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!!