Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day Walkies

So Christmas day was great fun, after a chilled quiet walk in the morning with the dogs - if then a bit of a challenge trying to make sure everything comes out of the oven at once!! I was lucky enough to get some fantastic presents, a couple of CD's for the car, a new bright purple dressing gown, but also some awesome new Back on Track products, and a 'Springs Things' massage rug for Kiah which is rather cool. The dogs of course shared in the festivities, with their own presents - bones, hooves, pigs ears, beef jerky, some of which they have had, but of course their very own over-indulgent complete Christmas dinner too... even a sprout each, not so sure that was a good idea...

So of course its great to be able to walk the dogs more, and this morning was no exception. We went really early so that we missed all the 'boxing day walkers' as Risk has decided that other walkers (and runners!!!) must fuss him and squeals at them in excitement!! I have a challenge on my hands, but he was a good boy and came back each time on his recall. They all had a fantastic time getting all wet and muddy; Kiah running around like a loon, Davy going on his little adventures, Yahoo on a mission and coming back when he feels like it, and Risk joining in with them all!! All four dogs were pretty good though for appeasing us (and do get a sweetie reward) when we just had a quick 5 minutes to stop for a group photo pose.

This afternoon they are all happily chilled out, settled and chewing on their gifts - hooves and bones, and I'm sure we will be sampling a few left overs - there is more turkey, gammon and stuffing, Christmas pudding, mince pies and just a little M&S raspberry and vanilla panna cotta (which is fantastic!!) that might need to be finished, if we have room!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!!



Just a quick note from us two and four legged (especially Kiah and Davy, feeling festive - but not very impressed - in their Christmas hats!!), to wish everyone that takes the time to read my blog, a very Happy Christmas!!! We all are looking forward to spending time - together and with our families and loved ones, and hope that any one reading has the opportunity to do the same! In addition we are all thankful for some of the things that we are lucky enough to have - there has been some ups and downs but there are some who simply aren't lucky enough to have what we have. If I don't get a chance in between, then I would also like to send our very best wishes for a Happy New Year, and all your wishes to come true!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Happy Birthdays!!

Its been another round of birthdays recently - firstly mine when I was hitting the big 30, which is a bit scary as i don't feel that grown up. It was an enjoyable birthday, Alex had arranged for some friends to come around, my favourite meal, and a yummy surprise birthday cake!! I also got spoiled with some fab presents which were lovely, including a shiny new sparkly collar for Kiah - its really difficult to get a picture where it sparkles but see below. I think my favourite gift by far though, has got to be the new style hardwearing 'plastic' agility jumps I received - in my favourite colours purple and white. If the garden ever dries out a bit and is less of a squishy bog, I will hopefully get a chance to do just a few fun practice bits in the garden.

Exactly 15 days later (as he reminds me every year!!) it was Alex's birthday, and he also turned 30, we are the same age. I hope that he enjoyed his birthday meal out, I secretly arranged for 7 of our friends to meet up on the evening before his birthday to help us celebrate, with lots of drinks and balloons and celebrations!! It is nice to be able to spoil Alex too, as he always does so much for me (and for other people) I like to return the sentiment. He received some smaller gifts but his main present had arrived a little bit earlier in the year, so he now has a new toy in the form of an old Landrover Defender.

Last but most certainly not least, it was little Kiah's birthday the day after Alex's, I really can't believe my special girl is six already and she has brought me complete joy throughout every day of her life. Happy Birthday Kiah Pie!! She really is a fantastic little dog, and just perfect enough for me. There was no steak this year as naughty me forgot to buy any, however she did have lots of biscuits, and a complete can of sardines, oil and all with her dinner, smelled horrid, but I think enjoyable in her opinion. She is and always will be spoiled silly, but why not - unfortunately our devoted companions are just not around long enough to NOT treat them as well as we are able and want to!!

Oh and of course a quick update on Risk; he is coming along very well, I have been teaching him a few more tricks, just simple things but its amazing how fast he picks up what he is supposed to do, after literally a few practices. He now knows how to put his back feet on things, loves his balance board, goes 'in his house', left and right, sit, down and stay, and learning roll over... I think thats about it so far! Now that his jabs have been completed too, he has also been on a few walks, some on lead but also one long one with 18 other dogs!! He was carried for about half of it (on and off) by Alex who was fab carrying the back pack, but Risk really just took it all in his stride and recalled fantastically for a piece of frankfurter - every single time what a good boy!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

New Family Member...

Its been a little busy over the last few weeks, doing all sorts and never having quite enough time to do it all; catching up on wedding plans, spending time with the dogs and of course agility training - I am so pleased how Kiah is doing at the moment, really positive and enjoying it. Also we have been trying to get the house in order - I think most of the boxes are now cleared and unused stuff binned, or neatly up in the loft so its now going to be the time to start to make the house our own.

We have however been stopped in these immediate plans - for all good reasons - due to another new small addition to our furry family!! I must remind myself to not look on the Many Tears rescue site http://manytearsrescue.webs.com/ cause they have some stunning dogs - and just do amazing work with the hundreds of dogs they rescue and not just that, but take the time to rehabilitate and really find the perfect homes, which is just fab.

Risk's mum is a small but very beautiful collie cross kelpie (we think) who is completely black with white socks, and has the sweetest personality. I saw Risk on the MT website when he was 4 weeks old, and thought he had something special about him then - plus his markings are just lovely, completely black on top, with white socks and one white leg and a few naughty spots showing through. I do have a love for black dogs and I can never see why they are so often overlooked... and this one wasn't, as we were lucky enough to be trusted with our little boy, now called Risk - who came home a week and a half ago.

Risk is a very confident little boy so far, and though we are socialising him as much as possible - to work, to the garden centre, in the Christmas grotto, people on bikes, men, women, kids, people with hats, hi-viz jackets, busy town centre, in shops, to the vet, other dogs, chickens, all sorts - he seems to take it all in his stride so far!! He is quite a good boy overnight, and is generally clean which is great, and usually sleeps through til about 5.30 when he needs to go and do his business bless him. In the daytimes when we are about he is also starting to tell us by waiting by the back door when he needs to go, which is great too.

There is definitely a stubborn streak in him and he is only just starting to get into his food so he has been learning a few tricks that way, he is very much a thinker and so though he knows a few things like sit, down, 'house' for in his crate, and starting to do left and right, and a little bit of balance board work, it takes a while for him to properly get the hang of it. Short and exciting training bites seem to be the way forward which is good for me too, as it stops me getting frustrated as well, but we are getting better!

Our other three dogs are a bit indifferent about Risk being here so far; Kiah has decided in the last 24 hours that she actually quite likes him and they play nicely for a good few minutes; Davy on the other hand is really not a fan and would rather he left him alone - though hopefully he will come around in a few weeks with time, however Yahoo is the best though, he is like puppy uncle and puts up with a lot of terrorising which is actually quite funny. To be honest though, Risk is a good boy he has learned from the older dogs' signals and does know the boundaries. He is settling in well so far, though I had forgotten quite how much hard work a puppy is!!!

Friday, 28 October 2011

House Stuff and Other Plans

We have been doing lots of domestic type things over the past few weeks, and preparing to a certain extent for winter... as much as hibernation would be nice it doesn't pay the bills!! Sooner or later I think we will probably need to replace some or if not all of the windows as some are a bit draughty, but first things first... Alex kindly insulated our loft, and we are having the cavities completely insulated as well, it made a huge difference to the old place, plus there seems to be government grants available at the moment - it cost us £20 to do the loft so I would definitely recommend it.

We have also had our shiny, new, lovely leather bed with the new orthopaedic mattress delivered, and it is sooooo comfortable, I mean it is a world away from sleeping on the mattress on the floor anyway, but from my point of view the softer the better, even though we went for medium-firm as its better for (mainly) Alex's back. I just love the new bed though, and it seems that Kiah likes it too, she loves evening time - or prefers the morning at silly o clock after I've got up - snuggles with daddy.

Otherwise we have been continuing with our training over the last few weeks, even Davy has been on a couple of training days and he and Alex are both coming on fantastically well!! Davy loves his contacts, is very nearly on full height jumps, getting the hang of his channel weaves - and they are both successfully putting sequences of all the equipment together, so next season may be a good one!!

For Kiah and I, it doesn't do either of us any good to give up completely over winter, firstly as it blows her brain if we 'suddenly' come back to it, and secondly as I think their stamina falters. However we certainly don't go all out or push it, just like to keep her active, and she is very much more than just a dog - they are athletes at the end of the day. However, there is plenty of time for R&R, playtime (see picture!) and spoiling too of course, the most important thing to be able to come back afresh. To be honest I do think that the autumn/winter is very much about reviewing what we've done, learning and only then, starting to plan for the following year, so that's what we're going to do, and we have a couple of training days coming up to help us learn.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Lucky Norfolk

A very enjoyable show as normal, and even some incredible temperatures, it was some how quite strange to be able to walk around in October and not have to have a jumper on. On the Saturday evening we stayed in a B&B as usual (different to last year as silly me left it til the last minute as normal!!) and it was very pleasant with a HUGE bathroom, plus its so nice to be able to take the dogs in, as we know how well behaved they are.

I write lucky but there was some unfortunate moments in our agility runs - we seem to still be struggling to go clear but as much as it is SO frustrating at the time, looking back there were some excellent things to take away - especially in our first run the ABC. It was quite a nice course but had no weaves, which was a little odd, even though I didn't actually notice until someone pointed it out!! Kiah was listening intently to me, and was running awesome, however such a shame that three jumps from the end she flattened and sent the jump and wing flying. I was very pleased with that run from her though. We did also have a clear round in the gamblers class but it was a little messy! It was inbetween this and our final run of the day that we had a bit of a meltdown, and Kiah getting angry when we go wrong doesn't help!

However sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees and just need a bit of a talking to and a shake-up, and a few friends really helped me see sense that it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. And in fact our final run of the day in G6 jumping was far far better and I had a more positive frame of mind which I must keep too. We had go rounds, steadies, go ons, pull ins and an awesome weave entry by Kiah, no angry-eyes and not one pole down!! So though I made us go slightly wrong and caused two refusals, it really was a good round overall.

So I say lucky... Alex decided to buy me £5 worth of tickets in the raffle at Norfolk, and without any further thought to it, until we happened to be sitting in the sun with the dogs chilling while having lunch and started to hear the numbers being announced over the tannoy. Alex went off to check and a good job we did, as we had won the first prize, a brand new set of new regulation size weaves, fab!!! They just about fitted in the car on the way back thankfully, and are now safely up in the garden, and are being used lots, for Kiah to practice her entries and most especially Davy who is really starting to get the hang of his channels, they are really quite close together now!!

Also, I didnt get a chance to post on the day as we were at the actual Norfolk show, but Davy had his 3rd birthday while we were there - on the 1st October, so though he got a special dinner, shared human breakfast and extra biscuits, I just thought that I would say belated happy birthday to him on here too, so happy birthday Davy boy... such a good lad.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Mega Update!!

Well we are back in the land of normality... internet connection and everything. Obviously the main reason is moving house - our actual moving day went by without too much drama - apart from having to take the fridge apart to get it out of the front door and into the van!! We got the call through at 12.55pm to go and pick up the keys, and even on the very first evening in our new place, we both felt really comfortable, and it felt like home - to all of us, the dogs included. We have done some bits to start with, tidying up the garden (dogs' play zone!), and completely redecorating our bedroom with a brand new fluffy carpet, so far...

Our first week off was at Dogs in Need, we got to put up our new caravan awning and it served us very well for the week, far too organised and 'homely' but helped us even more to relax. The actual agility - well with a combination of Kiah and I needing to do more training to remember picking her feet up, and my handling being disastrous too... nothing changes!! Aside from the moaning there were lots of good points too, including the agility, its never as bad as I say, I wouldn't do it if we didn't enjoy it!

It was a similar story for the ABC, I absolutely loved the experience, and also seeing everyone else run as best they can, even though my nerves were completely frayed. The warm up course was really enjoyable to run and very well placed I think - it must be difficult to set a 1-7 as you can't make it too easy, but not too hard either. Kiah was excellent, very fast but accurate as well - just one pole down which was most definitely my fault getting in her way on a front cross. The final course was actually even better, and another positive for Kiah - she did an excellent pull in, unfortunately I became a spectator watching this fab turn... and then the big E watching her straight into the tunnel, damn it... It would have been excellent to get there, but we wish the very best to the people who did qualify, can't wait to watch the final.

So onwards and upwards to another ABC qualifier and see if we can do it again this year - and the last show of the season - at Norfolk this weekend, so we'll go out there, and give it a damn good go... properly. Then its the end of the season again though - it does just come around so quick. Definitely more training over the winter required - for me more than anything, and just a bit of a reminder for Kiah. I think next year we might just set ourselves a couple of goals, if nothing else just to try and make some of our attempts a bit more positive, and go out and attack them, we shall see, and starting with the ABC this weekend... mind over matter...!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Its Going To Be a Busy Couple of Weeks!!

As much as I am getting into enjoying my 2 week (and one day!) holiday already, and its only Friday evening, it is going to be busy here, fun but also a little bit stressful I think. Kiah has had a check up/massage this evening with her fab physiotherapist which all went very well, so our first week is going to be a nice relaxing time at the Dogs in Need show. The main order of that week is chilling out with the dogs in our new caravan and enjoying lots of good friends' company that we haven't seen in ages, as well as a little bit of agility for good measure!! I've put a photo on here of Kiah enjoying her agility at the show the year before, as we haven't had an agility picture for a while :)))

Our second week is going to be a just a little busier, as Monday the 22nd is our completion date on the house sale and purchase, it is nearly here and we are definitely ready for it. The last few bits and pieces are almost ready to move and most things are now packed in one place or another, just things like the fridge, tv and mattress left. It is truly bizarre living with the minimum for a couple of weeks, but the amount of stuff we have binned in the sorting process, is quite theraputic!! Let the journey begin...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Lots of Goings On!

I hadn't realised in quite how long that I haven't updated my blog but there has been quite a lot going on, and most of it has kept us just a little bit busy, so where do I start, it might be easier to write a list, its going to be a long one, mainly good stuff but some not so good first of all...

About half way through an agility lesson, Kiah was acting odd, missing her weaves and then after coming out of a tunnel, a strange hind leg gait, so of course I pulled her out straight away. So off to our lovely physio for her who managed to fit us in at mega short notice and then a visit to our vet as well. To cut a very long and woe-is-me (me, not Kiah) story short, it was thankfully just bruising and tight muscles rather than anything more serious, so pleased! Of course she has been spoiled silly - and having on lead, minimal walks only so is a bit of a porker at the moment, not fat as I wouldn't let that happen, but just a little rounded around the edges, I'm just so glad she is and will be ok with time.


Also, an update from my last post; we sold our old caravan, and picked up the new one which is just lovely, if a little smaller but just nearly perfect. Oh and of course it includes the awning, which we have now had the trial put up, and re-waterproofed just in case - but only in the garden as there's no room by the caravan, it looks fairly new and unused, so fingers crossed it fits properly and hasn't shrunk. Its first real outing will be at Dogs In Need in a couple of weeks, looking forward to that!!


Last week we were looking after a friend's 4 month old puppy as they were on holiday, she is called Luna and is a rottie x lab - quite cute but looks like a huge-pawed labrador at the moment. It was a bit of a reality check for both Alex and I as Kiah was my last puppy, 5+ years ago, and Alex's which was 12+ years ago!! Luna was a good girl and it was quite fun really watching our dogs interact with her, and remembering the teaching process for a puppy, all the things that you take for granted as the older three know what they are doing, so a learning process for us too. She went home on Saturday as her owners were back home, and bless her we will miss her a bit.


So onto the best - and long awaited news, I didn't want to say anything until it was finalised, but we are finally in the process of moving house - the exchange happened last week. The only slight downside, is that the completion date has been set for the 22nd August, which is a Monday and the week immediately following Dogs in Need - so it is going to be chaotic!! Fortunately the place we are buying is a probate property, so though sad for the family who are selling, they have been really helpful to us and let us move about 90% of our 'stuff' in already, so this weekend has been very busy emptying our house!! The biggest mission so far was getting the sofa out, which involved taking the door off the hinges in the end - you can see that Kiah was 'helping' sitting on it out the front of the house, as it is kind of 'her' sofa.


It is going to be a busy couple of weeks for us and has started already - we both have a week left at work which will be mad trying to sort things before we go, and then two full weeks holiday, the first chilling at the dog show, and then complete mayhem the following week when we finally get to move in to our new house and enjoy our huge 100ft garden, and the fun and new chapters that will bring to our lives and furry family, can't wait :)))

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

New Toy!!

Next week, Alex and I will hopefully get to go and collect our new toy, a 1998 Lunar Ariva GT and we are very excited about it!! It is a 2 berth, but slightly smaller, narrower, and about 400kg lighter (better on fuel!!), with a side-end bathroom and shower, still a full size fridge, practically unused hob and oven.

Oh and as it is smaller we made sure that it has an awning with it so we can have a bit more overall space, so that will be the next challenge, putting that up on a test run... To be honest, as much as we love our existing one, which is also a Lunar, it is just that bit too big and wide for us especially for the small amount we use it over the course of a year. Soooo looking forward to picking up our new dog-palace, and one day I might be brave enough to tow it!!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Time for Tuffley

This year I think confirmed my adoration for the show, and its venue, the amount of classes and qualifiers on offer, the ground, and this year one to be able to bring home one of their lovely rosettes - and more importantly the stunning trophy which was in the shape of a huge circular cut diamond, little Kiah was brilliant in our g6 jumping course on Saturday morning, getting an awesome 2nd place and a goody pack from CSJ, fab!!

In the late afternoon was our CSJ agility course, which I thought was a Kiah kind of course, containing some of our things we are good at, like obstacle discrimination to the weaves, and wrong end of tunnel. Unfortunately it all went horribly wrong - I specifically made sure Kiah was straight for the dog walk entry, but I think she overbalanced... she twisted and fell off, but must have caught my leg, and tripped me in the process so we both went flying!!! Bless him Alex ran in to make sure we were ok, which I am so grateful for, it could have been far worse. Most importantly, Kiah seemed fine but the force she must have hit the floor with makes me feel horribly sick, so I really wanted to get Kiah looked over that evening. After we got an announcement put out, a lovely kind and generous lady called Chris Clements offered her services, and spent nearly two hours of her time and osteopathy expertise treating Kiah, and even though I appreciated it, I think Kiah did too as she was so relaxed throughout, and it was great to see Kiah when she woke up the next morning, full of beans.

We took it very easy on the Sunday, and just did two basic agility courses including the dog walk - simply to make sure there were no bad memories for Kiah, I was never ever going to push her after what happened the day before. I would absolutely HATE it if something I am asking her to do, however much she enjoys it, knocks her confidence. So really - after a great result in the morning, then quite a lot of worrying in the evening, on Sunday it was the best feeling ever to see her smiley, teethy, annoying barky-bark, but still enjoying herself and most importantly happy confident Kiah pie!!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Wicked Weekend

This weekend was a long anticipated one - we had an 'agility show style' early start on Saturday morning, and got to the Land Rover venue near Luton a little early just to start to see them bring all the shiny brand new cars out, Alex was in seventh heaven and soon found out which one he was going to be off-road driving for the day. Of course its got to be a Land Rover picture for this blog entry just for Alex - but of course with the doggies starring in hehe!!

For the day, myself and the two young munchkins, as we had previously investigated on the net and we went to a HUGE park just 2 miles away - which was lovely to walk around for a good hour almost deserted!! It was a great place to go for the dogs to explore cause there were loads of specially put hollowed out tree trunks, and stepping logs and everything!! I think they were meant for kids but who cares, my furry kids had a great time!! After stalking around Luton for food we spent the early afternoon in the same park - but a different area, then made our way back to meet Alex, covered in mud but I think he enjoyed it.

The B&B arranged for the evening didn't fail to meet expectations either, it was a lovely village pub with a separate accommodation block (The Crown at Radnage) with welcoming owners, great home cooked food, lovely pub garden and of course the dogs shared a little bit - if they are good and sit nicely under the table, they get rewarded!! I continue with yummy breakfast, comfy bed, and in the bathroom there was a shower with one of the 'drench' type heads, I've heard of them but never actually tried them out - I think when we change our shower it will be to one of those, just luxurious and I can't say anything bad about the whole place!!

I think that because of the enjoyment of the first weekend day, Alex forgave me that the WHOLE weekend hadn't been devoted to cars and off-roading, and that Sunday was an agility day. Our first run was the best of the day, unfortunately I hadn't walked it as we had got there a few minutes late - it was a naggy jumping course and we so nearly made it around... I just got right in Kiah's way on a push round - I must trust her slightly more to do it instead of standing in front and giving her no room to clear the pole!! Both our agility courses weren't so good, one we had a pole in, and the other we had waited the afternoon for, and I don't think that did Kiah any good as it was far too exciting and any form of turn was far too much!! Of course before we went home the two munchkins got to share their own ice cream, and have their pigs ears. Great company, great doggies, great weekend :)))

Friday, 24 June 2011

Axstane

With yet another dubious weekend weather forecast on its way, we decided that the daily commute of about 45 minutes (and a chilled evening at home in between) would be better than dragging a ton of weight to listen to rain drumming on the roof and getting more and more annoyed!! For once we had made the right choice, as the evening brought thunderstorms and heavy rain to the showground - even though at home ironically it was settled and dry.

Saturday was a bit of a frustrating day really, we didn't have any runs throughout the whole morning, when it was reasonably warm and sunny, and then they all came up at the same time, along with the black clouds!! Unfortunately we got a silly E in the jumping as I didn't give Kiah enough room, and the agility all went wrong so we kind of gave up on that one... in between making a run for our van we thankfully just got back as the torrential 15 minute rain and thunderstorm started and then went as soon as it came, explain that one!!

Sunday was far better for both of us, our first run was connections where you have to make up your own course and earn points, i'm not convinced we went the quickest way but it suited us, and we had a little mix up with my directionals on the same jump twice - but we DID go clear and got 10th place in the process!! The agility was an excellent course too, a bit FCI-like but on a smaller scale, and I think Kiah enjoyed it too as there were lots of power bits which she loves, but with a bit of control, and she ran perfectly. It was a 5-7 combined class and we came 5th out of 170, and later found out she was the first g6 place too, so even more pleased!!

A very good day, and made even better when a good friend showed me a short video clip - there is a few second slow-down function on his camera and he happened to be in the right place to get Kiah perfectly in slow motion - and powering through the weaves of all things. It is such a bizarre skill for the dogs to master - and so creates a stunning video and is just mesmerising to watch, I LOVE it, and so have hopefully attached it here.

So this weekend is also the 'anniversary' of when Kiah first started her agility career four years ago, bit scary how quickly that has come around as I remember her first ever run, which was in an ABC class, and great fun - where apart from going under one jump cause of her stride, and messing up the weaves as we hadn't quite mastered those, it was great.

We aren't off to the same show this year, but we are kind of going away for a bit of the weekend - its a day for Alex tomorrow as he is going off-roading (a present, he deserves it) then we are off to a nice B&B for the evening. Not the only reason I booked, BUT it is near to where the agility show is on Sunday - so it will be a nice relaxing evening away for us. Of course the doggies are coming, Yahoo is being looked after at home and spoiled rotten by his auntie and uncle back here at home, and we are taking the two youngsters to be spoiled with us, really looking forward to it!!



video

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Thames - Appropriate Name!!

After a really deep sleep - Saturday started well - for the weather anyway and for getting photos, even though Kiah and I had a busy morning! We had our two agility courses and jumping all up first thing, and very early running orders so off we went to the ring. It was such a shame when we had the first pole down in the G6 agility - no obvious reason why it came down but one of those things that just happens. It was a lovely course too and I couldn't be mad cause Kiah ran the rest more than perfectly, so big game at the end. Our other two courses didn't go much better, an unfortunate pole in the jumping, and the agility qualifier was another nice course, its a shame my lack of spatial awareness meant I was in completely the wrong place for the tunnel... we were finished by 9.20am... not a morning person!!

There was still time on such a lovely day, to do some priority dog shopping! After some general mandatory treats and pigs ears... Our most favourite trade stand has GOT to be Camddwr Canine, its just a fab place with loads of great gear, and I always end up spending too much but the dogs are worth it! Kiah came home with a fabby new 'back on track' coat, and Davy got a ruffwear jumper, and Yahoo had his 2 bones to chew over the weekend - I think he appreciates those more than any kind of coat/jumper.

Sunday morning we were certainly glad we had brought the caravan - it started to rain about 10 minutes after we woke up, and didn't stop the whole day!! Our first run was up early again, it must have been rubbish as I don't even remember what happened, or the course, only that I refused to take my jacket off!! The second run was better, though in worse weather, fair play to the judge who slightly changed his course to allow for the conditions, and it started well I was pleased with how Kiah was listening, even to my steady commands just to take the manic edge off her at the start. It was funnily enough a course where we could use a lot of boot camp skills which was great, there was just a big mis-communication over a wall, where Kiah shot around and back jumped before I had time to react - so pleased with Kiah's skills generally though.

We helped out on a lot of ring party in the morning up to about lunch time, but after the two runs that we had done by about the same time, we were completely soaked through, cold, a miserable day and just about ready to go home, Alex had kindly packed up and hitched the caravan so I didn't have much to do when I got back from my runs. Another previous purchase from CC came in useful - their Hurtta waterproof jackets - we took the two youngsters for a last long walk and play around the field, so enjoyable to see them smile at you on a walk like that - a nice end to a soggy Sunday!!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Dartford & Keston shows

Started ok this weekend, nothing first in the ring for Kiah and I, so a chilled out walk for the dogs, and waiting for a few classes before ours. Bless him Alex had been really busy at work so slept in the van in the morning!! We had a couple of really frustrating runs first off, Kiah forgetting what her 'steady' command means, its irritating cause if my timing isn't spot on, then she doesn't respond! I think its down to me not quite teaching her correctly, so more practice required on that. Anyway we had a nice run in the connections (thank you Emily for explaining!) just had a pole down on a turn which threw me completely but pleased with that one. Then another nice run in the jumping class, shame we got E'd on jump 4 but that was cause Kiah just couldn't NOT bounce the jump where we needed a pull in! Other than that though it was a nice course and Kiah did some nice send on work which was nice to find, as it was a bit less nag and more fun!! The sun was even out on the Saturday it was lovely so sun cream all around - see picture of Kiah in her cool coat, such a fab invention and really good for her especially, she really feels the heat with her dark fur coat.

Sunday was good too, with a lovely course to start with, quite different to the 'standard' courses, with pull rounds, pushing out from a flat tunnel, dog walk in the middle of the course and then a send on to then go to wrong end of tunnel. Kiah started really well in this course, and then when we got to the pull off a tunnel, I called a bit too frantically which I know I didn't need to as she is so responsive!! Anyway after a bit of mis-communication she went in the correct end of the tunnel, and we went clear!! I was really pleased as we ended up 5th, and only a second behind the winner so its nice to know that even though its not a huge show, her times are still up there when I get it right!! In the mid afternoon we helped Lisa and Caroline pack up the caravan as they were kind enough to have done breakfast/dinner for us over the weekend, but we abandoned our last run and started home as the rain was just horrid by this point, the ground was slippery so becoming dangerous, so we finished on a high of our 5th place, in the dry!

A pleasant show overall, nice showground and fairly well run apart from the timing having serious issues over the two days and the tannoy announcements on the first day being so bitsy - I think both of those weren't helped by the wind. We will be back next year still, as its a nice show, and only about 45 minutes from home so even better!

Off to the Thames show this weekend, an evening journey for us with the caravan - just waiting for the dreaded M25 to (fingers crossed) quieten down so we can take it easy, and going tonight so we don't rush in the morning. Its always a very busy show anyway, I think even more than normal due to the evening entertainment and the amount of qualifiers that they hold. Even the 6/7 classes have been split into two parts, that's almost unheard of at most shows, nonetheless we're looking forward to the challenge, and hopefully some nice courses!!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

ABC - Amazing Boot Camp!!

Just got back and recovered from an amazing third consecutive year at Leah and Nancy's agility boot camp, maybe we don't necessarily NEED to go every year, but we just learn so much and it is so much fun!! I can't say it is 'relaxing' as that's not the point - but it IS enjoyable, though hard work right from the start, but for all the right reasons, as it brings great rewards from two truly excellent trainers. Thank you both so much, I can't say it enough.

We did have our fair share of exciting things happening at boot camp this year - first of all was the fierce wind turning a gazebo over, thankfully nothing hurt but it was 'all hands on deck' to stop it taking off completely!! The other was the search for a dog that decided a deer was far more interesting than mummy, I won't mention who but a frightening time - thankfully after lots of walking, calling, whistling, 'speak' barking from Kiah (bless) after a worrying hour or so, the naughty reprobate was spotted running back in the distance, such a thankful relief!!

Kiah and I had a 'new' strategy this year to stop her from being quite so worked up - and to stop her getting quite so stressy when getting excited watching others run - which was a soft crate with little fold down sides for her to chill out in, waiting our turn. It worked really well to keep her out of the weather, and more importantly helped us both to not stress and be more calm ready for our next turn. Alex was our resident photographer (585 photos this year!) who got some great shots this year of mine and everyone's dogs, I love this picture of Kiah smiling at me while waiting her turn in her little 'house' crate. He has got some fab shots of little Kiah so I shall try to put some of those up on a separate post :)))

We just learned so much over the three days; simple (but oh so effective) things on the jumping side such as the timing of crosses, layering, Leah showing us different ways of handling for the same sequences that suit each person, and different kinds of turns including the ketschker/spinning blind which works so well when you get it right! On the agility side, we were practising obstacle discrimination, independent contacts, speed in between, and most importantly contact performance.

One of my absolute favourite things was body directionals and how they can be so effective, for Kiah's especially as she is so responsive, a simple call and turn of the shoulders - when I get it right so does she. My other favourite thing was something Nancy raised - the 'white noise' that I give so much to Kiah - ie the waffle and nonsensical information that she just doesn't need to hear hence part of the reason why she likes to tell me off on her touch points!! So... from now on there will be a slight change in our contacts, it isn't anything major but I have started to see the benefits already - it is amazing how the right information, however simple, can help so much.

Kiah is having a well earned rest this weekend, she worked really hard and though she enjoys her agility, I will never push her as it is just fun and a big game for us - yet she still gives to me more than her best, so I think she deserves it!!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Tunbridge Wells Weekend

It seems that every post at the moment is about agility, but it IS the main agility season and I suppose... (fuzzy logic) that agility IS Kiah's favourite thing, and the blog IS about her so I guess that's ok then! So... without further ado, this weekend was another agility show, no need for the caravan this time at it was only 15 minutes away - nice to be able to go home and chill in your own bed for the evening!!

Though I think that agility in the UK should be regulated to either be sand/grit OR rubber contacts, it was a bit of a shame that there wasn't the rubber equipment here at this show, cause both weekend days started very wet and a LOT of dogs skidded on the contacts - I know it is our own choice to run the dogs, but if there is something that can help and make it safer - ie grippier contacts - then I think why not.

So Kiah and I had some good runs this weekend, no clears but some good contact and weave work, and a naughty 'carve-up-and-dash-into-a-tunnel' moment too! My timing is really out at the moment, especially in some of our runs where Kiah was really checking in with me and I wasn't expecting it - so more practice required on timings. We have a couple of weekends off now, before another trip to Boot Camp (my Christmas present from Alex) really looking forward to the time off and training, woo hoo!!

Oh and a completely unrelated post, today after his appraisal, we found out that Alex has successfully passed his three month probation period at his job - he is really enjoying it, getting to use his foreign languages which he is naturally skilled at anyway, and learning loads, so I am very proud of him, what a clever bean!!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Weekend & Vyne

Another lovely long weekend - its great to have the days off work but they just go so quickly, especially when the weather is just so lovely too!! I know as the British we really do mention the weather an awful lot, but I think it is because its just so odd and unpredictable - wouldn't change it though, as much as there is a lot of rubbish in this country there are lots of good things too.

So we did all sorts of random bits and bobs over the weekend; went to a car boot sale (no bargains though), took the dogs out for plenty of walks (always fun), put a deposit down for the wedding (exciting!), spent a day with friends (nice day), a trip into a manic town for some new Alex clothes (suit for £50, bargain!), and all the boring usual 'bank holiday' things like a full garden tidy/weed and visit to the tip.

The highlight of the weekend had to be the day of agility at Vyne on the Monday, even though some of the agility between me and Kiah, started off as a bit of a disaster - partly early morning madness from her and then some failed 'scoop' handling from me, resulting in Kiah going up the a frame! Our third run was far better, it was a nice course to run at the end of a long day, we had a slight blip on the way to the a frame, but Kiah ran fab and ended up in 7th place, clever bean deserved a big tuggy game for that! Lots of well dones too - to Leah who won that class with Hex, as well as Tracy who had some fab runs with her boys Zeb and Musto in the ABC, and Jo who qualified both her boys Ronny and Zippy in the ABC as well!

It was also a day of presents - its nice to spoil the doggies when we can, I say - tell me a good reason why not! Yahoo got bought a 'bioflow' magnet therapy collar - it can only do good as his back legs are really quite weak now and I'd rather he was happy and comfortable for as long as possible... I am SO sceptical about these things, however after a week of solid wear, he genuinely seems quite a bit better, so all good! Davy was going to get a new embroidered agility collar to replace his old one, but he will have to wait til we see Tuffstuff at DIN - I don't think Davy minds, but it will be good to get him one with exactly what we want on it. Little Pie wasn't left out (of course, this is a blog about her after all!), getting new tuggies from 'klassy canine bakery' - would definitely recommend them they are lovely people and more importantly the toys are the longest lasting ones Kiah has had!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

WBSDS Weekend

Wow it has been a tiring weekend, very glad to be home and to my proper bed and shower, as much as the caravan was very comfortable (and the fridge worked, phew) its just not quite the same!! It was an easy and fairly quiet traffic wise drive to the show on Thursday and we quickly got to the showground and set up our 'home and garden' for the next four days - it sounds very trivial but when you're there for the few days over a weekend, its enjoyable sitting out and letting the doggies relax too - even moreso when the weather was SO hot all weekend!

So Thursday afternoon and Friday morning was setting up the show, most things were done in a team so it wasn't too frantic, quite enjoyable at times! We were helping out with the traffic management and it still makes me wonder how people in agility speed down the drive in when everyone knows that the limit is 5mph, if it was just one dog that ran loose and something happened - so why not just slow down and pretty much eliminate the risk!?!? The main slog of the work was Saturday and Sunday working on the rings all day, it was a challenge and incredibly tiring - and our ring finished first on BOTH days, a bit of an achievement, but it was difficult too; for Alex - he helped out loads at the show, but also took the worry away from me as bless him he was looking after the dogs and managed to get a few nice photos, and for me; to be able to give it my all when running Kiah.

So over the whole weekend we had some positives and some rubbish bits too in our agility, and in most of them we just had some really silly mistakes, but I was pleased especially on Saturday with how we did. Some excellent work by Kiah and brilliant turns she was really listening to my 'steady' command, just a simple mistake of a missed weave where she was just going too fast, some issues where my handling let us down, and poles down mainly, just due to her crazy enthusiasm!

Sunday was a good start, we had a careful and not too rushed ABC run which got us 5th place, really pleased with that - Kiah's solid contacts and weave entry - it wasn't as easy as some people thought! One of the courses we ran I'm not sure why I did, as I said before there's nothing like a challenge, but it was all 'go rounds' and didn't have much thought in it, we messed it up but I could never really see us getting around it in the first place. Fortunately the second course in the same ring was slightly better - however I let my dog down big time. I have stopped kicking myself, but Kiah was just brilliant - powering down a line to spot on straight into the weaves from a flat tunnel, calling off a long jump perfectly.... and then I think it was one course too many after being on the rings all day as I had to stop - as I was completely lost. It was a shame as I think we could have got a good place as we had wasted no time otherwise, and of course Kiah got her toy reward afterwards, but slightly frustrating for me. A good but hard work agility weekend, it was nice to have the additional bank holiday Monday so we have spent today not doing a lot at all, letting the dogs relax too I think they need it as much as us!

There were some brilliant results from other people this weekend too so really big congratulations to everyone - Jason and Stihl who qualified for the ABC semi-finals; as well as Jo with her trophy haul from all three dogs but mainly Ronny getting another win towards G7; Lisa winning into G5 with Meme; Leah and Herbie, and Dave and Rusty for G7 wins; Candice for a place with little Tia, and some brilliantly run rounds from Tracy, Jo and Vicky with their gundogs, well done everyone!! Now... for a short three day quiet week at work, and then another weekend, two days of chilling and then one day of agility yay, I don't wish my life away as the week day evenings are far lighter now, but I do enjoy my weekends an awful lot!!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Locally Lewes

It was quite nice to just have one day of the weekend at a show (but not too often!) especially when the weather is so nice - partly because on Saturday we managed to get a few boringy but necessary other things done, but mainly because we had a lovely long cool walk around the lake with the dogs, and spend an enjoyable day together too. It was however nice to look forward to the show on the Sunday too, especially as it was just under an hour's drive, and great to catch up with some people that I know only generally 'stay local' when it comes to shows.

So back to the agility, we had three runs and we had none in the ring straight away - kind of weird as though we had got there quite early on it was lovely to relax outside in the sun, Alex almost cracked open a beer! Yahoo had his obligatory bone to enjoy and was tied up outside in the shade - but insisted on sunbathing as normal, and Davy was not unusually - catching some Z's! So when our first run finally came around, Kiah and I weren't really on the same page, timings and directionals completely out, we got E'd but some great contacts from Kiah. The second run was a really odd jumping course, we nearly made it round but I think this was the run I was most impressed with Kiah in - she was really listening to my steady commands and though we had already been e'd she had the most perfect scoop and turn around a jump, bless her. Alex even managed to get some really good photos of little Pie at this show :))) I love looking at them. Our final run was something I could have kicked myself for - the start worked really well but as Kiah bounded into the tunnel I said weave and didnt think to look or even check in with her to see if she got her entry, NEVER take your eye of your dog! So after being barked at and told off, we re-did the rest of the course really nicely, a great way to end a lovely day.

Even better - its been a REALLY short week at work as we have taken a day off work to go to the WBSDS show at Newbury - its going to be a busy weekend as we are helping out, but the sun is meant to be shining, the caravan is all packed and ready, the dogs are packed, and we're definitely ready too!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Spring at Shuttleworth

So the weekend just gone was a long one for us - starting on the Friday (day off work, NICE!) as we took a leisurely drive up to the place in Bedfordshire with the caravan happily hitched up and ready for its first show, Alex is brilliant at towing!! We had a lovely camping spot (thank you Lisa and Caroline) as we were down to help all of the weekend - so we unhitched and got set up pretty quickly once we got around to it - unfortunately the only minor set back was that the fridge wouldn't light all weekend, but thankfully that is now all fixed and ready for the next show where we are camping in a couple of weeks time.

It was a bit of a luxury sleeping soundly in the caravan rather than a tent, so we both woke up on Saturday morning feeling refreshed and ready to go, and though we were helping all day, there was a good ring party team so there was no problem going to run little Kiah - in some ways it was better like that because the weather was SO hot and sunny all weekend you couldn't have the dogs out for too long as they would have suffered in the heat, I like it but wouldn't if I had to wear a permanent fur coat!! So in two of Kiah's runs - one jumping and one agility we managed clear rounds, and ended up with 7th and a 13th places which I really was pleased with, I know where we could have slightly improved time wise especially on one. Sunday wasn't quite so successful but was still good, there were a couple of really random courses that weren't really difficult just awkward, so we took our own line on those, then another course where we got royally E'd on the last jump, but as it was our first show I'd rather we kept it simple and enjoyed it, no rushing, nothing complicated!!

The two boys obviously came along to the show too, how could we forget them, Yahoo was outside on his long line (just in case, not that he moves!) in the garden most of the weekend and though he had plenty of shade to sit in, he spent most of it sun bathing or chewing on his knuckle bone and watching the world go by! Davy was putting the effort in as normal for him, either lazing about on a camping chair, posing for the odd photo (but not too many as that's boring!) or mainly in the caravan cosying up on one of the seats, when he wasn't visiting or having a wander around the rings with us. A pretty good weekend overall, great company, sunshine and comfort, can't ask for much more!!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Happy 'Gotcha' Day!!

We worked out that today it is exactly a year since we picked up our new addition, Davy the collie to become part of our little furry family, happy first gotcha day mister handsome!! He has been quite busy over this past year; becoming good friends with little Kiah - and all our dog and human friends he is a really good boy with everyone and everything. He has also come along to various different indoor and outdoor shows - taking it all in his stride, and learning some basic obedience and a few tricks here and there too. He has of course been spoiled silly too like the others, with a new bed, posh coat, dinner spoilings, toys, no less than they all deserve!! Also, Davy is a fast learner but does like to push his luck at times - like not going out anywhere in the rain if he can help it - and learning to enjoy being groomed, he still doesnt think much of a brush but he generally is a pretty good boy. Even more exciting for Davy and Alex - in the last few weeks they have started the basics of their agility training, and are excellent for complete beginners, they are working brilliantly together and picking it up really well which is great! So happy very first gotcha day Davy, here's to many more!!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Days of Sunshine!

What a pleasant weekend it has been, sun shine and fun every day, love weekends like this!! I took Friday off to catch up with a friend that I hadn't seen in ages so it was nice to have a precious lie in, spend most of what turned out to be quite a nice sunny day with the doggies and do the whole 'ladies that lunch' once in a while - could do that more often. Then in the evening Alex and some friends had their 'PT Racing' experience, a professional formula 1 racing simulator which is incredibly realistic - which I think he rather enjoyed, getting to drive as fast as he possibly could, and he ended up 4th out of 8 which wasn't a bad result either!

Saturday was another manic day, after the usual early 'breakfast' wake up bounce from the dogs at around 6.30am (every day) we were off to the competition and open day 15th birthday celebrations of our agility club 'Sunniday' and an apt name it is - as fortunately the day was. Kiah was a little star - the agility course was good fun and she was running awesome, unfortunately as I sped up on the last jump to race to the finish, she knocked the last pole. She clearly would have won - I know its only a bit of fun but I was ever so pleased with her, she did as good as win for me!! Our other runs were pretty good too, we got a second place in the time fault and out class though I didn't help much as I was knackered after starting the course again, so unfit! Even Alex had a go at running little Kiah in the steeplechase, it was so much fun to watch and he did really well, Kiah just took two poles out as she had her 'racing' head on so got faster and faster but it was great to watch, I think he enjoyed the adrenalin rush running such a manic little princess too! The boys had a good day too, not doing any agility but of course coming out to socialise and they had a pleasant long dusty walk along with Kiah too, down the farm tracks and across the fields afterwards, its great to be able to spend so much time with Alex and the dogs out in the fresh air.

Then today it was mothers day :( I won't ever forget my mum and have been thinking about her all day... but I can't dwell on it too much - and the same as when mum went, the sun was shining, so I hope she knew I was thinking about her and that's why the sun was out today. So we arranged to meet up with Lisa and all her doggies for another nice walk, we just took the two youngsters as Yahoo is struggling a bit with really long walks now, his back legs aren't as strong as they used to be, so he got to stay at home with a big juicy knuckle bone. Meanwhile the other two had a great time, posing for lots of pictures, and Kiah's absolute favourite thing - galloping at full speed along the rows of hay bales, great fun just look at her face in the picture!!

We have also given the caravan its last check over before its first proper outing next weekend - as it really is time for the first show of the season, very exciting and I've got my running orders through too, can't wait its going to be good!! Alex is super excited about it as well, I think probably the fact that - it is a new gadget that he can tinker with and claim as his own, and the comfort of a proper bed - slightly more than the agility part of it. I think the dogs will enjoy it too - by the fact that Kiah is currently sleeping on our bed, and Davy is curled up on the sofa. So these last three days have been a really nice fun and sunny, though am definitely looking forward to the next one, fingers crossed for more sun - but even better that its only 4 days at work this week, roll on Thursday evening!!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sun, Sand and... Sand!!

As we didn't have any plans today we decided to take the dogs on a trip to Camber Sands for a doggy day out on the beach, as neither of us have been there before and over 7 miles of sandy beaches sounded like an invitation that we couldn't pass up. Also in theory as the weather has been so lovely all this week, I thought that today would be no different! We set off at about 8.30 this morning with the dogs, our digital camera, and the van all packed, on what started as a reasonably pleasant day. WELL... when we got probably three quarters of the way there, the heavens opened, and it rained for a good twenty minutes, not a good start - thankfully it didn't take long to quite quickly become warm and the sun came out - and stayed out all day!!!

So leaving early (as we were up anyway, thanks to the doggies wanting their breakfast) does have its benefits as we got to Camber nice and early in the morning, with the sea barely to be seen in the distance. It was great as there was hardly anyone there to start with, a few other mainly dog people which is always nice to see - but generally miles and miles of warm sun, a cool breeze, and soft sand for us and the dogs and us to enjoy. Of course we had to indulge in a fish and chip lunch too, shared with the doggies - it had to be done, overall a simple but brilliant day!!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Nearly...

...time for the first agility show of the season!! The entries and camping (and some closing dates already) are rolling in ready for spring and summer - even some shows right up til August, but one of the main things we have been doing so far is finalising all the accessories for the caravan's maiden voyage, hopefully a successful and fully equipped one though we are bound to forget something!! It is quite exciting buying all the things we need, even down to the priorities like tea bags - but so far my favourite item has GOT to be the super king size duvet, a little overkill with the size but as a good night's sleep is kind of important - and Alex says that Kiah and I are horrors for stealing the duvet but I don't believe him ;) - I'd really rather be too hot than cold!!

In other news it has been almost a year since we picked up Davy I can't believe it has gone so quickly and Davy has come so far in that time - of course he will get his own post, with updates and pictures when I can work out the exact date!! I know that it is April, and am certain that it is somewhere between the 4th and 8th, but I need to piece together the dates on my photos so I can work it out exactly!! And I know I go on (and on!) but Kiah and Davy are still great friends which I love to see, especially when they play together so well, and on pretty much every walk they have a bit of rough and tumble, or play fighting, or playing chase - the 'bared teeth' look awful but they never hurt each other, and are just having a bit of fun!!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Happy Birthday Yahoo!!

It's Yahoo's 12th birthday today, so he's been having a good sleep during the day, then an hour's long walk in the dark this evening, and lots of scrambled egg and cheese with his dinner - obviously Kiah and Davy had some too, couldn't leave them out!

Though this picture was taken back when the snow was on the ground, its one of my favourites as it shows his kind and handsome expression and he has his ears forward for once!! We think Yahoo is going a bit deaf as we have to yell a bit louder to get his attention, but he is a good boy most of the time. If it is warm enough at the weekend Yahoo will get to do his favourite thing in the world - swimming and collecting sticks in the 'dog dip' pond at the park!!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Mid Downs & FCI Training

It was good to be back in agility again and brilliant to catch up with so many people (and new puppies, lovely!) - I know that I always say that but it always seems like such a long time over winter and its never the same catching up with people over email, phone, facebook, training and walkies, its good but its not QUITE the same atmosphere as actually seeing everyone at a show, especially the first one of the year, and as usual it was chilly, but fortunately dry. This was the van's first real 'proper' dog outing with our fitted cages, I love them!!

Kiah had two out of three of her runs first in the ring - and though neither of the courses were particularly well suited, she ran very well in all three! The first course had the second obstacle as an evil weave entry after a long spread which a lot of people struggled with, though Kiah got it perfectly, then it was such a shame when I yelled left FAR too late and got us royally eliminated as she bounced over the wall on the right, and the second run didn't go any better!! Our third run was a bit of an odd jumping course, it didnt have any weaves, didn't really flow very well and a lot of people including me kind of got a bit lost! I managed to put Kiah over the wrong jump on a bodged pull in, but we ended our day on a good note because the course had a 5 jump straight line 'go-on' finish which Kiah loved!!

Davy had a good day too, even though I think he was a bit bewildered, as the Ardingly venue was where we first met him about a year ago - I'm not sure whether he thought that he was going back again as he didn't seem quite his usual self bless him. We bought him a new 'agility' collar and lead (in red of course, his own colour) bless him as he has started his basic training last week in his and Alex's quest to become starter agility handlers. Also we were looking to get him a new bed too, as he has always had Kiah's hand-me-down (even though thats pretty new too!), but there weren't any nice enough ones to be crowned as the little prince's new bed, the search continues!

So, late on Sunday afternoon it was time for Kiah and I to take part in a 2 hour FCI training session with Nancy Hudson, it was absolutely fantastic, thank you Nancy! I always learn so much and this lesson was all about early cues for obstacles, mini cross behinds on tunnels, go rounds, nose-grab turns (no idea if they have a proper name!) and running away so that the course flowed better. Such simple things make such a profound difference if used in the right place, all about timing, brilliant!! Though at times Kiah can be very frustrating as she likes to 'voice' her opinion when we get it wrong, on the few times when it goes just right I really do get an amazing feeling from her speed, contacts, versatility and attitude - and our last run of the day was just that... We had the full course to run, and she was just perfect, every contact, jump and turn I was so pleased with her, fab buzz, fab way to end a weekend, fab little dog!!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Camping Craziness

Just a quick post... the agility show entry websites are red hot at the moment!! I know the ever-rising cost of fuel is really starting to restrict a lot of people's dog show entries (which is horrible, silly government, all we're trying to do is enjoy a hobby, grrrr!), but you wouldn't know it, with the ridiculously fast speed that the camping is filling up at some of the popular shows!! Fortunately I am lucky to be able to relatively often have a quick check on the iSS / facebook / agilityforum websites, to have more chance of noticing when the show and camping moves from the coming soon list... am especially looking forward to DIN as I do every year, and Kiah likes the chill out element of the week shows too as you can see! ...Its kind of sad really, but there's a great adrenalin rush when you see the camping available and click on the little 'show entered' box!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Its Been Ages Again!!

It seems to have been ages again since I have posted on my blog, but I just don't have anything particularly exciting to say at the moment, but I finally felt like I needed to update with some news - not that there's been a lot really, even though I still love reading other people's updates, its great to see some positive news around. As you can see, there's been a bit of a title picture change, we took the picture recently and even though its a bit 'grey' looking, I love it of all of them, and thought that the two boys deserved to be on the front too, as they are ALL our little furry family of course - a rose inbetween two thorns I think haha!!

After my previous blog post and our health check up visit to the vet, after one Saturday training session - Kiah didn't quite seem right, squealing more than usual as she was playing raggy, and again as she got comfy on the sofa when we got home - so off to the vet we went again. I will never ever not take them if I think there's something wrong or it is necessary- but that place does seem to be our second home at the moment!! The vet thinks that she probably stretched a muscle in her neck, while being bonkers at agility, so more rest for her and anti-inflammatories... I feel so guilty for probably doing too much with her too soon, while her fitness and muscle wasn't/isn't back up to full strength/power, bad mummy. For her own benefit I put Kiah on lead walks on her harness only, and removed her from all training and competition - including the second part of the BSD world champs selection day. (Just as a side note - many congratulations to all that made the team but especially Jo and Keisha and Dave and Rusty!!) Well I know that she would work through the meds as it makes them not feel the pain (and she has no self preservation!), and I know some people will run their dogs anyway - but that doesn't make it the right thing to do in my eyes, they are our pets first of all and I'd rather not risk something as precious as their health.

So apart from rest and not doing much, Kiah and the two boys have been enjoying some of Alex's company - he had three weeks break between finishing his old job and starting the new one so he has been doing brilliantly at home, tidying, cleaning, decorating, de-cluttering, and generally getting the house completed and ready to sell, we hope! He has now completed the first week of his new job, and seems to be really enjoying it, I know I said exactly the same about the previous one, but I think I really mean it this time, the whole company seems to be better structured, more interested in Alex as a person rather than a 'unit', and something he is really going to enjoy as he can use and improve his languages which is an excellent natural skill, so he is clever as well as being handsome - all good really!! Another benefit of Alex's job is no weekend work still - very much LIKE this!! So over the last two weekends as we haven't been doing anything too manic for Kiah's benefit, walkies has been the main order of the day. Last weekend we had a pleasant walk up at the country park with all three of the dogs (where the new title picture was taken too) Yahoo decided that he would go swimming in the lake and get completely soaked - but he does love his swimming, and Davy and Kiah made a new labradoodle friend to play with. We then had Alex's mum and partner Colin down on that evening and Sunday, which we love to see and the dogs love to have fuss them, so it was a chilled out Sunday with them, very enjoyable and sociable.

This weekend was even more relaxed, the weather has been just grim (again), so we had a very short walk with the dogs in the horrid rain yesterday but an afternoon of chilling, central heating, cuddles with the dogs, and watching dvd's was lovely, then meeting up with 8 other agility friends for a nice meal in the evening, great to catch up with you all. Today has been a little more active, meeting up with Lisa and her dogs for a nice long walk up at the nature reserve, we were out for about an hour and a half and took the camera too, it was a bit rainy/misty/foggy but its lovely to see the dogs interacting together, even if they did come back covered in mud, you can't ever be mad when you see their happy faces looking back at you like Kiah smiley face!!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Fitness Fanatic!

From the title of this post - you know that it certainly doesnt relate to me (though it probably should do, to try and keep up with her in the heady heights of grade 6 this year!), so of course it must be little Kiah. She's always been a power pack, very solid, full of muscle and very powerful when she needs and wants to be, so I think she is the real muscles from Brussels! She is certainly not in any way 'old' or injured but the fact that she is SO mad at agility makes me think I should just help her out as much as I possibly and realistically can...

So even though we have had a couple of weeks back at training, after the 6 or so weeks off over winter I think it is only fair to bring her back in to agility slowly, you wouldn't ask an athlete to run a marathon without any training or preparation. Obviously on a daily basis she has her usual walkies where she is always running around or playing with Davy, but I want to help her additionally too, not that I wasn't before, but just to improve her life that little bit more.

Health wise Kiah has had a couple of visits to the chiropractor, she has been for a visit to the vet to ensure her spine and muscles are strong and healthy (they are) and I have been taking her to hydrotherapy once a week, not for any problems, but just a low impact exercise to improve her fitness - it is amazing how much they have to work but just after two visits so far she is barely even worn out afterwards. I think Kiah is starting to enjoy it a bit more too, she's only being held in the harness as she's not yet quite confident enough to swim around the pool on her own!! The videos we took unfortunately were too dark to see, so here's a picture of her swimming instead - with the headless assistant lol - the photo wasn't intentionally taken like that!!

Diet wise I have changed a few things around too - slowly and within reason of course to ensure I don't upset her digestion, but she now gets a supplement full of glucosamine and chondroitin for her joints, liquid vitamin C, evening primrose oil for her coat, and echinacea to improve her immune system too. The biggest change for her is her food though - I refuse point blank to pay over £50 for a 15kg bag of Royal canin, I wish that they would stop with all the marketing 'freebie' toys, bowls, naff plastic weaves, blankets, towels etc and just lower the prices instead, how ridiculous is that!! But it's their loss and after hearing many good reports, I am phasing out the old, and moving both Kiah and Davy onto CSJ CP24 - I have found a fab stockist really near to us which is great, and so far it really suits them. So forwards with a better and more positive outlook for the coming year agility wise!

In personal non-doggy (heaven forfend, only slightly I suppose!) news, poor Alex has been made redundant from his job after less than a year as the company is not doing very well at all thanks to the poor management, but more positively - he has found another job and starts that in a couple of weeks, quite a lot nearer to home and using his natural fluency skill of two foreign languages, so I think he is looking forward to that. My job is still as busy as ever, I guess that is a good thing in the construction industry at the moment - but sometimes it would be nice to just have a job that isn't quite so serious and you don't have to think about quite so much! Our other 'maybe' plan is to move house, still staying in the same area but a bigger and better organised house layout, maybe semi detached and with a bigger garden for the dogs, we're currently looking around to see what's out there... So onwards and upwards again with work and home life - it possibly could be a very busy year for us!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

2 Day Stops From Reality




Though unfortunately we have both now returned to the work-work-work-life (un)balance that is reality and every day life since the highly enjoyable Christmas break, the one thing that IS nice, is to be able to come home to a smiley waggy tailey woof-dog. They are quite irreplaceably the one creature that will never NOT be pleased to see you, and always make you smile back at them when you realise how innocent they are, and the simple things that make them happy. As you can probably tell it has been a long couple of weeks back at work and so we make the most of all the free time we have with our furry family; evenings but the two precious days at the weekends even more!!
So, so far on our weekends, we have dropped our caravan off at the service place to have the tyres replaced and a couple of bits and bobs sorted ready for the agility season - we have even managed to find somewhere local to store it which is even better news, its useful that we don't have to have it on the driveway. We also took the dogs on a bit of a trek, they got covered in stinky mud which seems to be everywhere, but they had a great time playing as normal, and after a quick hose down they were soon the right colour again. We also took a quick pop into town and found a new gadget called a 'baggee' which is a spherical silicone sphere (s anyone?!) with an opening one side, that as per the name, holds bags - simple things entertain simple minds! But seriously they are a clever little invention that holds about 6 bags each, and they can be hooked on to the dogs leads, very useful little gadget thing, as I said, simple things!

It was also the time to start getting back to agility for the new year and start getting both of us a bit more fit than we have been (!) - so Kiah and I did a little bit of training on Saturday just with three jumps and our weaves, she enjoyed it though was being a bit 'over enthusiastic' knocking a couple of jumps, and we both got covered in mud as the ground is very soft! Kiah is still as bonkers as ever and still enjoying agility at 5 years old, so we will be back enjoying more agility shows this year. It is just so frustrating that the price of fuel has rocketed up so much, because it will hinder so many people from attending as many shows as they used to, not impressed myself with the cost of it, grrrr.

So onto this weekend, which in comparison has been quite similar with some training, and boring things like house work - apart from today which has just been great fun! We took a trip to Lullingstone Country Park which I have never heard of or been to before! It is a lovely place to visit and only about 40 minutes from home too, and met up with Lisa, Sue and Caroline and all their dogs - 16 of us in total, for a loooooong 2.5 hour walk and catch up, it was lovely to see them all! Kiah and Davy enjoyed themselves (Yahoo is a bit old for this long a walk now bless him, but he had his sweeties and chews to entertain him), its great to see all of the dogs interacting together and its such a huge place to walk around, we really didn't see that many people there, its just lovely to see dogs running free enjoying themselves and investigating a 'new' location!! So this evening when we got back, with full tummies after dinner, watching Kiah sleeping on our bed (cheeky but nothing new!) and Davy sleeping on the bean bag (that he has claimed as his own!) knowing that they make our lives complete, that we can do a little bit to make theirs as enjoyable as possible!!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 - Happy New Year!

I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year now that we are well and truly into 2011. We had a quiet night in this year, some would say reflection of what has happened in the previous 12 months - just us two and our three dogs of course too, chilling out with a yummy dinner and watching Alex's NCIS box sets (its my own fault, I bought them but they are quite good, definitely addictive!!) and seeing in the New Year together with the 60 second count down and watching the firework displays on the television. Of course the doggies sported their new year bow ties; Kiah in pink, Yahoo in black (though he didn't want his photo taken) and Davy got his very own this year too, in red of course!

Unfortunately - as much as I enjoy the beautiful organised displays of fireworks, and the fact that Kiah doesn't bat an eyelid at any of the flashes or bangs, and Yahoo bless him just comes and lies down next to us til they are over, poor Davy is a different story. He didn't cope at all well this year stressing, wide eyed and panting - and as with all the dogs, we simply ignore them if they react as I don't think it would help if we pandered to it, but its not nice to see him like it and so I feel for anyone who's dogs' react in the same way. Thankfully as soon as they were over Davy seems to return to normal, but I've decided that the official organised displays of Nov 5th and the new year is by far enough fireworks for me thanks.

Well all things considered for a quick re-cap of the last year, all though there has been lots of positive things happen in the last 12 months (some brilliant agility results from my brilliant dog and going G6, enjoying time with Alex and I think forming a stronger relationship, purchasing our new van, gaining a friend for Kiah in Davy, our van cages, friendships and families, our new caravan just to name some)- I was also quite glad to see the back of it due to all the rubbish things too, one in particular.

So based on what has happened, I would just like to remind people that life IS too short to not enjoy as much of it as we realistically can while we are here!! As EVERYONE who knew mum knows and has said to me and reminded me, she lived her life to the full - and though she had more health problems than most, nothing EVER stopped her from smiling, enjoying her life, being a great mum and an even better friend to so many people, and doing exactly what she wanted to. Now who could be upset about that - (it may not have been for long enough and I'd give anything to have her back) but mum was a brilliant person who made her life FUN, and that's the important bit that no one will ever forget. I hope that everyone who reads this - including me - will be positive and able to take a small part of that philosophy away, quality not quantity - make the time to enjoy our lives just that little bit more - like mum did!! I for one will try not to dwell on the bad things - and certainly will never forget the memories and the fun that I have had so far, but make myself some new fun memories too. So happy new year everyone, may it be as happy, positive and successful as you want it to be.