Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I will miss them

We are leaving early tomorrow morning for Belgium. 2 hours drive to Dover Terminal, 2 hours on the Ferry crossing to Dunkirk, then another 2 hours from Dunkirk to Putte. I am getting very stress now, packing, more packing, even more packing ... check all documents (human, dogs and car!), make sure all dogs have all their essential, those who travel and those who stay behind and Sizzle is going to stay with Eleanor. BTW, I think Samber decided to come into season!!! I hope my nephews will look after the two boys and two girls well, not to let them mix together, or else we will have some unexpected puppies!!! Doh!
Luckily we have a good weekend to spend time with all the dogs, they all have good long walks and we played a lot in the garden, eventhough it was very hot but we love the time together.

we decided to take Saturn with us to keep Sing company. I wish I could take Sizzle but he hasn't got a pet passport granted to him yet!! I will miss him the most! I know he is in good hand. He loves Eleanor's children and dogs.

we have some lovely time playing football in the garden, you can see how Gem loves being one of the KNIGHTs pack!

Sizzle loves his football too

Let's see who gets the ball

Sing's way

and Sizzle's way

Till I come back, I will miss them terribly.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We have a nice girly came to stay with us since the end of March. She has a good pedigree and have been shown a little when she was younger. She is carrying our very first Sing-let. Hopefully by the time we come back from Belgium, we are getting ready into action.

golden Gem

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sizzle and his DW

It wasn't windy today, so I got to practise on the dog walk with Sizzle after we came back from Pachesham this afternoon. I had a good think about what to do with him and his dog walk last night; basically I still want to stick to our running contact as we have been doing it since the first day I started our agility training. My back up is to go back to 2o/2o if our running contact gone horribly wrong, I hope not!
Sizzle is very different to Sing, eventhough Sing does running contact but he has much shorter stride and he is much slower, so I can find my way to catch him up when needed. Sizzle is so much faster and he also stretch himself longer (if that is the right way to express it?), so I have higher risk with him not hitting the contact area. I know we have not been doing a lot of dog walk, and running contact needs a lot of reputations, you are talking about doing it again and again and again and again ...
Unfortunately the small "hit hit" board didn't work on Sizzle. He hits it perfectly when the board is on the ground but he try to avoid the board when he did the full dog walk. He will hit the board when he is on the down plank and I have been doing that for 5 weeks. When I started put him on the full dog walk, he came down so fast and saw the board and decided he leap over it!
I've ordered a custom made size "hit it" board, again the mechanism in the board is not light enough to take Sizzle's weight, so when he is on top of the board, it didn't beep!
I have started a new idea before Sizzle was ill. I put his ball at the bottom of the DW, so when he came down, he needs to kinda stop to get his ball. I am hoping to shape a pattern that he will change his stride. We did a few reputations and he was doing well. I gradually moved the ball further away from the DW then he started to get so excited and jump off before hitting the contact area.
Then, he fell ill, so we didn't get any practise for four weeks. Today is the first time we came back to this. I put the ball out (at the bottom of the DW) to start with, after three/four runs, I fade the ball out (I was holding and hiding the ball at my back), I cue him "get it", when I saw him hitting the contact area, I throw the ball for him. We did about three/four runs and he didn't miss the contact area.
Later in the evening, when Colin got home, I thought I will get him to video us so I can see what I was doing. I started with putting the ball out for him then holding the ball and throw it for him when he hits the contact area. I have noticed that when the ball is not there, he was looking back at me for the ball. I need to think of a way to get rid of his behaviour as I want him to drive straight down instead of looking at me. Any ideas welcome!!
here is our training video:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sizzle's training

playtime for Sizzle

I haven't update about Sizzle and his training for a while. We have not done a lot for a good few weeks. He was very ill three/four weeks ago and I have not done anything since. I started to take him training last Monday but he fell flat on the A Frame, so another few days of rest. I only started to do a bit of V Weaving with him on Monday and he seems to improve a little. I have closed up (not upright) the weaves and add the wires on. I thought it is good for him to learn with the wires on as I may need them in future, especially teaching the entries. Our entries are not good, there is a lot of room for improvements. I am taking my time, I have learned to be patient with my training with him. He is a very good little boy and I love training him.
We went to Pachesham yesterday to resume our usual training after a four weeks break. I wonder if the sequences were too hard for the baby dogs or all the dogs were not on form, we all did terribly!! Our first sequence was this one below:

It was so funny that all dogs (Yes! All dogs!) decided they will go up to the A Frame after jump #4 instead of jump #5 then the see-saw. We all know that all dogs love to go up to the contacts so they can get their rewards (food) but I can't understand why they all chose the A Frame and not see-saw! Before we did our first run, Eleanor has warned us that the dog may pick up the A Frame as it was very obvious to the dog when they took jump #4, we need to work hard to get the dog's attention to do jump #5 then they will see the see-saw.

My first try with Sizzle was to put him on a wait, then lead out to slightly pass jump #2, then recall and run, he took all the jumps but after jump #4, he went straight up to the A Frame!! I didn't want to stop and restart again (I have learned not to do this with a baby dog), so I run with him from the A Frame to jump #1, that made it worst as I was so far behind (now I know I cannot do a running start with him!) and the three jumps were not in a staright line, I did tried to push him out but he missed all the jumps and went straight up to the A Frame again!!! I decided we had a game then restart it in a proper way.

Our thrid try was so much better, he responded to me when he took jump #4, eventhough he was wide as I call him a little too late but he took jump #5 and did his "wobble". Our 4th and last try on that sequence has captured in the video below. He now has also learned to do the see-saw (his big wobble board) independently but he sometimes still come off too early. We need to work hard on that but my see-saw has taken down early this year to train his running contact and I lost the nuts to put it back together!!!

In the 2nd video, you can see this sequence below:

again, all the other dogs (not Sizzle) find the jump #4, #5, #6 to tunnel impossible. My first attempt with Sizzle was not very successful, Eleanor took out the see-saw and replaced with jump #6, so all the dogs were looking for the see-saw after jump #5. The see-saw was lying on the floor, so all the dogs were jumping all over it looking for food!! Luckily my second attempt was a successful one. Sizzle loves his pipe tunnel, he went straight into the tunnel from jump #6 and I have time to switch and pick him up on my right to finish the sequence. Phew!

Our running dog walk was a mess at the moment. Due to Sizzle's illness and the new "hit it" board problem, we kept putting the training off. We have not done any dog walk for at least a couple of months. Before Sizzle was ill, I have try to put a ball at the end of the dog walk for him to stop him leaping off and add my new cue "get it". I wasn't sure if he got the cue, as sometimes he hit the contact area and sometimes not. I have put the ball further and further. I am not too happy with my training. I wanted to try out some new options this week but the wind was so strong and I do not want him to blow off, so no training until the wind die down, this probably mean, no dog walk at all until I come back from Belgium. I have taught him "target" separately but never put that on practise, maybe I will try the 2o/2o. I will give it a good thought when I am in Belgium.

As all the dogs were pretty bad this week, we didn't get much done at this training. I stayed back for 5 extra minutes when the class was over, just to do the weaves. It was a competition upright weave, I started putting Sizzle on the lead, hopefully he will drag me to weave and with the lead on, I can correct him if he goes into a wrong poles. He started off well but missed the last 2 but I managed to pull him back to correct him. We did three more on the lead, no mistake. I decided to try it off lead, and he finished with no mistake. I should have done it on the right hand weave as well but I thought he was good, so I finished off in good mood.

here is our little training video, I've also added the one Sizzle learning the cloth tunnel at the end:

Monday, May 18, 2009

"spider" sheepdog!

Sorry this is a silly title! Ever since Colin read the post of Sizzle fell flat on the A Frame last week at training (if you remembered I said Sizzle was like a spider), he now call him "spider" as his nickname!
he is a handsome spiderman!
Now, what about "sheepdog"? Sizzle has a real funny character. I had trouble teaching him to weave a while ago, so I took Saturn out to show him how to weave and he just copied what Saturn did but in speed! I've just realised that I have a cloth tunnel lying around in the garden, hardly been used, so maybe this is the time I should introduce him a new equipment. We don't do cloth tunnel at club but I know mostly at show, there is a cloth tunnel in each class. I always start with the usual way, lifted the end of the cloth tunnel and call him (it is hard when I am on my own, the only way is to get him to stay in front of the tunnel and recall), he came through SLOWLY, after a few times, I really wasn't happy about it. Later, I've got Sing and Saturn with him out in the garden. I starting to send the big boys into the tunnel and he just followed his big brothers in speed! YeeHa!
I thought it was great, so I did a few more cloth tunnel with three of them at once, my cue word for the cloth tunnel is "push" (for Sizzle only). Then, I got Sing and Saturn to stay and let Sizzle did it on his own. He didn't hesitate, he really is push through it so fast. Today, we had another go at the cloth tunnel and YES, he push through it with no problem and in great speed when he was coming down the line.
Colin said he is like a sheepdog, I asked him why. He said normally a baby sheepdog is copying what his mum is doing, so Sizzle is coying Sing & Saturn, he is a real sheepdog then?
learning to PUSH
I like this picture, did you see Saturn? Sizzle is very keen. Once he learns, he is confidence and do it in speed, poor Saturn got stuck behind!

The above picture: Sizzle is not a food orientated dog, we always have some trouble using some treats at training. He only likes good food like Roast Beef/Roast Ham/Roast Chicken (not the boil chicken!) but he loves his usual dog food so much. He is quite a fast eater too. Sing is the slowest among all the dogs. Sizzle always eyed on Sing's bowl after his gulp down all his food.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


My Flyball Club, the Wimbledon Whizzers is holding the spring tournament this weekend. I put myself down to help the Team all day today. I really enjoyed my day just helping and not running the dogs. I was at the admin desk doing paperworks with Caroline in the open ring and I think we were a great team helping each other consider we are new to flyball.
I have to say the Wimbledon Whizzers is doing a FANTASTIC job, all I can say is WOW! It was amazing to see the Club organising an Open tournament at the same time running the Starters too. I have been to a few tournaments this year, I have never come across a Flyball Club that run the Starters and the Open in the same day.
We have a mixed weather today. It was very windy and cold, we have sun coming in and out and also a bit of a rain but that don't stop the handlers and the dogs. You can see from everyone's face that how much they enjoyed the day. Shamed that I haven't got a camera and I don't think I have time for the camera either. Hopefully, I will post a link of the photos taken by our own Club photographer Mark later.
Colin has been very good. We took Sing, Saturn and Sizzle with us. Colin was with them all the time when I was working. He took the dogs out for a walk every now and then. I've also got him to bring my mum over for a quick visit but the planned short visit became a very long miserable one for her. Colin said the traffic was bad and he quite prefer to stay if my mum doesn't mind waiting. She is not a doggy person so staying for 6 hours is definitely too much for her!
Luckily after all the runs, our Club decided to have some fun runs, singles and pairs. Wimbledon Whizzers is the most generous Club, normally you have to pay a pound or two to run in the singles or pairs but our Club didn't collect any money. Any dogs are welcome to run. Me & Sing got pair with Chris & Quiver (BC), we have to declare a time. Chris declared Quiver as 5.5 seconds and I declared Sing as 5.9 seconds. There were quite a few pairs there and I knew they are much faster than us but the end result ... we WON! It turned out to be the time we ran is closet to the time we declared! HooRay! We got a 1st place rosette!! What a surprised! I've also ran Sing in the singles, I knew we are not fast compare to the BCs but I love to run Sing, that is his favourite game. He was such a good boy, we have 3 legs and his time were consistent between 5.34 to 5.41. I am very proud of him.
Our Club is amazing, we have a lot of talented people. One of our friends, Meg (Megumi Biddle), she is a Portrait Artist and Illustrator, she draw this gorgeous comic of Me and Sing. I fell over in Febraury tournament and that is a good reminder! For those who do not understand the Chinese Character, that is Sing's name written in Chinese.

I got home today from the Flyball to receive this Good Luck card from our ESSC (English Shetland Sheepdog Club) Working Section wishing me and Sing Good Luck at our European Flyball Champsionship. We shall be leaving for Belgium in about 10 days time. I started to get a little excited now. I have never compete abroad before, this should be a good experienced. I am looking forward to our Belgium trip.

Good Luck card from ESSC Working Section

Monday, May 11, 2009

this and that

I haven't update my blog for nearly a week, we've been very busy and there were too much going on here ...
First of all, my mum arrived from Malaysia last Tuesday morning. We are very busy helping her to settle down. She isn't as fit and agile she used to be, she is actually very wobbly while walking, with 7 shelties living here, I am so scare that any one of them could easily knock her over. My dogs are very friendly, well a couple of them are over friendly, so they are constanatly following her whenever she goes! I don't think that will help my mum making her way around the house, especially up and down the staircase. My dogs used to sleep in our bedroom with us at night but now, I have to keep Seagull, Titan, Samber and Gem in the cages downstair. Sing, Saturn and Sizzle are still sleeping with us. I am not being bias but these three are real mummy's boys, they ONLY follow ME, so they are safe to leave running free in the house with my mum.
Having my mum is making me very stress, like all mums, she is constantly TIDYING the house! She wakes up very early in the morning, then she starts cleaning the house. She wants to make the house FUR-FREE!!! Well, she is better with the dogs than I expected. As long as the dogs don't lick her or jump up on her, she is happy.
these two girls are terrible for taking group photo, they can't sit still for half a second!!!
this is why I like my BOYS, they are so well behaved
We didn't do much training last week, I only went to Pachesham on Thursday to train Sing & Saturn. I had a show (Tunbridge Wells) on Sunday, Saturn was running for the ESSC (English Sheltland Sheepdog Club) Medium Team, so I would like to get him to do more contacts before the show. As usual, he was good at training, so cannot find any problem to correct him but I still worried he will run pass the A Frame and See-Saw at show like he did for the last two shows.
To be honest, I was rather nervous on Sunday when running in the Team. I should have put Sing in but I thought I would like to give Saturn a chance. Our first run was the Combined 4-5 Jumping, Sing was to run first, he is not a fast jumper so he did a nice clear round. As there were three other Medium classes going on at the same time, so there wasn't a queue, I have to run Saturn soon after I ran Sing. The Jumping course was a big spread out course! Luckily I am able to control Saturn in a distance, so I ran far away from him, create my own path in the middle of the course and that actually work out well. Saturn got 3rd in this class. I am really please with him. I know he probably can run at least half a second faster but that is fine by me.
Saturn with his lovely 3rd place rosette and trophy
Saturn's Jumping run:

Our second run was the Crufts Team, this is a 4 dogs relay (with baton change over) agility run. I chose to run first, then follow by Jenny & Jasper, Amy & Taz and Karen & Ace. It was a nice course, I know I can get around the course no problem with Sing but I was very worried with Saturn. The beginning and changeover of the course is very nice but because I was so worried that Saturn will miss the Dog Walk, I put myself in the position too early that cost Saturn missing a jump and straight into the tunnel, that gave us elimination and costing the Team to disqualify eventhough Jasper, Taz & Ace ran beautifully. Sorry Team, I will try harder next time.
Our last run was the Olympia qualifier combined 1-7 Agility. Again, I like the course, it was not straight forward, needed a bit of handling. First up was Sing, he surprised me with up a gear, he was powering down three jumps up to the Dog Walk, unfortunately he got blown off when he started to ran on the down plank! See picture below, he looked like he only have one back leg on the plank and the other was sliding off.
Nothing frightened this little dog, he carried on after he got blown off from the Dog Walk, of course he didn't maintain a clear round but I know he will go clear on this one.
Saturn was actually very good, he work very hard and went well, he didn't missed the Dog Walk or A Frame but he jump off too soon on the See-Saw, so we got 5 faults on that. I was actually very happy he didn't ran pass any contacts! WooHoo!!

Now, little update on my little sunshine. Sizzle has definitely fully recover from his sudden illness. I started taking him out walking last Thursday, he was fine. He was catching ball in the air and chasing birds. I didn't let him swim in the pond eventhough he was crying, dying to go in to fetch the ball. We didn't do anything training until today.
Saturn and Sizzle practising their "target"

he looks rather cheeky in the picture

Sizzle is a funny little boy, he is not food orientated, sometimes it makes training a little harder. He does not like cheese, not terribly keen on chicken (definitely not chicken & rice!), maybe a little bit of liver but his favourite is roast beef and a bit of ham. He is definitely a toy orientated dog. He is not keen on a squeaky toy but he loves a toy that makes noises. I first discovered that when we went to Bernadette, she has a red nose toy that laugh madly, Sizzle was crazy about it. I then went to get one from Sainsbury. Colin hated it so much, he thought that toy was extra annoying, he wish I didn't buy the toy but Sizzle and Sing were mad about it, Sing was trying to kill it but Sizzle just loved it. I took it to Pachesham for training, I think all the others hate me, to be honest, it was very annoying! Unfortunately we played too much with it and it went dead at last!
As it went dead after the red nose day, Sainsbury ran out of it so I can't get another one! I then started to keep my eyes open for some "talking" toys. I have bought a couple for him and they are not very exciting (to be precise ... ANNOYING!). I found a bird toy when we went to Wallingford three weeks ago, Sizzle loves it. It wasn't too annoying but exciting enough to get him WANTED it. We were playing a couple of days ago and for some reason when I throw the toy, it hit the wall and went dead! Sizzle looked sad when the bird stop making the noise, he kept using his nose to pock it but it just wouldn't make any noise anymore.
Yesterday at Tunbridge Wells, I went around the dog toys stores and bought him SIX talking toys, he was so happy, nearly drowning himself in his collection of talking toys! At the moment, he is crazy about the duck and the monkey! BTW, I've just discovered the bird is back to life and start making noise again!

Sizzle and his collection of talking toys!

Sizzle is not a lucky boy, we went training today, it was very windy. We were doing a jump onto the A Frame and somehow he fell flat on the up plank. I guess the strong wind must have coming from behind him and somehow "push" him while he was running up the plank. He was very "flat" (like a spider stick on the A Frame) but he did crawl up and finish off the A Frame on the other side. He had a little bruise on his chin and lower lip. I gave him some arnica and he needs more rest, so no training for at least three days.

having a rest

Monday, May 04, 2009

more about Sizzle

brotherly love
Saturn: don't worry, brother! I am your guarding angel.
Saturn has been a very good boy, he is always by his side looking after him. He is a gentle giant.

Sizzle is definitely getting better each day. I've got a "wet nose" alarm on my face everyday at 6am! He is very active in the morning but still spend a lot of time sleeping. I guess he is still not 100% and needs a lot of beauty sleep to recover his energy. When he sleeps, he really is in deep sleep, I have to shake him to wake him up! Do not ask me why I want to wake him up when he sleeps but I find it a bit scarry, so I did try to wake him once and gosh! That was not easy. Today is the first time he brought me a toy, so we had a 3 minutes playing fetch.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sizzle is better!

I woke up this morning with a wet nose on my face! Yes! My little sunshine was licking me all over, the way he does every morning when he wakes up! I straightaway know this little man of mine is feeling better. HooRay!
It was 6am on a Saturday morning, I am more than happy to wake up early knowing Sizzle has bounced back. I took him to toilet, he did a wee but no poo. I fed him a small amount of his normal food and then gave him 10ml of Glutalyte, then one hour before going to see the vet, I fed him another small amount of food and another 10ml of Glutalyte. I have to say he is eating very well. All in all, he has 5 small meals today. No more vomitting, No more diarrhoea!
Normally Sizzle march in to the vet like a troop but this morning he was a bit nervous. I can't blame him, I think he thought I am going to leave him there again, three jabs + a few hours drip a day is definitely too much for my poor little boy. He was trembling while waiting to be seen, I need to give him a cuddle to calm him down. It was very crowded in the vet this morning, there were a few families, all with cats. Sizzle was sitting on the floor like a saint, all the people there told me how well behaved he was. Well, I am not sure he will be sitting still if he is his normal self!

Sizzle: Daddy, can I have that piece of bacon, please?

Kevin wasn't on duty today, there was a lady vet there. She checked him toroughly and she was happy with him. She did gave him two injections and some antibiotics to be taken. I don't know this vet at all but I guess she is inexperience injecting the dog because she asked me if I am nervous when she injects Sizzle, I told her NO, so she showed me how to handle Sizzle while she perform the injection. I thought that is a bit funny as normally Kevin just injected while we were chatting. Anyway, I tried to hold Sizzle the way she wants me to hold and I guess she was being very careful and when she slowly put the needle into Sizzle's skin, Sizzle jump! I jump too! At the end, she has to ask a nurse to come in to hold Sizzle. Bless my little baby, he was very good when received two horrible jabs! No yelp at all.
Sizzle is definitely look so much brighter today, he is a little active than the last couple of days but I still try to rest him as much as possible. Thanks to everyone who sends cuddles and kisses, that definitely make him feels better! Sizzle is returning a big slobbery kiss to all xxx.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Quick update on Sizzle

my little man travel home in the car today from the vet

I went to pick up my little man from the vet this evening, he was so happy to see me and greet me with his livelier self. Kevin and the nurse told me he definitely bounced back after the Intravenous Fluid drip. They have offered him some food but he wasn't eating any. I have cooked chicken & rice for him before picking him up.
I offered him a tiny amount of chicken & rice after he settled down but he wasn't eating eiter! I've got Sing and Saturn out, pretending I am offering to them, so he started to put his nose in his bowl but really he wasn't eating. At the end, I tried to give him some of his normal food (tin of puppy butcher + Burns mini bite) and he ate them all! YEAH! Then, I sent him to toilet and he again pass the sticky, gluey black poo with fresh blood hanging on his bum. I've told Kevin this morning but he said that is ok as whatever virus he took in, either they come out front end (being sick) or back end. He said it is better it came out from the back as he has given him some injections to help soothing the stomach, so I should expect this kind of poo for a little while but at the same time, he gave me some Promax paste to help improving the poo back to normal. I then offered him some more food three hours later and again he has the same kind of poo. I will give him some Glutalyte before bed and he will be back at the Vet tomorrow morning for a check up.
More update tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone who sends good wishes to Sizzle. I know he is a poppet (well, the nurse at my vet said he was such a good boy and everyone loves him).

Sizzle update

Sizzle has a very quiet night last night. He was very weak and tired. He was so weak until he has to sit down on the grass to do his toilet! Bless him! His toilet was black, sticky, gluey follow by a bit of blood at the end. He slept next to me all night and there is no more vomitting. He didn't perk up this morning, so I took him back to my vet. Kevin decided he will keep him for more drip today. He confrimed that there is nothing wrong with his blood test, everything looks normal other than dehydration. He can't be sure what's wrong with Sizzle, he thinks he may have pick up a virus somewhere.
I feel so lonely that I have to drop him off at the vet this morning but if that is the only way to make him feels better, I have no choice. I am so attach to any of my dogs! Kevin also told me Sizzle was bright when I left him there yesterday, he was scratching the cage and chewing the tube (that's definitely my Sizzle!), so he has to put a victoria collar on him to stop him but he then settle down.
more update when I pick him up later.