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!


Remington said...

That was quite a weekend!

Nat said...

It looks like Saturn has gotten his speed back, he was fast! Sounds like a fun and busy weekend!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Just don't know how you do so much agility every weekend and travel so far too! Mom would be completely exhausted! Love the photo of the three boys on the bed!

Diana said...

I thought your runs looked very nice. Sorry they werent perfect but you sure looked good. Diana

Sara said...

Oh, you must be exhausted after two busy, busy weekends. Sorry about your "e's", but those were some tough course. I still think you and your dogs did a great job!

Priscilla said...

What a wonderful and busy weekend! All of you did so well, bravo!

Vonnie said...

All your boys are getting faster! Great runs and nice team runs too!

Vonnie said...

Meant to say glad he loves his toy so much! Ellie loves her too!