the course down, handled the tricky bits, and re-assessed, they gave it a second shot! EVERYBODY ran it a second time so well! All achieved the push throughs and tunnel dogwalk with ease! I had a great time training everybody, they were a fun group that listened and worked really hard. I think everybody went home tiered!!!!!!

Next I had a 3-5 group. It was made up of very capable handlers, a couple with their youngsters.
We spent the first section of the lesson on "driving" over contacts and reward on the contact at the bottom. I love doing this (sometimes end up going home more tiered than the handlers!!!!) next we played around with some jump channels. I believe this is an extremely important exercise, for agility a dog needs to jump, but quite often this is as far as people go when teaching it. Many dogs that I see have no comprehension of how to
1) Extend
2) Collect
and 3) Most importantly how to use their back ends!!!
So we spent quite a bit of time on jumps 13-9. Firstly we had them open and spread out and drove them on ahead of their handlers, next I put 12 and 11 into a tighter stride (a bounce for most dogs), a couple did bounce but not as many as I would expect. The next time I moved it in a bit again as well as the same stride on 11-10, this worked well, encouraging all the dogs to bounce both jumps. The last lane we did was to make all 5 into bounces. Every dog achieved it really well. For the couple of very driven, naturally long striding dogs this was very good as they really had to engage the rear quarters, sit back and check their strides, where as the slightly less confident dogs were able to bounce multiple jumps in a row without feeling phased. When we opened these jumps back out a bit it was amazing, just from that little bit of jump training how many more dog were prepared to try a bounce, and achieve it!
We then played a bit on the drive across the seesaw, having a great game of tuggy or a really nice treat at the end.

After this we had a walk of the course, and then had a bash at running it! Everybody worked really well, all running the course excellently.

I deliberately left time near the end to have a look at tunnel under dogwalk. Everybody except 2 were astonished that we would be doing this with "Baby" dogs and absolutely convinced they would never able to do it!
I don't personally feel that this is too hard for a baby, as I feel the younger (in a dogs agility life/career) you teach obstacle discrimination the easier it is and quicker it goes in, not to mention "those lessons learnt first are learnt best!" So off we set teaching this firstly straight up the dogwalk. 3 achieved this straight off, very well done!!!! the others quickly shared their success. We then began to sequence it as follows.....7 wing wrap dogwalk, then 9,8 (from their backsides) pull through left side of the tunnel, 7 wing wrap dogwalk and lastly 9,8,7 (all from the backside of the jumps), right hand side of the tunnel, 9,8 (wrong side) pull through dog walk. Everybody achieved this, some better than the 6/7 dogs! It was really great to see people achieve something they were so sure was an impossibility!

So any way I had a great day, loved training everybody and hope they enjoyed it too. Every soul, human and canine looked shattered at the end!!!!

So on to my Valentines day.... well it can't be that great as I am sitting here updating my blog!!! ha ha
I am waiting for Jay to get home, and then I will cook him a special dinner, and watch a "chick flick!"

Friday, 13 February 2009

Update on Riot

I was delighted last night to receive a lovely e-mail about my little man Ri. It seems he is doing well, for all of you who knew him and still ask how he is doing here he is for you, with Helen's letter..........
Our flyball team are all busy planning for Crufts and that reminded me that I have not sent you a Riot update.
As you can see from the photos he is as handsome as ever.
Agility training so far has been a bit hit or miss with him.
He started off quite well apart from being totally obsessed by the other dogs running.
For some reason he started to lose a bit of confidence and unfortunately due to the weather I have been unable to do any work with him at home on my own.
He loves his contacts and he knows exactly what is required of him, but really was not confident when it came to jumping.
Levenhall club have been great and we simply spent a few weeks getting his enthusiasm back up and it seems to be working.
I don't know if he will be out this year but once the better weather comes along we can really start doing little bits and pieces on our own.
As soon as Crufts is over I will start his flyball training. Judging by some of the new dogs I have trained this winter it really increases the dog's confidence for working away from the handler.
We have had a few reluctant agility dogs transformed after a few sessions of flyball.
I have started doing a little free shaping with the clicker and he absolutely adores this.
He will go and do something and then give you his cheeky look, the one with one ear pricked and the other not, and dare you not to click him.
He is getting on great with my cat Gizz but I would still not trust them unsupervised.
For some reason Kyle, my 13 year old BC adores him. I have not seem him play so much in years.
I don't know if it is a Kelpie thing but he certainly is different kettle of fish to my other dogs.
What day are you and the wonderful Herbie competing at Crufts as I would love to see you run?
If I do miss you I will no doubt see you at the trials for the European Open.
I am not sure why I am bothering to go down to the trials but it is an experience and it is great to see some of the brilliant handlers, yourself included of course.
I have been following Hex's progress on your blog. You must be very proud of him.
I will better go now I hope you like the photos, as you can see from the second one he is still very vocal.

It was really wonderful getting this, and the picture of him barking made me laugh so much as that is just how I remember him!!!!!

Any way on to this weekend.......
My dogs have the weekend off, but tomorrow I have 2 training day sessions, the first a 6-7 group and then a 3-5 group. I am really looking forward to training everybody who is coming along, and seeing how dogs that I have taught before have progressed and also seeing some up and coming youngsters. I will post the courses next time as I don't want anybody to get a sneak preview!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Another great weekend...what's happening!

Well all week I have been struggling with the flue, so I've been taking every remedy to try and kick it before the weekend as I had things booked that I really wanted to do. So when I got up Sat morning still coughing and sneezing was not best pleased, apparently nore was Jay who gave me the full lecture on "if you don't give yourself a chance to get better you will get worse!!!!", I smiled, gave him a kiss and proceeded out the door to my training day i had booked.
For ages and ages I have been waiting to do a Tasha wise training day, and finally I got to do oneIt was every bit as good as I would have hoped! First I had Hex. Tasha was great at building both of our confidence, she had Hexy driving down the contacts to his toy (which we will carry doing), she also helped me with Ideas about Hex's herding tendancies. Next I had Herbie. Sometimes I find on training days that people don't give me much input with Herbie, because he is generally smooth, and we kind of know where we are at, I think some people feel that's it, but Tasha really picked up little things that would help me, and general handling issues I have. Any way I went away with a lot to think about, tiered, coughing but very happy!

Sunday morning I woke Jay up at the crack of dawn to go to WAG (much at his disgust!!), but this time it was my turn for the lectures. Jay really wants to get Stihl to Olympia this year, she is more than capable and nearly did it last year, any way the first qualifier is in two weeks, for which we are driving a long way, so the least he could do is to train his dog a bit!!!!!!!
Vicky and Molly also came with us....they seem tohave the BUG now! :)
So here are all the video' the way Hex got 5th in the 3-7 agility less than 0.5 off Jay and Stihls time that won!!!!! I'm very pleased!!!!!

Mr Hex....

Vicky and Molly....

Jay and Stihl and Shy....

Link and Herbie...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Snow day...

Well I think everybody got a good amount of snow, but we normally don't get what everybody else does, so for once it was nice to have proper snow! For many of my dogs it was the first time they had seen proper snow and they loved it......except poor tia who ended up looking like a snow ball!

Well I popped mine into their lovely new Hurta coats that we got from they stayed toasty and dry!!!!

Monday, 2 February 2009


Just wanted to put a quick welcome to Ann ( to blogging! Stuart and Ann recently took on a long term stayer at Many Tears.....On their blog you can read how she is getting on.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A good weekend.....

Well I had one of those weekends that made me feel we "can do this!" Hex was brilliant this weekend. I have the onsets of flue so nearly didn't go to any of my booked events, but decided to suck it up instead!
We did C-side on sat and he was great. got no videos as there was no body there to video me (you will just have to take my word!) Hex was much more confident and very slightly off his rocker due to all the noise!!!! But for the first time ever he went straight onto unknown contacts.....we have had an issue with this after a"flying see saw!" To say I was pleased would be an under-statement.

Then today we did a training day with Andy and Nancy Hudson. I do train weekly with them, but as this was a new venue, new equipment I thought it would be a good opportunity to keep working with Hex's hiccup! Again he was very good. We worked on snakes (see the out come) and lots of see saws which really helped me (thank you Nancy!!!!!) Jay kindly came and videoed me and Hex so here you are.......

Hex- 3 weeks - 19 weeks