Saturday, 30 January 2010


Yesterday I trained Scandal again, first time since Sunday when she hurt herself. I trained her at my grans field, with my old jumps (ohhh Id forgotton the joys of having to stick the nail of the arm of the jump back into the main part of the jump to keep it upright!!) as 1. I didnt want to drive too far and 2. I thought it may be a good idea if I trained Scandal in a different place to last time, for my own peace of mind. I let Scandal have her ball as I walked into the field as she does her own warm up of cantering around for a few minutes. I did wonder what sort of training session we'd have when she took herself over a jump set on small height and she leapt over it so high I'm sure she'd have cleared the KC 26" height! Certainly wasn't planning on letting the pole attack her again!

I started off just doing some wing wraps with her, the jumps on small height, which I left them on for the entire training session as I just want to make sure she is fully confident again before I raise them. She did some good wing wraps, the only thing is, if I do a wing wrap round a jump, and then the next time want her to do a "go on" after that same jump, she wants to do another wing wrap, i.e. she's repeating what she did last time, not listening to commands. Same vice versa, if we've done that jump previously as a "go on", and then I ask her to wing wrap the next time, she wants to jump long. By the end of the session we did seem to be making progress. I've been quite lazy with wing wraps and haven't done much of them until this last month, so have to start doing them more often now.

We did some 'fun' stuff, I've set the jumps quite randomly, i.e. they aren't in straight lines, so she is having to look for the jumps, part of the stuff Dave told me to work on with her, to get her powering off, rather than being all 'floaty' which is what she does if she's not sure where she's going. She's got amazing speed on straight lines, but anywhere else, she just doesn't use any of her power. So yesterday we worked purely on having tons of fun, she made mistakes, disappeared numerous times to the wrong one, but I think she was suprised at how excited mumma was. Don't know whether she thought her punishment for knocking a jump over on Sunday was 3 days of lead walks and no training, so she thought she better try extra hard! But she was awesome. I need that attitude for every training session. I just feel like I need to do more with her than we are. Yesterday I trained for 10 minutes and she was knackered. So our entire training sesh was...10 minutes - if I'm only doing 10 minutes a time then I need to be doing more than 1 or 2 sessions a week.

We've got another lesson booked with Dave for February, boy do we need it! Hopefully Scandal will be able to do her running contact on his dog walk and a) not fall off, b) not jump off and c) impress Dave at the same time ;-)


Wednesday, 27 January 2010


The dogs have had a very boring week, only 2 short walks a day, Scandal has been on the lead, yesterday she had 5 mins off lead just trotting around, today had about 30 seconds because I could tell she was uber excited and any second was just off to do a massive outrun. She looks completely sound, have been doing some balance ball exercises to hopefully build her leg back up, stretches and she's been having a short massage too. Think I may do a bit of work on one jump with her on small, on Friday, lots of rewards for doing not very much, then if she is ok, train as usual on Sunday. Rix and Tia are doing well, Tia is being more of a fruitloop than usual think it is because she is not having very much exercise, sorry Tia, only 1 more week of it then back up to longgger walks :-)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Tempting Fate

What an idiot. Last week I said about what a clean jumper Scandal was. I can count the number of poles she's ever knocked on one hand. Yesterday she completely misjudged her stride, hit the jump and then somersaulted over it, and was very lame. Oh, and ran away from the jump like it had just attacked her. Hmmm, she had just started going a bit faster too, sure she won't be doing that again! She looks ok today, have done some stretches with her, and she is on lead walks, much to her disgust. Was hoping to get to Lowri's on Wednesday but won't be able to now as too much uni work, it is never ending at the moment!

Tia was also in the wars managing to get her tail fur stuck in a jump wing, I had to send Imogen off to get some scissors so I could cut Tias tail out, there was no way the fur was coming out, it was hard enough getting the fur out without Tia attached to the jump! Think Im gona shave her tail fur now, stupidly long anyway!

Monday, 18 January 2010


Scandalina is 13.5 months now and it suddenly dawned on me a few days ago that we appear to be falling really behind with our training, before the snow she was still on small height, she is good at go-ons but everything else just wasnt what I wanted.

So I've been housesitting this weekend and my agility stuff is in the garden, how perfect :D

So we did some training with our 4 upright weave poles on Saturday and Scandal was great, also did some jumping sequences on medium height and she was totally fine, she seems to be a good jumper and has a very clean style, don't think she is going to be a pole knocker (yay) hopefully the balance work we did with her when she was younger has really helped. Yesterday we did seesaw, low running aframe and dogwalk, her dogwalk was 100% perfect, woohoo, much more fast and confident, she is actually running now, rather than half running half stalking.

Running aframe: Having watched some videos of running aframe where the only criteria seems to be "no jump" at the end, I've decided I'm not going to train Scandal with this same criteria. Basically because if the dog is leaping over the aframe and landing in the contact zone, the area of the contact zone is pretty small and at the speed dogs do it, doesn't leave much room for error. So, I want her to touch the aframe twice on down side - once near the top and once in the contact zone. Therefore as the aframe is low at the moment it means she cant meet the criteria running at a full gallop as otherwise she could get from one end to the other in a single stride. Seems to have taken to it well, I am glad that I at least have trained a running dogwalk as it seems to have transferred over quite nicely.

Good ScandalBeans :)

Edited to Add: This is why I dont like the 'one hit' aframe contacts, where the dog just hits the contact zone on the way down, I think the dog doing what he does in the vid is much more likely to happen. Thank goodness the dog was ok.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Reflections on 2009

Now we are safely in to 2010 I've decided to have a little reflection on 2009... :-)

2009 has on the whole, been awesome. Ok... I'll rephrase that... 2009... from July onwards, has been awesome.


At the beginning of the year I had almost no hope of Tia coming back to agility, well, I always had a little bit of hope, but the reality side of me said that it was just nearby impossible as she was so broken. Yet here we are in January, coming up to 2 years since we went to Lowri's, and Tia has been sound for 9 months and been competing at full height (albeit very lightly) for the last 6 months. Going to Denmark, Austria and France in July was SUCH a highlight for me, it was amazing, to spend a month in great company, Lee was brill to go away with and he is Mr Sensible so I knew he'd keep us safe. If it was down to me, I'd have probably lost all our passports in Austria and Tia would still be in quarantine! LOL! And we both learnt how to use a Danish washing machine so the trip was educational too :-)

We have given up obedience, my goal for 2009 was to retrain Tia to work stylishly and motivated, and that is what we achieved. However, somewhat strangely... when I in my head achieved this, I lost all competitiveness, and I realise that the only person I wanted to prove to that I could do this was myself - I did it, Tia was working brilliantly, but I had no more desire to do obedience shows. I don't think that working on one side, with the dogs head up high, does any good for a dog in terms of them muscling up/favouring one side more, and I would rather do fitness training/agility training than obedience. So we quit obedience! Tia has just got stronger and stronger and is looking so fab. She behaves immensely immaturely, and it's hard to believe that she'll be 8 in May. She's training on 22" at the moment and looking good, the plan is to enter 2 classes per show with her, planning on a show a couple of times a month, and we'll see how she goes.


In 2009 I only did a handful of shows, Jess and Lee have taken Ricky off for quite a few weekends and Lee and Ricky have done brilliantly. Ricky adores them, and loves his weekends jetting off in the caravan. He's nearly 11 years old and is doing brilliantly. 4 years ago I remember worrying what he would be like when he was 10 or 11 as he was getting quite arthriticky, yet he is going great guns. He does get tired very quickly when I train him, that is the only problem, he still has the mind of a 2 year old and I am sure he would work all day if he could! So 2010 for Ricky is just about keeping fit, keeping healthy, and enjoying his veteran classes.


And then on to Scandal, where do I start. She has contributed to the high lights and the low lights of the year! Low lights being my failure to train a reliable recall for her, she has improved tons, but still not 100%, which I find really frustrating. She is an absolute loony watching agility, again I have found this frustrating at my perfect girl going from angel to maniac in a split second. I have learnt a lot and I think I will be able to deal with her a lot better this year. Last year has certainly been a lot of trial and error... more errors I think! Her agility... again I find quite frustrating, but I will do a separate post soon as to why. I do think I should make a video of all the tons and tons of rubbish I have on my video camera, so you guys can see how bad it is most of the time! Amazing what a bit of video editing can do, hehe. Obedience on the whole I've been pleased with, she's decided in the last few months that heelwork isn't quite so bad and actually seems to like doing static position work, and hand touch when my arm is outstretched. Not going to compete with her but I'd like her to be able to do the basics.

The second half of the year I have been to a lot of shows just to watch and it has been lovely to catch up with people after not seeing a lot of them for over a year. Imogen started her training with me at the end of December 08, by Sept 09 she won out of grade 1, had qualified for Crufts YKC Agility Dog of the Year, and qualified for the Agility Club Starters Finals. I am so proud of her and Honey, I think they are going to have lots of fun this year :) Garth's been a great chauffeur and very patient with Scandal, when he is trying to have a sleep in the car and Scandal won't stop barking, naughty Scandal :) I enjoyed travelling to shows in their company last year, and am going to take Imogen to some shows in the sexy van this year, well, there is a spare cage in the van which might as well be occupied (for Imogen if she is naughty :))

Outside of agility it has been a tough year, and I have no doubt that if I hadn't got Scandal, I'd have probably quit agility completely now. However, she is my little ray of sunshine, my angel, she is the sweetest, softest little dog going (if you haven't seen her at home, you are probably wondering which dog I am talking about!) and makes me smile so much, she is very much the comic out of the 3 of them, bouncy and sooo playful. No matter how much other people let me down, I know that she never will!

I have learnt that when times are hard, those guys who are your closest friends hold their hands out for you to reach, and if you reach out and take their hand, they will be there for you to help you through your darkest times. So many people have been so kind, I find it amazing and very humbling to have special friends that would go to the end of the world to make sure you're ok.

So 2010 now and the next couple of months are going to be a bit of a slog, finance exam revision, dissertation draft due in at the end of the month, plus 3 pieces of coursework due in for next month. A few months ago I wondered how it would ever be possible to get through the last year, now I can see light at the end of the tunnel and it doesn't seem such a scary path to take. And I am REALLY looking forward to what 2010 may bring. But at the moment, I'm loving every minute of it :D

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Went to a local show on Sunday, to watch Imogen, you get 2 runs in the jumping and 2 in the agility, Honey won the jumping with her first round, but her 2nd round was faster she was just a bit gawpy running past the tunnel, but I preferred this round so I put it on vid :D and poor Imogen I made her take her toy in both rounds in the agility and reward Honey on her contacts, much to Imogen's horror :D here is the vid. Love Honey, she is such an honest little dog.

Time's still flying, Scandal's 13 months. We did some training today, just seesaws, which I was pleased with, as Scandal seemed much more confident on knowing her 2o2o position, weavies, and 'come' (dont take any obstacles, stay on my hand). Her weaves are getting better with each session, the 2 sets of 4 channels are closed up as much as possible now. Able to send her from any angle and she's right about 80% of the time. Also practised sending her into the weaves and me staying far away from them or pulling off, which she was fine with. Want to do jumping and running dw but wont until the ground has improved, which by the weather forcast looks like it might be a while!

Scandal was in trouble this morning, she ran off and managed to get herself stuck the other side of a fence, with a gate with lots of barbed wire, Scandal was in a total panic and wouldnt look at the small hole that was to the side, if you pushed all the brambles out the way. So her long suffering owner had to climb through the brambles, wiggle her fingers so Scandal could see where she was, and when Scandal came to sniff, pull her back through the hole. Damn puppy, I have no idea how she got into the field as it's all sheep fencing/thick bramble hedges round it. That's the first time she's disappeared for ages (and my fault as I was on the phone and not concentrating). Infact I was very pleased with Scandal on Friday, we were walking on the Mendips, looking for a missing labrador, and a bunny appeared right infront of us when we were on a track, well off shot Scandal, but, much to my suprise, when she lost site of the bun, she turned round and came back, after only about 50m. What a good girl. Didn't fancy having to look for a lab AND a collie/fox! Oh and found the Lab too so all was good :-)