Sunday, 22 August 2010

Dogs In Need 2010 Report

We're back from another great week at DIN, another show I always enjoy - us and the dogs are shattered and though we came back a day early (we missed the finals, so well done to everyone that qualified!!) it was nice to be able to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a week, do the necessary but boring things like washing, tidying and shopping, but also to give the dogs a day of leisurely walks and sleep. This is just a quick run through of our highlights of the week, far too much enjoyment was had to remember it all!

This years show was no different to any others, just as enjoyable if not moreso as Alex was able to come along for the week and enjoy the rest. We eventually set up our camp for the week nice and close to the rings, with our new tent, and having the van, gazebo and windbreaks around - had our own little private 'garden' area that the dogs could chill out in. Well re the weather - fortunately the forecasters WERE wrong, or we were just lucky - but aside from one miserable grey spitty day, the week was pretty reasonable! As Yahoo is slowing down a bit now bless him, he only joined us on some of the walks with the youngsters, but as he likes to spend so much time outside, some days he was camp guard, either in the sun or under the gazebo, and we bought him a HUGE double knuckle bone so he didn't feel left out, he loved it.

So the agility started on Tuesday, and as I hoped - even though Kiah was being silly from the razor burn, the agility helped take her mind off it a little - and though she still didn't want to play much with her raggy toys, while she was running she was happy - though we still didn't manage any clears, only poles down... no E's yet. Moving swiftly on to and past Wednesday, two lovely courses, shame I messed them both up and got one refusal in each - one trying to push her into a tunnel with both hands at once (why!?) and crossing behind too quick, and another me not committing to a jump for quite long enough, bringing her with me, such a shame as it was another good course, lots of those about this week, really enjoyable, unusual but fun courses.

Thursday was a lovely relaxing day off from agility though most of the day involved food, so after a yummy cooked breakfast (then a curry with friends in the evening!), us two and Kiah, Yahoo and Davy all went on the 'usual' long lunchtime walk over the meadow across the road from the showground with some friends. I think that maybe we had a record number of dogs attending this year in one group, 21 (Belgians, Collies, a Goldie and Sheltie!) all walking and playing nicely together, and posing for a few photos along the way - during the week I'll add some of the doggies holiday snaps on here!

Friday and back to the agility, again pleased with how Kiah was working, just timing issues from my point of view, especially when we could have done so well in the agility course, just me not shaping her early enough to turn left on a jump forcing her to take the pole. The jumping round was a little difficult for a G6 I thought, especially as the similar course for G7 in the same ring had only resulted in 4 clears - I like a challenge, but there is a limit so that course was one added to our 'E' pile for the week.
So as the week raced onto Saturday, the last day of competing and kind of wondering where the week had gone! Again neither run was first in, and we had already decided that we would go home that day for ease - and to get everything down while it was dry as there was a black cloud looming, so everything was packed away (in sunshine, typical!) ready to go before my runs came up mid morning. The jumping was a nice course, though some tight corners caught us out so we had two poles down. Our first run though was in our agility, quite soon after the class started as we were number 21, and I thought it was a nice course though very fast so didn't think we stood much chance. Well Kiah obviously likes to leave our 'one clear of the week' to the last minute, putting in a great agility round to finish in a good clear. Only a couple of scary moments where she got me out of trouble as I was in her way and we wasted a good couple of seconds, but generally the round felt good, her contacts were fast, and turns were tight. That round put us into the lead - thats where we stayed... all the way through, and won the class!!! Even better that my friends were watching, and I've got pictures and a video (which I hope can be sent to me) of her winning round including this photo here. I never thought we would ever manage a win in G6, but wow Kiah you were fab as always, am SO proud of my girl she gave it her all, at such a big show too, that really did top off a good week, turning it into an unbeatable one!

Some fab results for others during the week, 1st for Vicky & Molly, 1st for Caroline & Puzzle, 2nd for Lisa & Inca, a number of 2nds for Lindy & Bracken, 3rd for Candice & Ziggie, 3rd for Dave & Rusty, 3rd for Sue & Jinx, and lots of others, oh and loads of people qualifying for the finals too some fab results I'm sure I've missed someone - well done everyone! So I think to summarise how my week's been... Brill dog and an even better result, brill courses, fab venue, fab show, great company, great friends... dates are most firmly in the diary for next year!!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Ups And Downs

This last week or two has been a real rollercoaster of ups and downs. Kiah's been at the vet a lot with what looked like an infection after her season, that got me really worried, but touch wood fortunately after some anti-biotics to start with, then various scans and tests, apart from low platelets and a low white blood cell count, the vet can't find anything wrong. Obviously one of the 'side effects' of the scans was a shaved belly (though nothing internal) and she is being rather silly about it - I think it must be itchy, but its quite funny to watch - tucking herself into a corner every two minutes, and refusing to communicate with anyone unless she has to, silly belgian! I hope that she will forget about her 'stubble rash' for long enough to enjoy our agility next week as we're off to Dogs In Need.

So inbetween all our vet visits we have been doing some fun stuff too including plenty of walks with the doggies, meeting up with Kiah's friends Rusty and Tia on occasion, and posing for the odd photo of course! On another warm weekend day (thankfully, as the day before was grim!) we went up to where Lisa works at the kennels and had a fab training afternoon, mainly with Kiah practising various FCI type courses, really enjoyed it and Kiah picked up some brilliant weave entries and was generally very good, brilliant place to train. We also did some little bits with Davy who seemed to enjoy himself, not fazed by anything - though the key with him is going to be little and often as he gets bored very quickly. We also ran each others' dogs a couple of times - I got to run Kane and Wish, and even Shadow ran for me, its fun to see how each dog is so different!

As I mentioned, we're all ready to go off to the annual weekly Dogs In Need show tomorrow morning for the week (back next weekend) the van is filled up, washed and polished :))) and we're all packed - even the doggies have their own holdall, full of food, treats, toys, jackets and leads. I say coats because I've just seen the weather forecast - its NOT GOOD, it has been lovely at the last two years of this show, so I guess its time for rain - but hopefully the weathermen are really really wrong!

Still, we're prepared for anything, its our holiday and a week off work, relaxing and enjoying the time with the people and four legged friends we love the most, whatever the weather... If anyone's listening up there though, the sun would be great! Good luck to everyone who's competing at shows this week, I will update on my return but hope you all bring back good results and lots of rosettes!!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Agility Club Craziness

Following Kiah coming out of season and obviously not having been at training so much and being limited on walkies too, I think she was a little 'over excitable' this weekend to put it mildly!! Out of the 5 runs that we did, we had 4 spectacular eliminations mainly due to her craziness, and one quite good clear round that I was very proud of her for.

Unfortunately on Saturday the weather was pretty unpleasant in the morning with horrid sheet rain - and typically both our runs were first in the ring, so there were a couple of poles down and getting lost in the jumping. Then in the agility lots of slipping about and I took her out of the ring as I noticed she had blood all in her front teeth (cue panic by me!) fortunately after checking her over it was nothing too serious, just a small graze on her lip I think probably caused by the flat tunnel. Sunday was a lot nicer weather wise, but brought about two crazy agility rounds by Kiah, one where she found a tunnel FAR more interesting than me, and another where she forgot how to turn, certainly not helping when my commands were quite a bit late!!

So away from the negative and knowing what I need to train, the positive of the day was Kiah's clear round in the 6-7 crufts qualifier! I was really pleased that it was a clear round and how Kiah picked up her weave entry as it was a difficult one, however it was still 4 seconds behind the winner which made me a little despondent at first. I realised though that there was a wrong turn, and a contact held slightly too long, both of which will have wasted vital time, especially when everyone will be pushing to qualify - and I'm just not used to having to do that! Training is certainly helping, especially getting Kiah to go on ahead of me rather than releasing when I'm level with her, but grades 6 and 7 are a real big step up from previous courses that we have encountered - enjoyable, but hard work!