Monday, November 30, 2009

for Ricky

Hi Ricky,

This is Kaolin & Poultice BP that I put on the shelties ears when needed:

this one for Ricky

This post is for Ricky
Ricky asked me how is Samber's ears ... Well, Samber's ears are very stubborn and they have been left prick for too long. When I got her, she was about 17/18 months and both ears were very stiff to bend over.
After the puppies left for their new homes, I started treated the ears with some strong grease with the help of kaolin & poultice. The ears will stay tip when the kaolin & poultice is on. I am hoping with the long term help of kaolin & poultice will eventually tip her ears. Samber's ears were looking good until we have this wet weather. Once her ears get wet, the kaolin & poultice will wear off and her ear will go up.
So, Ricky, we are still trying.

Iphito Of The Five Colors

I was sitting in front of my computer feeling really blue ... it is wet and cold out there, can't take the dogs out ... then my mailbox beep, here comes these two gorgeous pictures that make my day.
introducing this little Miss ...
Iphito Of The Five Colors

she will be called ... Sipzie

rainy blue

It has been raining almost non-stop over here for the last few days but knowing me and Colin, we still walk the dogs no matter what the weather is like; so you can imagine we all covered in mud everytime we come home! Yesterday was the worst of all, we were totally soak but the dogs were happy! Weird animal!
Training wise ... can't do anything in the garden, with the rain and wind, the willow tree leafs cover the garden and I have been unable to go out to clean up the dog mess, so I don't fancy stepping on the dog mess!! Also, the lawn needs mowing but it is too wet to do so! Due to the high wind we have recently, I put most of the equipment aside, look like we are not going to do anything in the garden for a while!

a very wet garden!!

Sing is starting to look better, at least I can see he is less stiff. I wasn't keen to put a coat on my dogs, I think they look rather silly with it but after talking to Sara last Sunday while she was treating Sing, I agreed with her to give Sing a coat to keep his muscle warm in this cold weather. I bought a waterproof coat for him. Someone I train with has one for her JRT and it looks very good on him, so I decided to order a 4oz coat for Sing. The coat arrived on Thursday. We went out walking with it on Friday and Sing didn't seems to mind which surprised me. I also take Sara's advise to give Sing his warm up massage before taking him out walking. I am so please to see Sing feels much livelier!

Still no ball for Sing but he found a ball in my jacket pocket!

Sing showing off his new coat. I am very happy with this coat, the outside is waterproof material and the inside is soft & warm moleskin. We went out walking yesterday in the pouring rain for more than an hour and Sing's body is dry when we got home! I since went to order five more for the other dogs!

Samber's coat is starting to grow again after she has her babies. I am surprise that she looks more Golden now!

Thought I would post this photo of Seagull, he looks very cute in the pile of falling leafs

Thursday, November 26, 2009

to speed up or not?

We had a good training with Sizzle today. He was crazily fast but responsive! We moved back to indoor school last week. I have a feeling that he prefers indoor than outdoor. I can see he goes faster indoor but he is more casual in speed when we train outdoor. I do not know if the toy I am using today made him go crazy. He always prefers a "talking" toy, he is not keen on squeeky. I only discover that early this year when we went to Bernadette, she had a crazy laugh toy by Red Nose Day, I went and bought one from Sainsbury and Sizzle was mad about it, unfortunately we over play with the toy and it stop laughing now. Colin was glad it finally went dead as he said that toy made him go mad! Anyway, since then, I started collecting "talking" toys for him. I bought a Shrek and the Donkey from 99p store a few months ago, Shrek is now dead, yes, over play again! Today, I took Donkey to training. I show the Donkey to Sizzle on the startline, he didn't show he is hyper (he nevers did!) but when he goes, he shoot like a rocket. I was shocked and don't know how to response to his speed so we went wrong the first time, so when I got him back and restart him again, I was more prepare and we both went really well. We did the pull through and tough weave entries and Sizzle didn't put a foot wrong. Almost towards the end of the training, we had a small disaster. It was a tunnel and 3 straight jumps home, I pushed him to GO ON and he was fast and misjudged his pacing and knocked hard on the 2nd jump. This reminded me of KC Festival where he hit himself so badly on the pole at the practise ring. Luckily Sizzle is getting mature since, he was happy to go again after the knocked but show himself down. Sensible!
After today's training, I have two questions in mind ...
1. TOY - I always know Sizzle prefers a "talking" toy but because it talks so I cannot take the toy to competition near the ring to wind him up, what should I do? I tried to vary the toys at training but he definitely put up more gears when comes to his favourite talk toys.
2. SPEED - to speed up or not? Sizzle is teeny weeny 12", up against those 13.5" fast dogs, we don't stand a chance, so I always encourage him to speed up. At many occassions (at training), when we have a straightline jumps, I tried to push him so hard that he lost his pacing and kncok the bar. I really don't know what to do, to push or let him go on his own pace? I want him to understand that he should go as fast as he could when comes to straightline?
here is tired Sizzle with his talking Donkey, after training.

a mother's instinct

Colin showed me this link last night:

I was amazed by the mother squirrel's act. From a dog lover's point of view, in the first picture, it didn't look like the dog is going to harm the baby squirrel, he maybe want a game with the baby squirrel but for non doggie lovers, they think a dog chasing a squirrel is cruel.
All my shelties chase squirrels and I know they never going to get them, is just like in the wild, some animals chase another animals, is a circulation. You don't expect to see a mice chase a cat, do you?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

just a few photos

We were very lucky to have a few hours of lovely sunshine so I can take the boys (and girl of course) for a walk. It is a shamed that I cannot do a long walk with them. Sing is still looking stiff and a little tired after the massage on Sunday. His hind legs are less agile, I guess this is due to the tightness of his back end, hopefully he will look better in the next couple of days. Eventhough he is stiff and tired but his mind is very active. He still bring me a ball, how can I tell my boy that he is not allow a ball game for a while?
my very special handsome boy
I just loved this photo of Sizzle chasing the crow, so close yet so far!
this little mischievious is looking out for more crows
my neoghbour repaired the blown down fence from last week a couple of days ago but it didn't last, after a stormy night, this morning we woke up with two fences blown down!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Nothing excited happened over here, the weather has been bad for the last few days; it was cold, tons of rain and high wind, there is only so much we can do, dog wise!
Friday was Colin's birthday, we went to a local restaurant to have a meal and we were surprised it was their Elvis night, so Colin has free entertainment for his birthday. Well, the Elvis impersonator was a bit disappointed, won't go into details.
Elvis singing The Wonder of You

Saturday, we had a small do for Colin, just invited a few close friends for an evening drink. I've ordered a special cake for him online to be collected on Saturday around noon time from Kingston Upon Thames. God knows the traffic on Saturday in Kingston is a nightmare and with the rain and wind ... we can't even find the cake shop! Our stupid Tom Tom took us to the other side of the river and we have asked a few people but they have never heard of the cake shop! Ah? We even rang the cake shop to ask where are they and the shop assistant wasn't helpful at all, she cannot explain where they located! Arrrggghhh ... Anyway, we drove back to the busy side of the river and Colin has to jump out from the car while I stuck in the traffic to look for the cake shop. According to him, he has to walk miles to find the shop and I managed to pull over to a public car park. Well, at the end, I don't know where he was and he don't know where I was; we were on the mobile phones telling each other what shops we saw and we still unable to find each other!! How stressful!! Colin has better road sense than me, so he found me at the end!

Because Colin was running around to find me in the rain and wind, the "negative calories" cake got slightly damaged when he got into the car but it still very tasty!

this is Colin's negative calories yummy cake!

Luckily, we have someone to look forward to to distress the cake pick up journey! We pop in to Sunbury to see Skye. Jolanda has taken her to Hannah's Co-Balance workshop. We meant to get there before she started her workshop but with the traffic and lost in Kingston, we didn't get to Sunbury until 3:30pm. I wasn't sure if I should go to distract her but I just can't help myself. I was dying to see her. Jolanda takes such a good care of her, she looks happy and content. After she spotted me, she just went crazy on me! We had a little play everytime she was in the queue but I was glad to see her work, she has no fear on any of the wobble boards, she even did sit, down on the wobble board. What a clever little girl. I think the best thing was Jolanda was able to get her back to work straightaway from my distraction. For a 14 weeks old puppy, that is awesome! Jolanda must have been working really hard on that. Well done you two!

We couldn't stay til the end because we need to go back to our guests at home but I was so happy I've got to see my baby.

On Sunday, we went to Kerena. We have arranged for Sara to treat Sing and Rupert (Kerena's dog with hip problem) at Kerena's house. Sing got treated first and he was very good with Sara. He was calm and let Sara worked on him. With Sing, we know the injury has been built up over the years of playing ball (jumping in the air catching the tennis ball), his shoulder injury is secondary but the main problem is the back. You know what I am going to say ... NO ball in the air for him! I have to teach him to fetch a rolling ball!! This is going to be hard!

Sing is very tired yesterday, luckily the weather was rotten so I cannot take the dogs out, that give him a good time to rest and recover. He is still looking a bit tired this morning but I am sure he is alright.

this is what he does all day yesteday

Friday, November 20, 2009

this one for Colin

I found this very cute little Happy Birthday message on youtube. I didn't make this, well, you can tell that they are not shelties! (do you think I can teach mine to sing Happy Birthday? That would be good, won't it?)
It was made for the Queen mum's 100th birthday by one of the national papers.
but I think Colin would rather prefer this one:
Anyway, Happy 48th Birthday to Colin!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

who said you cannot teach an OLD dog a NEW trick?

So, Sing is still waiting for his first treatment, Sara has got the referral from my vet, we have arranged for Sara to come and "sort" him on Sunday! I just can't wait to make him feel better. Sing is an easy dog to live with but he is also an active dog, he loves his ball so much, he is constantly searching for a tennis ball in the house and in the garden. I have hide most of the balls on sight but he is just too clever, he always found one and bring it to me.
I thought I will think of some tricks to teach him instead, hopefully that will take his mind off the ball. Over the years, I have taught him most of the tricks and he knew them well. I have run out of trick ideas!
I am a Silvia Trkman fan, I think she is fabulous, I just loved her and her dogs. Her running contacts are awesome and I like her trick ideas. She always make them look so easy. I found this little video very enjoyable. Sing knew most of the tricks other than HUG and walk backward and put the hind legs on something.
Yesterday, I decided I will teach him HUG ...

From the video above, I have noticed Sing loves to use his paw and now I know these two little guy below must have inherited from their father:

Zap at 3 weeks

Skye at 2.5 weeks

Now, the youngster's turn:

You must wondering why Sing and Sizzle kept lying down in front of the Allyoop? Well, I used the Allyoop to teach them "send away" (means go away and touch the stick and lie down until I released you). These boys are too clever, they think they know everything when they see the object! Hahaha ... I love shelties!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jumping, put it together - Thank You Nancy for a great day!

We had a very busy weekend. North Downs Show on Saturday and Training on Sunday with Nancy Hudson. I thought the weather is going to be worst on the weekend but Saturday wasn't too bad and first part of Sunday was actually sunny. The sun has been really helpful to me because I broke my glasses (arrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!!) when we arrived for the training day. I am not too bad for a short sighter but with glasses, it definitely help a lot. I train with Sizzle in the morning and with Saturn in the afternoon. I was actually very worried how I would train Sizzle without my glasses, I do not like to make a stupid handling, he is a very sensitive dog but everyone was very patient with me. Thanks.

my broken glasses

I was so much looking forward to this training day; Not only Nancy is a superb handler but she is a great instructor and great motivator too. I always enjoy my training day with her. She watched us and gave us advice on our weakest point and the way to improve them.

The Theme for this training day is "Jumping, put it together". This is purely a Jumping Training Day, so no contacts involve. I have noticed Sizzle prefers Agility to Jumping, I thinks he gets rewards on the contacts but not on the jumping, he definitely is faster in agility so this is a good day for him to learn some jumping skills. He was slow to start with, I do not know if he is still tired from Saturday (he looked tired and lie down on my camping chair most of the time, not like the energetic Sizzle) but he slowly pick up more speed, it could be the confidence grows?

Nancy set up 3 jumping courses; we spent more than an hour on the first course, we all did our first run the way we would run the course, then Nancy broke it down to a few small sequences to work on the hot spots. I like Nancy's teaching, she MAKES us try the way (handling) she wants us to run, afterall this is a training day and we have to learn something. I know my weak point, I am totally hopeless in pivot. I always put in a front cross instead of a pivot in competition but sometimes you have to do a pivot. This remind me of the Combined 6-7 Jumping course we ran on Saturday. My pivot with Saturn was horrible, he turned so wide because my handling was crap. I found myself station in the same spot waiting for him to turn. With pivot, the handler need to do the pivot as well as the dog but the handler do the pivot in the tiny spot. I think my body movement is very stiff, I am not agile to rotate.

I always have a problem with Saturn argues (he barks) with me when I send him to the tunnel. This only happened after he had the biopsy operation in July 2008. He used to be a tunnel vision dog before the op, he loves tunnel more than anything but not anymore. If you put a tunnel and a weave next to each other, he would choose the weave instead of the tunnel where many dogs will choose the tunnel. Nancy suggested I need to do a lot of sending into the tunnel with him. I am also weak at wrap the wing, with Saturn, my cue is always late and also I think I give him the wrong command. I used "back" for turning away from me, I used that a lot when I do a rear across and I realised I don't say "left" or "right" eventhough I teach them left and right, maybe I have to teach them left and right for wrap the wing? I recall a couple of weeks ago we went training with Nancy and Andy, Andy took the Jumping course, we did a sequence with directional commands, there is a wing wrap and rear across, I know Sizzle is stronger on the right turn, when we did the wing wrap, I told him "right" and he did that beautifully and came to the rear across, I told him "back", he turned the right way but wider, so Andy suggested I used the "right", I did that the second time and he actually wrap the wing. Now, it got me thinking ...

You see why I like training day, it really got me thinking ... I may not absorb immediately but I am thinking about it and look for the way I should improve.

here is a little video clip from yesterday, I only picked two sequences, I am not going to upload all, that will bored you:

Thank You Nancy for a great day!

Now, this is not training related but the storm has done some damaged to our garden. We had a fence down between us and our neighbour. I saw the broken fence on Saturday afternoon after we came back from North Downs show. Colin suggested we don't repair it just yet as the weather forecast for the week is more rain and wind. Luckily our dogs are so well behaved, they only stand in front of the gap to look through the neighbour's garden but has never cross the boundary. I am not too worry if they do, I know both our gardens are secure and they dogs won't be able to escape.

did you see the gap

closer look

the messy garden after the storm!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

proofing is greater than winning

We had a great day at North Downs show today despite the weather is ... OKish! It was very stormy last night but I went to bed nice and early, so it didn't bother me at all. I woke up full of bean this morning, so I decided we will go to the show.
The weather was very wet when we left home this morning. Our first run wasn't up until about 10:30am but Colin suggested we should leave early just in case we stuck in the flood and collapsing trees. The journey was fine, I cannot drive at my usual speed as some roads were flooded and at some areas, we met some very storng wind. The radio said, the wind speed was 80mph! Our crazy Tom Tom (sat nav) took us down to a public footpath and luckily there was a guy out walking his dog in the storm, so he directed me how to get to the venue.
This is my first time at this venue. It is a lovely indoor arena. The ground was very good and big enough to have 3 rings running. Sing and Saturn have three classes each and Sizzle has 2 classes, so unfair! I rather Sizzle has three classes and Sing has two classes. I really want to work on Sizzle.
Our first run was Combined 4-7 Agility with Sing and Saturn. Yes, I decided to run Sing. He was very excited and wind up. We started off the course well until we came to tunnel - see-saw combinations. When I walked the course, I walked as a recall from the see-saw but for some reasons, I didn't do any of the recall with any of my dogs! Crazy! I wish I have though. I think Sing and Sizzle will response well to the recall. Of course the blind turn from tunnel to the see-saw didn't help Sing, he missed the see-saw totally. It is not like him but again, I have not train him since early September when he pulled his shoulder. Otherwise he did well. The DW to push out of the jump is difficult but I managed to beat him to the DW so I managed to push him to do the "out around". WooHoo! His weave was lovely too.
Saturn was next to go, he keeps breaking his wait lately and I am not ignoring this. I always reinforce when I see him standing up and about to go. I make sure I go back and put him back into sit position and wait. I think he did the course nicely apart from taking the wrong jump. He got his A Frame and DW contacts but see-saw was a bit dodgy but we are working on that.
The Medium class finished off quickly and I got Sizzle out when they put the jumps down to Small. He ran over the same class as Sing and Saturn. He was very excited when I get him out from the car and I knew he is so ready to go. When I walked the course earlier, I know I must beat him to the DW in order to get him to do the "out around" jump. The jump was set in an akward angle, for a baby dog like him, I have not done a lot of handling work with him yet. I want him to enjoy straight forward courses to encourage the speed. I am very happy (more than happy) with Sizzle how he ran this course, I managed to do a front cross on the A Frame (my first time); he stays on the see-saw til it tilt (YeeHa!); he ran the DW just like the way I want him to do (jackpot!). What can I asked for more? I was not even bother to put him back when he ran past the jump in front of the DW, I pushed him to do the "out around", he did but just a bigger out around; his weave is wonderful, maybe we need a bit of tighten up on the pin wheel but HeyHo, he was fantastic! When we came out, a few people said to me it was a shamed that he missed the jump, otherwise he could be winning. Well, winning is not important to me, proofing is the one that I am looking for. I worked hard to make sure he gets his running contacts and I want to proof he maintain his running contacts at any places, any sequences.
Once we got started, we haven't got long to wait for our next class, the Combined 6-7 Agility. Sizzle is not eligible to run this class, so only Sing and Saturn. I was so much hoping Sing could get a place in that, it is not an easy course, the tunnel trap has cost a lot of dogs to get eliminated. Saturn ran before Sing in this class. He was naughty on the start line, he broke the wait three times and I put him back again and again. I definitely need a good wait on this one as I need to lead out to the right position to start him and he was a good boy, he didn't even look at the tunnel at all. On the A Frame bit, I saw myself once again using my itchy finger pointing at the bottom, he didn't miss it though but I wasn't happy with myself, I think I am creating a confusion there for him because he leap off the DW by miles!!! Arrrggghhh ...
Sing was going well on this course and I was so relaxing running him, I forgot I haven't train this dog for 2.5 months and I got my attention loose on the turning jump after the weave, so he took the wrong jump! Totally my fault, sorry Sing!
After the agility, we had the combined 6-7 Jumping, again, this class is for Sing and Saturn only. I don't know what happened between me and Saturn, we seems to lost a connection or two in the middle of the course, so he went off course. I am sure it must be me, he is a very good dog. I am terrible at directions, Colin suggested I need a Sat Nav to guide me how to run the course, poor dog!
Sing surprised me with a 3rd in this jumping course. It is not Sing's course, it is a big long course, he is a little dog with short legs and he has to take more strides to each jump but I am not complaining.
After Sing and Saturn's jumping, we have a change of judge for Sizzle's Combined 4-5 Jumping. Again, it was a big long course. Just imagine if I have to run all day long, I may lost a couple of pounds in weight.
Eventhough Sizzle went clear and got a 3rd in this class but I wasn't too happy with myself. Nothing wrong with Sizzle. When I walked the course, I meant to recall him in the middle of the start jump and the first baby snake jump but I was in the wrong place. I was so much closer to the baby snake jump so he didn't run the three jumps in a straightline but whizzing in and out of them. I was too close to the jumps so I was pushing him out. Also he LOOK at me after the weave, I guess that has becomes a pattern now as I always throw him his toy/ball after he finishes his weave. I must wean this habit off!
here are our runs today:
Here is a little bit about Sing ... Sara Bennett, one of the Galen Therapists was there at the show. We got talking and I got her to look at Sing for me after the runs. She confirmed my worried. Sing is definitely not fit. I always thought it was the front right shoulder that bother him but it turn out that his back is very tight, so Sara thinks we needs to work on his back. Sara will go and get the referral from my vet so hopefully we can start the treatment very soon. For time being, NO BALL for Sing, NO TRAINING for Sing, NO JUMPING in and out of the car (need to lift him in and out), just a casual walk until we know he is fit. If you look carefully at the Jumping, Sing started to slow down and he was getting stiff when he weave. With a tight back, weaving can be painful for him.
I am hoping to get him fit by the end of the year, then build up his stamina in January and train hard in February for Crufts. Finger crossed everything goes well with him.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bionic Biotic

I think I finally found something that is settling Sizzle's funny tummy, finger crossed and touch wood! We have been on Bionic Biotic (concentrate) for three weeks now, he has been good and full of energy. There was one day that he had a bad tummy, that was entirely my fault, I gave him something that upset his tummy, otherwise, he is good. I want to say thank you to Nikki who first told me about it but I ignored her. Her sheltie Star also has sensitive tummy and he is on Bionic Biotic as supplement in his meal. When Nikki told me a few months ago, I was confused. I had tried every options and everything with Sizzle but nothing has help to improve his tummy problem and I wasn't keen to try new thing then. Then, just recently I emailed Nikki to ask her about Star and she once again mentioned to me Bionic Biotic ... I have a good thought about it and decided to order a free sample from the website to try. Due to postal strike, the sample didn't arrive. Then, Yvonne sent me this. After I read the story and decided I will give it a try as I had tried so many stuff before and there is no harm trying more, hopefully I will find one that would help settle his sensitive stomach.
I put a small tea spoon of Bionic Biotic mixing with Sizzle's meal, he is on this supplement for three weeks now and I have been watching him like a hawk. The first two days after I feeding him the Bionoc Biotic, his toilet was bad. Not only he has diarrhoea but it was bloody and I found two blood clots stuck on his knicker. This was the first time I saw some blood clots hanging on his bum so I quickly taken a back. I wasn't sure if I should continue or stop. I know when we try something new, you always give 24-48 hours to let the stuff get into your system. On the 3rd day, he didn't look miserable so I decided I will continue for a week to see what happen. I am glad I continue and I am very happy with the result so far. Sizzle has been back to his oldself, happy, bouncy and full of life.

I have entered the North Downs show tomorrow. I was so much looking forward to it until the last two days. As Sizzle only just came out to compete in late September (just right at the end of agility season) and I wanted to get him out as much as I can to get used to competitions but for some reason, I feel very uneasy for the last couple of days and this is the first time I don't feel like I want to go to an agility show! I must be mad!!!
Also, poor Sing is still not 100% fit yet. I have been resting him for 5-6 weeks now and he is still not looking perfectly fit to do agility or flyball.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I am counting down the day that Colin and I are going to meet her and her brothers and sister.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I wanted a heated indoor school!

I wanted a heated indoor school that I can train my dogs whenever I like. I am getting very fedup with the weather, don't mind the cold but the wet + cold is very miserable and my garden is not big enough for me to set up a sequence I want to practise. We have a very long garden, 180 foot but with limited width. I guess all I can practise is a straightline sequence, so no excuse if my dogs cannot do the "go on"!!
I finally finished uploading all the videos Colin has taken on the training day, that were not many. Colin tried to hide in the car because it was very cold especially when you are not running. It is a shamed that he didn't film all of our exercises, I would love to see the mistakes I made again and again so I can improve.
The first video of Sizzle is the jumping sequence, as you can see my plan didn't work out at all; the one from Saturn is the way Toni would handle with large dogs, I supposed that suits Saturn as he has quite a long stride:

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Toni Dawkins Training Day

I had the most wonderful time with Toni Dawkins yesterday at Sue's sand school. As all of you know Toni is our top handler eventhough she didn't run shelties (do you think I can persuade her to have a sheltie, well at least a blue merle sheltie?) Toni is very friendly and loving, I always feel so comfortable with her. I have picked up a lot from her training day yesterday and that will add a long list onto my winter project!

I trained Sizzle in the morning and Saturn in the afternoon. I made a lot of mistakes with Sizzle and Saturn, well, almost every exercise I ran, there was a mistake or imperfection but I was so happy I made the mistakes so I could learned from Toni how to handle it. I was exhausted at the end of the day but very happy.

The weather was glorious when we got there in the morning, cold but sunny. There were 8 of us in Sizzle's class, 3 gorgeous Goldies, a Visla x Lab, a Cross breed, a young blue merle BC, a JRT and Sizzle. What a mixture of class!

We started the class with this jumping sequence (this is just a draft from me, not sure about the correct distance):

Our first try was to start from jump #2, I lead out slightly so I could send Sizzle into the tunnel, then run to the back of jump #4, but Sizzle didn't go into the tunnel, he was checking on me and came with me to jump #4. After a couple of tried, he understands he needs to go into the tunnel but my handling was crap! My plan to run this sequence is to send him into the tunnel, pick him up from behind jump #4, wrap the right wing and send him back to the tunnel then run to the front of jump #6 and pick him up and send him to do jump #7. It all became a disaster! I wasn't fast enough to do what I want to do. I have tried a couple of times to trust him to take the tunnel #5 and ran to between #6 and #7 to do a front cross, hahaha ... Sizzle beat me to it every single time! Then, Toni had a go (or three goes!) with him. I never thought Sizzle will run for anyone but he surprised me, he didn't even hesitate, Toni got his ball and he run in his full speed with her. Toni tried to show me the front cross that she wants me to tried and after three goes, she admitted he is too fast, so not possible to do the front cross and I need to learn the rear across! I finally managed the rear across but he didn't take the jump #8. It was set a little further and the dog has to understand to take the jump. Sizzle is so much "into" me (I only found out yesterday!), he would not go and take jump #8 if I hang back. Why do I want to hang back? I don't know!! Maybe I am lazy!!We all had a go at the above sequence and many of them did the same way as I ran Sizzle; or some of them did the tight turn (turn right on the jump) to take a shorter route into the tunnel. Toni's best way is to set the dog far back from jump #1, because this is a straightline recall into the tunnel, you lead out to the tunnel and recall the dog to do the tunnel then jump #4, do a kinda front cross but close to the left wing, so the dog would wrap the jump (the dog jump left) and you spin to send the dog back into the tunnel. Then, the jumps #6, #7, #8 bits ... pick the dog on your left (when he is out from the tunnel), send him to do #6 and #7 then you cross into the box, make sure hand out to send him to do #8, then you can do whichever way you want on the #9. Phew!

It doesn't look like a hard sequence but when you run it, mmm ... I find it difficult even with Saturn!The morning class passed so fast ... we had so much to do and so little time to cover the contacts but we managed to squeeze in the DW which I wanted to prove so much. The sequence was jump, DW, turn right to a jump then 3 jumps like a zig zag for us to practise more on our "steerling" skill.

here is Sizzle's DW:

Saturn was a very good boy at training eventhough we didn't get much of the exercise right but he was willing to work. The only down side was I cannot really wind him up. Sue's sand school is located in her garden and she has a few neighbours. We have a restriction to control our dog barking. The only way I could wind Saturn up is get him to bark then he will get excited and hopefully to go faster. His speed is varies, soemtimes he is crazily fast and I won't be able to control and someitmes he has a steady speed which he will work sequence perfectly. With Saturn, I know I am going to work hard on his contacts this winter, so now I go back to reward him very often. He has beautifuly contacts at training and he does not hesitate like he used to be, maybe I released him quick is helping but this also risking that he will jump off the contacts sometimes if my release is too fast or too slow.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sizzle and fireworks

We just came back from our weekly club training. I was over the moon with Sizzle. Our hardwork on the running DW has once again prove it is all worth it! If you could recall that I mentioned in my previous posts that Sizzle always missing the DW at club training, and you know me, I blamed the DW being set down the hill and this and that (typical me!) and we all know that is not true! Anyway, he didn't miss a single one today and he was running in his full speed as well. We also did the pivot turn (like a pull through - see diagram below) perfectly, Sizzle didn't even bother to look at the other jump. WooHoo! That's awesome! The only obstacle that we still need to work hard on is the see-saw, he is hanging on the see-saw but not as long as I want and when I run in to reward him, he came off side way.

And the fireworks bit ... he did go into the garden quitely happily this morning, like there have been nothing at all. Hopefully there is just a one-off but I have to be very careful for the next few days when to let him out. I have to lock the cat/dog flap as he has learned to go in and out recently. The most annoying bit is his crazy daddy suggested we go to see the fireworks display tonight! Arrrrgggghhhh ...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

another lovely morning walk

After the heavy rain from yesterday, this morning was another sunny but very cold morning! I had to dig out a coat for Samber. She has lost all her coat after she has the puppies and poor Samber only has skin left! Everytime I brushed her, another big chunck of coat coming out.

she wasn't keen with the coat on. I bought this coat for Saturn from China last year when I visited my beloved brother. It is a fleece coat and it will keep her very warm. She was uncomfy and wouldn't want to go away from me but after a while, she realised I am not going to take it off, so she was back to her old bouncy self.

I know I have been posted a lot of Sing playing with his tennis ball photos recently but I cannot resist not posting this one. The expression on his face is priceless!!

... and this crazy water mad dog begging to swim in the dirty pond again!!!

I have to take the ball out to distract him to go on a dry land

now these guys asking for more ball but where is Saturn?
he just want to pose for some handsome photos taking!

my happy boys and girl on the log

I think Sizzle has learned too much from Sing, I have not even chuck a ball into the pond but he saw a leave floating and went in to fetch it, very sweet indeed but OMG! Stinky pond water!

Now, a small bad note from today. I thought all my bad lucks went with yesterday but nope! I took Sizzle into the garden after lunch to practise the pivot turn that we failed to do at Bernadette yesterday. I set Sizzle up in front of the jump and a firework went off. BANG! Again, BANG, BANG, BANG, four times in a row. Which b*****d let go a firework in the bright daylight? You got it. Sizzle ran in the house the fastest he can and he nevers want to go into the garden again. I can't get him out to do his toilet since lunch!! I hope this didn't put him off from agility too!! Arrrrgggghhhhh ... Who invent fireworks?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

bad day and a bit of good news

Well, I had quite a bad day today ...

I took all the dogs to the Common on the way to Bernadette for my lesson this morning. Seagull and Titan were wild, they didn't want to come to me when call. I didn't even raise my voice, it was raining and I was desperate to have a quick walk but Seagull just wanted to say hello to all dogs and Titan just wanted to pee on every single grass!!! It is not like them at all. They are generally quite obedient and easy dogs to take out walking.

I parked the car at the car park, put Seagull, Titan, Samber and Sizzle in the boot; Sing the front and realised Saturn was still standing from a distance. I called and he just stand still, not like him at all. He always follow me very closely and has no problem getting him in and out the car but he just wouldn't come. Then I shouted over to him: I am going, bye ... I saw him taking a detour, instead of coming straight back to me, he run into the carpark and take a big cirlce and there came a car. My heart skipped a beat! Luckily the car stop dead. When he came to me, I then to find he rolled in the bl**dy fox poo! YUK! He sure knew he did something very wrong and feel guilty and worried that I am going to tell him off!! So, I have to spend 20 minutes to clean him with baby wipes!! Arrrggghhh ... I don't mind we are going home after the walk but we are heading to Bernadette for our lesson, how annoying!!

The car was very low in petrol. The petrol prices is very high in our area, nearly £1.10/litter. I remembered seeing a small petrol station on the way to Bernadette which is reasonably cheap (then). I was hoping I can make it through the petraol station with 2 gallons left. If there is no hold up traffic, I should be safe, so worried all the way and finally got this cheaper petrol (96.9) at Bolney Village. Phew! Safe!

Got to Bernadette, just in time, and the sky turns grey! Got Sizzle out quick, hopefully we can get a bit more done before the rain comes. Did a jumping sequence, I thought I can work him with not a big problem but it turned out to be we were no good at all. He didn't understand the pivot turn, he kept going around to take the next jump; then the wrong end of the tunnel which I can't be there to call him off ... oh dear! Before we can make it perfect, the rain got heavy, we have to run into the house! After a nice cup of tea, the rain didn't stop but got heavier and the wind picked up, so we have to call it a day! I hope we can work on that jumping sequence next week!

The rain was so heavy, at some part, I could hardly see the road when I was on M23, so I have to slow down to 30mph! The traffic was ok, so we got back to Coulsdon without any delay. As with all six wet shelties in the car, it got steamy, so I roll down a jar on my window. I was waiting on a temperory light at Beddington Lane (an industrial area), there comes a big commercial lorry in speed, guess what? I didn't see there was a big puddle on the other side of the road, so you got it! The filty smelly dirtly water splash all over me!!! How stupid!!! That moment, I just wished I can jump in the bath immediately!!

Luckily I got home within 10 minutes, bath Saturn and bath myself, so we both smell nice and clean!

I thought that was the end of a bad day but nope! I pop into Sainsbury on the way to pick up Colin this evening. Just want to stock up few bits. I picked up two reduced items, one didn't scan the reduced amount, I didn't know at the time so I have to go to the Customer service to ask for a refund. I stood there waited for more than 15 minutes, there were a couple in front of me. I asked them if they knew anybody there and the lady told me the guy went to fetch somebody. After a few minutes, I saw the guy came back. I do not know what was their problem, it took ages, another 10 minutes has passed. There were a few people behind me, waiting impatiently and yet the guy still do something looks alien to me. There were so many other stuff around but no one want to serve us. I only want 49p refund! I got very angry waiting for 20 minutes and still not been served, then this lady behind me push pass me to jump the queue. Hey, I nearly punched her!!

Grrrrrrr ...

On the other hand, Sing played ball with me in the lounge after I came back from Sainsbury!! WooHoo!!!! I was worried about him last night. He looked very firghtened and unsettle when he came in the lounge last night. Usually, he march in like a trooper but since the accident, he was very careful, a bit too careful, I don't know if there is anything that spook him. I didn't over play with him, I am hoping to build that back slowly.

Sing's smile always melt my heart

Monday, November 02, 2009

lovely autumn morning

It was lovely this morning, sunny and a bit cold, so I decided to take Sing, Saturn, Sizzle and Samber for a long walk in the Common. Reason I didn't to take Seagull is he struggled for a longer walk and Titan will "attack" Sing when I play ball with him. With the recent disaster I had with Sing, I do not want to put him off from playing his beloved tennis ball.
As it was lovely, so I took my camera along not knowing the battery was very low! Doh! I only have limited pictures but it is good enough for me to mark the dogs have a lovely walk with me.

a very happy Sing with his tennis ball

Samber loves to chase alongside the dogs, shamed that I can't get her to play with ball/toy. I tried very hard though. When she first came to live with me, she was very interested to chase the toy I chuck it for the boys. She picked it (or steal it from the boys) and run away with it and never bring it back; then when she settled in, she is not interested in the toys anymore!!

you see what I mean, she is like a shadow to all the dogs

After half an hour playing fetching, Sizzle is hot and thirsty. I spotted him ran towards the pond, I thought he had a quick drink (yuk!) but instead he saw a piece of bark and swim over to fetch it. How sweet is that? Well, later Sing joined him in the pond, so I have to give them a nice bath after that!!!

my handsome Saturn! I love his smile, he is always a very happy dog.

this is my garden, picture taken this morning. I rake all the leaves and 24 hours later the garden is full of leaves again!! I love autumn, I just loved the colour and fallen leaves but not in my garden!! It made training harder. We haven't got a place big enough to separte into two parts, so the dogs go toilet in the same area. It is easy to pick up the dog mess when the garden is clear but in this condition!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

first winter training day and a bit about Sing

I love winter training day. I only started doing winter training days two years ago and I just loved it. I've got to practise what I need to improve from the last season and also to learn from different instructors with their methods, then I will start thinking which one suit me and my dogs better. Also, it is a good way to bring a young dog out to do agility in different places, different equipments and different people and dogs ...
This afternoon was our very first winter training day with Andy and Nancy Hudson. These two are the top handlers in this country and they both run shelties too! I have signed up with Sizzle on this training day. We were in a very nice group of 3 Border Terriers, a JRT, a Sheltie and a Beagle. We started with the Drilling with Andy in some simple jumping sequences. Sizzle was a bit slow to start with but he soon pick up his speed again after a couple of runs.
We did the weave entry but Sizzle kept pulling out at 10th/11th pole, Andy told me Sizzle didn't like me to go past his shoulder, so when we did the weave again, I was careful to either hang back a little or stay at the same level as his sholder and he completed the weave nicely. Now, I have something to work on ... to run ahead of him and make sure he is still complete his weave! We have also learned to stand upright (a lot of small dog handlers like to bend over to be at the dog's level and I did that a lot eventhough I am fairly short!!!) and to stay in a nice distance away from the dog when he weaves, this is also to teach the dog to do the obstacle indepently.
We also did the wrap the wing. After a couple of practise, Sizzle wrapped the wing tight and perfect and we also got to learn to use the command left and right correctly. We also did the cross behind after the tunnel to jump sequence. I am very pleased with Sizzle how he picked up the things so quick.
After an hour and a half, we swap to Nancy to do the contacts. Sizzle loves the contacts. I guess I reward him everytime he did a nice contacts. This is also make me feel sad and guilty that I didn't reward him enough in Jumping.
After Sizzle missed his running DW at the recent show, I was a bit taken aback about his running DW. I started training him to run his contacts and I know the risk and I want to stick with that but how am I going to imporve his running DW? Sing is much easier dog to train but I am not given up on Sizzle. He is a challenge for me.
I have been practising his running DW this week at home, only 3 or 4 reputations a day, not more than that and I am very happy with the result. I want to prove that he can do the same at different places and today it proved my hard work has paid off. We have done a few DW and he has not miss a single one and he hit the contact point the way I want him to hit. I only reward him with his toy once at the bottom of the DW and he was shocked about the reward coming his way. I did verbal priased a lot.
We still need a lot of work on the see-saw. He still try to jump off before the see-saw tilt.
Overall, I am very happy with Sizzle, he really is a fantastic dog to train.
Sorry no photo or video, I did asked Colin to bring the video camera, hopefully he would film our work so I can watch it at home but he didn't do any of the filming.
I thought I would share this video of Sizzle did the 60 weave pole challenge back in early September at Paws in the Park. He missed the last weave pole which was a shamed but I didn't want to redo, it is very long and tiring weave:

Now, I have a little trouble with Sing ...
If you could recall Sing was poorly last Thursday? He hurt himself mysteriously before the Shrewsbury show? Well, I think it was me played the ball badly with him and he got injured very badly. Sing and I have a silly routine ... every night, when I have my dinner, I always sit on a little stool in front of the TV having my dinner on a little table. Sing always bring me a ball, so I chuck the ball for him at the same time eating. This has been going on since I have him as a puppy. That Thursday, we did the same thing but after a couple of throw, he yelped. To whoever that do not know Sing, he is a very tough strong dog, he hardly yelped eventhough he is in pain. So when I heard him yelping, I thought he must be really hurt but he wouldn't come to me, so I went over to stroke him. I didn't see what has happened to him, this is why I didn't make a big fuss and didn't realised it badly affected him the next day.
This week, I went back to my usual dinner time play with him, he wouldn't want to fetch the ball I throw, not like him at all. Sing lives for a throw of tennis ball. He even hide or run away when I throw the ball, very funny. If Colin is there, he will run to Colin for protection!!! He is fine playing ball in the garden and in the Common but definitely not in the lounge. We have tried so many days now but everytime I took a ball out, he ran away. I guess he must have been very badly hurt. I wish I have seen what has happened so I can help him to get away with the phobia. I am very surprised with Sing's reaction to it as he never is a sissy dog.
I am feeling very guilty and sorry and hopeless.