Sunday, 29 September 2013

And Part Two!!

It wasn't long before the end of August came along and the bank holiday weekend, we had signed up for the agricultural show demo - agility was enjoyable for the big dogs, shopping opportunities for the humans and the perfect socialisation for Evan puppy - guns, children, adults, loud noises, vehicles, smells, other dogs, and all taken in his stride yet again, really pleased with how he was the whole weekend.  The dogs were on a bit of a roll especially on the first day when we had a full agility course to muster - Kiah did well just having a refusal but still came 7th, and Risky Roodles star of the show, won the morning event!!  It is only a bit of fun, and he may get the speed one day when he is older, but what a super boy, if you're the only one to get it 100% right on that day!!

Another big decision we have made over the summer is that we are going to move house!!  We are going to keep our current house and rent it out, bringing in an income but we have decided that as we are lucky enough to have the opportunity; to move slightly further out, find a house with a bit more land for the dogs to enjoy, and who knows in the future.  Fingers crossed it is all moving forward at the moment, and there isn't really much of a chain, so am feeling hopeful...

Moving into September, can't really believe its a year since we lost our old man Yahoo, it has gone so quickly and as much as I don't miss his 'wet retriever' smell, we do still miss him he was a big character and had such a huge personality.  Little Evan does make us laugh constantly though, it is lovely that we are lucky enough to have all our dogs around and puppies are so much fun, if tiring!!  We went to Burnham with all four dogs - Yahoo's last show last year - very enjoyable and though the drive up was grim, obviously this corner of the world missed it as the entire weekend was pleasant and fairly non-eventful!  All three dogs were working, and all frustrating in different ways!! Kiah wasn't too nuts but had a pole in one, and a missed weave entry in the other, and a missed go round on a hard course, Risk was a bit in 'riskland' away with the fairies in some and too over-responsive to me (not a bad thing) in others!! Davy (with help from Alex I think) was the most unlucky perhaps, he had two near-perfect runs but naughty see-saw in one and naughty a-frame in the other, which would have otherwise resulted in some very good results...

I don't seem to have many photos of the demo, or of the inevitable house move, or of Burnham, I think we have some videos somewhere which I must download!  This picture I took just yesterday of all the dogs, its a little dark but I like it - in fact sitting in age order from left to right 4 months, 2 years, 5 years, 7 years, waiting for their morning toast and peanut butter - a balanced breakfast is necessary for busy pooches!!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Laziness!! Three Months Catch-up... Part One!!

OMG even longer than normal, rubbish, where does the time go when you're having fun!! I'm just going to have to re-cap over the hundreds of things we have been doing - in tiny little morsels to even think about catching up on where we are today!!

PART ONE - Firstly was the single day of Axstane - normally we do the weekend but I had a surprise booked for Alex on the Sunday - sometimes its nice to do just a single day as it means the whole weekend isn't taken up with agility.  Anyway as far as I can remember we didn't have any rosettes or results at Axstane; though we did meet Davy's doppelganger - also has a very similar name to our rat boy.  If you look closely they are quite different in build and eyes, but just on first glance it is quite easy to think they are twins.

So on the Sunday - something a little bit different altogether!! Unfortunately we couldn't take the dogs but it wasn't going to be an all day event and wasn't hundreds of miles from home, so I knew they would be ok at home for a little while, and shattered from the agility the day before.  I knew that Alex had always wanted to go up in a helicopter and had seen on the internet through pure chance that there was a 'supercar event' on all for charity, and that you could buy VIP tickets for, so I thought I would treat him!!  So a helicopter ride across Surrey and (due to it being a VIP) the pick of about 50 or so cars to have a ride in - hard choices...  He eventually picked a MacLaren something, specifically picked by its owner for the Gumball rally and had hardly any miles on the clock - its not every day you see something like that!!  So I think he had a good time :D

Exciting news next - that most of our friends will already know about already, but its got to go on the blog of course too, to let every one know and make it official!! A few weeks beforehand we had decided that a new arrival would be potentially joining the family... small, ginger, furry, four legged, floppy eared, golden retriever shaped puppy!!  We miss Yahoo so much, and even though he is irreplaceable - Alex decided that he would really like another one to join our family.  We researched working line retrievers - in the hope they would have a nice working attitude, temperament, looks and potentially one day do agility if he/she wanted to.  So a trip up to Northampton and meeting some 5 week old working puppies, completely gorgeous and decided that we would like to bring one of the boys home!!  To cut a long story short, we visited them twice more, and we had second pick of 5 boys, and at 7 weeks just before the weekend, we brought the little dude home!!

It took us AGES to come up with a name for puppy, we thought we had decided but it just didn't suit him, so we forgot about it for a while.  One evening we were watching one of our favourite films - and the name came to us - EVAN Almighty, and it just stuck and really suits him. While writing, Evan has reached 4 months and is a complete nut case, but has settled in really well, quite confident, very independent, and nothing phases him, lots of fun but very tiring!!

It has been a really good summer this year - or should I say its been a proper summer and how it should be - we have been to a few shows that were just a wash out last year - Tuffley over in Berkeley Castle - beautiful venue and exceptionally hot, Newlands and Agility Club both quite local and reasonably nice weather - and then on to Dogs in Need, our relaxing week away.

Dogs in Need we just enjoy relaxing at, it is a little set in its ways so we are thinking of doing alternative shows next year instead, but as we take it as our holiday we don't mind too much.  Risky Roodles was the star of the show at DIN, achieving a 4th, 10th and 13th and qualifying for the finals, what a clever boy!!  Unfortunately we weren't able to stay for the finals as we are having building works done at home, but so proud of him, he really is starting to show a bit more confidence.   Davy has managed to accrue a few places and rosettes along the way, 2nd, a couple of 3rds, 7th, clever boy, and even Kiah - who is working SO well at the moment, I just can't get it together - got a clear round and a 10th place, in two really messy clear rounds, clever girlie.  Puppy dog came with us of course too to all the shows, getting used to tannoy announcements, loads of barking, different people, lots of dogs, weather, noises, and took it all in his stride, clever puppy too!!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Thames

Thames followed straight on from boot camp, I wasn't sure we would be at our best after a week away and sleeping somewhere not in our normal bed, but we weren't TOO bad... could have been worse I think the weather helped, as though it wasn't so beautifully hot at least it was dry!!  We had a great camping spot thanks to one of our friends getting there, and it was nice to be able to get to a show on a Friday for once, odd being set up while everyone else was still arriving, usually its the other way around.

Kiah and I were working really well together (mainly) which was lovely to feel - I think I had taken on board some of the boot camp comments and tips, and there was one 6-7 agility course that loads of people were going wrong on as the weave entry was right next to a tunnel entrance, I knew we had a chance as Kiah loves weaves (normally over tunnels) and yep we got the weave entry, but then I said good girl and she came out at pole two looking at me!! Idiot handler should have stayed quiet...

The other one was a 6-7 Olympia course that I had my hopes set on, and really set off well.  I know that sometimes there are courses that I'm not going to be able to do justice to as much, either because they are skills we have less of, or I know I can't get as many places as a lot of people, or I can't run as fast, but this was a good mix of all. So... we got most of the way around, to about obstacle 14 and I knew I had to run to help out at the other end of a tunnel under a-frame combination, I've seen the video and Kiah was even looking at the tunnel... but she went up the a-frame instead, noooo!! Never mind I was so pleased with her as I should have cued the tunnel more, just a shame.  I have a fantastic picture from Alan Score of Kiah in the weaves on this course, he takes fab photos and always sends them across, this is one of my favourites.

The boys were working at Thames too and entered both days, unfortunately Davy wasn't at his best - he has been working well recently but he was having a few poles, I think its just grid work learning that Davy needs now, plus a bit more practise on weaves, they aren't his strong point its a shame as quite often that is the only thing that lets him down in courses.  He is lots better and it does seem to be 'hit and miss' whether he gets them sometimes, which frustrates Alex a lot!

Risk had a bit of a hit and miss weekend, we seem to have mainly mastered the art of all the obstacles, not being weird at walls, or long jumps, or see saws or flat tunnels, and a couple of good runs on the Saturday, just a bit of lack of concentration causing easy distractions!! On the Sunday we did go back to square one a little bit, and couldn't possibly go near the judge, over a jump or up the a frame or across the dog walk as 'the judge was looking', quite disappointing but we did work through it, and did some good contacts so slightly redeemed.  However - we had one much more positive run, where his concentration was a little better, tried hard on his weaves and was listening mostly - and we managed a slow but clear round, clever little dude, positive steps forward!!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Boot Camp Agility Week


As the show ended on Sunday afternoon it was nice to know that we didn't have to rush home, and so dismantled the show set up and took a leisurely drive across the country, to set up on the campsite for the week's boot camp near Stratford upon Avon.  We were some of the first to arrive and so after picking a good spot it was the simple things like the electric hook up, water nearby and proper toilet/shower block for the week - simple pleasures and quite different to agility shows!!

We had a fantastic week away with old friends who were on the same camp, and made some fantastic new friends along the way too.  I hate to keep mentioning it but especially as last year's weather was SO rubbish this year is worth mentioning - we picked the absolutely perfect week, not a drop of rain and blue skies and hot sunshine all week was just what we needed!!  Lots and LOTS of fruity cider consumed across the week, very tasty and ideal in the sun.

There were four awesome trainers - Laura Chudleigh, Natasha Wise, Lauren Langman, and Martin Reid, who provided 12 hours of training - tiring but great!! They all helped to make the week absolutely fantastic - I would recommend any and all of them to anyone who wants a motivational, fully filled, personalised lesson on how to think, how to improve yourself, and your dog's skills, fun and enthusiasm!!  The camp was mainly for Risk, but it was such a good set up that Kiah got some turns at playing agility too, they were both fantastic and I'm pretty sure they enjoyed it too!!  Even Davy got a few practises on the equipment, and was a star in the team games of stays and recall.  It was such a fab week from start to finish - I am so grateful to Alex for booking it as a present, and it was such a shame when it was over... maybe next year, not much could beat that week though!!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Hinckley Show

We haven't done this show in years and definitely not since it has been at its new (ish) venue for the last few years, but we had the following week off work as one of our holidays, which was up near to Stratford upon Avon, and so this agility show beforehand was only about an hour away.

Thanks to the crappy motorways showing traffic red spots - typical on a Friday evening, we decided to get an early night, and leave stupidly early on the Saturday morning - which was the perfect solution as we had a clear journey up.  It also helped that camping is allocated which is a great idea and I think more shows should take it on, you can still camp with friends as long as you book that when you enter the show, but it means people who have to work or travel further, still have the same opportunity as early birds to get a sensible camping spot!!

Hinckley is quitet a small show, it is only five rings and mainly for grades 3 and above, but has lots of qualifiers and championship classes so most rings are exciting to watch.  Even better the champ final isn't held until all the rings are finished so it makes it more of an event - which it should be.

It was only Kiah running at the show - good for Alex as it meant he could get a nap in on Saturday after towing up that morning - better for Davy as he really is the sort of dog that doesn't mind if he misses the shows and just gets the odd walk here and there!!  I was so SO pleased with Kiah, she barely had any poles down, wasn't too loopy, and there were a couple of really spread out but challenging courses that my handling just let us down on, typical.

I really liked the courses that were set - clever, tricky and requiring enough handling to be clever, some slightly european style sections, so the dog still gets to enjoy themselves, but not so nasty that they end up turning you round and round never to be seen again!!  I think it takes a good judge to set courses like that, well thought out and very enjoyable.  The Olympia qualifier course set by Simon Peachey was just like that, and the grade 6 agility set by Nic Jones both of which I highly enjoyed running.  There was one course on the Sunday, a 6-7 jumping set by Stuart Harmes that was going really well, no poles, Kiah really powering out and me attacking the course... until I got lost!!! Sometimes I just struggle to keep a course in my head and in this case I added an extra jump into the course and obviously got eliminated, damn!!  A highly enjoyable show though, and dry and hot and sunny, will definitely consider it again.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

In Other News...

One good thing to have come out of Kiah being injured, is time.  Its not often we have much time to do things, especially with the advent of the last couple of years, so on a bank holiday weekend it was the ideal time to finally sort out the last of my parents' house once and for all - as it has now sold, and the new buyers wanted to have a quick exchange/completion which was fine by me, especially as we were running out of weekends to go down there.

Alex was fantastic helping shift everything, and his good friend came down to help us with his van; it took us all three days to ensure everything was removed, binned, sorted, burned, tipped, kept and/or put into storage temporarily, but it was a bit of a relief when it was done, somehow a weight lifted to not be constantly thinking about it.  Strange and some how guilty kind of feeling to feel 'relieved' for it to have gone when I have so many happy memories, but that is exactly what they are and I shall never forget anything about my childhood home, or everything that goes with it.

When we got back home and unpacked all of the keeping stuff for the final time, it was lovely just to have a relaxing sunny walk with the dogs over the park in the afternoon/early evening, and visiting Yahoo bridge - where we scattered his ashes - as the picture, lots of lovely memories.

Whoops - 6 Weeks Goes By!!

After one of Kiah's check ups with her physio, she stupidly overdid it on a walk where she was supposed to be taking it easy, and so had been on rest for a few weeks, plus additional physiotherapy visits to get back on track.  We ended up missing two or three shows annoyingly, but i'd rather she was 100% better before risking anything, there's no point and she gives it everything she can at agility for me so I do the same for her - even though she doesn't think so!!  There was only so much that mental stimulation will give her, she adores her 'Nina Ottosson' treat/thinking games, but was rather bored by the time we started to bring a little bit of agility back in.

So when we did get back to agility, it was a bit of a shock to the system as we had all three dogs running, Kiah entered as usual but also Risk in g3 and Davy in g1 - at the moment.  Our first show back we were doing some ring party and the weather was typically frustrating - torrential rain one minute (on our walk!), gusty and sunny the next, so it confirmed that I would be taking it easy with Kiah especially, as I didn't want her getting hurt again. She was suitably loopy in the runs we did do, not entirely surprising, good contacts but completely off her rocker!!

Davy was entered on the first day of the show only - the second day didn't have g1 classes but Alex doesn't mind it means he can take it easy and not have to worry about walking courses!!  Davy did well in quite a hard agility course, involving a pull in around a jump that could easily have been taken - and ended up in 2nd place, a fantastic result!!  I forgot to mention that we had another show before Kiah was injured, I didn't get any clear rounds with Kiah (though some lovely courses there) but Alex and Davy got a well earned 3rd place in a jumping course.

It was Risk's first show as well, and I was surprisingly nervous!! He was very good in his first jumping round, really focused (for him) only losing it a little bit in the weaves - about the 14th obstacle - which we hadn't long completely mastered, but we got through all twelve and finished the jumping course positively which I was pleased with.  I only entered him in two classes per day to stop him from losing interest, and he was really good in his agility too.  It was a slightly challenging weave entry - not difficult just a little for us and our first show, but we got it second time around and did all 12 which was great!!  We had a bit of drama at the long jump, odd as it has been practised many times in training without a second thought, but worked through it and again another positive finish with only a slight loss of concentration - very pleased with him, clever boy!!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Fantastic Present

Just recently we have been redecorating some of the inside of the house, so moving some of the pictures around, and I realised I have never posted on here about one of the best presents I ever received from Alex last year.  Back in a post I wrote on 29th August, when we were away and had the dogs pictures taken by Chris Jones (www.pet-ography.com) I received a 'product' of his work. Chris is fantastic with the dogs, takes loads of photos in a sitting until you are happy with them, then you can pick any combination of the ones you like the best, and turn them into a montage.  So as a surprise a couple of months later, I received three pictures of Kiah in a beautiful large frame which I adore - the picture of it here doesn't really do it justice.  After I received mine, and then later in the year we sadly lost Yahoo, we now have a similar one of him which is equally cherished!

Going Walkies

We haven't entered too many shows this year, partly because of cost and partly as we are just enjoying doing things with the dogs, and have more than enough stuff to do on the vehicles, at home, in the garden, with friends, crammed into a two day weekend that always seems to fly by!  We still enjoy doing the shows but lots of other stuff to do as well.  A couple of weekends ago, it was finally warm and dry after yet more rain, so we spent a long morning out walking, and remembered to take the camera for once!!

The most frustrating thing when taking photos is Davy - you point a camera and he instantly puts his ears down and squints. very patience testing, every single time!  Kiah has been subjected to a camera from young so is used to it as long as she gets her reward after, and Risk is pretty good as long as he doesnt have to hang around too long!  This time however, I was quite pleased with how some of the photos came out - but this one was one of my favourites, the background is a bit 'busy' and the colours aren't quite right but theres something about it - the Davy and Risk in their usual relaxed poses, Kiah looking elegant in her usual pose, the dogs cuddling up together - as they are all very close to each other in life too, I just love it.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Early Easter

videoThis year Easter and the very welcomed four day bank holiday was quite early, the the major first show of the season that we do - nice and local again, and a real danger that the show could be called off, a complete repeat of last year and the threat of rain and cold weather ruining agility - one show at a time!!  Thankfully the week before the show managed to stay mainly dry which really helped, even though the show had to cancel most of the camping, and move a couple of rings around to accommodate the suffering soft ground, but it was great that the show could still go ahead.

We were doing a bit of ring party, mainly on the Saturday and a little on the Sunday, bad show to pick helping out at as it was bitterly cold and windy especially the first day!!  The dogs were in the best place in the van with their jumpers on.  But it has to be done, I have nothing against helping a little as long as everyone does their bit - which never happens - I can understand that some people can't help due to personal reasons but a large percentage of people can and won't.

Just a quick mention for my little dude Risk, he is still doing ok in his training, seems to have mastered the aframe properly now, and hs happy to run down it 9.9 times out of 10, he gets what I mean and is also doing well with his going over jumps rather than under, similar success rate so am pleased with him there.  We are still mastering the weaves, or trying to (!) a little tiny bit of practise every day and he is getting better... most of the time.  His confidence is very low at agility and especially new or difficult things like the weaves, so we keep it positive - but sometimes especially if he is tired or hasn't eaten (typical boy!) there's no point in trying more than even one or two jumps as it is very unproductive!!  But very little and often seems to be a good way for him to learn.

So Kiah and Davy were both running this weekend, Davy had some fantastic agility rounds and has really turned a corner, he has toned up (Davy!) and is doing agility because he enjoys working with Alex rather than just 'because he has to' and is putting the effort in.  There were some real if only runs and a couple of silly moments from Alex - like running past the last jump!!  It was a great helter skelter course where Davy was running fantastically well, and Alex had to speed up and lost track of where his dog went - around rather than over the last jump!!  But also there were a couple of times where Davy got his weaves first time, instead of going in pole two, and was good on most of his contacts - as long as Alex keeps practising them, and a real increase in speed, so there is real promise there.

Kiah was my little star this weekend, our very first run of the day was grade 6 agility, a bit of an unusual class - I mean something that we don't always see week in week out, quite often there are similarities in courses and they can get a bit samey but just sometimes you get very 'different' skillsets required, and they seem to be the courses we do better on.  Anyway we ran reasonably early in the class, and it was messy in places, especially the weaves as Kiah wasn't listening and shot out the tunnel looking for me rather than listening to my weave command - but the good bits were fast, and we went into 2nd place - I can't quite believe it but we stayed there.  We even managed to get it on video, which is rare - its lovely to see what good things happened and still places where we can improve. We got a lovely trophy and the other benefit of the 'easter' show is the easter egg too (for me, bought pigs ears for them!) - clever girlie!!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Visit to Crufts

We weren't going to go up to Crufts this year but Alex as a surprise booked tickets, this year for the Saturday and 'gundog' day - partly as it was the weekend so easier for us than a short notice day off work, and also we wanted to take a look at the golden retrievers in the working classes and continue our investigations into a possible future addition... and watch a few classes, and do a little bit of shopping.  Normally we go up on the 'working and pastoral' day (the day that Kiah would be in classes for) so it was nice to see and meet a different set of dogs.  We also got to see a good friend of ours - and Risk's bestest friend, get a well deserved placing in a junior Vizsla class qualifying for Crufts next year!!

Knowing what crufts is like, we got up there relatively early to have a quick scan around the halls and then go back for a further look later on if it gets crazy busy - I always find it best to have a shopping list prepared before we get there!!  There are a few deals that we found including lots of stinky dried tripe sticks for a bargain price, a couple of new treat toys for Kiah, and new classic kongs for the boys, a new back on track coat for Risk, new fleece coats by 'Snugglepets' (see pic, of course in their respective colours!), and naughty... three new beds for them all, made and personalised for us by 'Lucky Pet' which I adore!!  More importantly both those companies are based in, and manufacture completely in the UK, which I think is so important to support.  It was a long day but enjoyable, and the dogs had a lovely time being spoiled with some good friends that kindly looked after them :)))

Mid Downs

videoOh! I don't know where the time has gone - I just haven't had time to do an update in an age so there may be a few at once now I'm on a roll!!  So back to March - I'm still never quite sure why i do Mid Downs, we are usually rubbish and completely out of time, and poor coordination, and completely mad as some of the show is inside, lots of people lots of noise.  But still every year we go, as its good fun, the first time to catch up with people that we haven't really seen much over the winter, its a local show to us, and has absolutely fantastic walking - probably one of the best in all the shows we do.

Only Kiah was entered in this show, as Risk wasn't quite ready, and sadly this show only goes from grade 3 up and Davy is grade 1 at the moment.  The boys still had a good time, Risk had a fab time playing with his friends (and anyone who got mobbed by the waggy tail!) and Davy was as chilled as ever, but they all enjoyed the morning and afternoon walks and pig ears when we got home.

So true to form we were a bit rubbish - I can't remember most of it but Alex kindly videoed all of our runs with my shiny new video camera that he bought me as our anniversary present. It is so useful to have it on video as you can see where we were good/bad and bits to improve on etc.  The other thing I wanted on a video camera was a slow motion short clip function - which this one has.

So the first run wasn't too bad watching it back - Kiah was a bit naughty and semi broke her wait where I should have put her back, and we had a failed pull in resulting in a big fat E, I have to have my timing spot on with steady and pull in commands, but there were some good bits.  One thing we need to improve on is Kiah's commitment to tunnels, because she is SO responsive to me just a small movement will pull her off a tunnel, or sometimes I have to over commit to directing her to a tunnel where I need to be somewhere else - but not all the time, again perfect timing required, funny girlie.

The second run was an outside jumping run - going really well until Kiah came out the last weave pole - my fault says the video (!) as much as she should have stayed in, I turned away so she came with me.  The third run was back to agility indoors, and was going really well, until something I was really annoyed about - Kiah went in the tunnel and came out the same end... three times we tried.  So frustrating as I later found out a large number of other dogs did the same and we never found out why, but there was obviously something up with it.  Anyway thats how it goes, but I was pleased with Kiah in that run, and we were finished with the show by early afternoon, so lots of time for walkies!!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Toasty Warm

Last time we were down having a sort out of my parents house, after a long play in the garden - which the dogs love doing - we had a chance to take them out for a walk down on the beach again - it hasn't been as nice as previous times but at least it wasn't raining, it was just cold and windy, the dogs don't mind too much.
 
I had lots of layers on, and so did Alex, with our wind stopper jackets on the top doing a pretty good job, the dogs also had their coats on - I know they have fur coats but I'd still rather they didn't get cold! Our jackets and their jackets actually match - they are all "Hurtta" brand, which I adore for the dogs, especially the 'winter pro' coats; they are quite expensive, but they are well made, hardwearing, smart looking, waterproof, fleece lined and a great fit - and the dogs don't seem to mind wearing them either.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Risky Training

Recently I've been really pleased with Risk's progress in training, he has matured just a little bit more, and though he is still cautious and thinks very much about everything he does in agility terms, he absolutely adores his tuggy toy now (made by "tug-eeze" fantastic!) with rubber ring on the end - and will work hard and power to get to it.

I originally taught Kiah to do her weaves using a combination of V weaves and channels, it took a little while to close them up, but she is pretty good at her weaves now and is her favourite obstacle - she will pick them over a tunnel!!  Anyway, through trial and error when we first started Risk's training he didn't understand channels once they started to be closed in and was getting them wrong a lot, so we changed to V weaves.  Once his understanding had improved, we were then introducing and using a combination of both methods which he is progressing well with, and loves to get it right for his toy reward.

I chose to do a running A Frame with Risk, as initially stopping on the contacts used to stress him out a lot, especially this one, and he's pretty good at getting the correct footwork - most of the time!  I have got a video but I can't get it to load, so this is a picture of his transition from funny looking 'guinea pig thing' (!) at 4 weeks old, to my handsome boy at just under 16 months when it was taken.  He probably gets about 8 out of 10 right, which we are practising at as many places as we can.  With his increase in confidence, I have since decided to do a stopping dog walk and see saw, with a slightly different technique - again using his toy though - to remind him how much of a fun place the touch point is, he's doing well.

We've also managed to do a little bit of training in the garden when its been dry enough, which helps with his confidence, as its a location he is used to, so seems to understand things more quickly - then when we take it to training he has a bit of "pre-knowledge" already.  He is just over 17 months now, and we won't be quite ready when he is 18 months (Easter - scary) but it feels like we are getting there!!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Weekly Swim

Over the winter I always worry about the dogs stamina starting to drop - we do less agility training, and hardly any competitions as I like to make sure they all have a decent break, the evenings get dark so much earlier, plus the depressing weather stops us doing so many walks during the week - though we try to make up for it at the weekends, and before anyone thinks it - the dogs hate the rain too!!

So, Kiah has been doing her group agility once a week, I like to limit her a bit due to her being extra crazy indoors, plus she is a little bit older now so I don't want to push her more than she naturally gives, so why make her overdo it.  We have had some really good sessions and though she is still completely manic-crazy, we've had a bit more control - hopefully it won't quite all go to pot when we get back in the ring...

Anyway to help keep her stamina up we've been taking her swimming once a week, I think she has done about four or five sessions now and rather than 'cope' with it, she jumps in and actually enjoys swimming on her own now, rather than because she has to.  Kiah can be quite lazy once she realises she can just float with minimal effort (!) so we play a game of see how fast she can swim from end to end. She seems to enjoy it, is extremely fit - generally and because of swimming - and especially enjoys her biscuit at the end.

The boys have still been doing their agility training more often - Risk twice a week with me and Davy twice a week with Alex, they are both really coming along so well now, our little rescue boys!!  Risk is really quite enjoying it and realising that he can chill out and not over analyse about every single thing... most of the time!! We've just gone onto full height jumps which he is coping with well after a week of 'getting used' to them, hes very nearly doing closed weaves, and is enjoying his contacts too, as if he gets them right he gets to play with his toy.  Davy has come on so well too and has so many more skills now, he is doing his weaves now really well, learning how to bounce some jumps, and powering on over his contacts too. I think Alex is really looking forward to entering a few competitions this year... In fact, our first competitions are coming up in the next few weeks!!

Snow - Ages Ago

It seems like ages ago now that we had the snow, but it wasnt really, no more than about a month, and for once the country actually coped reasonably... well as only England can.  Alex had a great time playing in the landrover - doing what it does best... and seeing how well it copes, if Alex has his way!!  Its lovely to see how especially for the first few days, everyone turns into kids again playing with sledges and snowballs.  The dogs adored it too as usual, playing and messing about, on walks they get to wade in and out of the drifts and face planting in the powder.  Davy enjoys hunting out snowballs that we throw for him or eating them, but Kiah and Risk were happy frolicking for hours out on our walks, or just in the garden as that was completely covered too!!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Darkness!!

Sadly at the moment and for for the foreseeable few months, most of our walks are going to be in the dark - both mornings and evenings, though it is supposedly starting to get lighter that will be a while, especially with the grim weather too.  Its a good opportunity for some on lead walks for them, it helps their paws harden up, and helps to reinforce just a few 'walking nicely on the lead' manners.  So aside from when we are training, or the weather means none of us want to go out, when we go on off lead walks in the dark evenings, we use their flish flash collars which help us see them - though we also stay in open areas too for safety.  So when they all sat down briefly to take a picture (just on my phone, not great quality) was it just coincidence that there was a pair of 'Evil Eyes' in the middle, looking back!?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year!!

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!  I must say - to try and put a slightly positive slant on it, both Alex and I have our health, the dogs and their health, our friends, and each other... It is however sadly more than true that 2012 was a hard, tough year for many many friends, family and almost everyone in some way or another - us included.  So - hoping that the start and finish of 2013 is a happy, healthy and positive one, with maybe a few dreams coming true, for my friends and family as well.