Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flyball Fun

We had a wonderful Flyball training this morning. Sizzle was doing very well, eventhough he wanted to play with the other dogs but when it was our turn, he was keen and enthusiastic and I can see him trying very hard to change his pasing, he managed to do the single step for the last two jumps. I think having this toy from CleanRun really helps him to come back to me even faster! When we first started three weeks ago, Guy & Ray at the Wimbledon Whizzers suggesting we should try to reward the dogs at the end with a higher reward, so a tuggy is the best toy. Most of you probably still remember I was having problem teaching Sizzle to tug and I have invested a lot of money in toys. This Dunkin's Stuffer Toy allows me to stuff yummy treats and Sizzle loves chasing it and hang on to it. I open up the pouch for him to get the treat when he started to tug even just for a short time. I will use this toy only at Flyball and today is the first time and I can see a great result of it already.

I've asked Colin again to try to take some "good" photos and here are the results:

Sizzle doing a run back, so there is no ball in his mouth

I love this photo of Sing eventhough it was taken from the slide angle

Sing's swimmer turn

Colin also practising his photography skill on other dogs:

this Malinois is sooooooooooooo fast!!!!

this GSD is in Sizzle's class

Maddy is in Sing's class and she is another very fast small dog!

a litte Note about Sing: He is looking brighter today and he was running faster at flyball too! But he got so tired after we got home, I need to carry him up to bed with me!!

here is a little video of today's training, the first clip was a run back; the usual thing we have to do eveytime we train or even compete, the reason behind is to let the dog knows this is the lane he should be running. The second clip was to send him over the jumps to fetch a static ball. He is still not brave enough to pick the ball from Becky (the boxloader)'s hand, so Becky has to put the ball on the floor for him to pick up. You can see him going up in speed and come back with speed then chase me for the tuggy and the best thing is he has NOT drop the ball until he gets on the tuggy. What a clever little boy!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

agility + swimming

agility - the frustration bit:
I started alternating Sing & Saturn classes. Saturn normally goes to the beginner class starts at 10:15am and Sing goes to the advanced class at 11:15am. Saturn went to the advnaced class yesterday and Sing went to the beginner class.
Saturn was at the advanced class again yesterday as Sing is a bit off colour this week. Saturn did pretty well with the A Frame last week, at least he wasn't creeping the down plank but yesterday, eventhough the target/treat pot was out there and visible to him, he was creeping in the entire hour!!
I have tried all sort of suggestions from my fellow agility friends and I think Saturn is probably to well train and he wanted to get it right so he make sure he will go slowly to the target! I am getting so frustrated and wonder if I should try to run the A Frame with him?

swimming, week 2:
Sizzle swam really well yesterday. It was his second lesson. I still pay for an assistant to be with him, just in case. His first swim was great, he actually wanted to jump in the water and get the ball and with a lot of voice encouragement from me and the assistant, he jump in at last but the super mini squeeky ball sank! Poor little boy. He actually swim with confidence the whole 25 minutes without any assistant needed. WooHoo!
Saturn, again was very noisy and crazy, he just love swimming in the pool ONLY!
Sing was definitely off colour as swimming is always his favourtie, he was slow and tired eventhough he tried to swim each time. This recall me seeing that he was slow and tired for the last few days. His toilet has been normal and I don't know if the anaesthetic still upset him. As I have then read a few articles about shelties and anaesthetic, shelties are definitely NOT anaesthetic friendly. I've also remembered Saturn took a long time to recover from anaesthetic.
luckily they didn't heat up the pool too hot this week so I managed to get some videos of the boys swimming:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I've been tagged AGAIN!

I've been tagged again, this time by Wall-e.

Since I have been tagged by Josh & Jess before, and I do not want to repeat the photo. I open one of my hardisks and found the above photo of Sing, age 12 weeks. It was taken aroud June 2002. We were holidaying in the Lake District. I can't remember the name of the beach but Colin determined to try to spot some whales! Also, this is the first time Sing tried to swim! BTW, we didn't see any whales at all that day!!!

NEW! The gems is on us!

I just love this blogger world, you learn new thing everyday! After we've been tagged by Josh & Jess in Wellington NZ to play open the 5th folder, 5th photo game and now our dearest friends in Upstate NY Oreo & Misty invite us to play the LETTER game. We were given the letter S and we need to list at least 5 things beginning with S.

Do you think this is cheating?

S for smart Sing

S for stupid Seagull

S for super Saturn

S for silly Skye

S for speedy Sizzle

As this is a truly international game, I better behaved, so here we go ...

1. SWIM - Sing wishes there is a lake/pond everywhere so he can go swimming anytime anywhere!

2. SQUIRRELS - Great game for the boys! They love to play chase with them!

3. SHOW - Sing & Saturn said: we hate going to an agility show, mummy make us run and run and run!! Titan, Skye & Sizzle said: we hate to stuck in the car/caravan, we want to get out there and play! Seagull said: I am quite happy to stuck in the car/caravan as I get plenty of treats and chews. Ah! That's heaven!

4. SHY - the boys said: we don't know why mummy keeps asking us to "shy shy" as we are so outgoing and we are definitely not shy of anything!!

5. SOCKS - wee Sizzle loves to play with socks, not the clean one unfortunately, the smelly the merrier!!

... now, can I add one more S, please?

that is SLEEP! I am so tired to find these five Sssss and my brain needs to sleep!

Hehe ... now I want to pass this fun game to ...........

the HudsonDoglets, and the letter is H , I know Nancy has a smart brain!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

hit it board - this one for Rosie

Rosie asked me if I would recommend this "hit it" board? Personally, I think this is a great training gadget. It works like a clicker. If the dog understands a clicker, this is a very good and reliable tool to apply on an agility equipment especially when you are training on your own. I find it very difficult to watch my dog to see if he hits the target point then click & reward. Running with the dog, I don't think I can turn my head back to see what he is doing but this "hit it" board does the click for me. If the dog hits the board, it beep. This "hit it" board came into two sizes, a smaller size for the Dog Walk and a bigger size for the A Frame.
A couple of years ago, I was talking to my friend Helen Millyard about how to train Saturn to be more confidence on the contacts and she told me all about this super "hit it" board that I have never heard before. When we met up at an agility show later, she kindly lend it to me to try it on. Unfortunately it didn't work on Saturn, he has a longer body and it is always risky to get him to run the contacts. I then used the board on Sing for experiment, he is a very clever dog, he understands the board immediately and we were doing well to start with, so I went to purchase one from Nose Touch who produced this fantastic training tool but the website would not send the board outside US and I was very disappointed. Then I found out Clean Run will ship the board outside US so I immediately ordered one from them.
It didn't take me long to train Sing to run a near perfect Dog Walk with this "hit it" board. We are now about 98% accuracy. A straightline after DW is 100%. We still need to work on our turning sharp left and right after DW. If the board is there, there is no problem. If I encounter a new problem with the DW, I always put the board back on and Sing knows what to do.
Sorry if I have not mention about our running A Frame, we never have any problem running the A Frame, so I have not buy a bigger piece to train the A Frame.
I have uploaded one of our runs at KCI that shows both running A Frame and running DW and a few clips of our running DW:

Sizzle and his running contact

I am still trying to find the right method for Sizzle, I'm kinda 90% sure I do not want to do the 2o/2o with him, unless our running contacts gone horribly wrong then I may have to go back to 2o/2o. Anyway, I am still refreshing his "target"/"touch" separately on a regularly basis, that is just in case we need it. I have also teach him the "hit it" board.
Two weeks ago, I took a plank down and tried to introduce him to run the plank but he was too excited and he leap off before the marking point. After a few runs and a deep thought, I started putting a hoop at the end and that seems to stop him leaping and he learns to dive down at the end of the plank. I didn't get too much practise because the weather was so wet for the last two weeks and most part of the garden is full of puddles!
Luckily the weather brighten up a little bit (at least it is dry so far), so I took the opportunity to take him out to try on the HOOP + HIT IT to see what did we get out of it. For the first few runs, he tried to avoid hitting the board, so he managed to jump over the board and miss the marker point totally! I have to take him in and leave it because I do not know how to handle this error. In my mind, I do not want him to slow down but how could I make him understand he should hit the board at the same time he is running in his full speed?
So, we go back to do the "hit it" board on the ground, we have been doing it inside the house, in the garden, at club ... I have also try to run with him with the board visible ...
Last Friday, I thought we should give it a go to see if he understands the "hit it" board on the contact. I have to take him closer to the plank and show him the board is there and he needs to HIT it to get a reward. Again, the first run, he jump over the board, so I took him back half way through the plank and WALK him down, once he hits the board, I quickly reward him. Unfortunately, the third run, when I put him on the table to run the plank, he actually stops at the board until I throw his ball then he took off. We tried a couple more times and each time he stops at the board. I have to take him away from the plank and board and call it off as that is not what I want. Then, I took him out again after few hours rest, he was so much better but still hit and miss but I only did a few runs and that's it.
We have a weekend off and yesterday I show him the board, I do not know what will I expect but I decided I will run with him to see what comes out. The first run, he kinda stops at the board waiting for the reward but when I start running with him, he didn't even think of stopping. I am going to do more of this trial and error and hopefully we will find the right one for him.
here is our little practise video, the back ground is very noisy, our neighbour is a 0-5 nursery, I like to take the dogs out doing a little training when the kids are out, so they have to learn to work with me with a noisy background:

Monday, January 26, 2009

this one is for Ricky

In my previous post, I've mentioned about the worried of anaesthetic in shelties, Ricky left a message seeking for advice as his mum is thinking to take him to the vet to get his teeth clean.
I have been using "plaque off" for about three years now and I have seen the changes in my dogs' teeth especially Sing. All my dogs are on "plaque off" beside Sizzle as it suggested not suitable for puppies.
I am a very lazy owner, I am happy to groom them but not very good in cleaning their teeth. I brush their teeth when they were babies so they get used to being tooth brush but when their adult teeth starting to come up and I kinda "forget" to brush their teeth.
I gave half a spoon (the spoon comes inside the bottle) mix with the dog's dinner everyday, when Sing's teeth were full of tartar then, I also clean/tooth brush them once a week, then after his teeth are much better, I didn't clean them anymore but carry on with the "plaque off" and his teeth are in good condition and no tartar build up.

a very busy weekend

I haven't have a busy weekend for so long but this weekend past in no time!
We started Flyball training every Saturday now, Sizzle takes the beginners class starts at 10am, eventhough it is an hour's class but we always finish half an hour's later, simply because the dogs having such fun and no one wants to go home! Sing is in the second class, the class for competing dogs, again it was late finished. Then, this Saturday, we have some special training, so we stayed on and we didn't get home until 5:30pm!
Sizzle was very good boy at training, Colin said he was so much better with his footing but I need to have a special reward at the end of the line to keep him motivated. I need to think of something that he really likes. Guy was suggesting a tuggy but my litte Sizzle doesn't like tuggy! That's gonna be my homework, find a rewarding toy.
I think Sing was off colour, he was very slow, not quite himself and unfortunately we got timed for this week! He was on the "high" side, about 5.9seconds (his average time was 5.2seconds when we competed in 2005). Obviously I was very disappointed as I know he can run so much faster than this time. After talking to Colin and other friends that know me and Sing well, they said it could be the general anaesthetic (plus swimming) that affects his performance. He was taken to the vet for hip score on Tuesday and then swimming on Thursday then a two hours hill walking on Friday, that must have been tired him out totally.
I have just read on the Dog World (November 2008 issue), an article wrote by Barbara Thornley, a top sheltie breeder in this country, she said shelties are not particularly anaesthetic friendly and on occassions have died while under anaesthetic. If I were to read this before taking Sing to hip score, I would have passed it, nothing is more important that keeping my dog happy and healthy, I don't want to kill my dog by accident!
Sing obviously was very tired on Sunday but he is looking on a brighter side today, hopefully he will be on form this Saturday and hopefully we get to time again.
I didn't get Colin to video us too much, I have asked him to take some action shots of Sizzle and Sing. I hardly has any photo of Sing doing flyball let alone Sizzle who has never compete before. Guess what? Colin hates taking photo (and video), he did try but all the one that he took of my dogs came out blur or no dog in the picture!!! When I questioned him where is the dog, he said: HE IS TOO FAST! Grrrrrrr
this is Magic, other than Jordan's hand with tuggy on the way, it was a nice photo:

I think this is Weimaraner is the best

now, can you ask him why Sizzle is blur? and this is the best shot of Sizzle!!!!!!

So, after Flyball, we have to rush to Reading to meet up with Colin's friends for dinner. This was planned weeks ago. It was good to see some of his friends that we only see yearly. Tracy always cook wonderful meal eventhough they are vegetarian but I love her cooking. Her desserts were even mouth watering, yummy!

We tried to leave as early as we could as I hate to leave the dogs for long eventhough I have a little friend staying in the house to help looking after them. We got home about 11pm which is not too bad and spent an hour playing with them before we are allow to go to bed! Yes, the dogs are always the "boss" in this situation!

We haven't get any lie-in on Sunday either! We have to wake up early, feed the dogs, give the dogs a long walk then went to see some gorgeous puppies. Playing and watching them are just the best thing you can do.

Friday, January 23, 2009

We've been tagged too!

Our lovely fluffy friends Josh and Jessie in NZ tagged us:
Open a document or file folder
Click on the fifth folder and then the fifth photo
Post the photo and describe it
Then tag 5 other bloggers

The above photo was taken in the Summer of 2003 (6 years ago!!!!) at a Companion Dog Show. Seagull used to be EXTREMELY nervous and timid, we took every opportunity to socialise him and of course he hates it. Letting strangers touching him was a nightmare, he has bitten so many people including some judges and our vet Kevin! In the photo you can see Colin was trying to hold him just in case he bite the judge.
Also, at the same day, Colin was showing Seagull in a different ring together with me showing Sing. It was a male judge (I don't know and don't remember who he was as I was still a newbie then). Something very serious happened in that ring with Colin and Seagull and Colin only told me when we got home that day. He said: the judge told me sheltie is not a man's dog! He was so upset and swore never show the dog again!
I think whoever the male judge was, he shouldn't be allowed to comment on this, maybe he didn't aware that he has hurt Colin completely but Colin will always have the phobia of showing dog! How cruel!!
Now, let me tags five of my friends:

agility + swimming

I had a very good day with the boys yesterday, especially Saturn and Sizzle.

Sing was still weak from the GE (general anesthetic) on Tuesday, I had him hip scored and now awaiting for the results. I gave him a rest on agility and took Saturn to Sing's class. I know Saturn is more than capable to do in Sing's class. He was on form yesterday (my old Saturn is back after a long long time!!!), very fast and the contacts wasn't slow at all. He has his 2o/2o, I must admit I showed him I put the "target" down for him but I have asked Eleanor to make it disappear without him seeing it, I don't know if that works the trick but he didn't creep down the A Frame and he earned a lot of chicken from me. His Dog Walk is never a big issue but I have to say he was fast going down too. His weave entries were great. We had a couple of difficult entries, one from the Tunnel underneath the A Frame to weave, I sent him into the tunnel and stay by the A Frame and told him WEAVE and I was so pleased that he found the entry on his own with no help and finished the weave in speed and didn't miss a pole.

the other weave entry is this one below, into the tunnel, turn right and did the three jumps into the weave. I always have a problem with the flat entry with him but yesterday, everything was perfect, I sent him into the tunnel and turn him right, he took the jump and I stay behind the jump to the weave pole and tell him WEAVE and he was a good boy, he didn't miss the entry or any pole.

After agility, we have nearly 3 hours to kill before the swimming so I took the boys to Oxshott Common for a long walk in the swamp, puddles and MUD. Can you imagine how I would clean up SIX dogs after the walk? Thank God, shelties are easily maintain as long as you are not too fussy. I just wait for them to dry up then brush all the mud off them. I normally wash them but with all the wet weather we are having, washing 6 dogs everyday would be too much, so I have to live with it until the weather drying up.
I always try to swim three dogs when I go to Greyfriars, Sing and Saturn, Skye and Titan took their turn, Skye loves swimming but not Titan, so Skye got to go more. I normally swim them in a separate session, so I am stuck in the pool with them for 1.5 hours as each session is about 25min. Yesterday, for the first time, I booked in Sing and Saturn in the same session as suggested by them, when we arrived, they asked if I want to swim Sizzle together. That gave me a good shocked as I have not try two dogs together let alone three dogs with one that have never swim before!!!
I know Sing has no problem as he will happily jump in to fetch the ball but I am afriad that Saturn will be put off by the very keen Sing and I can't leave Sizzle with the assistant. Anyway, I did swim the three together, Sing and Saturn has no problem, Sing jumps in when you throw the ball and Saturn just jump in anytime even without the throw of the ball, you can see him happily swim round and round the pool and try to fetch something visible, it was very funny but he was so happy! That's my boy!
Yesterday was Sizzle's first official swim, the assistant put a little jacket on him that made him looks so cute. I think I should ask for a yellow or blue jacket next time as they put a little pink/red jacket on him! They think he is a little girlie! Doh! Don't you think he is a handsome boy? Good little or wee Sizzle has no fear of water, the assistant put him on the low platform for him to get used to the water and with my help, we tried to chuck his tiny tennis ball, hopefully we could get him to swim on his own. We maybe a little ambitious but we managed to get him to swim with a little help and towards the end of the session, he actully jump in on his own with no help and nearly swam the whole pool!
I have now booked the whole pool to swim my three shelties together weekly, it feels so different when you have the whole pool to yourself! I tried to take some videos of them but they all came out fuzzy as the outside temperatur is so cold and the pool was well heated, cold+hot=blur! Hopefully when the weather gets warmer, I will get a chance to take some videos or pictures of the little one.
Here are a few from last year:
he loves to dive!

here is my great diver, great swimmer

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

jump and running contacts

As I have been away quite a lot for the last four months plus the freezing cold weather we have lately; I haven't get many chance to do any "agility" training with Sizzle. We started Flyball last week and I have noticed that he is not a natural jumper, so we need to teach him "how to jump" to start with. I have seen from other blog how they teach their dog to jump based on Susan Salo's set point. I have ordered the DVD but it hasn't arrive yet and I cannot wait that long as the dry weather may not stay, so I set up 3 jumps with the 1st and 3rd jump pole down on the floor and raise the 2nd jump pole up a little higher. We have been practised that for a couple of days but with very short session, only 3 to 5 jumps each day. He seems doing alright. I have added two more jumps today, so I raised the 2nd and 4th jump and leave the 1st, 3rd and 5th jump pole on the ground.
I have also struggled to teach him running contact. I have been reading and watching how those famous/top handlers teach their dogs the perfect running contacts. Unfortunately, I find it difficult to apply on Sizzle as I have not done any "walking on the plank" when he was younger. I have taught him "target" separately and the "hit it" board on the floor. The "hit it" board was a mess with him, when he was running fast, he will surely jump over it, whether the board is on the floor or on the plank. With running contacts, you don't want him to slow down, so I have to think of something else. I've decided to add a hoop at the end of the plank to make sure he cannot leap/jump, that seems a little success. Luckily I have taught him the hoop separately too so when I add the hoop today, he realised immediately he has to dive down instead of jump off. I am hoping to keep that running for a while until I am confident before raising the plank.
BTW, I am not lazy standing around, my intention is hoping he will work ahead of me, if that works!
here is our practise today:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Daisy's puppies

Quick update re Daisy's puppies, they are 5 day old today.
Sadly, we lost Daisy's tiny boy just before midnight on Saturday. Poor Daisy was very stressed all day Saturday. As I was at Flyball training and I didn't go around to see her but Jim told me she kept carrying the little one out of her whelping box and dropped him on the floor.
She now has two healthy babies to look after. These two boys are gaining a little of weight everyday. The "white blaze" boy is 7oz now and the "plain face" boy is catching up, he is 6oz.
I was told that Daisy wasn't eating for more than 24 hours, so I pop in this morning to see her and her babies and hand feed her, she happily ate a big bowl of food. I know Daisy likes me and she feels very comfortable with me. I will go again later to feed her.

Daisy with her two sons

two lovely boys at 5 days old

he is a big boy

he is wiggly boy

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I've promised Sing last year that if he managed to proceed up to Grade 5 by the end of 2008, I will take him back to Flyball, the game that he truly love. He won out of Grade 4 at The Summer Agility Show in August then he went on to have two more agility wins at Prestbury Park in September. He did finish his Grade 4 in style.

We were with Ball Busters Flyball Club from December 2004 until November 2005. He started competed in Flyball on Easter 2005. He got his Flyball Dog title at his 3rd show and got his Flyball Dog Intermediate title in September 2005. To me, he was a superb born Flyballer. From the first day he started training, he hadn't made a single mistake, he never miss a jump or miss the ball throughout his flyball time. I would like to end him in a good form and continue our agility so we stop at his peak time.

I still have a great interest in Flyball eventhough I am doing agility at the moment, I really like to try all my shelties to do Flyball if that is at all possible and as you may know, not all shelties like ball let alone retrieving it! Anyway, Skye loves ball and he is a ball mad like Sing but with his health issue, we have to hold back on both Agility and Flyball, I can do very limited amount of exercise with him. Titan also likes ball but he is easily distracted so he can never concentrate on Flyball and Agility. Seagull is very much of a pet dog, he does not do anything! Emm ... Saturn? He sometimes like ball but he prefers the ball on the rope, I don't think you can fetch a ball with a rope on the box!!

Last year, I saw a notice about a new Flyball Club near where we live and I went over to get more informations about joining them. It actually took me a long while to pick up the courage to join Wimbledon Whizzers. When we were with Ball Busters, they are using the American Flat Fronted Box which I always told that they are best for the dog's joint. Wimbledon Whizzers is using a Boomerang box and I have been carefully consider if I should let my dogs use the box and of course you know the answer ... YES.
Left: this is the Canada/American
Flat Fronted Box from Alvah
Right: this is the Boomerang Box
from Alvah
Today is our first day at Wimbledon Whizzers. This is a friendly team. I don't know the people that well yet but I am sure I will make a lot of new friends soon. I have decided to give Sizzle a go at Flyball. I don't know how he will react or response to it but he seems to like ball and have been great in catching the ball in the air. He was with the beginner's class and we did some "run back" (recall the dog from the box) to start with. I think Sizzle was great, he came to me in speed each time we did the run back. I have asked Colin to video us so I can see the stride he put in. The box loader Guy told me he wasn't sure about his footing so he put in some little strides for the first three jumps but did only one stride on the last jump. After about three runs, we decided to put the jumps a little closer (about 8' apart) to teach him to jump. He also started some small strides then finish with a long stride but then after a couple of runs, he actually did single stride on every single jump. I have also just realised it maybe a bit too much for him as he is very young still and I have never teach him how to jump yet, also he is very small, not quite 12" on the shoulder, a 7" jump is a bit much for him to take in. Hopefully he will pick up soon as they want him to compete in the Starters in Easter! After a few run back, we did send to the box to pick up the ball, Sizzle was such a clever boy, he did as told, eventhough he was slow up the box but he was fast coming back to chase me. I am hoping we will have a lot of Flyball fun together.

As Sing is an experienced Flyballer, he then joined the second group. We have some good practise with other team-mates. I have noticed from the video, Sing seems to be slow coming back after picking the ball every single time. I need to sort this out before the tournamet starts next month.

By the way, I thought Sizzle will get very tired after running up and down so many times but this little mad sheltie was so energetic the whole day and just started to collapse. I hope I will have a good lie in tomorrow? Maybe not, I have the Sheltie meeting tomorrow morning! Doh!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I started to teach Sizzle to walk backward (reverse) yesterday and we are doing fine at the moment. I have started it by walking into him, hoping he will move backward and he did. Of course, everytime I see him move backward I click and treat and he thinks that is a new game and really enjoy it. After about 10 times click and treat and I started adding the cue "verse", I guess he kinda get my message. I am hoping we could improve this by me standing still and no body movement at all and get him to move backward. I know most of the time, he will backward sideway and I am hoping to imrove that slowly.
Here is the little video:

empty house and full house

EMPTY house:

I think I am slowly getting over the grief of losing Tikka but Colin seems to get worst each day. I know the day will come as his kidney was failing a couple of years ago but I do miss him when I feed the dogs because I fed him the same time as I feed the dogs. I think Sing is missing him too because his temperament has slightly change for the last few days. He looks a bit on the down side (health wise he is perfect), he is not so cheerful when I throw him the ball, he keeps missing the catch, I think he does not want to catch the ball at all but he is fine when we go out walking, he catch the ball every single time I throw it. Also, he wasn't keen when I took him to our weekly agility class. I remembered seeing him looking at Tikka when all of us said our goodbyes and he wouldn't leave the box; Sizzle gave Tikka a good lick and the other gently sniff him. We have got the ashes back from the Vet, I am impress that they returned the ashes within 24 hours. Colin has taken the ashes into his office so Tikka can stay by his side all time now. He was dreaming to take him to work one day and now Tikka is being close to him. Bless them!

we are missing Tikka

FULL house:
I now have Starry "coming back" to me for a good few weeks because his litter sister Daisy is having babies! Starry is BIGish dog so he is always on your way. He is very sweet and get on very well with my boys and also like to push his way to get more attention from me and Colin.
very happy Starry who enjoys going out with my boys
Daisy was in a very long labour since Thursday 12:30am, the first pup didn't born until 7:30am, sadly the first born puppy was born dead and she was the only girl weight 5.5oz. She went on to have two boys straightaway and the last born boy was three hours later. She now has three boys, all flashy sable & white boys. One of the boys is very tiny, weight only 2.2oz, we are hand rear him at the moment as he cannot feed himself from Daisy. We are hoping him to hang on. The two boys are good sizes, the last born with white blaze is 6.5oz and the 2nd born plain face boy is 4.5oz. They are eating very well. BTW, Daisy is not staying with me but I go over to Jim & Joan to help feeding the puppies very often. They just live down the road from me and Daisy knows me since the day she was born.

here is the proud mum with her three sons, left to right; plain face boy, tiny boy & white blaze boy

Monday, January 12, 2009

Run Free, Tikka

We've lost our beautiful silver tabby persian cat Tikka last night.
He was one special cat. He has his very own special character that not many people knows how to appreciate it. To me, he was the most annoying cat with a funny character, he made me laughed at the same time he made me cried too!
He was Colin's cat. When I first him, he was nearly six. Colin used to call me crazy because I took him out on his lilac harness and took him for a car ride to fetch Colin from the station in the evenings. Yes, I treated him like I would treat a dog. I even tried to teach some tricks. He sometimes brought me a dead baby bird or a dead mice but most of the time, he slept soundly.
He was a gentle cat to all the dogs. I remembered we were very worried how to introduce him to Sing when we brought him home but it was never a problem, they both accept each other staright away and they were a good playmate for a long time. He reacted to each sheltie differently, he liked to chase Seagull and Titan, especially when Titan was a tiny boy. They were so funny together, it was like Tikka was chasing a black mice!! The sweetest of all was with Skye. The first day he came home, Tikka jumped in his bed with him and started licking him all over and this carried on for a good few weeks, Tikka was like a mother to Skye. We thought he must have been thinking Skye is the same colour to him, how funny!
Eventhough he was not young anymore but he liked to go out fighthing every beginning of the year and came back with a big cut on his forehead! Colin has to spend about £700 to £800 on the vet bill every year just to satisfy his fighting hobby.

He was stolen two years ago when we went back to Malaysia for a short visit and luckily we've got him back safe and sound.

Just recent years, he went senile sometimes but I think it is normal for an old cat really.

This is the first time I have lost an animal and I took it very hard. I missed his midnight howling. Yes, Tikka has a very bad habit, he liked to start howling from 3am onwards for a little while. I don't know why, I never understand cat! Colin of course is very upset about losing his cat.

Run Free, Tiks. We miss you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

for Sue

This video is for Sue. I would like to take her "challenge" to teach Sizzle to nod, unfortunately I started it wrong in the first place. I used the word "naughty" as a cue for "shake" his head (for NO). I didn't realised that is such a bad word when I was teaching him to shake. No dog would like to be called a "naughty boy" especially a sensitive sheltie, so poor little Sizzle took it very hard. Everytime when I sitting him down and about to ask him for something, he looks pretty miserable, so I am not going to teach him any trick for a little while, hopefully he will forget about the "bad experience" and forgive his bad mummy.
Since Sizzle was the first one I experiment on teaching shaking (and nodding later) and I have learned to pick a cue carefully now. I have Saturn doing this tricks using a better cue (do you think so?).
I've promised Sue, I will get Sizzle to do the nod in a couple of weeks time but for now, please have this:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

trick of the day

my poor little Sizzle does not like to be called a naughty boy:)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

co-ordination and balance

I took Sizzle to Hannah's co-ordination and balance course in December. It was a brilliant course and I enjoyed learning with Sizzle from Hannah. I must admit I wasn't on form that day, I've just got back the day before from China visiting my brother and I was very tired, exhausted and felt very emotional leaving my poor brother fighting for his life.
Sizzle was a good little boy. I love taking my dogs out to somewhere new to learn something. It is good to see if he is confidence when he gets to a different environment, meeting new people and new dogs. Sizzle was very brave, nothing put him off.
We did some ladder work, different types of wobber board, cone work, cavaletti exercises, walk up and down a plank, elephant tricks and walking on the back legs with a fitness ball. As I was very tired and worried, I actually calm down a lot when I did all the exercises with Sizzle. Noramlly, I am a hyper person when I do any training with the boys. I like to get them excited and at the same time, I myself gone over the top of everything. This is not such a good thing, I know that but I just can't control myself!
When I was calm and steady, Sizzle and I performed better. His ladder work was very good, all his legs were so co-ordinated and he didn't put a foot wrong. There were three different type of wobble baords. I only have a very small piece of wobble board made by Jim. I used to make Sizzle go over the board when he was very young and didn't do much about that later. He was very confidence on the two square wobble boards, I even got him to do some tricks on the board. He looked a bit wobbly when turning left and right but that's ok, the main reason is to make sure he is confidence on the wobbly bit. There was also a big round wobble board, it was very wobbly and unsteady. Sizzle was ok when he first got on it but at the second go, he actually chicken out. I didn't want to force him, so we leave that out for time being but hopefully I will have more chance later to practise.
We also did some cone work, going around the cones and figure of 8. We also did some cavaletti exercises, we calmly walked over all the bars in straightline and as well as in the star shape. Sizzle lost a bit of his balance when we went around the star for the first time but then he picked up immediately. Elephant trick? No problem.
Nearer the end, Hannah showed us this (picture below):
The dog needs to put his two front legs on this fitness ball and hopefully they get the idea and roll the ball with the front legs and at the same time move the back legs. I have never seen this before so I have a great interest in it. It took a while to get Sizzle to push the ball and I think he kinda get the idea but because there was only one fitness ball, so I can't take up all others' time. I am thinking to get one and play with it at home.
this video was taken on Hannah's training day, it is not great in quality but just gave you an idea what we were doing with the ball:

I've managed to find one on ebay and it arrived this morning. I can't wait to try it on with all the boys ... again, Sing proves to be the cleverest and the smartest among the six, with the support on a chair (stop the ball from rolling), he balance himself very well on the ball and he actually trying to do his "beg" trick.
he starts offering me with his wave
... and here he goes, begging. Sorry for this headless photo
Saturn seems to be the keenest of all, he was so keen to offer me whatever he thinks I want him to do. Surprisingly, he is the one that co-ordinate very well with two front legs rolling the ball and moving his back legs at the same time.

Titan and Sizzle being the smallest, they balance themselves very well by jumping up the ball. Both Titan and Sizzle can do the left right turn on the ball. That is just amazing for being we only have the ball for less than an hour.

Seagull was also trying very hard but he was so figitive, he wouldn't want to stay still on the ball, he just want to jump on top and then leap off. I did get him to push the ball but he thinks I am rather weird!
Skye is a real whimp on this exercise. He is so scare to touch the ball. I have tried to put the ball in between two chairs to stop it moving but he just ran away when he sees it!
Anyone who is interested in Hannah's course, here is her blog:, she will have another course in February.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

arctic weather coming?

It has been very cold for the last few days, the temperature in Mitcham is between -4c to -6c at night and in the morning. Today at 12noon, the temperature only shows 1c. I have heard from the radio yesterday, they said we might hit -10c in the next couple of days and we will have snow. I like the snow bit but not the -10c!
I feel very sorry for Saturn, the fur underneath his belly is still not growing back very well. He hates wearing the coat/jacket when we go out walking, he gets very akward in it, so we always go out without it.
I want to post this photo of him at night, he looks so sweet. He sleeps next to me (on the floor). I have used the double duvet (folded in half) to make him a bed, I put some very warm fleece on top on the duvet in the winter for him. Anyone who knows Saturn knows he loves to put his head on something, your lap or shoe ... anything, so I gave him one of my pillows. Don't you think he sleeps like a human resting his head on the pillow?

Well, I was in the garden doing a quick tidy up before the snow comes, not a good thing to do in a freezing cold day. When I turned around, I saw this little man is ON TOP OF THE WORLD. I know he likes to get up on the A Frame and the Dog Walk to look over at the neighbours and I also know this is not a good thing as you want him to learn the contacts correctly. I have put some jumps at the bottom of the contacts to block the way up but I must have removed the jumps and forgot to put them back when I was away. He does look very cute in the picture. Sorry, mobile phone quality.

Monday, January 05, 2009

weekend and snow

We had a wonderful weekend. Linda came down from Suffolk with her lots, so we met up at Pachesham's simulated show on Saturday. It was very good to see her again with her three shelties, especially Rocky which I saw him when he was just a tiny pup. He has now grown into a handsome young lad and did really well in the show ring. He won the Best Puppy at one of the shows recently.
this is handsome Rocky, his show name is SHELDRAY STARLIGHT EXPRESS

Linda was running Leo at the simulated show and thanks to Eleanor and Ian, I managed to squeeze Sing and Saturn in at the very last minute. I haven't done any agility for a good 10 weeks, I was abviously very rusty at it, plus it was -6c that morning, so every bit of my body was stiff.

We had 3 agility runs and 1 jumping. Sing was very good, he actually surprised me on his first run, it was quite a big course, all the jumps and contacts are nicely spread out, Sing was fast and spot on with his running Dog Walk and his weave was very speedy too. I was amazed. On his second run, he missed the Dog Walk, it was a sharp left turn after the DW. I planned to do a front cross after the DW but Sing missed the contact. According to Ian who watched us, he told me I bend down too much and pointed at the ground and Sing leap off. Now, that gives me something to work on. His third run was good too, didn't slow down at all and DW to tunnel was brilliant.

As for Saturn, he is still not quite fit to do the whole course. His speed hasn't come back yet. I put his target down at the bottom of DW and A Frame. He was creeping down the plank in the first two runs, especially with the A Frame. He didn't stop at the top anymore but he took ages to come down. Surprisingly, he was good at the third run, the target is still there, he was fast on the DW and he actually made his effort not to creep down on the A Frame. I have a lot of training to do with this boy.

Colin did take the videos but they are not watcheable!!! He probably lack of practise (or maybe drunk?), all you can see is the camera is moving but you can only spot me and the dogs on the camera very occassionally and sometimes the dogs' tail or something shot pass it. I was very disappointed of course, because I wanted to see where I went wrong and I like to improve my handling. Maybe I should send him for a video taking course?

After the show, we took Linda & gang to Oxshott Common. What can you say when you see 9 shelties running together? The 8 boys and 1 girl obviously enjoyed themselves very much. Sing was a little naughty, he wouldn't leave poor Flowie alone. Well, I can't blame him really, she is such a pretty girl, the only problem is WRONG colour!! She is a blue merle and Sing is a token Sable!!!

All very well behaved!

back row: The KNIGHTs Shelties

front row: The CHUBBs Shelties, left to right: Rocky, Leo and Flowie.

Yesterday, we have Starry and his mum Tilly come to stay with us for a few hours. We took Starry out with the boys. He used to be my dog, unfortunately he didn't fit in. He suffers from epilepsy since he was 15 weeks old. Everytime when he had the fits, Titan and Skye went for him and that made the whole thing worst. After talking to Jim & Joan, we decided the best is to let him go back to stay with them, they have much quieter life, the only down side is he needs to be castrated as he will be staying with his mum and sister.

I've got to see him very often as they only live down the road from us. He is definitely much happier with Jim and Joan. He still having fits very often and he has medications to control the epilepsy.

Starry, he is a spitting image of his mother Tilly. They won the brace at the ESSC show.

Starry was very happy and love to run around with the boys

The Family, left to right: Starry, Saturn, Sizzle, Skye, Titan, Sing, Seagull.

I really think we should rename Titan everytime I type their names together!!!

Colin and his three, he nickname them: WOE, PAIN and MISERY!! You better ask him why?

Is sheltie getting popular? We met this beautiful golden sable girl Ember. She is about 6 months old. We agree to meet up more aften in future to walk together! How wonderful!! That will be at least 10 shelties in Mitcham now!! WOW!

It has been very cold for the last couple of weeks, training outside is not possible (for me at the moment. I still haven't fully recover from my cold and my body is still setting to Malaysia temperature and I feel cold very easily). I am trying to catch up with more tricks to train the dogs and here come: CROSS YOUR PAW.

Colin took this picture of this two cute boys crossing their paws while I was busy teaching Sizzle in the same room! I am speechless when I downloaded this photo! They are just too sweet! They are truly my HEART and SOUL.

Here are the videos:

This is my first attempt at teaching them this trick, I am hoping to improve it with no more hand lure. Sing no doubt is the cleverest, he offered me the behaviour after a few hand lure. Also, he is always so keen and happy to learn a new trick (can you see his tail wagging all the time?). Who say you can't teach an old dog a new trick? Emm ... Sing is only coming up to 7 (on 16th of March), not that old, I presume?

We have some unexpected snow in London this morning, not much to say as it melted so quickly. I am glad Sizzle loves snow and he loves fetching the snow ball!

Sizzle's first snow