Monday, June 29, 2009

a cripple agility weekend!

I was so much looking forward to Landsdown Agility Show. This show was held at the Landsdown Racecourse, the view is always so beautiful from the top of the hill and the camping is always good, we have plenty of space and the people are so friendly. We have some lovely walking spaces for the dogs and there is no restriction on how many dogs are allow off the lead as long as you can control your dogs.
Unfortunately, I have two cripple dogs who were supposed to compete at Landsdown. Saturn's broken dewclaw was still bad, Kevin only removed his bandage on Friday morning but he needs to wear a sock to protect the bare skin for a little while. Saturn was not happy with my baby sock + terrible bandage work, he keeps chewing it off! Arrrggghhh ...
You can see from the above picture that eventhough his dewclaw was clean but it still need protection, this means he shouldn't be running for the next week or so.
Sing was slightly lame from last week's tumbled tunnel. To be honest, with two dogs cannot run, I shouldn't have gone to Landsdown but both boys were on the Crufts Team, so I HAVE to go, at least to run Sing in the Team. I did gave him a warm up run in the Jumping as first thing of Saturday. When I first walked the Jumping course, I cannot register the course in my mind. We got there late on Friday night and didn't settle until nearly 12 o'clock, so an early start is not the thing I want. The course was challenging, it was a graded class too, I thought if I can pull through the hard bit, I would like to win the class. I actually did the hard bit smoothly but got eliminated on the tunnel! Arrrggghhh ... it was my fault really, I was meant to do a front cross after the weave, so Sing is on my right hand side, so I can send him in the grey tunnel, then tell him left tunnel and of course I didn't do my switches and Sing didn't know where I want him to go, he ended up go in the same tunnel, Bless my little boy. I was actually pleased with him doing the hard bit alright. There weren't many clear rounds in this Jumping course!
After that, we have the Medium Crufts Team. I ran Saturn at the first qualifier and I know Saturn is not fit for agility so I asked to run Sing for the rest of the qualifiers. Sing was the first one to go and he was a good boy, he was the only dog in the Team to go clear. Two of our mates got fault and one got eliminated, so no qualified again this time. We must try harder next time but it was very good to run in the Team.
this is not a successful weekend but I thought I would post the runs I did with Sing, so some of you may like to try the course, especially the Jumping course:

This is the first time of the year we were away in the caravan. We have a compact little caravan, enough to fit in the two of us and our SIX shelties! We took all the boys with us plus Samber. This is the first time Samber camping with us and she was a good girl. She didn't attempt to run away or do anything naughty. She really is a sweetheart.

this is our little caravan

Saturday evening rain after we came back from our long walk, so Saturn decided he will watch his daddy cooking BBQ from the window

... then Samber joined him, isn't she cute?

she is daddy's girl

... and these are my boys! Can you imagine I woke up ache and pain next morning?

since Sing and Saturn are not fit to run on Sunday, we chilled out to enjoy a bit of relaxing day ... it was VERY HOT on Sunday, this is Sing's favourite cool spot, underneath the caravan!

these two planets were quite happy to stay under our awning

this little girl likes sunbathing!

this is my job when we go caravaning ... groom the dog!

just recently, these two like to stick together
Sizzle and Samber enjoyed their run in the racecourse

I hope you like this series of photo of Sizzle trying to escape from the garden. Yes, he is a naughty boy, he tried to escape to find me everytime I wander to see what happened in the ring, funny thing is Colin didn't even aware he has gone! I actually caught him by the ringside, to be precise, he FOUND me by the ringside and he was so pleased with himself when he sees me! You either hate him or like him!

cute puppy!

I was away at Landsdown having a "cripple" agility weekend! More about that later. I missed little Blessy! While I left him on Friday evening, one of his ears already open, so I left a radio on for him.
He becomes very cute now, when he is awake, he gets to come out from the puppy pen to wander in the lounge. He loves to explore the surroundings, I leave some stuff on the floor for him to see. It is extremely hot today, really muggy and he got to wander on the patio for a little while and he was walking so fast and everywhere!! I need to be fast to be able to catch him!
smile a little smile for me

so cute

can you find the puppy?

Bless likes to use his paw

I really thought he is a left handed as I can see he always use his left paw to hit something ...

... including giving me his left paw! Sorry folks, I didn't teach him the trick, maybe he is a natural?

until I see this, sorry the photo is a bit blur but you can see him using his right paw too!

the real family

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday to TITAN

I am such a bad mum! How can I forget Titan's birthday? He turns FOUR on Thursday (25th June). I did made up his birthday for a long walk at Landsdown Racecourse this weekend and some yummy food!

Happy 4th Birthday to my "evil" boy!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sizzle and his training

I have received emails asking me how is Sizzle's running dog walk.

I am very happy with his progress. I haven't done much with him for the last 8 weeks but we did a couple of training with him for the last two weeks. His running dog walk is good, eventhough not 100% but we are getting there. We just need a lot of reputations. I would not do much with him due to the hot weather, I will take it easy and slowly. No pressure at all. He is so much fun to train. As we are rusty at training, he started to get distracted easily, so we will work on that!

life is not just for agility, this is Sizzle's playtime!

you gotto like his running dog walk, look at the speed he is coming from

Sizzle: I know what "get it" means!

he is a stunner!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

photos taking

Sorry I forgot to post a photo of Sing and his grand Thames trophy. Well, it is not easy to take a "happy" photo of Sing with his trophy anymore. He was alright before until we started to take a group photos including Samber. Samber has not been trained at all, I can never get her to sit let alone a wait, so with a lot of hassle, we managed a group photo but that put Sing off when I started to line them up for a photo session.

at last a happy Sing with his grand Thames trophy! I was so lucky to win one of these grand trophies, especially with my special boy.
we started with this one, a fed-up looking boy thinking NOT ANOTHER PHOTO?

Bless said: nevermind daddy, I'll be the poser!

I can't believe how fast a puppy grows. This morning, Bless was still struggling to walk but this late afternoon, he is so much better already! I am going caravaning this weekend for another agility weekend, I wonder by the time I come back will he up on his feet and start running already? Hahaha ...
Saturn is always a poser, a happy poser. Due to his broken nail, he is not allow to go out walking so we got stuck indoor for some tricks. This is his "cross your paw" trick. He is such a handsome cutie with the bandage on. I need to keep thinking something for him to do to distract him from tearing the bandage!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

pedicure & manicure

I thought I would post this picture of Bless having his feet done! This is the second time I trim his toe nails. The last time I did it was a week ago, the nails are getting so long so fast! Just to make sure they didn't hurt Gem while feeding, so I better get on with my job. He is a cute puppy and have been very patient when I trim his nails. After Saturn's broken nail, Colin said today is the Nail National Day! Hahaha ...

Bless update

Bless will be 2 weeks old tomorrow. Some people asked me if his eyes are open yet, mmm ... yes and no!
I started to see a crack last evening, thinking he might be opened today but nope! Hopefully he will be fully open tomorrow.

here are a couple of eye spy photos:

this photo was taken last evening

this one taken this morning

Bless said: Nope, I am not open my eyes, I am tired!

yawning is a growing process!

daddy's boy?

Sing is very scare of him! I introduced him to Sing last week, Sing was very wary and watch him from a distance, then slowly creep closer to sniff him, little Bless sniff him back that made him jump. I got shock of his reaction. Since then, he would not go closer!!! Just look at his face in the photo.

poor Saturn! BAD mummy!!!

Poor Saturn broken his tumb nail!! I don't know when does that happened, I only noticed it yesterday evening when I took them out walking. He was happily chasing the coots as usual but came back with bloody paw! I got concerned and went home straight away but it was late and the vet already closed. I washed the paw to find out he has broken his tumb nail, I tried to trim it but because it wasn't long (I trim his nails every two weeks), so it got a bit awkward. He ended up in the vet this morning to have it treated. Kevin said it was badly infected so he needed a sedation to bath the wound then bandage it up. Poor Saturn, I don't think he likes to win out of grade. Last year, he won into Grade 4 in Landsdown and two days later he had his biopsy operation and last Sunday, he won into Grade 5, two days later had another sedation to remove the broken tumb nail. Poor boy! He must think I am a bad mummy!!

Saturn was so happy to see me when I picked him up from the vet a few hours later

he really is so tired from the sedation but he is worried that I will take him back to the vet

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturn and Axstane agility weekend

I had a mixed agility weekend with Sing and Saturn.

On Saturday, we have Eukanuba mini/mixi pairs to start with, so early start for us. Luckily the traffic wasn't bad at all and we got there plenty of time. As usual, Colin walked the boys for me so I can go and walk the course. The Eukanuba mini/mixi pairs was a twiddly course, I walked it many times and I still cannot register the course in my head. I have been jumping Sing at small height at training, so I got a little confused over the height to start with; then the jumps were set very close together, you always have a small and a medium height next to each other, for me, it is very easy to take the wrong jump, especially in the box area where most dogs got eliminated for taking the wrong jump.

Sing started off well, he and Kodak were the first one to go. Sing did a lovely clear round, unfortunately Kodak got eliminated soon after he dash out from the tunnel. With the baton changeover, you can't really have a wait there as you will lost time and Amanda wasn't fast enough to get to the right place so Kodak took the wrong jump. Other than that, Kodak did a beautiful round, especially the weave entry, he is fab!

Saturn and Bracken was next to go. Saturn didn't pick up his speed that day, he was slow and steady and we went clear on our part and luckily that superb dynamo Bracken made up all the time we've lost. With double clears, that put us into 2nd place.

Soon after the Eukanuba pairs, Sing has the KC Olympia Combined 1-7 Agility to go. I didn't enter Saturn in that class, knowing he will not do his contacts. Sing started off slowly but he soon picked up his speed after the dog walk but he tumbled badly in the 2nd tunnel! When we were in the queue, three dog in front of us was peeing in the tunnel, so the judge has to wash the tunnel down with a bucket of water. I got a bit worried seeing water in the tunnel as it was a slightly curve tunnel but the ring party already taken Sing's ticket, so I have to run in order. The two dogs in front of us got caught in the tunnel, I think they don't like the water. As I said, Sing picked up his speed after the dog walk, so he was going in a good speed into the water tunnel and he tumbled badly as I can see him came out a little bit slow and uneasy but he carried on until I've notcied he slow down in the weave but he was a good boy, he finished the whole course clear. I gave him arnica after that and he was slow for the rest of the day and Sunday. I have heard many other dogs also got tumbled in the same tunnel, the two I know were Rosie's Disney and Ann's Tippex. Maybe the KC should think about the safty of the pipe tunnel in the future.

Our next class was Combined 1-7 Helter Skelter, it was a real H/S course, from a small loop into a medium loop then a big loop to finish. I only walk the course once as I was getting dizzy. I wasn't sure if Saturn is happy to run the course as he wasn't really jumping nicely that day but we did it anyway, he was clear but he hasn't got that speed.

To finish our Saturday, we have another pull through jumping course, it was a Graded 4-7. Guess what? I still didn't learn from our last week's course at Thames. I should have done a push through with Saturn instead of pull through, so he didn't take the jump (see video) but we didn't get a refusal. I was crossed with myself! Sing wasn't running as he was sore from the tunnel accident. In this course, there was the cloth tunnel (chute) to jump to finish. It was a grade 4-7 class and I was really shocked how many dogs got caught in that act, too many of them would not go on after the cloth tunnel, they either lost time or go around the jump (eliminated)! I wonder were they really Grade 4-7 dogs?

We finished Saturday fairly early but we have to hang around a little bit as Colin has a drink with his boss in the evening and I need to drop him off in Central London, on the way home. We went for a nice kebab (eating in the car with the dogs!). On the way home, we were crossing Tower Bridge, for the first time, we saw the bridge being lifted for the boats to get pass, very impressive!

I also told Colin I was feeling very sad about Saturn's performance. I don't think he is in pain or anything as he looked jolly but he isn't jumping in a good speed. I told him I may want to retire him from serious competition, just do some jumping classes with him. Colin didn't agree with me, he said I should give him chance and I don't know what to do. I don't want him to associate with the bad behaviour.

So, I was thinking is it worth going on Sunday as Sing is hurt. We don't have the first class, our first competition was the Graded 4-7 Agility and it was after the practice ring close at 10:30. I was still in bed at 7am! You can imagine I was not thinking of going but I suddenly remembered I owe the trade stand some money which I promised to pay on Sunday. I woke Colin up, fed the girls and say goodbye to the pup and off we go.

We got there fairly early, Linda was camping with her husband and her sheltie crews, she kindly made us some bacon baps for breakfast. Thanks Linda! It was about 9:45, I thought I will give Saturn a go at the practice ring to remind him on the contacts as this maybe his last agility class for a long time. We don't get many practice rings so this is an opportunity. Saturn wasn't really doing his contacts, as we have one minute per go, I tried to reinforce his dog walk and A Frame twice, then see-saw once and left the ring in plenty of time.

The Graded 4-7 Agility course was a nice one, well, to me, it was my kinda of course. I like handling course. My only worried was the dog walk to the wrong end of the tunnel bit. Many dogs (or most dogs, all dogs) will go straight into the tunnel after the dog walk. I walked it in three different ways how I would handle Sing, the one with a running dog walk will surely go straight into the tunnel facing him! My options were ... to switch in front of the jump before the DW, so I will be on the other side of the DW (Sing on my left) to push him into the wrong end of the tunnel; the other way is to stay this side of the DW (Sing on my right), but to stay wide so I can pull him into the wrong end of the tunnel; and my last option was sending him to take the jump before the DW then run like hell to get to the DW before him to do a front cross then push him into the tunnel. I know the risk of him not getting the contact for my last two options, so I have to wait and see. I didn't even bother to walk for Saturn as I know we will not get the contacts. He was the first one to go. I thought I will try my best to make it look good, also a practice for me to run Sing later.

Saturn was keen to go but he was slow in the weave, he normally weave much faster than that. We did the pull through #4 and #5 (YES! pull through again!!!) alright and he took the jump before the DW, as I was running, I was thinking how am I going to make him to TOUCH? I just said to him "get it", my usual cue for the contact. I never thought he will do his 2o/2o but he did. WooHoo! What a good boy! I also did my front cross and push him into the wrong end of the tunnel. Hei hei! I feel so good about it. My next worried was the see-saw, he very often leap the see-saw but man! He did the see-saw beautifully, I cannot complain about that see-saw. The last contact was the A Frame, I have been tried to release him on the A Frame fast so he don't have time to hesitate but I think that was a bit too fast but he did get his A Frame contact though. I have to say in general, he was very responsive to all my handlings. I was really happy with our run. I praise him like crazy when we finished. I thought we finished in a good way. (Note: the video isn't very good, Colin said the camera suddenly went wrong, the screen were jumping up and down and he was trying to film without seeing it, hopefully it will come out).

After Saturn's run, I was getting Sing ready for his run. I wasn't going to push him for speed as he may still be sore from the tunnel accident. I love to run Sing in this class as I want to know if he still get his running dog walk if I do my front cross after the dog walk and he goes into the right end of the tunnel. Obviously we went very wrong before we got to the DW. For some reason, he didn't response to my pull through handling and we got eliminated there. I thought that's great, I can do what I want to do now. I send him to take the jump and tell him "walk on" then I ran like hell to beat him to the DW in order to do the front cross. I win in this case, I've got there before him, but ended up with a blind turn (even better!) and he still get his contact and he went into the correct end of the tunnel! I thought that was a great achievement for us eventhough he got wild after that but who cares! He is my Sing.

As we were waiting to see if Jane and Quito win the class, we hang around to see other dogs run as well. Believe me, only FIVE medium dogs went clear in that class out of 65! TWO in Grade 4; ONE in Grade 5; TWO in Grade 6 and NONE in Grade 7! You know what? Saturn WON the Grade 4 by 8 seconds!! He is up with the Grade 5 now! Of course Jane and Quito won the Grade 5 and now up to Grade 6 with Sing. Hooray!! I must mentioned this ... all the four winners from different grades ... Saturn and me in Grade 4, Quito and Jane in Grade 5, Todd and Karen in Grade 6; Disney and Rosie in Grade 7 are all Pachesham students!! Eleanor must be very proud of us!! Pachesham Rules! YEAH!! Jane's husband Graham has taken this photo of us:

left to right: me, Jane, Karen & Rosie

Well, after the great news, we have a long wait for the jumpings. The weather was getting hotter and hotter and I started to have a feeling that Saturn will give up running again. Unfortunately, the two jumping classes were going to clash again! I ran Saturn in the Tunnel Jumping (combined 1-7) class first and he was very keen and good. He was running ahead of me and he did the two tunnels with commands and distance. That's what I call another achievement. I was really proud of him and he did really well in that Tunnel Jumping. I don't care if he gets a place because his performance is what I care. We actually ended up 9th.

The last class was the Combined 4-7 Jumping. It was set by the same judge Peter that judge the Agility this morning. Basically he just removed the contacts and replaced by more jumps. Again, my worried was the two straight jump into the wrong end of the tunnel. Just imagine the speed the dogs came from the two straight jumps, all they see is the tunnel entrance in front of them. Again, most dogs got eliminated in that tunnal action! Jump-Jump-Weave to start is never a cup of tea in Saturn's case, he will weave faster if the weave is in the middle or the end. I guess he must be getting tired towards the end of the day, to me he was slow to start with but later pick up the speed. I really don't know how to handle the tunnel bit. We have done this many times at training and we never get it right, my "Sat Sat Sat" command nevers seems to work at training, he totally ignored me and went straight into the tunnel but in this case, I thought I will really running as wide from him as possible then call him when he is approaching the tunnel. I must get my timing right this time, when I call him "Saturn" he looked at me then he was in the correct end of the tunnel. WooHoo! I feel good! This put us into 4th place, really is not bad! Karen and Todd won that class. This pair is just fab. They won the Agility and Jumping in style! Three down, one to go, they will soon be in Grade 7. I am so happy for them!

Saturn with his Axstane winnings
sorry to post this two silly photos but I just love to see him rolling and enjoying himself

Saturn: Oh mummy, not again? I have enough photo taken please!!

and here are our runs from the weekend: