Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It always make me feel so happy to receive emails and photos from my puppy's owners. I love seeing them grow and enjoy sharing their little stories ...

Sadie has grown into a beautiful young lady

Like her daddy Sing, she won't leave Chris alone while she is doing her gardening, so Chris has now become an expert of one hand gardening and one hand playing tugging/throwing tennis ball for Sadie!

She is a joy to her family, she is good with children as well as the neighbour's cat Honey:

I can't wait to seeing her again in August!

Monday, May 24, 2010

what a lovely HOT weekend

Is roasting here! Yes, I am complaining! It is too hot for me! I haven't have a good night sleep for a few nights. I have been toss and turn, the heat is constantly giving me headache! I wish I have a swamp cooler like the dogs! 

Sizzle & Sing still dislike their swamp cooler, so I thought I will put them on when we go out walking to make sure they get used to it. I purposely took them out late morning on Friday so I can put the swamp cooler on.

the boys displayed their swamp cooler

As it was so HOT, the boys just wouldn't want to get out from the water! The funny thing was, I never thought Saturn will swim in the pond. I guess it was too hot so he actually jump in the pond and join Sing and Sizzle for a good swim before I can remove the swamp cooler so silly boy swimming with the heavy swamp cooler!!!

Samber's coat is looking lovely now, she is a little madam, taking her out has become a nightmare as she likes to roll in the fox poo!!! Arrrggghhh ...

Temperature seems to increase everyday, Saturday we went to BATS. I have never been to this show before. The venue was nice, we had a nice enclosure walk for the dogs. It was a big show, 10 rings and there were more than 200 dogs in the small KC Olympia class! And there were about 100 dogs in Sizzle's other classes, so you can imagine we have a long wait!

We still got to get there early as I have classes to walk. I didn't run Sing at all. I only ran Saturn in one Jumping class. Sizzle's Comb 5-7 Agility was first thing but our running order was towards the end of class so we have to wait. I really wish I could run early as the heat was increasing fast! I sat by the ringside watching the other dogs ran, it was a tough course, lot of traps. It took me a long time to register the course in my head!

this is the comb 5-7 Agility, 
I draft the course so scale may not be right but just gave you an idea about the course:

A lot of dogs got eliminated from #5(tunnel) to #6(weave). All the dogs wanted to take the jump in front of the tunnel. When I put Sizzle on the startline, I was worried that he will take the jump too, if he does come through the gap, I was worried that he will go up the DW again instead of the weave. I told myself I need to work hard on it. I was very happy that I stood my ground to call him through the gap and took his eyes off the DW, I knew I can run smoother by not stopping too long but PHEW, I clear that area! The other trap was from the see-saw to the tunnel. The jump in front of the see-saw was really close to the see-saw. That was my biggest worried! You all know I have re-trained the see-saw and I need proofing in the ring. I was very confused on that Saturday morning. I wanted to have an easy sequence up to the see-saw so I can be sure we both did good. I walked the see-saw in a recall manner and hope to catch him if he flew off or even try a front cross and flip him into the tunnel but I have a bad feeling about it. I knew I need to trust him to give me a good see-saw. I also walked crossing behind (my last option) the see-saw which give me better position and to get his attention to turn his head to the tunnel instead of the jump in front. Hey, all in all, I feel really good about this course. I managed to cross behind the see-saw and he ran all the way up to the see-saw with no hesitation! What can I ask more? I was so happy! I was over the moon! All my hard work has paid off, that counts! Even better, we went clear! WooHoo! Coming 3rd is VERY GOOD for me, just behind two top handlers and heyho! My first clear round with Sizzle after so many weekends of eliminations!!! I feel good! REALLY GOOD!

Then, I have a long wait for my other classes. Two of Sizzle and one with Saturn, all happened at once!

Sizzle's KC Olympia course was another challenging course. The DW-Tunnel-Jump sequence got a lot of dogs eliminated and faulted. I saw many handlers/dogs crossing behind the tunnel and when the dogs came out, the exit is pointing to the start jump, they can't see the handler, they went back to the tunnel again or they were about to go over the start jump and got refusal. I've heard there aren't many clear rounds in the Medium class. There were more than 200+ dogs in Sizzle class. I wanted to beat Sizzle to the tunnel so I ran like hell. I wans't too happy with the long jump-spread-DW, I think I am asking too much from my young dog to stretch then turn to find the DW entry. The DW entry was a bit slight angle. I knew Sizzle likes DW so I trust him to find the entry but there is a small chance he will miss the entry. I guess I was running like hell  to beat him to the tunnel exit and he wanted to chase me and he missed his stride and miss the DW contact. Other than he missed the DW, I really think our DW-Tunnel-Jump sequence was perfect. Then, SS-Cloth Tunnel-Jump(PT)-Jump. I wanted to do a front cross after the SS this time so I will be on the other side of the cloth tunnel but I didn't get a chance. I was at the same level with him, so I didn't get my front cross. With a front cross that will give me a better line to do the pull through. I did walked the other way if I can't do the front cross, I will take a longer route to swing him instead of pull through. I think his directional commands confused him, I told him to turn LEFT, he turned right! This is not the first time and it did happened a few times, so I need to make sure we strengthen our directional command. Also, we need to work harder on the PT as well. Other wise I am happy and his see-saw was definitely good. Our last run was the Comb 5-7 Jumping. I knew the tunnel is a trap and yes, the tunnel caught us! Hahaha ...

Yesterday was very hot too but we went to visit a livery yard then went to Tilgate Park to meet up with Colin's family. It was good fun to picnic in the park. The shelties behaved beautifully. They were all off lead, lie down/sitting around us. They did wondered off the cock the their legs but never far and definitely no trouble. There were so many families with young children around playing football and running about. These didn't bother them at all. They were content and happy to stick around us. I am so proud of them all.

 Sizzle meeting Honey
 yes, we do like to make fun of Seagull

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sizzle and his swamp cooler

Well, I do not know what's wrong with Sizzle but he is definitely not happy yesterday and today at training (his tummy is ok, toilet is good and is eating well). It was cloudy and humid this morning. I think the temperature was between 18c to 20c. It was really muggy, there wasn't any breeze at all. Eventhough it wasn't sunny but I tried the Swamp Cooler on him, that made him even more unhappy. Sizzle does not like to wear coat or heavy harness let alone this heavy wet swamp cooler. This swamp cooler didn't make the dog wet but I didn't wring out the excess so there is water dripping, I need to do a better job. Saturn doesn't mind but Sing gets uncomfortable with it too. This Swamp Cooler really keeps the dog cool, I can feel the body isn't hot, now is the job to get the dogs get used to it. The weather forecast for this weekend is 28c! Yak! I don't think we are able to cope with that sort of heat!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sizzle, wobble, heat

I continue to train Sizzle and his "wobble" everyday (2-3 short sessions a day) this week. He has been very good on it at home, I added front cross, blind turn and hanging behind, he works well running all the way up and stop at the end waiting for my "ok" word (release command). Now, I need proofing from different places.

We went to Club training today, I always find Wednesday afternoon very hard to cope. 1pm is not my best time to train! It wasn't sunny today, the weather was a little bit weird, sun in, sun out, cloudy most of the time but the air was very humid. I cannot deal with heat, it gave me headache! It was about 21c yesterday, today was between 21c-25c. I need pain killers yesterday and today to be able to cope the weather!

Sizzle is just like me, he doesn't work well in the heat either! At training today, he was very tired and slow. I tried hard to encourage him for speed but he isn't his usual speed. He did two good see-saw though. I was very please with it. It was some jumping sequence in the beginning, then into the tunnel and a jump before the see-saw, that gave him some speed to run up the see-saw. He did great, he ran all the way to the end and wait. I reward him with clicker & treat, then released. We did that sequence twice, both time he did great. I should have stop there and then but I was stupid. At the end of the class, I asked permission to do one more see-saw before going home. He was exhausted and creep on the see-saw. It was painful to watch!
I was very upset about myself and beginning to worry that I have "damage" all my training yet once again! This evening, when the air is a bit cooler, I have Sizzle out in the garden. To me he looks confused! His first attempt wasn't good. He ran all the way to the end but in slow motion! I then decided to do one recall and  a couple jumping on the side and leave it. Then, an hour later, we went out to do a couple of see-saw, he was good so I stop. An hour later, we went out again, this time I have "road killed" (his new toy) instead of treat, heyho, he was so excited, he released himself before my "ok" but I did heard the bang on the floor before he released himself. This is good but not for now, I am not risking another quick release so I have the clicker & treat out again, he did stop to wait for my release word. I don't want to over do it today, we will see what happen tomorrow.

We have Club training tomorrow morning, hopefully the weather didn't get too hot. I bought him a Swamp Cooler made by Ruffwear. I have not try it on him yet as the weather has been so wet and cool but I guess it is time for this swamp cooler. I wish they have one for human though!

I recently clear up our old sand pit and replaced by a decking. The shelties love it! You can find Sing lying on the decking in the morning enjoying a bit of morning sunshine. Sing and Saturn are so funny, they think this decking is the agility table. If I am training one of the dogs, I get the others to lie down and stay. I reward them each time they did the down stay. Normally Saturn and Sizzle will break the stay if I set them up on the patio or grass when I train Sing but not when they are on the decking. Sizzle beginning to have a good stay  (on the decking only though) now if I work Saturn and Sing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

a little bit of crazy and another bit of relaxing & fun weekend

We had a mixed weekend. Saturday was all crazy. I have entered Worcester, God knows the venue was 3 hours drive away from home and it was the 8:30am starts. I have two classes to walk, this mean I need to get there before 8am so I can walk the dogs (yes, new rule. I have to walk Saturn as he keeps running away from Colin!) then walk my classes. I had booked the Holiday Inn Express at Droitwich M5 but after reading the rules carefully, this hotel charge £10/dog, this mean I have to put at least £30 on top of the room rate. After enjoying a dog stays free at Walsall the weekend before, paying £30 seems a lot of money. I decided to cancel this booking. I probably made such a stupid mistake to cancel the booking because we then have to wake up at 4am on Saturday morning and drove crazily to Holt Heath! Or I should choose to stay at home instead of going! Sizzle has his usual "periodically" stomach problem on Thursday but then he bounced back on Friday (it appears to me like a 24hours bug because he generally bounced back 24hours later). I was debating whether to go or not because I only have Sizzle to run. After some encouragement from Colin, we are going!

The early morning drive wasn't too bad, the Sat Nav took us through Central London, the 3 hours journey becomes 2.5 hours journey so we got there 7:15am! That give me extra time to walk my dogs. Saturn enjoyed my company, he was so happy running around the beautiful exercise area. We had a big but hilly exercise area. I was too lazy to walk down the hill because climbing back is hard for early morning!

The ground where they set up the rings were brilliant. All flat and nicely cut short grass. Weather was so good, a bit too good for me, HOT! I don't do heat so I was suffering. I need pain killers to take away my headache.

My runs with Sizzle weren't very successful, we had 2 clears round out of 3 runs but he wasn't working in his usual speed. I do not know was it the heat or his tummy but he was alright that Saturday morning, had his breakfast and ran around with Sing and Saturn.

Our first run was the Comb 1-7 Jumping. It was a nice easy flowing course but as I have mentioned earlier, Sizzle wasn't stretch out like he normally do. I knew we got into placing but I didn't go and check. I was worried about Saturn running away from Colin, so I stayed in the car with him more. The tannoy only used for calling out for classes, so I have missed all the presentations.

Our 2nd run was the Comb 6-7 Jumping. Marie set up a very challenging course, two tunnels together. I work the tunnels well the first time but I forgot to go all the way up with him to flip him into the 2nd tunnel when coming back (how dare I expect a baby dog to do the tunnel on its own? But I will practice that though!) and we got eliminated but I was very please with that run. I thought he worked really well.

It was a long wait for our last run, the Comb 1-7 KC Olympia. His running order was towards the end of class so we have to wait. I saw some awesome runs, fast and sharp. I knew Sizzle and I cannot beat the time to squeeze into placing especially with the See-Saw start. I have been re-train his see-saw last week, maybe in a bad way so he learned to creep to the end. He definitely knows that I want him to stay on the see-saw til it tip, so he want to be careful but to me that was an awful see-saw performance (it was painful for me to watch)! After that run, I told myself, I am going to sort this darn see-saw issue!

I was too tired to drive home after my runs, so Colin got to drive, WooHoo for him! I can't be bother to complain as I fell asleep soon he started driving!
On Sunday morning, I set up my new rubber chip see-saw and started working with Sizzle (and Saturn & Sing). I did a few 3-5 minutes session with him, I started with some basic like recalling to get him run all the way to the end of the plank, then drop the plank for a big bang. I click & treat when he run all the way up to the end and then another click & treat when I drop the plank for the bang. I did that 3 times. Then, I got him to jump on from the side to learn the bang, 3 times each side. I left it there. A couple of hours later, we got into the garden, we did one recall then I tried to run with him all the way and he was a good boy, he stayed on until I released him. We did that 3-4 times and left it there. Another two hours later, I got him out and did some more, running up with him and each time he was really good. I did more yesterday and today. I started to add front cross and stay behind. I am hoping he will have better performance this weekend. We will see but for the time being, I will continue to practice everyday. I am not going to let this see-saw issue put us off.

We were quite ambitious to have a BBQ on Sunday. Got a few very close friends and family around for relaxing time. Weather wasn't promising but we all have an enjoyable time. The shelties love to have people around and we have a little football game. Sing was the Goalkeeper, Sizzle be the Defender and I was the Striker! We have so much fun!

Friday, May 14, 2010

DON'T YOU DARE STEAL MY JOY - by Connie Cleveland

I was unsettled this morning. I knew the World Agility Championship is on and it is happening in the UK. I was hoping to go and support Team GB, especially those very clever shelties that got select to represent GB. Unfortunately I cannot find anyone who willingly (or trusty enough) to look after my dogs, so I got to stay at home. I am hopeful that someone like Agility Vision will do a live streaming video so I can watch from home but I was very disappointed that I cannot find anyone who is doing that!

I was browsing for more information about the World Agility Championship and read a post in the Agility Forum posted by Tim Dyer. This is such a beautiful article and meaningful so I thought I will cross post here and share:

by Connie Cleveland

On the occasion of my tenth anniversary, my husband asked me how I wanted to celebrate. I asked that we take a very dear friend, my adopted grandmother and one of the greatest of all the great southern ladies, out to dinner with us.

At dinner, my husband, Brian, presented me with a diamond ring. It was gorgeous and I was speechless, but even as I thanked him, I worried about the expense and extravagance of such a gift. As if he knew that the next line belonged to my grandmother, my husband excused himself from the table.

He was barely out of sight when she reached across the table and grabbed me by the shoulder, "I know what you're thinking, I know you think he couldn't afford it and it's too extravagant. I don't care if he had to put a second mortgage on the house to buy it, don't you steal his joy! It's beautiful. Accept it as the token of his love that it is and say nothing about how he shouldn't have bought it for you." Then she repeated, "Don't you dare steal his joy!"

That was the end of the conversation. She sat back in her seat, smiled at my returning husband, and we had a lovely dinner. I took her advice and put my reservations out of my mind. The ring has never come off my finger, but most importantly, I learned a wonderfully important lesson, never to steal another man's joy.

Are you a joy stealer?

"You know if my dog hadn't gone down on the sit, I would have won the class", said, unfeelingly, to the winner.
"I sure didn't think your dog worked that high a score."
"I can't believe you placed, I thought Jane Oneup and her dog would beat you."
"I thought I had that class won! My dog had a great performance, " said to the winner.
"Isn't that judge an idiot? I can't believe the dogs he put up!" said to the winner.
"Boy, aren't you glad Mrs Winallthetime wasn't here today or you might not have won."
"You passed that Master test because the water blind was so easy."
"That was the stupidest set of water marks I've ever seen. No trial should end that easily," said to the winner.

Do you discourage or encourage fellow competitors? Do you tell them their goals are too lofty and their dreams too big? Are you trying to be helpful or trying to keep them from accomplishing something that you never had the ability or perseverance to do yourself? It is equally as harmful to steal joy by destroying the dream.

"No Basset Hounds get UD's," said to the owner of the Bassett in Utility class.
"I've never seen a Rottweiler that could do fronts and finishes", said to the owner of the Rottweiler practicing fronts and finishes.
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a UD and a Master Hunter? Do you know how few people have ever done it?" said to the first time dog owner setting out to do both.

When FC AFC OTCH Law Abiding Ezra had both his field championships and 65 OTCH points including all the necessary first places, someone had the guts to come up to me, his owner, trainer and handler and say, "No dog will ever be a field champion and an obedience champion." My jaw drops when I think about it. Isn't it unfortunate that I remember this attempt at stealing my joy much more than I remember all the cards and letters and congratulations I received when those last 35 points were earned?

If you are willing to destroy someone's dream, perhaps you don't realize that it is the JOY of pursuing the dream that keeps the dreamer motivated, not just reaching the accomplishment.

My husband and I travel and compete together. I remember an event, early in our relationship when I watched his Doberman fail articles. "Darn it, " I said, as he came out of the ring," she didn't even try to find the right one!" "Oh", he replied, "but, weren't her heeling and signals wonderful?"

Unknowingly, I had almost stolen his joy. He was celebrating the improvement on the exercise that had been giving him trouble, and I was focused on the failure. Since that experience, Brian and I have learned that the best response to a questionable performance, "What did you think?" That way, if the handler is excited about some aspect of the performance, you can share that excitement. If the handler is disappointed in another aspect, you can share the disappointment. You are safely removed from being a joy stealer.

I hope you have a lot of dreams and goals for your dogs in (the coming year). Undoubtedly there will be moments of disappointment as you venture through the landmines of injury, failures and other setbacks. Remember that the joy of the journey is worth the difficulties along the way and don't let anyone steal that joy. Guard it well and at he end of the road you can own it and revel in it with all the other memories of the trip.

I'm going to add a few more that I have heard:

"If my dog hadn't knocked that bar, you would never have gotten 2nd place and gotten enough points for your MACH" said to a girl who had just found out that her 2nd place had netted her enough points to finish out her MACH with her heart dog.

A girl waiting in line for her National Championship Finalist shirt mentioned she was nervous to be showing in the finals. Another competitor replied "Why? It's just Preferred."

"What was your dog's time? My dog slaughtered your dog's time." Said after the slower dog qualified and the faster dog did not because he knocked bars and/or went off course.

So, stop and think. . .is your joy dependent on stealing someone else's? None of us is going to get rich at this sport. We do it to have fun with our dogs and our friends. So, it is the journey that counts. Let's hope we can all respect and enjoy each other's journey.

After reading this, I have learned to ENJOY every single run with my dogs, whether it is a good one or a bad one.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted any news about Sipzie. She is doing great. Miguel said she is very attach to him (Ooops! I hope she will attach to me when she joins me!) I am really missing her, VERY MUCH. She has grown into a pretty young lady. I have received some great picture of her and her mama Ypra. Miguel always take good pictures. I have booked the Crossing to go and pick her up on 6th July, 7.5 weeks to go! Can't wait!!

drying in progress ...

Well, the paint on the see-saw dried up nicely so I started to apply the rubber chip on the see-saw this morning. I was a bit nervous to start with, I was worried that I wouldn't have enough rubber chip if I didn't sprinkle evenly but I was being silly. It was plenty. I wanted to apply the RED area first but it was much bigger area so I being sensible to start off with one of the white area. Everything went well (to my standard).  I know it won't be perfect but as long as I do my best, I am happy. After all, it is only home use and I am not a pro, so nobody can complain about it. I certainly don't think the shelties would complain! Now, I have to wait for the contactcoat to dry before I can use it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

busy and a long painful wait!

I have been very busy yesterday and today! I met up with Jenny and her lovely Border Collie Copine for a good walk at Wimbledon Common yesterday. We had a good solid 2.5 hours walk. We didn't slow down, we kept marching! It wasn't plan for a long walk but Jenny and I got lost in the wood, so it ended up a good long walk! We then have some yummy food in the Windmill Cafe to regain our energy to drive home!

You thought I will be tired? Nope, I spent all afternoon moving the agility equipments around and maw the lawn! I must have burnt off all my calories! I was expecting a back ache this morning but nope, I am fine and full of energy! I think the long walk must do me good. 

I decided to re-do my See-Saw. My SS is actually a part of the Contact Trainer I bought a few years ago. Unfortunately the CT didn't works, so I called Premier who made the CT to see if they are happy to take part of the CT back and exchange for a full A Frame. Premier has excellent service, they sent me a brand new full A Frame almost immediately and I kept the SS part. The SS Part isn't really a SS, it has slats, it's more like a DW plank on the SS base. I think that confused Saturn when I trained him as a puppy. Just before I had Sizzle on the SS, I removed those slats but I didn't do a good job, I made a messed on the plank but it was ok. Also, for some reason, I misplaced the bolt on the base and found another smaller one to fit in the hole, so the SS is actually not steady!

After Sizzle's SS problem, I seriously thinking of re-surface the SS. I decided to try the rubber chip from Contactcoat. I bought my See-Saw kit from them last weekend. I spent nearly a week to digest the instruction, at this point, I wish I have a handy-man husband!

I sand the plank down this morning and clean and wash off all the dirt and let the plank dry up. I am also a little bit ambitious to change the original colour. The plank was Blue and White to match the A Frame and DW in the garden but I am fed-up with Blue & White, so to give it a bit of life in the garden, I chose RED!

So far, I have just painted the RED and waiting for it to dry up nicely before I can paint the two ends of white. This is going to be a long painful wait before I can use the SS again!

Monday, May 10, 2010

a "hung" agility weekend

Well, after a hung parliament, I followed the trend to have a hung agility weekend! I just cannot believe I have an all e'd (eliminated) weekend! Every single class I have entered, I've got eliminated! Even Mr Reliable (Sing) got eliminated twice! Arrrggghhh ... what's wrong with me?

I knew I couldn't concentrate on Saturday, I don't know why. I was probably still very tired from the previous long agility weekend. I decided to drive up to Walsall on Friday night for Beacon on Saturday. The venue was three hours from home, it would be too much for me to do the driving in the morning.

I google and was very surprised to discover Holiday Inn Express in Walsall, not only they allow pet but is also FREE! WooHoo! In the past, we always stayed at Travel Lodges and they charged £20/dog + room rate. I have been competing with Sing, Saturn and Sizzle so imagine I have to pay £60 extra on top of the room rate. The room rate is normally less than the price of 3 dogs! We normally got there very late, around 11pm ish and left before 7am in the morning, so staying at Travel Lodge makes agility very expensive! 

I highly recommend Holiday Inn Express Walsall if you are up Birmingham way, it is brilliant! As long as you have well-trained, well-behaved dogs, they are welcome and stay for nothing! The hotel policy said they will charge £50 if they mess in the room. I think that is very fair. The hotel itself is so clean and tidy. Staff are friendly and helpful. The room we stayed is very good size (double bed with pull out), we even have air-conditioning in the room (bonus!) and you also get complimentary breakfast in the morning! Isn't that  heaven? Colin certainly enjoyed the free breakfast very much. He said their sausages taste lovely!

I know my shelties love to join us in the bed, so I carry a fleece blanket  to throw over the bed so they can still enjoy staying on the bed with us and not messing the bed up. Both Sing and Sizzle settled in very well this time but not Saturn. I cannot figure out why, he wasn't happy at all. He woke me up at 2:30am (crying) to let him out and so I did. We then struggled to get back to sleep, so all Saturday, Colin and I and Saturn were very tired!

the boys on the bed  

Sizzle always carry his favourite duck (present from Aunty Yvonne and sister Ellie) whenever he goes. He MUST play with this toy duck every night before going to bed, even just for a couple of throw. This has becomes his night time routine. I found the same toy at Pets at Home recently, so I thought I will buy one and put it in the caravan so I don't have to carry the same toy in and out the caravan and home but nope, he still loves only this toy!

 Sing is always independent. We bought Seagull to keep him company so I can go to work when he was younger but sadly he does not enjoy Seagull's company. I then gave up work and to be with them. Later, we have other shelties to join our family. Sing remains the independent one. He gets on well with all of them but very seldom play with them like he plays with Sizzle. He and Saturn was good pal until Sizzle came along. Sizzle is like a spark in his life. He loves to have him around. He tease him, he plays with him and he chase him whenever they are out and about. I think Sizzle makes Sing feel young again! He was like a lunatic in the hotel room chasing Sizzle. I did tell the reception these three dogs are very well-behaved, mmm .... if you looked at Sing on Friday night, you thought I am a liar!

Back to our unsuccessful agility weekend. Saturday at Beacon, weather wasn't very kind to us, it was  very cold and wet, constantly raining and the wind made me feel like we are in the deep winter again! Sizzle has 3 individual runs and one Team run. Sing and Saturn has one run each.

First up was Saturn in the Combined 6,7 Jumping. I can see the tunnel trap when I walked the course.  I was hoping to catch him before he sees the tunnel but I lost him! The tunnel is such an invitation to my shelties! I remembered my Lincoln weekend, they kept going into the tunnels again and again! Other than he ran into the tunnel to get himself eliminated, he actually ran well. I even managed to do my layering by staying this side of the tunnel. Yeah!

And, I decided to run Sing in the Graded 1-6 Agility eventhough the ground condition was a bit wet. I want to give him a practice before Sunday's Team run. I have not training since he was injured a few months ago, so I really do not know what to expect from him. He was keen and eager to go. I thought he started well, I was worried about the wet ground so I dare not push him for speed. He tripped on a turn and then he started to slow down a little. Unfortunately I didn't turn him well after the DW so he back jump the jump and got eliminated! That's entirely my fault!

Sadly, I can't get a single thing right with Sizzle this weekend. We had some interesting courses on both Saturday and Sunday. I love all the courses.  I consider myself a Novice handler and new to 6 & 7 courses.  After this weekend, I think I need a lot more "control" with him to do the 6 & 7 courses. Sizzle is brilliant. He is always keen, with his speed and running contacts, I have to be in the right place at the right time to do the right thing. I didn't managed a single right thing this weekend with him. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and did the wrong thing!

He is still a baby and I haven't thought him many things yet. We are still weak on the see-saw and me running ahead of him in the weave or crossing behind the weave. If I can rely on him to do the obstacles on his own, that will make such a big difference.

I can see a slight improvement on the SS this weekend, not great but we both were a little patient than last weekend so only a couple of times he leap off the SS before it tip. I still have to work hard on that though. His SS is no way near perfect. I still need to get him to run all the way up to the end and wait til it tip. We  still practicing a lot of the SS basic. Sometimes he looks very confuse but hopefully I can sort this out soon. The longer it takes, it will confuse me too!

I also starting to teach him to come close to me after this weekend, either come in front of me (in between my legs) or beside me. We have a couple of courses this weekend with obstacles discrimination and we fail entirely! I have been practicing with treat last night for the first time and he did well. This morning, we were out in the Common walking and I tried to call him to me and he responded well so I chuck him the toy! I am hoping he will run to me and grab my tuggy but he isn't a tugging dog but we are going to work on it. I also want to work this with Sing and Saturn.

The Crufts Team qualifier started this weekend, ESSC (English Shetland Sheepdog Club) has sent a Medium Team and a Small Team to take part. Sizzle is in the Small Team and Sing is the reserve in the Medium Team.
The Medium Team did well at Beacon on Saturday, they came 2nd. Unfortunately, only the winner go through to Crufts 2011. Well done to Pat & BeatBeat, Paul & Fudge, Lisa & Tyler and Christine & Zev, they worked so hard to come and 2nd. We are very proud of you!
Unfortunately, Sizzle and I let the Team down on Saturday at Beacon. I lost Sizzle in the snake sequence, you can see me in the video looked so lost and didn't even know where my little dog was!
Then, at Tunbridge Wells on Sunday, I let the Medium Team down with Sing went into the wrong end of the tunnel!
The Small Team also didn't get qualified at Tunbridge Wells, we will try harder next time!
Thanks to all Team members that run for ESSC! Better luck next time!

Friday, May 07, 2010


Just a quick update re Sing.

I think he is looking so much better, in general. He hasn't show any sign of lame or lifting his front left paw. He is not looking stiff but very agile and lively!
For the last few weeks, he has been wearing the "Back on Track" coat most of the time; getting his Cartrophen injections from the Vet for 4 consecutive weeks; Yumove supplement; massage; swimming ... etc.

I do not know which one helps him but one thing I know he is recovering well. He is full of bean. Just two days ago, he kept bringing me his tennis ball to play in the lounge again. We have an issue about playing tennis ball in the lounge since last October. Since then, we never be able to play tennis ball in the same place again but now, everything is back to normal. I guess his back/spine issue is gone.

I still not taking him back to agility training yet, I ran him at Lincoln two weeks ago and he won the G6 Agility; then I ran him at the Sheltie Show on Sunday, he won the C6/7 Jumping. I've got his running order for this weekend, I am not sure if I want to run him on Saturday in the individual class because Brodie got blown off the DW at Vyne and he is on the rest for two weeks. Sing is the reserve for the Team so he has to step in for Brodie on Sunday. I do not want to overdo with him. If the weather is dry tomorrow, I will probably run him in one of the Agility class then Team on Sunday but if the weather is wet, I will keep him for the Team on Sunday.

Sing with his Lincoln and Sheltie Show winnings

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I am agility-out!

I am agility-out! It has been a very long weekend for me! I am really tired and exhasuted. I could hardly run at training today!

I took the caravan and the shelties to Newbury on Thursday, Colin didn't join me until Friday evening. I was ok as we were surrounded by people I know well. The weather hasn't been great, it was awful at some point. We had high wind, stormy, rainy weather, hailstone the whole weekend ... we also have a few hours of sun and dry weather.

It wasn't my plan to have 4 days of Agility. My original plan was to go to Colchester on Saturday, Sheltie Show on Sunday and Severnside on Monday but I was the Show Secretary (scarry!) for the Sheltie Show and I wanted to cheer for Matt & Brax for their first champ at Vyne, so I have to change my plan. Bringing the caravan to Newybury and do the UKA show on Friday and Saturday seems to be the sensible idea eventhough it sounds ambitious. 

Friday was a blur. I managed to walk all Sizzle's classes and ran all of them, he got 1st places in Novice Jumping and Novice Steeplechase. Our Novice Agility ran well apart from him flying off the see-saw! Colin was at work, so no video from Friday. I am so used to Colin being my groom and take care of the boys while I watch other people run. As he wasn't there on Friday, so I spent most of the time in the caravan with the dogs. I have heard from the announcement that the gate was open and the venue is open to the public. There might be travelers came into the showground so we have to watch out for our dogs and belongings. I am a worrier so I rather stay with the dogs to make sure they are safe. Samber is not a good camper, I cannot keep her safe in the garden, she always try to escape, either go underneath the fencing or jump over the fencing. Very naughty little girl! 

In the morning, I also heard that there might be no PA system as the villagers are complaining. Anyway, I missed walking two of Saturn's runs. I got to watch a few other dogs running and trying to remember which way to go. The Senior Jumping was a blur. We ran it, I thought we went clear but the judge didn't clap. I asked one of my friends if we went clear, she told me we got eliminated! Later I went to the score tent to check and we actually went clear and got a 3rd place. I have no clue about the Senior Agility course, so I walked in to do the NFC (Nor For Competition) round, I did all the contacts and came out. I managed to walk the Senior Steeplechase and he came 3rd in that too.

I was so glad to have Colin joining us on Friday evening. I was hoping to do better on Saturday. I managed to walk all Sizzle and Saturn's classes but Saturn wasn't well on Saturday. I noticed he went stiff after his first run of the Novice Steeplechase. Luckily there is Tace Allen on site, she is a Therapist. I've got her to check over Saturn for me and she found a few tight spots on him, the worst was the muscle on his right groin is very sore, that probably explain why he is stiff and not running his full speed. So, Saturn is on the rest for the next couple of weeks.

I only have Sizzle to concentrate which is good but also feel funny. I am so used to running two or three dogs, so running one dog made me feel lazy. I did a late entry on Novice Gambler for Sizzle as well. The new rule of the UKA is you need some game point to move from Novice to Senior. I try to avoid Game as long as I can as I have no idea how to snooker/gambler/snake and ladder ... etc. Our first run was Novice Agility. The ground was very wet and the contacts were very wet too. I was very worried that Sizzle might slip on the see-saw if he ran up fast. I decided to do a front cross so I can pretend to catch him (to stop him from jumping off the see-saw and also just in case he slip), of course it went horribly wrong. He probably dislike me trying to catch him, so he went around my back and back jump, so we got eliminated! BooHoo! Big mistake!

Our 2nd run was the Novice Gambler. I remembered doing a Gambler with Sing a long time ago but can't quite remember how to do it. I like to run a course with all numbers set up, I hate to run "my own course" especially you have a time limit to do the course. We were allow 35 seconds to do anything we want and each obstacle has their own points. I think the highest being 5 points (DW and 12 weaves), A Frame is 4 points and SS and 6 weaves are 3 points ... etc. Once the whistle blow for time, you need to run to the jumps that set up by the judge to do the gambler. It was very stressful for me. I have no idea what I can do in 35 seconds and I do not know how to position myself to do the gambler. The funny thing was, Sizzle decided to take the tunnel (I wasn't plan for that) after the 12 weaves and at the same time the whistle blow. I was shocked but luckily I gather my mind quick enough to run the gambler. We made it in time. He finished the Gambler within time. He actually collected 59 points and Gamble! WooHoo! I was told he collected the highest points in the Novice! Yeah! Yes, he won the Gambler!

Our third run was Novice Jumping. He got 2nd in that.

After that, we had a long wait before our Novice Steeplechase. I remembered Sizzle and I both fell asleep until we heard the announcement and I suddenly jumped up. Poor Sizzle was still half asleep by the time I took him to the ring. I found it very tiring running the Steeplechase course. It was up and down the hill. At the last turn, Sizzle actually turned the wrong way! Luckily he managed to collect himself. I think we need a lot of homework for directional commands, I've noticed this is our weakest this weekend.
On Sunday, we left the caravan and off to the Sheltie Show. It was pouring down with heavy rain, I felt so lucky that we were indoor. I was nervous and panic as this is the first time for me to being a show secretary. I remembered all the stuff for the show but forgot my own stuff, such as treat/toy and camera! What a disaster! I have entered three dogs but ran Sing in the 6/7 Agility and Jumping. He won the 6/7 Jumping which surprised me! See, he keeps telling me that he is not giving up agility! I didn't run Saturn in the Agility and Jumping but ran him in the Tunnel Vision, he was crazy and did a fab round. We got 3rd in that Tunnel Vision and 1st in the Pairs with Matthew and the little pocket rocket Bracken. I wish I remember the camera as that was a very good round from both of them. I've got Sizzle eliminated in the 6/7 Agility. He got 4th in the 6/7 jumping and 5th in the Tunnel Vision. Again, he turned the wrong way after the Tunnel. I really have to do more homework on our directional commands. The Show went well apart from the Timer didn't turn up. Luckily we have some husbands to help time keeping with the stop watches. Thanks to everyone who help running the show!
 this video is shot by Luds and Dale Fitzwater of Fleurdemai Shetland Sheepdog, the first run in the video was me and Sing and you can also find me running Sizzle somewhere in the middle:
Bank holiday Monday at Newbury was very cold and windy, we even have hailstone and rain in between the high wind.
I was very tired after the Sheltie Show, both mentally and physically. I didn't do well at all, I just can't concentrate in running my dog. My first run with Sizzle was the Grade 6 Agility, this is his first G6 show, I love the course and I was hoping to do well. We started off well until the judge faulted our DW. Sizzle didn't change his stride but he kinda came off side. I think a gust of high wind must have blow him off a little bit, I am not sure but I am not too worry about it. I should have continue to work hard but I didn't. I let him take the long jump the wrong way and got eliminated, then we went off course but the good work in this class was his see-saw. He did stayed on the see-saw until I released him. I am very please with that.
Then, we have our Combined 6/7 Jumping. I thought we ran well and we are just one place out of placing. Again, he didn't get my directional command right, he turned the wrong way and took a longer route.
Disaster strike at our last run. It was Combined 5-6 Agility. Due to the high wind, the judge pulled out the DW as there were many dogs fell off the DW. Sizzle started off steadily, I wonder the see-saw might have put him off a little bit? I have been training him on the see-saw too much lately and I think he is a bit worried about it. Just as we started flowing, we heard his favourite toy going off outside the ring. I do not know who squeak the talk toy but he wanted to go and chase it. I managed to get his attention back but not for long, after he came down the A Frame and back into the tunnel, he pulled out at 4th pole and looking for the toy! Arrrggghhh ... I do not know what to do, so I picked him up and walked out. I never expect this to happen. Sizzle has been a very good boy since we started competing, he never bother by any distraction and this is new to me. I keep the "bird toy" when he is flat out at training so he really is into the toy. I am actually shocked when he lost his attention. Now, I have something to work on!
this is our disaster run, you can hear the little bird toy going off:

The highlight of this weekend is to see my little Zap again. This is the first time I've got to see him since he left me at 8 weeks. He is a handsome little man.

The 2nd highlight of this weekend is to watch Brax at her first champ, she is a tiny super star. Read more about her run here.
For now, I just wanted to rest. I hope I will recover in time for the weekend. The Sheltie Team has their first Crufts Team heat this weekend and I am so much looking forward to it! Can't wait!