Saturday, 26 December 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and got lots of lovely presents from Father Christmas this year, and had a peaceful and enjoyable break from the usual hustle and bustle of usual life, spending time with families and friends?? All four of us went down to mum's for Christmas and Boxing Day (today) and it has been lovely and relaxing just doing nothing and having the time to take the doggies for really long walks down at the sea front - this is the doggies on their Boxing day walk earlier today.

Well we all received some lovely gifts, I got given a magazine subscription, along with some funny things, a laptop case, lots of socks - always good :))), some clothes, paint shop pro for my computer. Alex got lots of nice things too - clothes, music, items for his car, aftershave, and of course the doggies got spoiled with lots of toys and treats! Overall we had a great time, back to reality now as Alex has to work up til the 31st :((( but time for me to tidy up the house and get ready for our New Years' Eve party!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Happy Birthday Princess!!

Today is Kiah's 4th birthday, i can't believe how quickly the time has gone, it only seemed a little while that i was picking her up to come home for the very first time!! She really is the best dog for so many reasons - far too many to mention, and I owe such a lot to her over the past four years, she is just a star and there will never be another dog like her. We had a massive walk on Sunday in the snow, this is Kiah just about to do some sledging!!

Kiah and I would also like to wish her brother Chase and sisters Vienna and Chatter a very happy birthday for today as well, hope they get lots of spoiling too! So... HAPPY BIRTHDAY beautiful princess Kiah, there's a big juicy steak waiting for you for your dinner tonight!!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Serious Snow!!

We have had some really serious amounts of snow over-night last night, not that I am complaining at all; I love snow its just amazing, fun to play in, and to throw at people ;) and it just makes everything look so pretty and clean, and I am seriously now hoping for a white Christmas too if anyone can arrange that please?!?!?! The dogs love it too, we took them over the pristine white covered park this morning and they both had a long run around (read - spaz attack) Kiah especially likes to do her funny Belgian-run-around, so they both came back tired and happy and ready for a snooze.

Lots of people hadn't taken the risk this morning to try and drive in to our work - better to be safe than sorry for one day and especially so close to Christmas - though I made it in to our local office after a careful drive in as none of the local roads had been gritted. However around lunch time the managing director phoned up the office and said that whoever was there/left could go home as a half day (thank you!!) which was just totally awesome, very excited about that!! So the doggies got another mega long walk over the park, I don't think they minded that the snow wasn't quite so pristine as it had been in the morning, I could tell they still had a great time!!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Getting Into The Christmas Spirit!

The month is running headfirst into the festive season, which I love every year without fail even if this year it is racing up rather too quickly and I'm not ready for it!!! One of my favourite parts that happens at the start of Christmas is getting all the lights and decorations up - especially the outside lights as they are just so pretty to see and look at when I get home from work. It seems to quickly be becoming a tradition to get them up approximately around the date of my birthday which is just great, possibly it is maybe a little early (6th) but who cares, they look nice, and Christmas only comes once a year and therefore I must be as festive as possible for as long as possible!!

We also have a 'mini' Christmas held with my cousins a couple of weeks beforehand - who we don't generally see on the 25th, so this year it happened over the weekend just gone and the dogs came down to mum's with us. A lot of the weekend was spent walking on the beach with the dogs which was just amazing all four of us had a great time, it was chilly but lovely and sunny - nothing resembling the rain that we had endured a couple of weeks before. It's not a very festive picture but the doggies were watching the seagulls and being photogenic in the sunset so I thought it was rather nice.

Anyway, that part of the family are more 'cat' than dog people - I think part of the issue is that a lot of people who may know one dog, is that it is a complete nutcase and has no manners - and then automatically think that all dogs are like that which just isn't the case! I like to think my poochies are well mannered, yes they are nut-cases and I wouldn't have them any other way, but they also know how to behave in polite company. Well this weekend - usually they are good - but they were the best, just absolutely perfect poochies - they even helped us unwrap some of our presents and of course each had their own little Christmas dinner too!

Friday, 4 December 2009

FCI Training Part 2

Last Sunday we had the second (out of four, two more in the new year) training sessions with Nancy to train some more FCI style courses and handling which I really enjoyed again, and so did Kiah. The main focus of this training session was to practice European style runs that contain both massive power sections and also control sections, so a need to use techniques for both power and speed yet control. For Kiah and I, it really was a step up from anything that we have ever really done/practised/competed on before. We made lots of errors mainly due to my timing which is not brilliant anyway - and of course it doesn't help especially when little Kiah mostly enjoys the fast bits of the courses and sometimes forgets that she needs to turn! However the skills needed to work spread out courses like this is something that we both need to improve on. We won't just use it for FCI but also using similar or the same handling and timing over here when Kiah is frequently miles ahead of me on a course - so I found the whole session very beneficial, thank you Nancy.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Dark Horse!

We had arranged to go on a long weekend break back to Belgium, just to see Alex's home country, to get a little bit of Christmas shopping done, see some of his friends, eat lots, and generally spend some quality time together, all of which we did and it was a lovely weekend. Even the weather was lovely, it stayed dry, warm and sunny (apart from light rain in the evenings) - which is very unlike November and certainly nothing like what Brussels is renowned for. Kiah meanwhile got to have her own little holiday while staying with Dave and Candice for those few days - really appreciate you guys looking after and taking care of my special princess, thank you.

So, back to the title of the post - Alex certainly IS a dark horse (for all the right reasons) as he had arranged lots of different surprises, all for me and none of which I had any idea he was doing so I must tell you about how wonderful it all was!! The first was the hotel, too many star-ratings to count, and it was right in the middle of Brussels city centre. The whole hotel was lovely, and the staff were very attentive and friendly too. The second was the room - or should I say mansion, it was on the top floor, one of the best suites with its own lounge, massive bed complete with red rose :)) and marble bathroom. The third has to be the view from the room which was just amazing and looked out over the city - the picture explains it all. Well, then came the biggest and best surprise of all, on Saturday evening in the middle of the grand place - the famous square with the spire of the building in the photo, Alex proposed!! I really didn't see it coming but of course I said yes, it really did make a good weekend just perfect, I'm very lucky, still :)))))) smiling lots, and very happy!!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Discover Dogs 2009

Discover Dogs was a very enjoyable event this year at Earls Court 1, we had made a few personal changes to the stand to make it a bit more up-to-date and appealing to the public. We just added a few new pictures of various dogs in different disciplines (showing, agility, working, playing, puppies, all sorts), had lots of Belgian flags up, made some fun stickers to give out, and informative colourful leaflets which people seemed to like too. It was the first year Alex had come along to DD, it's useful that he's so tall to assist with putting things up really high that no-one else could even nearly reach :P but aside from that it was lovely to have him there and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it - he was born and raised in Belgium so there's another connection there too!

The day was made even better by the three Mally superstars Rusty, Kiah and Tia (with us assisting!) manning the Belgian Malinois booth on the Sunday, it really is lovely to be able to showcase the dogs and tell everyone about this fantastic breed year on year. I've got the pictures of Discover Dogs through now and they have all come out really well, but here's one of the ones I think is the best. Its of course the stars of the show (L-R) Tia, Kiah and Rusty showing off their creations on the stand. Well the doggies were impecably behaved, they clearly had a great time and were very welcoming to the public who all came to fuss over and ask about them, and got a big waggy hello in return!!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

FCI Training

One of the things I had been looking forward to (and obviously hoped Kiah was fighting fit for) was the FCI training to be held with Nancy last weekend. I really enjoy the way that Nancy trains people, as she is just so constructive and positive with her comments, puts so much of her own personal time in to helping us out which I really appreciate, and every time we are finished I really feel that we have been tested, yet learned so much. The training was centred around full FCI courses and then breaking them down into smaller parts to practice and improve on certain bits where we had made errors or made things more difficult than needed.

Kiah worked great in the full courses, getting me out of trouble more than a fair few times, and not getting eliminated in two out of the three rounds, but there were also lots of things to improve on which was the best bit about the training, these were able to be identified so we can get better at them. Things like weave entries, early cueing of equipment, tunnels under the dog walk, layering, body language, all sorts to take away. One of the most simple things I think a lot of people can take on board, is to never give up and this training session really helped me to believe that even more. There are three more FCI training sessions with Nancy that will follow on from this one; there's one coming up very soon and a couple more in the new year too, we can't wait!!

So on to this weekend, we were at training this afternoon - fortunately it was indoors as the gales, storms, rain and hail were a little extreme - but Kiah was just awesome!! There were a lot of fast straight line exercises at different spacings so she really had to think about it and was just perfect, as well as doing full recall weaves!! Another change that I am starting to try and re-teach (myself not her) in our training is that I want her to start going on from contacts without me - as unfortunately up til now I have always got her to do her nose touches then release when I am up level with her. This just wastes so much time as I'm always miles behind so though I still want her nose touch and stop 2 on 2 off, I want her to be able to go on too, its going to be really fun to train, as its me not Kiah that needs to improve and change my timings.

We have another busy and full day planned out tomorrow as we are taking a trip up to London along with Rusty and Tia, to take part in the Discover Dogs exhibition - for the Malinois breed stand. All three of them love the attention from the visitors there, and its great to be able to tell the public about this awesome breed too. There may even be a little smidgeon of time to do a bit of Christmas shopping too!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Back To 'Normality'

If there is such a thing when you live with a nutty Belgian like Kiah... but who would change her, not me!! So anyway, after a fair few weeks - more than I care to remember - I think I can safely say normal life is starting to resume again, and we are enjoying getting back into it - thats why I have posted this picture of her pretty smiley face, she looks so happy! The reasons that Kiah and I have been doing so little recently is because first of all she was injured with her mystery shoulder issue and I wanted to rest her as much as possible so she was on lead walks and no jumping about (well you tell Kiah not to jump about!!), then secondly she came into season for a couple of weeks, which has now finished too. So touch wood and fingers crossed her shoulder seems ok now, and we are slowly getting back in to agility training which we are both loving being back at. I am however resting her from any agility shows for the rest of the year, cause I don't want to be silly and take any chances, and I think all dogs that work their socks off like the Belgians do need a break every now and again so they don't burn out. I promise I will do a further update in a couple of days with what else we have been up to over the past month!!

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Patience...

Due to Kiah's injury a lot of her time recently has been taken up with resting, stretching, massages, on lead walks and generally other than that eating or sleeping, oh and of course her all time favourite which is definitely belly rubs! For the benefit of her health and wellbeing, all agility was postponed (aside from important events or specially pre-booked training sessions) and I must say Kiah has been very patient throughout the whole of her rest/time out, she is a very versatile, adaptable little girly and I am very proud of her :))) as always.

Obviously I have been entertaining her in other ways as she hasn't had agility to play at, she likes doing her basic tricks with her clicker (awesome invention!) such as beg, walk backwards, rolly over, dance on her hind legs, and sad face rubbing her face with her paw. I must train her to do the elephant trick too, haven't done that one yet its very clever. We have the odd play fight too, lots of biting, teeth and growling from me and her, she loves that game and of course I always win ;) hehe. Kiah also has her treat toys filled with tasty bits and pieces for her to think about how to retrieve (16 toys at last count), oh and we also play find the treat and hide it somewhere so she has to hunt it out with her nose, as she is so obsessed with food!

Kiah must miss her agility though, both training and competitions, its not the same as just walkies or brain training, so I'm sure she can't wait to soon get back into it. I just want to start her back up slow and steady to make sure of a full, solid strong muscle recovery, back to 100%. Here are a couple more awesome pictures of Kiah, taken by Candice at the selection day.

Monday, 12 October 2009

This Week's Updates

Another week's holiday has been and gone, very enjoyable with lots of eating, shopping (sssh xmas shopping too), visiting friends and family, even a bit of sport, it just went very quickly, and now unfortunately back to work today and back to reality! Kiah had a quiet ish week last week, having another 7 days of enforced rest by me after her trip to the chiropractor (she loves going and dragged me there as soon as we were out of the car!). I didn't want to push her any more than necessary, and I let her take things at her own pace - which is usually manic but a few minor tweaks in the house meant she was forced to not throw herself about QUITE as much as normal, well as much as a Malinois CAN be restricted! So mainly lead walks for her and lots of stretching and sleeping, I didn't hear many complaints as last week I could join her too! Also I must say thank you to everyone who has enquired about Kiah and wished her well/better, its lovely to know so many people care :) so much.

So on to the weekend which I decided Kiah was fit for (with lots of warming up beforehand) we took a trip to the West Midlands for the BSD WC first selection day, which turned out to be a lovely sunny and surprisingly warm day for October, it was also quite surreal seeing so many Belgians in one place! Kiah and I got to have a short practice on the FCI tyre and the weaves as these are both quite different to the KC versions, but Kiah had no particular problem with either, the weaves she took in her stride (literally haha!) thank you to Candice for taking some excellent pictures, this is Kiah powering through and out of the weaves I love this picture. A little more practice on the tyre would be good just so she understands what is required and doesn't go through the side. Unfortunately we made a bit of a mess of all four runs, the first started well and we did the difficult parts but then mis-communication led to Kiah back jumping, the others were silly mistakes generally by me, apart from one where Kiah was determined to head in the tunnel (under dog walk), though it was me that caused it I am sure.

BIG well dones must go to two special Malinois - Dave and Rusty for an exceptional performance in all four runs, taking the most points for the fourth year running and showing why she really is the best, and also to Jo and Keisha for two awesome clear jumping rounds the first time they have ever gone forward for the selection days too so well done both of you!!

Anyway... overall I was pleased with how we did at the courses, the only disappointment being me - I just dont think that we were working very well together, partly due to Kiah being a bit crazy (more than usual!) due to so much rest and not being able to burn off excess energy, as well as lack of experience generally, and on FCI style courses which is all home work for me. Still, I know most of the errors are my fault and I'm not the type to blame various external factors on why we didn't go clear, I would rather take the positives from it, and work on where and what we can do to improve. And I can see there are SO many positives; firstly that Kiah's injury seems to be a fading memory, her contacts are still really good, turns are getting better, her speed is still awesome, she was picking up good weave entries, and she only knocked a couple of poles over the whole four runs so I am really pleased.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Norfolk Weekend

After two weeks of nothing but rest for Kiah, perfectly sound walking/running, and a clean bill of health after a full check over from the chiropractor, we decided to go to the Norfolk show. So Saturday began well, after a long warm up and play, we had two jumping runs and Kiah was running VERY well, fast as ever, she was a bit keen so we had a couple of poles down and our turns were wide, but it was just lovely to be running her again and of course seeing her enjoy herself.

Then we went to do our agility run indoors which again started ok, but then Kiah lost her footing and slipped badly on the dog walk. She tried her very best to stay on, but unfortunately this ended up with her sideways, hanging on with her front paws while her back legs scrambled about. This all happened very quickly and after a full check over she seemed fine, so we carried on, warmed her down but didn't put her back in the car straight away to try and walk off anything she may have hurt. It was only after I got her out to do her next run that I had started a few minutes of her warm up, and Kiah suddenly held her paw up :(( not good. After a lot of checking over it appeared that it was not her paw, leg or foot and must be her shoulder or under her arm, and I'm almost certain it was caused by the dog walk slip. So poor little Kiah, no more runs for her - though lots of spoiling with her whole bed in her car cage, making sure she was warm enough, massage, cuddles magnet therapy and treats, she seemed a little better after that.
As the B&B was booked for the Saturday evening we thought we would stay and come to the show on Sunday to support our friends, and snap lots of pictures too. Candice and Dave both offered to give up one of their runs each so I got to run Ziggie and Rusty in their jumping courses which was lovely. Both dogs are amazing and so different to Kiah, and though they were brilliant doing exactly what I asked, I managed to get them both E'd but I think they enjoyed it and so did I, it was great fun, so thank you it was a very selfless thing to do and very kind. Kiah seemed a lot LOT better on the Sunday after a good night's sleep which I was pleased about, stretching and putting all her weight on her leg again, but for her own benefit I wasn't going to run her in any of her courses. By Sunday afternoon you wouldn't have even known she had hurt herself, it was nice to see her back to her normal self but still not taking any chances.

So, lots of well dones to others and their super-dogs this weekend for doing brilliantly; two 1st's and a 4th for Dave & Rusty, a well deserved 2nd and 10th for Candice & Ziggie, two 1st's for Lisa & Inca, two places and an ABC qualification for Jo & Keisha, places for Nancy & Niamh, Jason & Stihl, and lots more from people I can't remember, so well done to everyone that did so well :)) !!!

I genuinely believe Kiah was 100% better from her previous minor setback; or I wouldn't have run her, just a very unfortunate thing to happen I guess. This week will be another week of rest, relaxation and immune boosting foods for Kiah (and spoiling cause I am off work on holiday!) and another check up from Kiah's lovely chiropractor who has managed to fit us in. Then next weekend the first BSD WC selection day is taking place, so I am hopeful we will be able to attend, but we will see how Kiah is then, my clever little Malinois.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Kiah-Hop-A-Long

One evening this week I noticed that Kiah had developed a bit of a limp the poor little mite, though there is nothing I can think of that she has done to cause it. She certainly didn't seem to feel sorry for herself, limp or not, silly Mally! Well for her own benefit she was immediately confined to rest and on lead walks only (not impressed!) and by Friday she looked a lot more sound which I was pleased about and I'm pretty sure it was something minor. I didn't want to take any risks though, so we didn't go to the agility show that I'd entered, I don't care about the money or missed runs or anything; Kiah's health and wellbeing will always come first. She is also going to the chiropractor tomorrow afternoon for a check up and treatment just to make sure everything is ok, then a week's rest, and we will see how she is for the Norfolk show.

So there are always SOME benefits can come out of not going to agility, my house is now spotlessly clean from top to bottom - I'm sure as Kiah is moulting it won't stay like it long! Alex and I also had a great night out with Dave and Candice on Saturday evening; bowling, arcade games, air hockey, a nice meal and maybe just a FEW cocktails too, was rather nice! Then today has been a relaxing day, I had a very long lie in, went on a couple of walks with Kiah in the lovely sunshine, then Rusty and Tia came around for a quick visit (see picture; Kiah, Rusty, Tia beautiful girls) so play time for the terrible two - Tia and Kiah - and a bit more chilling this evening, lovely!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Feeling A Bit 'Ruff'

Over the weekend (bad timing!) I seem to have developed a stinky cold which isn't very pleasant at all, it even came on without much warning I usually get a sore throat a couple of days before hand which helps me ward it off! I always find that despite a cold only being a simple virus it always has the power to make you feel awful for about a week, so I will be glad when it has gone.

Lots of well dones this weekend to people that have been at agility shows - Lisa with Meme, Nancy with Zeki, Jo with Keisha, and lots of others that I can't recall, but big congratulations to everyone, there has been a lot of people winning out recently! We didn't enter anything this weekend, which I think was good in a way as I don't think I would have been able to do any kind of courses justice, let alone manage to breathe properly!! It has been very warm this weekend which has been lovely, and being outside seems to have cleared my head more rather than being stuck indoors. So apart from the stinky cold, this weekend has been really nice, including lots of water, lots of rest, washing and making my car look all shiny and clean, and Kiah has used up a lot of her excess no-agility-energy having a good play with Tia and Rusty, as we met up with Dave and Candice for two long walks in the sunshine.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Day of Rest

Today Kiah and I have had a lazy day, it has been really nice as we drove down to visit my mum, and we have had a great day not doing a lot at all! So this morning just me and Kiah took a half an hour walk down to the beach while mum rested her legs before lunch, Kiah had a great 'mad five minute' run around on the sand as the tide was out! The weather looks quite stormy here but it really wasnt, just a bit cloudy, slightly breezy and still reasonably warm for September.

Lunch was really nice and quite healthy too, but rather filling so after we had washed and tidied up all three of us had a chill out afternoon, reading and making time for a quick snooze, but we thought that we had better go for another walk to burn off at least some of our dinner! So the second walk was with mum this time, again down to the beach, Kiah loves showing off by jumping and running along the sea defences which always makes passers-by laugh it is usually kids that do that! We then headed back through the sheltered gardens; Kiah was jumping over the sides of the pond and getting to play with her toy so she got to do a replicated form of agility a little bit at least! So all in all a very enjoyable, fun, not very active, but quite relaxing weekend!

Brains and Beauty

Yesterday we were at the Richmond breed show and Kiah ended up coming 2nd in her class so very proud of her. Must say a big well done to Ann who got the CC with Deepha!! Kiah wasn't too impressed that we in a HUGE field and yet there were no jumps, no tunnels, no precious contact equipment ;) but I think she still had a good time. This was her morning run around in the grounds of the show which were just lovely, shame my phone pic didn't come out too well. Kiah was ever so good in the show ring, it was nice to catch up with everyone and Mali friends too, and of course testing out the free samples of fish treats, offered at Kiah nose level!! We surprisingly saw quite a lot of agility people in the breed rings (home from home hehe) but haven't heard any results from anyone, but hopefully lots of people did well, fingers crossed.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Kiah's Won Into Grade 5!!!!!

Somewhere that I never genuinely believed that we would get to, my beautiful princess Kiah has pulled out all the stops for me this weekend, and won her grade four agility class!!! I have to say the course was NOT Kiah's forte at all, with a very tight three jump start and quite a lot of handling bits which I usually end up messing up. But yesterday, Kiah was awesome right from the start, and when I saw that she forced herself to clear those first three jumps - which was really difficult for her to do due to the spacing - I realised that I would have to give it more than my all, as she certainly was and I was so pleased with a clear, let alone winning the class! Big Congratulations must also go to Lisa with Meme for getting that deserved 1st place and winning into grade 4, and also to Dave and Rusty for being her usual brilliant self and getting two 1st places!

Letchworth was a lovely show overall really, I was only there for the Sat/Sun due to work but the organisation was brilliant, weather, camping pitch, exercise areas were all really nice. At the end of today we came home with three lovely glass trophies (all variations on a theme for different days), one for her grade four win, another for coming third in the 3-5 combined agility yesterday, and another first place for a brilliant run that she did today again in a 3-5 combined agility class, so beating all the grade 5 dogs too! This picture is from that run (a very kind man called Trevor Greenslade took a whole rake of photos) but I love this one you can see the concentration and power in her back legs - she is heading for a tunnel.

I am so proud of Kiah and of what she has achieved, not just because of this weekend's results but throughout her life, growing up, watching her change, her confidence grow and enjoying her agility more and more. Of COURSE she has been spoiled rotten as usual (and why not!), with pigs ears, pizzle sticks, special dinner, all sorts :)))) but she deserves every last second of it!!!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Nearly Demo Time!!

Kiah and I are packed and ready to go early tomorrow morning, we have a busy but fun two days ahead with a local agricultural show. Sunniday - one of the nearby agility clubs that I go to - does agility demonstrations and 'have a go' fun sessions for the public throughout the two days as well as holding a fun companion dog show both of which are always popular. A lot of people put a lot of hard work into making it happen, but the main reason for these demos' is to help raise lots of money for charity which are usually maybe a dog charity and another few that have either helped someone out in the club or one that someone in the club is closely connected with - we usually raise quite a lot which is great.

Kiah and I generally try to volunteer to help out most years as it is always for a good cause, but also Kiah has such a great time doing all the relay races, running as fast as she can without any form of difficulty, showing off her contacts and her manic speed, getting lots of treats for being a good girl, and generally being fussed by as many people as she can manage to fit in! Of course I enjoy being her chauffeur for the weekend ;) as there are lots of things to see and do for me too, and as it is an agricultural show I usually am able to pick up a few more horse rope leads which Kiah likes as her raggy toys - we get through a few! This is Kiah looking good in our/my 'uniform' for the two days (bless her she is so patient with me and got a big yummy biscuit afterwards!), everyone has to wear the yellow club t-shirt, which isn't so bad apart from the sheer amount of bugs that get attracted to it!!!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

DINAS... To Finish!

Hmm, well that was Dogs in Need 2009 over and finished for the year and just as enjoyable as last year if not moreso! It went so quickly, and of course always made better by pleasant weather (next year more of the same please), but when I started to pack up on Saturday I don't really think I can really believe we were there for a whole week!!! I packed up a day earlier as we didn't make it into the finals (though big well dones to all our friends that did make it and did so well!) and I thought I had better at least TRY to be organised for work on the Monday, I even managed to get up with the alarm - unlike Kiah who as in this picture was sleeping under my bed on the floor (hiding so she didnt have to get up too I bet!) - though she has a lovely fluffy snuggly new bed of her own!!!

Kiah and I had such a great time at Dogs in Need, I love being able to spend most of my time with her, watching her enjoy her holiday too and her beautiful foxy little face lighting up when I can see how much she loves her agility, it doesn't take her long to realise when we are at agility!! So little Kiah.... you did me proud this week as you always do, you didn't and don't ever put a paw wrong, youre still as crazy as ever and the best dog in the world to live with, you make me so proud to be your owner and I wouldn't change you for the world!!!!!!

The Important Bit in the Middle...

So onto the start of what was turning out to be an awesome week; including a lovely corner camping spot, right next to the brand new shower block, not too far from the rings, brilliantly hot weather, great people and best of all, my little Kiah to share it all with me! With two runs a day it was very relaxing and this week really was a chill out week as much as enjoying the agility, and on more than one occassion Kiah and I were caught having afternoon naps in the sun!!

Kiah had some brilliant runs over the week and I am proud of what she did even though we only ended up with one clear round, it was a jumping course and we were a little wide and had a spin coming out of the flat tunnel, so I was ever so pleased with her 12th place clever girly that she is. Generally though there were a lot of minor errors by me, and a couple of not very pleasant courses - but then on the bright side there were a few really nice courses too. I would actually say the jumping courses were nicer than the agility, with me I usually enjoy the other way around! Kiah was flying though just had a pole in one jumping course, and in another the combination of scratchy dirt-no-grass-left ground and Kiah's speed bless her she managed the weave entry but couldn't stay in them.

Mustn't forget our day off in the middle, in fact the ONLY day out of the whole week we had a tiny bit of rain, I think it was probably at the most two 5 minute rain showers, and that was it! So a good opportunity for me to take lots of pictures - lots of Kiah in mid-play with the rest of the 18 dogs that we had on our walk with us she had a great time belting around as usual!!

DINAS From Start...

We left home for Dogs in Need on the Sunday because if you get there a day early you can set up your pitch while it is nice and quiet, the dogs can have a lovely long run around the empty camping fields before the hoards arrive ;) the day after!

That is the 'payment' for the privelidge of getting there earlier (pre-arranged of course), as you help with the booking in of the main day of camping, the sun was shining, it is generally quite good fun and there was a lovely crowd on the section we were managing. Even Kiah helped with the booking in you can see her here organising her section and waiting for her campers to arrive, with her hi-viz on (safety first!) and clipboard at the ready! We even had everyone booked in by about 4ish so the day wasn't too long... and all in all a good start to the week...!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Packed and Ready to Go!!

I think that I have everything now packed, and we are more than ready to go and I can't wait, a whole week with my beautiful girl doing what we love best!!! I have checked the weather forecast and touch wood it is looking good, but I have packed for all weathers just in case it is England after all! If there is anything I have forgotten it is almost too late to remember, and as long as I have the important things - clothes, food, camera and running orders, and of course most importantly Princess Kiah - thats all that matters. Kiah is ready to go too, she is currently fast asleep in her bed dreaming of agility, however still managed to wake up and begrudgingly glare at me while i took her picture! We are away for a week now, but I will make sure I post an update as soon as I am back. So all that's left is one more sleep.... then HOLIDAY TIME!!!!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

News Update

Its been a little while since I updated as we haven't really been up to much... not agility wise anyway. I have been visiting my mum which Kiah loves as she gets spoiled (like me when I go there) and gets to play in a huge garden too. I am also going to try out for the Belgian World Championships as I know Kiah will have a great time, it is more for experience this year but it is a hope one day to maybe get there and give it our best. I have also entered Kiah into a local breed show in September just to see how she does and have a bit of fun and something different, though at this rate she won't have any coat then at ALL she is moulting so much!

I haven't had any holidays this year yet, so I am really REALLY looking forward to my week off work and the week long Dogs in Need agility show, though I am no where near ready!! This picture of my beautiful girly was taken exactly a year ago at the same show, it was a lovely day fingers crossed this year's weather will be similar! And even better news that I have been waiting for, I got my car back today all lovely and clean and fixed, so Kiah has her lovely solid safe cage back in time for the show, she hasn't been in it yet since the accident but she has been SO patient and well behaved travelling in the courtesy car, I think she will be ok. I had better get moving and get all Kiah's and my stuff sorted for the show, one more day at work then a whole 9 days off til I go back!!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Times at Tenterden

I am so pleased with what Kiah has shown me she can do today, I am actually quite shocked! We had a lovely graded 4-5 agility, and though unfortunately Kiah had a pole down, it was the achievement of the quality and TIME of her run that I am so pleased with!! Kiah ran awesome and had a faster time than the winners of both the grade 4 AND the grade 5!! To find that out is such a big achievement for us in itself as I never thought we would get up past grade 3 and to show me that she can do that and be up there with the higher more senior grades really makes me proud of her! No clears though this weekend, some lovely handle-y courses which were a real challenge and I enjoyed, I know Kiah did too.

Apart from the horrendous rainy weather yesterday afternoon and evening which was a little grim, today turned out really lovely and sunny so this morning's walk was great! Kiah had so much fun playing with all her friends over the cross-country fields, having a great time!! In between running around like mad, one thing she seems to love is jumping up on things and waiting for me to release her off them, well this was the ideal opportunity for a quick picture, her posing on one of the horse jumps! She is so lovely, but then I am a bit biased!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Agility Club Weekend

Last weekend was the Agility Club show, which I really enjoyed despite having had the car accident a couple of days before... I think it helped that I was relieved that I found out that my car is going to be fixed rather than written off, grateful that I have a reasonable courtesy car not a teeny tiny one, smiling because of all the people who have asked if we are ok, appreciative of the hospitality shown to me and my dog over the weekend, happy about the weather staying pleasant with no rain, and so SO happy to be running Kiah, watching her run well with no ill effects from the accident, and seeing her cheeky face as she point blank refuses to let me win when we are playing raggy!!

So our first grade four show... well we didn't get any clear rounds this weekend, so near yet so far in a couple of the rounds with just one pole in one, and a back jump in another! I must learn to move my feet quicker ;)!!! But really pleased with the weekend overall, I wasn't overly fazed by any of the courses in Grade 4 as I thought I might be (theres still time lol!) and pleased in one agility course specifically, which had some really REALLY tight bits, Kiah worked well lots of positives from that. Even remembered to take my camera with me this weekend, so got lots of photos of various doggies which I must send on to the relevant people! This picture is of Kiah just about to woof at me, play bow, dash off to the left, in the middle of 'mad five minutes' just before we packed up to go home on Sunday afternoon!!!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Car Accident...

Yesterday on the way back from agility training, Kiah and I were in a head on car accident. The road was single lane, and there was a right hand bend so I was driving quite slowly only about 20mph as it was still fairly light but dusky. Unfortunately I think the car coming the other way wasn't driving so sensibly and by then it was too late... I had pretty much stopped in time but the other guy didn't, so I kind of had nowhere to go so the front of my car got mashed. The other person admitted to me that his brakes had locked but I guess he won't say that to the insurers, I dont know. Anyway I have reported everything correctly my end, though the insurers have advised that due to the road being single lane it will be difficult to prove liability either way, so will probably have to go as a 50:50 claim. I am now likely to have two claims 'against' me, one drunk uninsured driver (2008) and another now, neither of which are my fault!!!

Anyway cars can be repaired, the most important thing is that Kiah is ok, she didn't seem phased by the actual accident fortunately, I got her out of the car straight away just in case anything nasty happened to it. I think in some ways it was a small mercy in the scheme of things that the accident happened there as we had only left agility 5 minutes before, so Kiah's muscles etc were still warmed up from that, so I think that probably helped her from being injured. Here she is relaxing on the sofa today, no worse for wear... touch wood.

I want to say a big, BIG thank you to Leah and Jason Gardner who must have just got home from training when they got a phone call from me, and they very kindly stayed with Kiah and I all evening. It was certainly a long evening with the claim taking a 40 minute phone call, they certainly didn't need to ask all the questions they did, then a wild goose chase for them to find where we were, THEN find a vehicle recovery company and wait for them to turn up! Leah and Jason also came right out of their way to drop us home to make sure Kiah and I got home safely afterwards, probably not getting home themselves til long after midnight.

So today has been a day of rest and sleeping, but also lots of phone calls in and out to various people, insurance companies, repair centres, hire centres etc. As at my last phone call, my car hasn't yet been assessed as to whether it is repairable or a write off, so hopefully I will find that out tomorrow. I have a courtesy car which is nice enough, its a new Golf Estate, and I have that until mine is sorted, which hopefully won't be too long. Off to get some more sleep now.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Agility-Full Weekend

We were at a local show this weekend, it is a shame that this show was only a one day event, as I really like the venue and also despite the forecast, the weather stayed great all day! It was a bit of a shame that our last weekend in Grade 3 didn't go quite as well as we had hoped! Our first run was agility, and with me not handling it right - couldn't possibly do a pull through, and Kiah being totally bonkers - not picking her feet up - it was a bit of a disaster! Our second run which was helter skelter went in the same kind of fashion! The third run was slightly better, though I don't think we were quite on form this week though as I got a bit lost, and I called Kiah to turn right a bit early on a jump making her take a pole. Of course there are positives to every run, and I therefore the things I could take out of Saturday was that I was very pleased with Kiah's start line waits, her contacts and more importantly her weaves. She seems to pick up her entries very well now whereas she used to struggle a bit cause of her speed, and she is a very good independent weaver too. And I am always impressed with her enthusiasm, no one can ever fault her on that, bless her she tries her best!

Today we didn't have much planned, but after reading a friend's facebook status it reminded me that there was an open day on at a local rspca centre so after a nice walk and play this morning, Kiah and I took a trip down there. There was lots to see and do, and we got lots of really nice compliments about how pretty Kiah was so that was lovely too. BUT... more importantly there was a fun agility course, MORE agility, well of course for Kiah's benefit we had to have a go or 4!! Kiah loved it as the jumps were set on a low height so she could go even faster and the course even had 8 weaves in which she got spot on every time! Then we shared an ice cream before we took a trip back home. Kiah is now flat out on my bed, I think I can safely say we both had a great weekend!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Last Week's Holiday

...now seems but a distant memory! I had booked a week off work, there was nothing specific planned, but it seemed to be quite productive. I managed to catch up with some friends, see my mum, go to the cinema and celebrate a birthday, a little bit of shopping, do lots of tidying up and catching up with paperwork around the house, and of course spend lots of time with Kiah.

The weather wasn't as spectacular as the heatwave we had the week before, but though I love the heat (while not at work!) in some ways it was better for Kiah being that bit cooler. It was lovely being able to take her on long walks during the day up in the forest park and golf course that entwines around it, meeting all sorts of people including another Malinois, Kiah wanted to go and say hello (she always recognises her own breed!?) but he was on a lead, I think he was probably a police dog. Kiah even played about in the lake fetching a small stick - as long as the water wasn't too deep - she likes to paddle but can't possibly go all the way in and swim ;)!! The picture was taken after Kiah had just had a game of "mad five minutes in the golf course sand bunkers" she always loves doing that and what sort of owner would I be, to deny such simple pleasures!!

I had no agility over the weekend just gone, but it wasn't so bad to have a weekend off, as I developed a sore throat, and hoping it wouldn't turn into anything worse I stayed in drinking lots of water, and taking some cold and flu remedies to try and ward it off. Touch wood I am feeling ok now, though still taking vitamins and eating lots of fruit and vegetables too! This Saturday coming Kiah and I are at a fairly local agility show, and it is our last weekend in Grade 3 so going to have fun and hoping to maybe get a couple of good rounds as a bonus. Fingers crossed for nice weather too!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Sardine Celebrations!!

My awesome little Kiah has done it again, she has won another Grade 3 agility today, to put her well and truly into Grade 4 now, she's such a clever girl, I can't begin to express how pleased I am and how proud of her I am!!! I seem to have found that the key with me, is to stay calm with Kiah as then she stays calm and we work well together. The course ran nicely, as the start was jump - dog walk I thought I would practice Kiah's wait and recall to the end of the dog walk. Well its a bit scary having a Mally running full pelt at you and trying to stay calm! Anyway the rest of the course ran nicely and we went straight into the lead and stayed there, and I love watching Kiah do her weaves I think they are one of her favourites. I think her other favourite is the sardines in oil that she had in with her food tonight (mmm fish breath) as a special well done dinner!

The rest of the weekend was good too, pleased with a good run the day before and we ended up 5th in the 3-4 combined agility, a nice run by Kiah, good solid contacts, though scrappy time wasting handling by me! I just really made minor errors in other runs though nothing to be overly concerned about just things to practice on at training, and a single pole down today in a good jumping run due to me not giving her enough room when doing the pull through (silly arse), but all good from Kiah bless her. Love this pic of Kiah on the turn in her jumping round, the angle of the turn is mad and how she doesn't skid or slip over I don't know!

I am really pleased that we are getting that bit more consistent (or should I say my handling is more consistent), and though I am ever so pleased with the first place and the lovely rosette and trophy, the best thing at the end of every run we do, clear or not, is seeing little Kiah's happy face at the end of a course looking for her toy to play, yeah go Ky-Pie!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Kiah Goes Grade 4!!!

I can't quite believe it still, but my little star Kiah has won into Grade 4 at the DDTC show this weekend by winning the Grade 3 agility by over a second! I walked the course and thought it was a nice course for the grade, and suited Kiah well, as long as I handled it properly and she picked her feet up over the poles! We had a relatively early running order and as the weather was so lovely (though a bit hot for the dogs) I warmed Kiah up just after lunch time, and we ran about four dogs in from the class starting up.

With me trailing behind her as usual ;) as Kiah powered down the line to hit the tunnel cleanly I thought the course was flowing well, so making sure she definitely hit her 2on2off, I released her fairly promptly from her contacts, something which she always enjoys, she doesn't like to be slowed down! The rest of the course went really well, awesome weaves and a really tight pull round to finish clear!! I do admit that I didn't run the course to win it, Kiah and I are just having fun and enjoying every moment, but I do know that Kiah's natural speed is very fast anyway, and that is the speed she works well - and loves to work at!!

The picture here was taken in the grounds of the park at Newton Heath (taken by Candice) and I just think it is a stunning picture of my beautiful Kiah. As always, I am so proud of all of who and what Kiah is, how hard she works for me, and what she has achieved. I am looking forward to hopefully the many new challenges that Grade 4 will bring us!!!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Newton Heath & The ABC Semi

Last weekend seemed to come and go really quickly, I had been looking forward to the Newton Heath show, mainly because Kiah and I had the ABC Semi Final.

On the Saturday Kiah was running really well, calm, clean jumping even over plastic poles, and two very good agility runs first off, though I decided to drop the jumping run as the course was a bit tricky, and end Saturday on a positive note. Very pleased to end up 6th in the first agility with held contacts as practice for later on. Just a quick note about Sunday though it wasn't as good, a couple of knocked poles and Kiah had a bit of a 'tunnel obsession' moment in a lovely jumping course though funny to watch, and SILLY call by me in a great agility round, causing Kiah to do a lovely 'go round' and back jump, shame I was meant to send her the other side!!

So on to the ABC Semi which took place on Saturday evening, its quite an exciting build up to it as it takes place after all the other rings shut, so there are lots of people sitting around the whole ring watching everyone run. I was quite lucky as my run was to be one from the end so it gave Kiah and I time to chill out, the time it took to go through 63 other dogs helped us both stay calm. Here's a pic of Kiah and I taken during our ABC run. The course was really nice, a good challenge and we had got over what I thought were the more difficult bits, shame a very simple bit of handling cost us. The part I messed up was where Kiah had to go through a curved pipe tunnel, over a wall and onto the see-saw... I should have stood still for a split second longer and let her clear the wall. Silly me went to run off though there was no need, and Kiah just flattened that little too much and took one little top tile (not even a brick!!!) out of the wall.

So this year it was obviously just not meant to be. I have to say that Kiah was working amazingly, the best I have ever seen her. It was also great to see that Kiah's speed is up there with the best as we would have ended up in 3rd place. I am not disappointed one bit with any part of the run, and as always the very best dog came home with me, and always will. There is always going to be another agility run, but there is only one little Kiah!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

More Congratulations at Thames

No sooner had I written the post about the Superstars Dave & Rusty winning their first ticket, there they go again and proving how much of an amazing team they are, by winning their second ticket with an awesome show stopping crowd silencing run at Thames this weekend!! It was great to be able to watch, and lots more congratulations to them this time too, and sooner or later they will get that third ticket to get that exclusive title, so lots of luck for that too!

There were also lots more successes at Thames for a lot of my friends which was lovely to hear about, though shame that Kiah and I (well me really) weren't really in tune that much this weekend. In a couple of the courses I wasn't very happy with some of the angles onto equipment either, not sure why some think this is such a 'challenge' when I think it is border line dangerous for some dogs. I was however (as always) pleased with most of Kiah's runs, her contacts and wait especially, and some of my handling reflected what I had learned at boot camp the week before, though some certainly could have been better. This picture is of Kiah at the last show we were at; taken by Alan Score who is undoubtedly one of the best photographers around, and the most generous too as he emails out all the photos he takes!

It was a little frustrating to have lost a bit of the consistency that we had over the past few weeks, especially with the ABC semi final rocketing up so quickly this weekend. I am definitely ready for it and even more so looking forward to it, and most importantly certainly hoping that my handling doesn't let Kiah down, while she shows how good she really is. All I know is that Kiah has already made me so proud to get this far, I know that we can do it but if we don't then as long as we had fun that's all that matters. At the end of the day, Kiah is amazing, always my number one and I take the best dog home whatever happens!!!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Boot Camp!!!!!!!

It is the day after Kiah and I got back from our Agility Boot Camp that took place this weekend plus Monday, and I can honestly say I have never done so much training, but I have certainly learned a lot, and have never enjoyed myself so much!! To add to that, it was great to meet such a lot of nice (some new) people, great to spend so much time with Kiah and the weather stayed good all weekend too, despite torrential rain over one of the nights, each day was lovely, not too warm, not too cold, and most importantly was dry!

The Boot Camp was run by Leah Gardner and Nancy Hudson at a lovely outdoor venue in Kent, and they really did both work amazingly hard to help us all learn so much in such a short space of time, so I must say a HUGE thank you to them again. We had 5 hours of training per day, split into two sessions and then two again so we got so much done, in agility and jumping courses with both trainers. There wasn't just one thing I would say that I learned specifically, but so many pieces of useful information and techniques and ways of doing things that will help me no end, and I will never ever forget. I love this picture of Kiah, she really is smiling, it was taken while we were practising her see-saw contact and it is just a typical picture of how she looked at the weekend, as she was just enjoying herself so much!!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Great Shows, Great Results!

Really great news this weekend about the championship class that has been won by Dave and the superstar Malinois Rusty!! So the first part of this post must be a huge CONGRATULATIONS to them for winning their very first CC, having what I hear was an astounding and unbeatable run in the Championship Finals at Nottingham, very well deserved and the first of many I am sure!

But this weekend my little mally Kiah has also done me proud, with a 3rd in her Grade 3 jumping on the first day of the show up at Packington, and an even better result today, though a lower place, we got a 4th in a 3-4-5 combined agility class which I am so pleased with up against all the higher grades, she was really running well!! A slightly embarrassing note was that I probably held Kiah's contacts that bit too long for a qualifying round - as she was less than a second behind the winning time so I must start practising contact releases in training for use in the future. So we didn't qualify with a fourth place, but I really don't mind, I am so proud of Kiah today, for holding her own and just being her. This round was kindly videoed (hopefully attached!) by a friend Michelle who happened to be by the ring, and the video is just great, I don't get to see many of Kiah running so thank you so much!!

video

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

BATS Agility

Had a nice one day agility show this weekend at the BATS show up in Luton, no clears again this weekend which was a bit of a shame as this was the same show where Kiah-Pie won out of G1, but really pleased with Kiah again, just a little disappointed in my own inept handling therefore a lot of poles hitting the deck. I also think Kiah needs to go to the chiropractor when I can get an appointment (the good ones are just so busy!) just to check that she is all ok and not sore anywhere as she hasn't been for a while.

I was pleased with one of Kiah's runs especially, as it was a four jump start which pointed them straight at the tunnel at the end, though you had to call them off that and go another way, I thought it was a little mean for G3 but I enjoy a challenge. Well Kiah was brill, listening and she was running well and cleanly, listening to my scrappy commands and bless her turning left when I said left - though I meant right! The only problem we had here was the handler getting poor Kiah E'd cause we went one jump too far! Anyway, we had fun!

I've seen a question posted recently about whether 'agility is fun' well yes, it certainly is for me and Kiah. I know I don't have to justify myself, but I see a lot of people not always having fun with their dogs, and I just think that agility is just a hobby and you should enjoy what ever you decide to do with your spare time. Not going clear in agility I suppose can be frustrating but I don't see the point in getting like that, I have enough frustrations at work and agility is just for fun. So, Kiah and I have a GREAT time EVERY round, and she gets a fun game of get-it-raggy every time we get to the end of a run. And of course she gets plenty of treats, toys and spoiling whether we were E'd at the very first jump or we went clear and won the class, cause I know we had fun and she tried her heart out for me and that's all that matters!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Tunbridge Wells & Presents For Kiah

Just a quick blog update before the next weekend (not that I'm complaining!), the agility this weekend wasn't too successful, on Saturday all of our runs were first in and early-ish running orders too, so it was still a bit slippery underfoot. Skiddy ground always worries me a bit with Kiah, because she is so bonkers and fast, the third obstacle was weaves where she managed to slip in the second weave, spin around the whole pole and come out. So we didn't start off on a very good note, and I think maybe she perhaps wasn't feeling 100% after that, because in her next two runs she really bashed some of the poles down. After a good night's rest in her own bed (show very near to home, lovely!) Sunday was a lot better, Kiah was running well and being careful with the poles like she has been for the last few weekends, we just had silly mistakes like poles and early commands, must train the handler better!

I have bought Kiah a few extra presents recently for being SO good at her agility (of course she is always good, is certainly spoiled and gets presents anyway!) including a nice new brown and cream fluffy bed which she seems to love, also two new agility collars that are the same - as that trade stand don't do many agility shows, and a new every day walks lead. They are all in purple and/or with black, the colours really suit her, and she will be sporting her new collar this weekend at the one day agility show that we have on Saturday.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Vyne Agility Show

The Bank Holiday just gone was another show at Newbury, a one day show this time, it was nice as I managed to have a lie in on both weekend days, spend loads of free time with the dogs, and I also got quite a lot of well needed house work done though that won't be happening too often! Anyway back to the agility, it was nice as Alex had managed to get the day off work so he could come to the show too yay. He also brought Yahoo who came along for the ride and a day out, so with a chilly early start we met Lisa on the way there, and convoyed up for some of the journey.

Well we both did a fair bit of ring party in the morning, so it gave the dogs a bit of a chance to chill out in the car in their new cage (which they both seem to like) and my first run was the Grade 3 agility at about lunch time. Kiah was running amazingly well again, shame about the handler who let her down just by not being 'flowing' enough with my handling and taking a pole. A friend of mine won the class and when I went up to congratulate them on their win, she told me that Kiah and the winner Flick had EXACTLY the same time, so really pleased as I had done touch and go contacts in that class so I know Kiah could have been a little faster. In our other two runs I let Kiah down in the jumping class through rubbish handling and commands that I don't even use, and again pleased with Kiah in the ABC run with held contacts, lovely running and just me messing up the A Frame - tunnel combo. But still I am certainly not disappointed, very pleased with how she is working, she's obviously having a great time which is the main thing (and so am I), and really looking forward to a two day show next weekend!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Safe Dogs

I have bought myself a new car crate this week for the doggies, it was something I'd been thinking about for a while, but couldn't decide on which one. I had almost decided on a tailgate guard when a friend suggested that if (heaven forbid) any form of car accident was to happen, the quarter lights (which are as big as normal windows in my car) can break leaving the dogs free to escape - so that swiftly changed my plan onto deciding which cage to get.

I had been looking around and getting recommendations on which would be the best, then I came across the Safe Dog cages which caught my eye partly because they look good, but the big bonus is that they have been crash tested. Last Wednesday evening we went to see Gill and Derek at Safe Dog who were really helpful and friendly, letting Kiah and Yahoo test out all of the cages and guards and giving them their seal of approval! One of the things that sometimes unnerves Kiah when she travels, is if the cage rattles or moves, but this is quiet, solidly built and securely fixed into the car. So not surprisingly, based on all of these positives, this was the cage I picked!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

WBSDS Success!

What a lovely show we have been to, why do weekends go so quickly!!! This post is going to be all about Kiah again, as she really was my little superstar, coming home with three clear rounds and two trophies, she is working awesome and showing off what she is really capable of which is just great. I love this picture of Kiah playing raggy after her one of her runs at Shuttleworth. Both days have been very good this weekend, some easier runs but some challenges too, and I have been able to take lots of positives out of every one of the courses. My handling caused ALL the errors we made in the classes where we did go wrong, but it was easy to see where and what I need to practice or brush up on, always useful for me to learn how to improve for next time. I love running Kiah, and I know I always come home with the best dog whatever happens, but the highlight of the weekend really was today, coming home with a 1st and a 2nd in her two jumping classes, fab rosettes and trophies as well as the Best BSD in those classes too!!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Wallingford Wow!!!!!!!

This weekend has just been phenomenal, and I cannot explain how happy or how proud I am of my little star Kiah, she has run fabulously, had great results and I'm still on Cloud 9!! Kiah did what I could never imagine, and came FIRST in the qualifying ABC agility, beating 304 other dogs, and so firmly secured her place in the semi-finals!!! I hoped that one day we would get the chance to go to the semi's but not to come in first place to get there!! What makes it even more rewarding is that the class was a 1-7 so she beat all dogs from all other grades, and that she won by over a second too. This picture is a close up of Kiah in her ABC run, three jumps from home!!

Today we also had a great day, still buzzing from Saturday but Kiah was nicely refreshed, and in a very affectionate mood this morning, so I got lots of cuddles! Our first run of the day (again!) was her Grade 3 agility, not a nasty course but I certainly didn't think it was Kiah's 'style'. Because of this, and also as we were a very early running order (8!) the grass and the contacts were still damp/dewy so I ran it a bit more carefully, and held her contacts a little longer. So to end up in 3rd place - her first place since she has moved up into 3, I was more than pleased! Kiah has been spoiled rotten since her wins, well she is always anyway but even more so than normal!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Cornwall Bank Holiday Weekend

We have just had the BEST weekend down in Cornwall! All four of us; me, Alex, Kiah and Yahoo took a 3 day trip down to the North coast of Cornwall and had a great time, also the bank holiday coincided with an agility show so the best of both worlds. The weather too was fabulous, the forecast wasn't that great for the rest of the south of the country, but someone upstairs obviously arranged nice weather as there wasn't a spot of rain at all, lovely warm sunshine! This was Kiah's second show in Grade 3 and again the courses were good but a bit challenging, I enjoyed all of them and always enjoy running Kiah anyway, though unfortunately no clear rounds for us, most of the mistakes were simple, mainly poles or silly handling from the silly handler ;).

We also got to spend loads of time having fun on the beach and visiting the local areas, Alex hadn't seen this part of Cornwall and once we were there and he saw how lovely the beaches and surrounding areas are, I think he realised too why I love it so much. I took my camera down there and took 500 odd photos - mainly of the dogs on the beach and a lot at the agility show of course too. Alex was also very impressed that he met another similar coloured (from working lines too) retriever who was the spitting image of Yahoo. I'm hoping to add some more larger photos down the bottom of my blog when I can work out how, and which ones to add, I could put so many there. What would we do without the invention of digital, I love my camera!! I couldn't decide which photo to post on here at the moment, but I thought this one captured everything well; two happy soggy doggies after playing in the sea, us two smiling and for once no silly expressions, and the lovely sandy beach with out a cloud in sight!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Spring at Shuttleworth

What a great weekend, very positive on all counts! After the minor frustration at the beginning of the weekend (Friday evening) of how to actually GET to the show as the M25 had serious accidents on it in both directions, once Kiah and I safely made it there eventually at about 10.30pm, I was ready for the weekend, and after a bit of a chill out, cup of tea, unload the car and quick hello's to my friends, I bedded down in my new selk bag (practical, yet oh so much fun!) and duvet, toasty warm and definitely slept well!! The rest of the weekend was just as good as the first night's sleep, catching up with loads of friends and dogs that I hadn't seen in ages, seeing and meeting all the Malinois puppies (not at all jealous ;)!), and the awesome weather too, as it is always nicer and puts everyone in a better mood!

It was Kiah's first G3 show so I was a little nervous of what to expect of the courses, but she ran well and I was pleased with most of her runs. As a friend of mine summed it up, there is definitely a 'little more' to the courses in G3, very true but a nice challenge too, certainly not complaining. There was just one agility course where Kiah didn't seem to really be listening properly to me, and also ran around the tyre rather than going through it, but that was no doubt partly my fault for not giving her the proper signals. The best run of the weekend was definitely our very last run - ABC agility, Kiah was running lovely, very fast and accurate...shame about her handler! Two jumps from home, I failed to call Kiah early enough to navigate her straight onto the dog walk so I pulled her back to run up it safely - I think she would have had a top place in that one but never mind! This picture is of Kiah in that ABC run, Jan had come down to the show, so was there with her camera and managed to get some great shots, I love seeing Kiah in action so thank you. I will have to remember to take my camera next weekend, as we are off to Cornwall for a long Easter weekend - for the fab beaches of course, as well as the agility!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

One Week to Go!

At this time next week, me and Kiah are going to be at our first proper agility show, and I am so excited! I think it is a combination of new grade classes, and that I know Kiah is working really well at the moment, and that it is the start of months of fun! I don't mind if we don't go clear (though I would love to get some places) but as long as we both enjoy it. I hope an order has been put in for nice weather too, cause today we have had some hail - though fortunately on our walks, me and the dogs have thankfully missed getting a soaking.

Also just a quick update on how Yahoo is continuing to settle in, he seems to be more than happy here and him and Kiah seem to get on well, he knows who is boss ;) but aren't all of the female of the species lol?! He has been on a diet too, so is a much better weight now, and has been to our local vet who have checked him over and said he is very healthy for a 10 year old retriever, and certainly doesn't have cataracts, which is great news.

This picture was taken last week on one of our long walks - one of the few pictures we have where Yahoo isn't soaking wet after deciding the lake deserves his presence though it is a challenge sometimes to keep him OUT of it! Fortunately our walks today didn't involve any lakes but a long lead walk, and nice run around at the park. Yahoo is currently sleeping in the hallway downstairs on his bed, fast asleep and making squeak-squirrel-chase noises, while Kiah is upstairs, snuggly up in a ball, catching some Z's on my bed!!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

What We've Been Up To

Oh dear, bad-Mally-blogger, I have just noticed that it has been a month since I updated my blog, and yet so much has been going on! On one of our long walks at the weekends over at the local country park I managed to get this nice picture of Kiah with a big smile on her face.

Well anyway, back to the update...the biggest event we were at was Crufts, Kiah was in the Post-Graduate class which had 5 entries and so I didn't think Kiah had much of a chance, but she showed brilliantly and she ended up coming 2nd! Very proud of my beautiful girl, and well dones to all 3 of her litter mates who took the top places too! But really big Congratulations must go to Jo and Ronny for getting the RCC and Reserve Best Dog, and of course a mention must go to Dave and Rusty, for not only coming 2nd in her breed class, but winning the ABC jumping too. Crufts really is a great experience, it will be nice to go again next year, and hopefully one day we will qualify to get there for the agility too.

Last weekend me and Lisa decided to take a trip to the WAG show on Sunday, which was another positive and fun day. Lisa got some great places with all of her dogs, including 2 2nd places with Inca, a 3rd with Kane, and a 6th with Meme. I had never been to one of these shows before, and I really enjoyed it, great atmosphere and people, with all my runs being very positive. I trained Kiah in the agility though she was running amazingly well, and in the 3-7 helter skelter run which was the best, Kiah ended up in 4th place behind two Grade 7 dogs and a Grade 6, really pleased with that. But as well as our agility and helping on ring party, the dogs had a fantastic time down on the beach generally doing what Belgians do best, running around as fast as they possibly can without a care in the world, scaring seagulls away, lots of barking and having a great time!!

I am itching (not literally!) to get back into the agility season now, training is fun and enjoyable but it seems like forever since we have had a proper outdoor competition and I can catch up with the rest of my agility friends. I am not TOO fussed about the conditions, though saying that it would be great if we could have warm and dry weather this year as it is always so much nicer and puts people in a better mood/frame of mind. I think I will have to start a countdown, it is only 2 weeks and 2 days til our first agility show...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Kiah Super Star!!

Kiah has won into Grade 3 and I am so immensely proud of her!!! We were at the Newton Heath agility show yesterday and had travelled up with Lisa (thank you for driving) and her Belgians, partly for the ABC qualifier, but I was also looking forward to this show simply because it was the first 'proper' agility show of the season, and what a brilliant way to start. Unfortunately I messed up the ABC run, as I didn't call Kiah quickly enough off a jump, but it became a good opportunity to hold her on the contacts, just for proofing purposes. But this was our second run and was overshadowed by our win which I already knew about by this time, I can't stop smiling! Our winning run did feel good, I stayed calm and therefore so did Kiah, nice solid contacts and it was obviously fast too, with a time of 19 seconds, she is a very special dog and I couldn't ask for anything more.

Thank you to everyone who has congratulated me, phoned, emailed, put messages on that is lovely I am really touched by everyone's kind wishes. Our next agility show isn't until the beginning of April, so due to the rule change about moving grades, I will be in Grade 3 at the very next show I do. But I am not complaining, I am really looking forward to the challenge and can't wait!!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Valentines Weekend

This weekend has been a really good one, no one reason in particular but I have enjoyed every minute of it. Yesterday was Valentines day, Alex and I (and the dogs too of course) didn't do anything special but we did get to spend it together as he wasn't working, he also bought me a lovely red rose bush which was really sweet of him, as he knew the one in the front garden isn't looking too healthy! He also thought it would last longer than cut flowers - obviously hasn't yet realised my inability to look after plants ;)!

Anyway today has been good too, though unfortunately Alex was at work today, so I spent the day with the dogs. It was a fairly early start as Yahoo was at the groomers this morning, he looks sooo much better than he did, Gina did a brilliant job (K9 Kuts - 01342 718356) the picture here is of him after he came back though he wasn't in the mood to look at the camera, more interested in his toy! Kiah and I haven't had much of a chance to go out walking together since Yahoo has been over due to me always running out of time, so while he was being groomed, Kiah and I went up to the forest park for a long walk. For a bit of practice and to teach her about using and knowing what her back legs are doing (but mainly just for fun) we always go and find the fallen trees, stumps or cut down trunks so that Kiah can climb all over them, she loves jumping up even when I don't ask her to, and she is such a show off she always gets attention from anyone walking past. Some of these usually provide a quick photo opportunity too :)!!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Settling In, and an 'Alarming' Issue

First of all the good news, Yahoo has met up with Kiah now, as of Saturday morning over on nice neutral territory, and they got on very well, so for the last few days he has been settling in here at home very well, and Kiah and him are slowly becoming friends. As they have both been 'only' dogs, they like each others' company but also both respect each others' space too which is great. We went over the local park as well as the forest and lake over the weekend, and they had a great time, Kiah even followed Yahoo into the shallows of the lake for a swim/play/stick fetch! The picture shows Kiah not looking very impressed, but thats not cause of Yahoo, she just hates having her photo taken and will turn away, move, shut her eyes or put her ears down at any opportunity!

So I was trying to be funny with the title...I dont think it really worked! Anyway the 'alarming' news is just about my car. It drives really nicely and it is in brilliant condition, there is just one small (but rather annoying) issue with the alarm, which keeps going off. Unfortunately I seem to have the courtesy car more than my car at the moment. I can't complain too much, at least my car has a good security system, just seems to be a little over sensitive! The garage is being very good about fixing it and sorting it out for me, I just can't wait until it is finally fixed, and I can get it back and enjoy driving it again.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

My New Car!!

Well, I have saved up for the last year or so, and I have bought myself a new (-to-me) car, slightly more suitable for agility and for Kiah too, its a Vauxhall still, but its a couple of years newer and is a Vectra Estate. It is in my favourite car colour too, its dark grey, it seems really common now but I used to own a different car in this colour a few years ago and have always liked it before it was popular. So as of this evening, my little blue Astra go-kart ;) has been sold as a part-ex. That car did me well, very reliable, and it certainly wasn't old being an 03 plate, but now I have my nice new estate now, with lots of room, and all ready to go for the new agility season too!

Kiah never really used to be a big fan of the back of cars (and especially not the rear windscreen wipers!), so once I picked the Vectra up after work, she spent some of this evening getting familiar with the car, we will be doing a few short trips in it again so I can ease her in gently to get used to it. I will also be getting a cage, or tailgate/boot guards for it too, so Kiah can travel in comfort, style and safety ;)!! Cause it was so dark though once we got home, I haven't got any pictures of my car yet, so here is a picture of Kiah taken (on my mobile) last Sunday at our local park, it was a really pleasant start to the day, sunny and quite mild too, you wouldnt believe it but this was the morning of the day the heavy snow started!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

First Show/Snow Of The Year!!

Yesterday we were at the C-Side show which was great to be out and about and catching up with everyone, and Alex wasn't working so he came along, and he learned how to help on the ring party too, apart from getting a bit cold I think he quite enjoyed it, meeting lots of new people and seeing what fun agility shows really are. So Kiah was kind of off her head, I dont think being indoors helps really, the first two runs we had were a little out of control to say the least, but the second two were a lot better, just a pole down in the agility, and a couple of basic errors in the jumping thanks to me, so fairly pleased with how Kiah worked. Training today however was another story, but I think both me and Kiah will write that off as a bad day, with homework to do.

Anyway apart from that, today has been a really nice day, this morning we three had a lovely walk up at the local forest park, through the woods and past the golf course, and taking some pictures along the way. Then we did some tidying and weeding of the front garden/driveway, and not long after we finished that, the SNOW started falling, and settling too!! It was lovely to see it just makes everything look so picturesque, and 'proper snow' is a bit of a rarity round this way at least, so after dinner, we decided to build a snowman on the verge outside the front garden, with full scarf, and hat, and carrot nose. Here is Kiah in front of our creation!!