Friday, March 27, 2009

ONE today!

Happy 1st Birthday to my little sunshine
Thank you for being small, so you are mine!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mother's Day pictures

The weather started to change again! It has been very cold for the last two days, the temperature is between 13c to 15c but the wind makes it feel so much colder! We also have some rain, so I have every reason not to train in the garden and I don't think I have the energy after last week anyway!
I'd love to post some photos I have taken on Mother's Day, I thought they are very nice, sorry I know I am biased ...
I have not teach any of my dogs to HOLD anything other than Sing when we did obedience many years ago! Saturn will do anything for a piece of chicken, so here we go trying to get him to hold a daffodil, so I can make a "home made" card for mum for her Mother's Day card.

this one is for Ludo

and this one for mummy

We went to Brighton to visit my parents-in-law on Saturday late afternoon and we went for a lovely walk at Stanmer Park. Here are some photos of the boys+Samber enjoying themselves with our nephews. The boys+Samber (other than Seagull) are very good with children, they play well together.

Titan is everyone's dog!

Seagull has been a very good boy, after all these years, he started to trust people and he actually went to sniff Dan calmly. Colin is trying to hold him gently so Dan can stroke him. Seagull enjoyed the pet, hopefully he will get better with children.

this is part of our family members

here are the two MAD dogs!! They actually make a good pair, very MAD, CRAZY and ENERGETIC!!

here comes Sizzle trying to join in the MAD dogs group

Matty tried to rescue the rope ball that stuck in the tree!!!

superman Matty!

I like this series of photos of Sizzle and Toby:

aren't they lovely together? Sizzle has been so calm and patient with little Toby. I love watching them.

Sing is always looking for someone to throw a ball for him and this is his mid-air catching

I don't know what's wrong in this picture, Sing looks so weird!

I like Sing's expression on this one, Sing and his ball, unseparable!

another mid-air action!

Nancy's neighbour Michael owned DogStoppers, a great new doggie products site who made this lovely personalised SIZZLE label for me to stick it on his power harness to make it unique

this is not a great photo but just to show you the SIZZLE label as the photo above is slightly cover by Sizzle's long coat!

SING also has one specially made for him, in RED.

Monday, March 23, 2009

GREAT dogs SHAMED about handler!

I was agility-out! Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday! I am exhausted! It wasn’t plan like that but things normally don’t goes as plan!
First up, Tuesday, Sizzle's usual club training at Pachesham. As I have mentioned in the earlier post, he wasn't terribly focus and he seems to lost his interest in toy but after we did a couple of jumping sequences, he was flying again.
Next was Thursday, we have our usual club training at Pachesham for Sing and Saturn in the morning. Sing was working rather well and he did some beautiful stuff with nice speed. After that, we had 2 x one hour 1-1 session with Dawn Weaver at Polly's field in the late afternoon. As we have about three hours break in between our club training and Dawn's lesson, I took the boys + girl to Horsell Common by Polly’s. Guess what? I've got lost!! I can't find my car! I have asked three different people and they all told me different ways towards the carpark but I cannot find my car! I’ve got really panic at the end and I have to ring Polly to tell her I was lost and I maybe late for the lesson. If you know Polly, you surely know she is the most wonderful lady in the world! She came to rescue me in the wood! Bless her! THANK YOU VER MUCH, POLLY!
Back to Dawn's training. I was so much looking forward to train with Dawn, she is very successful with her running contacts, her apricot poodle Chelsea has been to the World many times, beautiful running contacts; her new Agility Champion, Puzzle is a tiny little Papillion, he has the most stunning running contacts! I’ve also seen her Large dog, Promise (I think is a Beardie x Collie) runs the contacts nicely. For those who know me, I have train Sing to run his contacts and so far, we are doing quite well on the running contacts. I am hoping Sizzle will be as good for his running contacts.
I have started to teach Sizzle on the “hit it” board and we are doing alright, not 100% reliable but I am happy with it and I WILL STICK TO IT. A lot of people told me the risk of running contacts and told me so and so who has train their dogs to run the contacts and has turned into disaster. Well, before I wanted to train the running contacts, I have thought of the risk and I am willing to take the risk. Dawn has given me some useful tips/ideas of the running contacts and I will try to merge my method with her method, hopefully it will work on Sizzle. We will have to see, changes cannot happen overnight, it will take months to come by.
Back to our training, Sizzle started off a bit flat but he quickly built up his confidence after a couple of jumping sequences. He was also distracted during the training and Dawn gave me a very good advice how to get him back to focus on me again … to ask him to touch/target on my hand then swing him back and do the obstacle. I have never asked him to touch/target my hand before and it looks like a new trick for him, so we work on that that evening. When I first offer him my hand, he naturally gave me his paw (shake hand), so I have to turn my palm towards me and the other side facing him to ask for a new behaviour. He got the idea almost immediately.
We did not do the contacts other than see-saw. He was a brave little boy. This is the first time he was on different equipment and he was happy to run all the way up to the end in speed to Dawn who hold the see-saw and feed him chicken! We also did some snakes, front crosses, rear across and blind turn. I know it was a lot to take in for a baby but I took them away and hopefully to practice them in the garden.
Then, on Friday, I have a 1-1 with Nicky Garrett. We finally got to do some weaving! YEAH! I have been so careful all this time not to train the weave when I am not sure HOW TO train. Nicky gave me some very good advice as well, so we have some more homework to do! We also did some simple jumping sequences. Again, he was distracted. Nicky gave me another very good advice. She told me Sizzle is shaping me instead of me shaping him, so we are working on the reverse now. I have been trying on the weekend and I can see the improvement already.
Sizzle also did some good work with Nicky. I have never done this before but Nicky set up just one jump, Sizzle and I are on this side of the jump, then send him AROUND the jump, basically he is not suppose to take the jump directly, he needs to go around the back of it and he did it perfectly, that amazed me. I think if I were to put Sing and Saturn in the same position, they will happily jump over it. This exercise returns my confidence again. We also did the three jumps pin wheel with him, I can see he has the speed but most of the time he just missed the jump in the middle or the other. This happen quite often when we train, anywhere. I don’t know WHY he does that, I have asked other people’s view and they told me different thing, so I need to work hard to get him to jump all jumps.
We then finished off with the see-saw. I think he really like the see-saw as he gets fed at the end. Hehe …
We were supposed to go to Flyball training on Saturday but Colin was poorly so I have to stay back to "look after" him.
On Sunday, that was yesterday, I have all day long training with Jo Fraser and my three boys. The first three hours in the morning was with Sizzle and three hours in the afternoon were with Sing and Saturn. This is the very first PROPER training day for Sizzle, they were so many dogs there he hasn't met before and new place too. I was planning to get there early so he can wonder around before the training start but things always didn't go as plan! We got there just in time! Sizzle is a friendly little dog, he was busy socialising with the other dogs instead of paying attention on what is on.
Luckily, they broke up the training into two different parts, Sizzle was with a group of 5 other baby dogs, they have fenced up a small area to set up the following jumps + tunnels like this one below:

It is a very simple exercise but we have learned a lot of different handlings just in this simple jumping sequence, mainly the DISTANCE CONTROL. First, you just send the dogs over three jumps into the tunnel then back down to this end of the tunnel. The dogs are doing the same thing all the time but as a handler, you vary your positions. Sizzle was a very good boy, I achieved sending him into the tunnels with me just standing in the middle jump, he didn't bother to look at me and he was really focused and I only used my voice to encourage him to "GO ON". We also tried LAYERING with him, GOSH! I never know how good he is until I've tried it. I was running from the outside (he was on my left), sending him into the tunnel and he will come out from the other side of the tunnel and run down the line while I was still running in the same outside line I was.
With Sing and Saturn, we varies more, I was running in the middle line sending the dog into the tunnel then ran outside, so when the dog came out from the tunnel running down the line, I was layering already. There are many different ways and I was really proud of my boys, all of them did really well in these exercises. I managed to stand by the 1st jump and sent them into the tunnel and moved very slightly. I am so glad that yhey are all happy for me to leave them and working ahead of me. Shamed that Colin only managed to take the first run of Sizzle as he was tired and went back to the sitting area for a rest.
After 1.5 hours, we swap group, we moved to the other part that consist of contacts and some more jumping sequences. All this time, I have been babying Sizzle, only do straight line with him or big loop at club with the poles rested on the jump wing base. In the second part of the training, we got to do some difficult sequences for the babies. There is a pull through, front crosses, nothing in a straight line. He started to “give up”, he kinda like told me: I can’t do that! Also the jumps were set to a mini height and he has knocked a couple of poles down too. I tried to study the video many times and can't see what is the obvious reason but I can see one pole down was because he turned to tight. At that time, I was nearly given up, he has not done such a long hours before and for me, he was tired and the courses were difficult for him but I carried on.
Later, with Sing & Saturn, we did the similar sequences and I found it difficult too, even with the experienced dogs.
here is some of our work:

Eventhough I am very tired, honestly, I am extremely tired! I really enjoyed all the trainings as I have received so many useful advices from different trainers and I took them all seriously. After this week's training, I can sum up as GREAT DOGS SHAMED ABOUT HANDLER! If the boys are not handle by me, I am sure they are superb at agility!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

to all mummies

Just a quick post to wish all mothers a fabulous day tomorrow
Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

swimming with ...

While everyone is going abroad to swim with dolphins, my boys enjoy staying local to swim with the gease!

I am more than please with Sizzle, he has proved himself not a one-off on diving and swimming in the open water and he wanted to do as well as Sing, so off he dives again this morning! Sorry folks, you must be bored with all the diving photos from my shelties!

Saturn found this tree trunk on our walk in Mitcham Common this morning, first he offers me a "back up" trick which I missed on the camera, then he offered me this "target":

he then did his "circus elephant" trick:

our usual afternoon play in the garden:

... continue from yesterday ...
Sizzle: I let you win yesterday but not today!
Saturn: mummy said if I let you have the ball, she will give me an extra chicken for my din din tonight!

smile a little smile for me!

I maybe crazy but I would like to invite you to VOTE for
the best (favourite) smile:

smart SING


super SATURN

evil TITAN

crazy SKYE

sunshine SIZZLE

sunny SAMBER

Note: there is a vote counter on the right hand side of this blog, you can choose multiple smiles! This is just for fun, there is no prize!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

swimming shelties and spring is in the air

I took Sing, Saturn, Sizzle and Titan for a long walk yesterday to celebrate Sing's birthday. We did a lot of ball fetching and swimming in the pond. All the boys were so excited and I managed to get Saturn and Sizzle to swim without any help from me at all but I used a lot of voice encouragement.
Sizzle surprised me by DIVING into the pond to fetch his rope ball. Yes, you heard me right, DIVING! At first, I thought it is just a one-off but he did that many times and I caught some on the vidoes and some on the photos! YES! I am very proud of my little man.

here is the video of the boys swimming in the open water:

Sizzle said he can smell SPRING!

The weather has been so nice for the last four days, lovely sunny and warm. We were at flyball training on Saturday, Sizzle did brilliantly again. He somehow trigger the box accidentally and the ball pop but thank God that didn't freak him out. He is such a clever boy. We also did something new. They set up some nettings to make it a narrow lane, we were learning some changeover. Basically we have two people holding two different dogs in the opposite directions. The two handlers need to run pass each other then call your dog, the holders will release the dogs at the same time, so these two dogs meet in the very narrow lane. For the first couple of runs, Sizzle was looking at the dog but I got his attention to me, so that was good. He is a very clever dog and knows what to do, so in the next few runs, he really focus on me.

Sunday, we went to Chippenham to do our first KC agility show of the year. More about that later in a separate post.

Sizzle and I didn't do terribly well at class today. It is so funny as the other dogs were not on form either! Last week everyone was flying but this week, all dogs were distracted by something. Sizzle wasn't bad at all but he was not interested in toy. I guess this was because I do some "hit it" board ground work with him before class and I have been using food for that. When I took the food out, he was all different! Ah! Sheltie!! I have to say I am really impress with his wobble (see-saw). We did jump, see-saw, turn right straight down two jumps. He has no fear on the see-saw at all, when the see-saw tip, he actually jump back up to ask for more food!!

It was still sunny when we got back from class, so we spent an hour in the garden playing and photo taking.

doesn't this photo looks familiar? whenever Saturn gets the ball, Sizzle will try to tell him off!

Sizzle: Now, I warn you, you better let me have the ball next time mummy throw it!
Saturn: We'll see, youngman!

well, it look like Saturn wins again! (at the background!)

Sizzle: mummy? don't you think I am the cutest, the sweetest and the best? Please, I want the ball!

poor Sizzle gave up and decided he will join in the troublesome trio attack!

sunny Samber can be obedient after a little training

Titan hates his photo taken and this is a rare opportunity

why is Seagull looks like an old man? He is only 6 but he seems to turn white/greyish so fast!