Saturday, April 28, 2012

Agility Withdrawing Syndrome

I think I am at the edge of Agility withdrawing syndrome!! That is not a good sign as WAO is so close now! As Sizzle is my only competing dog at the moment, due to this unknown problem, we are resting him for WAO. I've entered him for GT UKA, Vyne Champ and Beacon Champ in the next two weeks, I thought it would be a good last minute practice before WAO but I don't see we are going to any of them now. Also, my stamina has gone down hill. Don't know why but I have been puffing a lot in the last 3 weeks. I used to be able to run a full course without any problem.

Sizzle is doing great at the moment. Although I have to keep him quiet, lead walking only, he is actually doing fine. No crazy moment. I can see that he is very jealous to see me working Sonic and Sipzie in the garden but when I got indoor, I do tricks with him, so we are still bonding with no actual running. I don't think he appreciate that, he rather do Agility :)  Hopefully he will save up all his energy for WAO!

I am sure some of you will ask why not competing with Sipzie? Well, we have a little set back with her. Her re-train Dog Walk (from running to 2o/2o) is not perfect yet, so I rather not doing Agility with her at the moment. I need her to at least understand the criteria before I even practice that at UKA. Her weave is getting better but when she gets all hype up, she lost her plot and do whichever poles she will go in. I have tried exercise her before the runs, so she gets to calm down a bit, that didn't actually help. I think she is an excitable dog in general. Having said that, when she sees treats, her mind just blew! She will start drooling at the queue just watching other dogs got treat from their handlers. I've tried taking the crate with me, Phew! That proof a bit too much especially when I do Day Parking. If Colin is with me, I can stand in the queue while he takes her away from the queue until we are about a couple of dogs on the line. That works a little better but when she got back to me, she got really excited. She sounded like "separation anxiety". If I show her treat, she starts out slow and maybe speed up later but then she becomes very gluey. Unless I can run super fast, otherwise, I sometimes get a very frustrated Sipzie as I am slow and she will try to bite me in excitement! So, now, we practice a lot of little things like startline wait. Her startline wait was pretty bad, she broke her wait or released herself before I release her. We have been doing a lot of that lately and she is getting very good at it now. I've also practice a lot of weaving at home with her. As the V weave is slightly open for Sonic, so I gone back a step to train her with the V and she massively improve. Her weave entry is so much better. I think our only problem is she hasn't learn to collect herself on the 2nd pole, so if she is fast (she is!) from an angle, she will take the entry and then missed the 2nd pole. I have the guide wire out, so hopefully we can crack that problem soon. One thing I have noticed is with the new weave spacing, she weaves better. 

I haven't enter Sizpie in any KC Open shows but I am hoping to get her to do UKA, so we can start doing some Jumping along with the Steeplechase classes. She is due to come into season, although the boys show their interest in her but there is no actual sign yet. I so hope that she is on time (last week), so I can leave her safely while we go to WAO but at this rate, Mmmm ... she better wait until I come back!

Good thing that Colin is off work (not really) so he can video our training and any other runs that I've practice, so I get to study the videos and see the "problems/mistakes/errors" to improve my handling. 

Here is Sipzie at training. She is so much happier now.

Super Sonic has a lot, a lot to learn yet :) I've found that he is not a tunnel driven dog. Even at home, in the garden, I struggled to send him into a tunnel. His send on is ok-ish. I think I will have to struggle if we come across a straightline jumps home, I know he will not run fast ahead to finish. Well, I think I only have 2 dogs so far that is able to do at least 4/5 jumps home, that is Saturn and Sizzle. Sipzie will do 2.5 jumps then if I am left far behind, she will stop or even come to me. I don't know about Sonic. I must admit I haven't done a lot of sending him to a static/dead toy. I am rather disappointed that he is not driven to a tunnel. I think that is quite a big disadvantage if a dog is not driven to a tunnel, this means I have to run a lot more, take more steps towards the tunnel instead of positioning myself to the next obstacle. I swear, I done a lot of tunneling with him at home but he is just not a tunnel dog :(

Sonic at training:

I've received two little videos from Chloe and Tye (aka Scampi), isn't he fab?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

more Sizzle update

Sizzle this morning, still groggy from sedation. His mind is very alert but body is still weak, poor boy :(

After much consideration, Sizzle was sent in for an xRay yesterday. As you can guess, it was a long dreadful day but it was all GOOD news! Vet took 7 xRays and they can't find any broken bones or spinal injury, Sizzle is in good form; so the vet thinks it's down to the muscular problem. We can only guess either the big collision from the girls back in December hasn't heal up properly or the wind swept wing at training back in January still causing the trouble. Liz, one of the vet looked at him then said she wasn't happy with the toes area (nothing broken) but agreed with me that the heat was coming from the shoulder. He was rest on and off and treated many times since. 

His problem at the moment is, he is not extending well when he was running. He is a good little man, he tried so hard. He has some good runs and some bad runs. Vet said anti-inflammatory and rest. I am keeping an eye on him for sure. 

Thanks to all kind emails/texts/phone calls. I will keep you all posted.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sizzle the weasel

Well, there were a lot of discussions over the last few days about my little weasel. Colin, who is not as crazy as I am that jump into every little thing, he has a calmer attitude towards things (which is good and we do need a man like him in the house!). He asked me: Do you really think that the weasel needs the xRay? My immediate answer is: YES, Yes and yes! He said to me, if you don't think he has a broken bone or slip disc, an xRay won't really show up. That got me thinking. 

Yes, I know Sizzle is not right and the last Chiropractor treatment showed that he was in pain or discomfort which made him growl at her ... he has been doing agility on and off, although he has lost his speedy speed but if he has a broken bone or slip disc, he won't be able to run but he sometimes happily chase the crows in the Common and played ball with the others. 

I don't like to have my dogs going through sedation/anaesthetic if I can help. This morning, I have an open discussion with my vet to see what her opinion is. Jackie is a lovely vet and I am glad I have found a good vet like her. We talked through many possibilities and we both agreed that it could be a soft tissue injury, so for now, we will put Sizzle on anti-inflammatory tablets for 2 weeks and rest and see how gets on. That will take us through to May bank holiday then we will back to see Jackie again.

I know WAO is getting under my skin but I am so glad and proud that Sizzle and I are to be included in Team England. I know I cannot train my dog and be prepared like all the others are doing but I just have to trust my dog and myself! I learn to BELIEVE! WE CAN DO IT!

Please read small print: BTW, I hate this new blog layout :( I hate changes :((  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


WAO is only a month away now! We attended the last Team Training on Sunday and collected our Team kit and I feel pressure coming!

Poor Sizzle is not terribly well at the moment. He was acting weird on the weekend and he wasn't on form on Sunday. I was rather concern.  I managed to catch our Team physio Tace to have a look at him when we had the lunch break. Sadly, Sizzle is very sore and tight on his lower back. I managed to get an urgent appointment with our usual Chiro today to have him thoroughly check out. She found Sizzle extremely sore on his back, while she was manipulating him, he growled at her 3 times! OMG! I have never seen Sizzle growl at anyone before. He is always the sweetest boy to meet people. When Sue manipulate him on one spot, I heard a gentle growl, then as she moved on, I heard a slightly louder growl and then a real growl. Poor boy must be very very very sore! Sue suggested I take him for an xRay and possible a MRI scan to get him check over for any underlying issue as she is worried that after 10 treatments, he only got worst instead of better! She also said, there might be nothing wrong with him. I can't tell you how stressful I am over this issue. I am waiting for Sue to have a word with my vet so that I can make an appointment to have Sizzle Xray/Check-up. I have considered to pull him out from the Team but I know how much I wanted this spot and we both tried so hard to get qualified ...

 Sizzle at training on Sunday
Sizzle got invited to EO Tryout this weekend, we have everything pack and ready for Saturday but now, we will stay at home and concentrate to make him better and fitter for WAO.

 poor Sizzle was so tired after the morning training and fell in deep sleep in the noise!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Changes are to come ...

Well, it looks like Colin is into early retirement. We are hoping that he will get another job for a couple of years ... but we will see. 

As for now, we try to minimise expense, the first thing we did is to NOT to drive the car unless necessary. The petrol prices is still very high in and around our area. We have been walking into the town to get our shopping with a granny trolley. To be honest, I am quite happy walking into Mitcham Town, it is not far from home, it is about a mile and to make the journey more enjoyable, we always walk through the Common where we walk the dogs but I hate that granny trolley. It makes me look so OLD taking a granny trolley! Luckily, Colin doesn't mind, so he is the one that take the granny trolley :-)

Since Colin is at home, we starting to eat healthier, home cook small meals/little snacks instead of big portion or pub meal. We do a lot of walking with the dogs. We are out about 4 times a day; 2 with the boys and 2 with the girls. We also spend time in the garden, Colin to tidy up the mess and I train the dogs :) Good deal :))

Well, I think the boys get a bit confused that "why daddy is on holiday for so long"? Saturn loves to sleep on Colin's pillow when he is at work (Don't tell him!). He doesn't get a lot of chance to do that now as daddy will "tell him off". Poor boy! The other thing is Sipzie and Scara follow Colin everywhere, so when Colin is doing something, the two girls are moving all the time, especially Scara, she moves like lightning! She doesn't do walking pace, she zoom! That gets rather annoying! If they boys are lying down on the floor, she zoom past them by knocking them over, the boys really hate her and they decided to jump on the couch to avoid her. She isn't happy. She will jump onto the couch to tease them, especially to Sonic, Seagull and Saturn. She doesn't bother Sing much as she knew he is the boss; and not to Sizzle as Sizzle is the only want that will tell her off.

We are hoping to move, where? We don't really know. Somewhere cheap with acres of land for the shelties to run will be idea! I would love a lake/pond so that Sing, Sizzle, Sonic and Saturn can still enjoy a swim in a hot summer day. I do like quiet countryside. We have an Estate Agent here to value the house yesterday, hopefully, it will be on the market soon. We are busy tidying up, putting things away in boxes. We want to clear up for the Estate Agent photographer to come and take some good photos of the house to put on the market. 

This is the 2nd time we move since I married Colin. Last time, it wasn't a big hassle as we lived in a ground maisonette, we only have Sing puppy and Seagull puppy, not many "rubbish" to take with us. Over the years, we built up more "rubbish". I can see we have a lot to go through and sorting things out ... I can't believe how much doggie stuff I had indoor and outdoor! Training books, DVDs, Rosettes, Trophies, Agility Equipments ... oh dear!

 Colin is helping me to take the rosettes down ...
 ... and they all go into boxes for now, the trophies, I mean. Not Sing :)
 ... some of my Sheltie books and training books collection, ready to go into boxes soon.

I beginning to miss going to Agility shows but I know we need to get ourselves sorted first and I am looking forward to our last Team Training tomorrow. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

Happy Easter

I wasn't in the mood to make a new Easter Banner for my blog ... Life is upside down at the moment, not knowing what future holds and our minds are busy with a lot of decisions making and changes.

Although the weather forecast isn't good (rain? snow?) but we enjoyed a lovely warm sunny day in the garden, doing the long needed lawn mowing and some weave practising. I didn't enter any shows, just wanted to relax with the dogs in the garden. I may try to do the UKA Master on Monday if it is not raining :)

I've received some lovely photos today from Mariska. App is 12 weeks old now. He is still looking very cheeky and handsome, of course :) He is doing very well and been out meeting a lot of people and animals. He will be starting his puppy class soon :)

 photos are courtesy of Erwin Bon

I've got my V Weave back from the blacksmith this week, so I get to practice the weave with Sonic. The V is still open up quite a bit for us to practice the weave entries, cross behind and even a recall through the full weave. He still need a lot of practice, he is so keen and fast and hasn't learn to collect himself, most of the time, he just ran past the poles. I am not sure if he is a single stepper or double stepper? From the video, most of the time he is single step through the poles. I wonder when the weave are fully close, if that is going to change his single step to double step? So far, Sonic is the only single stepper as all the others are double stepper, even a very fast one like Sipzie is a double stepper. Is single step weaves faster? 

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Savannah, Fly and Tye 6 months

I cannot believe Sing x Sunny puppies are 6 months old already! They turned 6 months last Friday. I've got to see Savannah almost every week since she left. I've watched her grows and grows and grows ... I am hoping she will stop now LOL

Savannah taken at 4.5 months.

Last Saturday, we met Fly at Wye Valley. This is the first time I saw her since she left the nest. I was really amazed how much she looks like Savannah, they are like identical twin, they look alike in so many ways apart from the size. Fly is so much smaller!
 Fly taken at 6 months old, with daddy Sing :)

and this is Fly playing tug with big sister Beth:

 And this is my little Scampi (aka TYE) that I haven't seen since he left. From the picture, he seems to have more coat than the sisters and he is very handsome, I know I am biased!

ALL three pups are doing well at training, they all have fabulous temperament, always happy, outgoing and bald. Nothing really worried them. I can't wait to see them in the ring and hopefully I will get to see Tye sometimes this year.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

first champ show of the year

We woke up 4am on Saturday early morning to drive to Monmouthshie to compete at our first Champ show of the year at Wye Valley. This is my first time competing at Wye Valley; although the weather was a bit too cold, brrr ... a very long drive, didn't get home until 10pm. I really enjoyed the show. 

I've entered Sizzle in the Champ and the Grade 6/7 Agility; Sipzie in all her 3 classes. I managed to run Sipzie in the Jumping class but it was a disaster ending. She was starting very well but pop out at 10th pole. I've make sure I shut my mouth (instead of telling her to weaveeeeeee ...), but I don't know why she pop out? I've also make sure I don't look at the next obstacle but she just can't weave. After the 3rd attempt, she gave up and start sniffing air :((( I've picked her up and walked off. She recently got the habit of sniffing the air if she got asked to redo the weave a couple of times in the competition. Look like we have a new thing to fix now :)

Sizzle ran the Grade 6/7 Agility first. It was a real challenging course. I wasn't confidence about getting clear running the course but I thought that would be a good warm up for me before our Champ run. I drafted this course map for my own record, not according to the judge's scale.

To be honest, not many handlers and dog get around this course. I was having two mind how to do the #2 and  #3. If I want to play safe, I will pivot left, taking the longer way up to the A Frame but that give my dog a bad line so I decided to take the risk of turning his the way facing the A Frame, like a fake pull through. Knowing how bad my pull through is, I wasn't sure if Sizzle will respond to me calling "in in in ..."? That was such a tiny gap as well and Sizzle was a good little boy. He turn so tight and didn't even look at the other jump. Then, I was in a bad position after the A Frame, I should have trust him more to take the tunnel but I baby him and I was left behind and can't get to a better position to do the layering for #6 to #7. I was in the box and rushed too much before he go into the weave. That fraction cost us a 5 faults on the weave. He took the entry and I move and he missed 2nd pole! Arrrggghhh ... that's me! Of course, after I went wrong on the weave, things got bad :(  from #12 to #13, Sizzle took #12 and wanted to do the weave again :( Such a bad handling :(((

the video camera didn't work first thing in the morning, luckily a friend Bev video us and kindly sent it to me:

Soon, we were running in the Champ Jumping. Again, this is an interesting course. It didn't look complicated or tough but that course put a lot of people out of Final. You really need a good wait dog to recall from #1 to #2 to give yourself a good position but I saw many dogs that have no wait still do it ok, although hairy but clear is what you need. Sizzle ran well and got his weave entry which I was really happy about after my failure in Grade 6/7 Agility course earlier.

Now that I ran clear in Champ Jumping, I want another clear in Champ Agility to give myself a chance to get into the Final. What can I say? It wasn't a beautiful clean run, a bit hairy but we were clear and we made it to the Final. 

Having have 2 clear rounds, we ran at 10th position. I didn't like the start, it is a flat start and I knew Sizzle will be slow and have no speed up the DW. We always struggled with a flat start like that and thank God I got to talk to Steve who owns Fly (Sing x Sunny's puppy) before I ran. He gave me a good tip and it works! Sizzle was starting well and that gave me the confidence and I really want to do my best to get the ticket. I know there are a few very good fast strong dogs after Sizzle and all I can do is to push the limit. Again, I was moving a fraction too early that Sizzle missed the weave entry! He went into the 2nd pole! Oh well! I was very disappointed of myself! I know Sizzle is a brilliant little dog, he tried so hard for me everytime and I know I have the BEST dog!

We didn't ran clear in the Final, so this is my own draft, not according to Judge's scale:

And who is this pretty little sheltie I met at Wye Valley? More about her in my next post ...