There's so much going on here at the moment, the house is so close to being finished, we should move in very soon. There will still be lots of work to do getting the garden sorted and the brick work done on the front of the house so we'll be working hard to get that done by winter.
Sue's pup's are doing really well, they are 5 months now and lot's of fun. I kept TJ the blue merle boy, he's so much like his dad, they do all of the same goofy things that make me laugh all of the time.
Shows are going well, Wispa started competing in jumping classes at Easter and has already had a 1st and a 3rd. I had a go at some contacts with her in the ring a couple of weeks a go and was happy with what she did so we might have another go soon. I'm training running contacts but haven't had time to take her to different venues to train so she's not confident on new equipment.
Last weekend at Hinckley Ty was brilliant, he's 9 1/2 yet still came 6th in Champ agility and I think 5th in the final (I still need to find out the official result). He was so happy coming out of the final round, he absolutely loves the atmosphere and being aloud to go as fast as he can. I hope he can have a few more of those rounds before I have to retire him from Champ.
Holly has done some amazing work she just needs to hold it together for a whole round and maybe a bit of luck would help.
Zazu also does some brilliant work but also looses the plot when he gets too excited, I'm trying a calming supplements to see if that helps. He is loving camping though and he likes chilling with me around the rings.
Emmy had to have surgery back in March to remove a tiny little hair band from her stomach, most dog's wouldn't require surgery for this but it made Emmy quite ill so she had to have surgery, they normally keep dogs in for 48 hours after this surgery but she was out within 2 hours looking bright, I've been building her fitness back up since then.
Flakes been unwell lately but we know what is wrong with her now so she is starting medication, hopefully she'll be back competing next year.
People who train with me are having amazing results, winning classes and thrashing their goals. I love watching them compete their dogs and have so much fun doing it.
The next show is Thames, the most fun show of the year.
Things have been really busy here lately, mostly because we have been granted planning permission to build a house. This has been in the planning for over 20 years so it's brilliant to finally be building. There are however lot's of hoops to jump through and it's a slow process dealing with the council. We are hoping to get the shell up by Christmas and move in early next year.
Lessons are really busy, I have been teaching 4 evenings a week plus during the day and then traveling to show's on Fridays which hasn't given me a lot of free time. I've managed to juggle lessons about to give myself Thursdays evenings off but then managed to re-fill them again so that didn't really work.
Holly did her first Champ class at Agility club and got into the final, she did a great round just having a pole down, she really surprised me with her consistency and ability to cope with the courses so I will continue entering her in Champ classes. Flake has been amazing, she is Miss consistent. She's got into 4 or 5 champ finals this year, at Rugby she did a really good final round and finished about 6th, her time was within a second of some of the fastest dog's in the country. This weekend at KC festival she was picked to run in the Nations cup team event, she loved it and went much faster than normal which threw me a bit but showed that there is more speed in there I just need to figure out how to get it out of her more often. She also got through to the British open final, she did a lovely round but slipped at the end of the dog walk and was marked for missing the contact. I was really pleased with how she coped in the main ring though, the conditions were really bad and I was soaked (Flake had a coat on so was ok) but she was really balanced and didn't slip on the ground. I'm really excited about her future, I think there's lot's more fun to come. I figured out what's been going wrong with Ty, I have been running him like I run the girls and he hates it, I race them and get to places to help them. With him I need to be calm and just let him work, I did this in the Champ class and it got us through to the final. He worked perfectly in the final, if only I had paused for a split second longer on the last turn I think we would have done really well. Zazu has done some really great work but I'm struggling to keep him focused, all summer we have had either a bitch in season or close to a season, plus Dee and Wispa both had false pregnancies which dragged on for ages. I think this really affected him as once all of the bitches had settled he did too. He should probably be castrated but he's so scared of the vets due to all of the tests he's had done that I don't want to put him through it. He may settle once the house is built and it's easier to keep him separate form the girls while there in season.
I really need to do some training with Wispa, she knows hardly anything. I'd like to start competing her at Easter next year so hopefully I can get her ready for then.
People I train have been doing amazingly well. Achieving goals and winning up grades. Between them they have competed in the Colimanor Finals, Agility Club Finals Olympia Semi's and more that I have forgotten because it's all gone by in a blur of fun and results.
I think the ultimate goal in Agility is to have fun and get results which I think we are achieving, I'm really looking forward to the last few show's of the season :)
Peter Neville will be here this Sunday, he is one of the top behaviourists in the country and he will be doing a full day's talk. Although there is a good number of people coming I am surprised there aren't more. Anyone who owns a dog should have some understanding of dog behaviour. Owning a dog isn't as simple as exercise it, feed it, groom it. Dog's can be very complicated for us humans to understand, they don't think the same as us and we shouldn't treat them as if they do. Most of the time they are 1 or 2 steps ahead of us! Why wait until you have an issue to learn about dog behaviour? By learning more you can prevent issues from developing. I'm looking forward to it and hoping to learn lot's.
We're really busy here at the moment, we have been granted planning permission to build a house so there's allot of work and planning going in to that. I'm competing most weekends and lessons are really busy during the week and we have the final preparations for our show to do. The dog's are all going well Flake is really enjoying the pressure of the qualifying classes, she really steps up. She's not quite going full speed yet so has been just out of the qualifying places, she's only 3 1/2 years old so I think she's doing pretty well. Last weekend she came 2nd in champ agility which I'm really pleased with. Holly got her 4th G6 win making her G7, I wasn't sure whether to run her in Champ as she's not the most consistent dog but I decided to go for it this year and see how she gets on. Zazu is doing well, he's had a 2nd and 3rd in jumping classes and done some good agility rounds where he has been placed, my main focus with him is keeping criteria on his contacts which is going pretty well. He misses the odd one when he's not focused but when he is focused they are fab. Ty has done some good bit's but isn't really on form, I've been trying to figure out why, I'm not sure if it's me not running him right as I seem to be more in tune with the girls at the moment or if he's just got wise to it all and thinks he knows best. He's checked at Smart every month so I know it's not an injury. Yesterday at the show he was drinking huge amounts of water so I took him to the vet's today for a blood test and urine test, all of the results so far have come back fine, I'm just waiting for some more to come in on Tuesday. I'm not expecting there to be anything wrong but would hate to assume he's fine if he's not. Wispa is doing well in her training, she has decided she loves agility, she particularly likes watching champ finals, she is 13 1/2 months and is starting to do short sequences of 3 or 4 low jumps. I'll do a blog just about her with some videos when I get time.
I don't normally blog about people I train as I feel it is there achievement not mine but a few people I train have achieved pretty amazing things with their dog's lately, these are dog's that have been quite a challenge all with different issues and story's behind them. Their owners have really put the work in, been open to ideas and not given up when things have got a bit hard.
Congratulations to Kath, Leila and Bev for the results you are getting which are down to your hard work x
It was a pretty wet weekend, I know quite a lot of people that don't like Newbury show ground but it held up really well with the weather, there was a huge amount of rain both Friday and Saturday night but by Sunday afternoon there was only 1 ring that was really muddy. I didn't do all of my runs as I worry about them slipping on wet ground but in the runs I did do they didn't slip once.
On Saturday dad was judging so a few of us ran the ring for him, it was quite difficult trying to fit our runs in but generally it was an enjoyable day. Holly was brilliant, because I didn't have allot of time I didn't have to cue for long and that really suited her, she went clear in G4-7 agility and came 4th, I held her contacts as I had pushed them twice last weekend. She also did a lovely clear in her jumping and won it giving her 3 wins now towards G7. Flake had 2 x 7th places and I trained her contacts. Zazu wasn't really with me this weekend, Wispa is in season and although she wasn't at the show I think it was affecting him. He was really sniffy and distracted. I only ran Ty in his agility runs to train his contacts, he's was a really pushing them all weekend so I'm going to have to work on them a bit this week so that I can trust him a bit more at Vyne.
On Sunday the weather was a bit worse but the ground still held up well, I didn't do all of my runs. The jumping courses really didn't suit Holly but she did do good waits so I was happy with her. lake did a lovely clear round in her jumping and won it giving her 5 G6 wins (she's got one more show before she goes up to G7 and into Champ). Zazu also managed a clear and came 6th, that was his first place in G4.
Wispa is almost a year old do I am going to start increasing her training a bit. Here are a couple of videos showing what she can do so far.
Golden Valley was the start of our summer of competing every weekend, the goal I set was for Flake to get her last G6 win to go to G7, she achieved that with her first run. She's such a consistent little dog and I'm really pleased with how she's going. Here's the video of her win.
I relaxed after that and just focus on training contacts, Holly and Zazu were really wound up and didn't perform very well but they had fun. I think it effects them being in day parking, there's allot of movement and noise so they don't rest as well as when were camping.
This weekend was Easter Celebration, the weather on Friday and Saturday was really nice so we set up a garden for the dog's to be able to relax in. On Saturday morning Holly did a really nice agility run, when the class closed I went to check if she had got a place but she wasn't on the score sheet. I was a little surprised as she is such a fast dog but didn't question it, she had a couple of wide turns so I assumed that was why. Not long after that I was on the start line with Zazu when I heard Holly's name called out as 5th in the G7 of that class, Holly is still G6 so that completely through me and I did a terrible round with Zazu. The poor boy was completely confused but so was I. I went to check why Holly had been put in with the G7's, it turned out her slip had been put in the wrong pile and she had actually won the G6!!! All of the prizes for G6 had to be called back and most of the G7's. I finally got the trophy on Sunday afternoon, I guess it's just one of those things that happens and it reminded me that if I do a good round I really should check my ticket as soon after the run as possible. Holly now has 2 G6 agility wins so only needs 2 more. Saturday afternoon I was focusing on the Olympia qualifier. Flake did a nice round and finished in 10th place which I'm really happy with. Holly did a fairly nice round but I was really pushing and she missed the seesaw and took the wall out with her head making a right mess. She didn't care though, she had fun, I later realised that I had written Ty's running order down wrong and he was meant to run before the girl's, I owned up so was eliminated before we started. He then did a nice clear with held contacts :(
Zazu got 2 steady clear rounds on Sat, I don't think he was running as well as he has done but we are messing around with his medication so he may not have been feeling himself.
Suday was really wet, I didn't run Ty at all. There just didn't seem any point, he's got nothing to prove now so why risk him. I took him for a walk in the rain instead. Holly broke her wait in the one round I attempted with her so I took her out, I was a bit relived not to run her in that as it was getting slippery and I really wasn't sure I wanted to do it. Zazu did a couple of runs, he coped fine on the wet ground but I think that was because he was going slower than normal. I got 1 run in with Flake before the rain came in and she came 3rd. We had been trying to decide whether to leave early then when I started getting wet through my north face coat I decided there was no way I was doing any of my other runs so we packed up and came home.
Sara did some really nice rounds with Dee with just unlucky mistakes and Irana won a jumping class with Coco with a really nice round.
Next weekend is WBSDS, I plan to focus on getting solid contacts with Ty, Flake and Holly and if Holly can get a jumping win along the way that would be great. I'm not sure what my goal will be with Zazu as he had blood tests last week so it depends a bit on the results.
I didn't really have any competitive goals this year for Zazu, he's so immature I just wanted to focus on getting him confident in the ring and sticking to his running contact criteria. Well he appears to have different goals to me! Irana and Leila joined me for a mammoth 7.5 hour drive up to Wyre champ show weekend before last, on the Saturday Zazu won his first rosette coming 8th in Combined 3-5 agility qualifier which I was really pleased with, on Sunday he did an amazing clear round in the Combined 1-3 agility and won it. I'm still in shock, my fluffy little bear did everything I asked of him and a bit extra. Last weekend we went to 'Paws on the levels' show which was raising money for those affected by the floods in Somerset. I very rarely do non KC shows but I thought this was such a good cause I would go along and support it. The show raised over £7000 and it was a really nice day, everyone was in a good mood and there was plenty of help on the rings. Zazu managed 3/4 clear rounds and won the Combined 1-3 agility, he also can 5th and 7th in the steeplechases. He seems to have grown up really quickly, I may have to set some more competitive goals with him now.
Here are a couple of his runs from last weekend :)
Flake continued being as consistent as she was last year gaining 8th,2nd,3rd and 1st at Wyre. She now has 3 G6 wins so just needs 1 more to go into G7. I used her agility class as a training round last weekend and took a toy in to reward her contacts. She got a 3rd in steeplechase and just a pole down in the jumping which is very unlike her but the rest of the round was really nice.
Here's her winning round from Wyre.
So Zazu has matured, Ty is acting like a crazy 2yo. At Wyre I managed to get him round the Champ courses with an unlucky 5f on each, this put him in 21st place when only 20 go through which is a bit frustrating but never mind. Last weekend he loved being able to open up on the steeplechase course and he came 2nd in it. I think he was expecting there to be a trap somewhere so wasn't qiute running full speed. He won his jumping class with a nice run and I used his agility as a training round to fix waits and contacts which he has been pushing a lot. Here's his steeplechase run.
I didn't take Holly to Wyre as it was indoors which she really struggles with, it doesn't seem fair to put her into such a difficult situation and then have to take her out of the ring because she gets things wrong. She did go last weekend though and although she didn't get any clear rounds she did get 3/4 waits. I took her out of the ring for the one she broke so was really pleased when she got the next 2 right.
I haven't entered Emmy for any shows yet, she's had some pain in her elbow on and off every time I have taken her to SMART so I don't really want to ask her to jump until that is sorted out.
Wispa is doing tiny bits of training when I get the chance, she can now do 3 low jumps in a straight line and 3 jumps on a curve, she won't be competing for at least a year yet so I'm in no rush.
My next show is Golden Valley, then the season really kicks off :)
I don't really know where to start, Crufts was brilliant for me this year. It was my first time competing in one of the big classes. I was in the Singles which you qualify for by accumulating points throughout the season and then the top 16 go through to Crufts, we qualified in joint 3rd. This format produces the dog's that can consistently get top 10 places throughout the year so the consistent, fast dog's.
We ended up staying in a Travel lodge on Thursday night so that we would be in Birmingham ready on the Friday. Irana came up as my groom, it didn't take me very long to decide I wanted to take Irana, she helped me loads last season and she knows exactly what to say to get the best out of me. She is also one of very few people that I trust with my dog's. Ty was brilliant at the hotel, he wasn't sure about the lift but he trusted me and just got on with it. We got to the NEC Friday morning after a very long walk from the car park. I went to check in and get a copy of the course, It was fairly straight forward. My plan was to take it steady and just get a clear round, I wanted Ty to have a chance to get used to the carpet without any pressure. We achieved our goal, of a steady clear, we did have quite a wide turn at the start which meant we had the slowest clear and came 10th.
We then went to do some shopping, I wasn't sure how Ty would cope with the busy halls so I was prepared to take him back to the benches if he didn't like it. He was actually really good, the crowds didn't bother him at all and he wasn't bothered about all of the different breeds of dog's everywhere. I spent far too much money but all on the dogs so it was worth it.
We then went back to get the course for the 2nd round, it was a slightly harder course than the jumping but still with plenty of places where it could go wrong. I decided to go with a steady clear again and hope that would be enough to get us through, Ty wasn't too keen on that idea and started barking at me as we got further round the course because he wanted to go faster. We managed our clear round though and it was just good enough to get us through to the final in 8th place. That meant that I was running first so had no option but to go flat out and try to set a time for the others to beat, we managed the time bit. We got round just 1/10th of a second behind the winner which would have been good enough for 2nd place. Unfortunately we had a fault on the way round, the commentator said it was on the up of the dog walk but on the video you can see that he got it and you can't see at what point the judge put her hand up so I'm not entirely sure what the fault was for. Either way Ty was awesome and I managed to hold my nerves, we finished 6th out of a group of the best dog's in the country and Ty managed to go faster than dog's half his age so I'm happy. I took him to Smart on Monday for a check as the carpet at Crufts isn't an ideal surface to run dog's on and I was anticipating him having some sore bit's after it. He just had a slightly sore back which Tamzin fixed with some acupuncture.
I would like to say thank you to all of the people that supported me, I have a really great group of people around me at the moment which makes it so much easier to believe in myself as a handler and trainer. I hope that you all know who you are and that I really appreciate you. Thank you also to those that gave me and Ty presents and card's it was very kind of you.
I am feeling really positive about the year ahead and my main goal is to have loads of fun with my dog's and the great group of friends that I have around me.
Here is video of our Crufts runs.
I seem to be really busy at the moment, not sure why as I keep having to cancel lessons, not as many as last winter though or the winter 3 years ago when Flake's litter was born and we were snowed in for months so I can't really complain.
I'm working really hard on the dogs fitness (and a bit on my own), we are doing daily hill walking, and sprinting, some grid work and some of the active balance exercises that we learnt on the Maria Johnson seminar. Fitness makes such a big difference to a dog's performance. Ty was once 24kg, last year he was just over 19kg and was putting in the best times he ever has. He is now just over 20kg, I would like to get him just under. Lee W say's half a kg will loose you half a second and based on Ty's weight against his results I think he is about right.
I also think that how you care for your dog in this weather has a massive difference as well. I am regularly shocked that I am one of very few people who's dog's wear coats at show's. Your dog's muscles are like a rubber band – a cold and brittle rubber band will snap, whereas a rubber band that is warm and flexible will stretch and return to its original shape. If your dog is sat in the van getting cold it will take much longer to warm up than a dog that has had a coat on. The process of then warming up will use energy that could be used for your agility round.
I have a bit of a coat obsession, I have loads of them. I haven't yet found the perfect dog coat (or human coat) but I do have some very good ones. My 'Hurrta' and 'Back on track' coats are my favourite and are the ones that I use at shows. For day to day use I have a selection of cheaper coats which I can layer up.
We have da Ty and Sue's yearly eye test and they were both fine, Sue has had her hip's x rayed and they have gone off for scoring, the vet said they looked really good so we are hoping for a good score. So it things are on track for their litter at some point this year.
I am starting to plan summer training, it's really hard to get everyone in groups that work for them at the right time's but most people have been flexible so that's going ok.
I have updated the classes and workshops page and the guest trainers page so take a look. The show's are almost here :)
It's a bit late to say happy new year really but hey ho! Things have been manic here, we had planned to have a bit of a break over Christmas but didn't really get round to it.
The pup's are amazing, so much fun and so clever, Sting's owner collected him and took him back to Holland last week, apparently he was very well behaved and has settled in well in his new home. Axl and Freddie are going to there new homes this weekend. I'm going to really miss them, it's been lovely having a small litter, they are so easy to look after. They are house trained and come when they are called, they know which of they older dog's they can walk all over and which ones they should respect. Linda who owns Brook managed to come and see the pup's last week so we took the chance to get a family pic, from left to right is Sara with Dream and De, Kath with Axl and Grandma Kizzy, Elise with Sting and Dad Brook and Liz with Freddie and Aunty Wish.
I've just been putting all of the show's I'm planning to do into the diary, I'm really looking forward to this season, I did a random winter show with Flake, Holly and Zazu. Flake got her 2nd G6 win and a 2nd (both in agility), Holly struggled a bit with the atmosphere indoors but managed a lovely round outside with just one pole down, Zazu did some lovely stuff but in 2 separate rounds ran round the 2nd jump barking! I'm hoping he's just going to grow out of this with more experience, he doesn't do it at home so it's hard to train. All of the dog' are currently having their 2nd break of the winter, they had almost 2 months off after Chipenham, I trained them in December to get them ready for the show and they are now having another 6 weeks off from agility and just doing lot's of walks.
Zazu is the only one left to be checked by Tamzin at the Smart clinic so he is going next week.
Here's Tricky on one of our walk's, I really like this pic.
I've almost finished my grooming training, I have put some more info about it on the residential training and grooming page. I've been surprised how quickly I've picked it up, I guess seeing dog's day in day out has given me a natural eye for it and I enjoy it. Here's a pic of Coco after a bath and blow dry.
I have also updated the classes and workshops page, with some summer date's. It's coming around really quick and I'm determined to be organised for a change!
Maybe that should be my new years resolution.........................................
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.