Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Well Scandal had her first show on Saturday. We went to Bincknoll as Scandal could do nursery agility and 1-3 steeplechase on medium height NFC. As it was they also did a nursery steeplechase which was the same as the 1-3, so Scandal got 2 goes at it :)

I was dead chuffed with how she did, have been panicking at how she'd do. Infact the reason I wanted to do this one was because they only had 1 ring indoors and 1 outdoors, so there wouldn't be agility going on for her to watch. As it happened when it was Scandal's first run, there was a bit of equipment fenced off with barrier netting, and I took Scandal's lead off, and she took off towards the fence, not speedy, but a bouncy trot with her trying to work out how she could get through the fence I imagine! I called her back and she came straight back and for the rest of the show no problems. Her waits were a bit naughty on all of them, the first one she moved her paw (we are very strict - sit wait = sit wait and not stick one paw as far forward as you can) but I let it go as I was excited that she was looking keen! We broke it down and did 1-7, 8-12, 13-18 (ish) as I just wanted her to get everything right and have loads of opportunity to get rewarded so she thinks that staying in the ring is more fun than going off to chase other dogs! In the 2nd round (on the vid) we did pretty much the same except I did the tunnel as well before giving her the toy in the first bit.

In the agility it went jump-dog walk-tunnel, I've decided to stop her on her dog walk until I can get in the ring at UKA and train it properly, so set her up to succeed, didnt want her first experience to be leaping off the dw! As it happened I said "target" and she ran down the contact and then looked like she was going to stop but then trotted off it, great... so I called her back and went to the top of the down plank and did it again, with me stood behind, and she went down and did a lovely target, and then bit me when I gave her the toy, thanks Scandal. So then we did tunnel and a couple of jumps, then I gave her her toy again before the aframe, because it was a straight tunnel aframe and she hasn't been doing full height aframe for too long (god i'm rambling!!!) so again I didn't want her soaring off the aframe. So we did tunnel aframe and she did a nice aframe, good girl.

Anyway if you are still reading this! here is the video

All in all very pleased except still got massive prob with her chewing toys, Garth made her an 'indestructible' toy with some very very strong rope and she chewed through it within about 5 minutes :O the problem is she is much more keen to chew the rope part than the actual toy which is fairly annoying. Naughty Sandals.

Imogen and Honey were on form too, getting a 1st and a 2nd. Coupled with Honey getting out on to a road when we were walking her and getting hit by a car, brought us all back down to earth with a bump!!

Took Honey to Lowri's on Monday so she could do a fitness assessment (to be on the safe side after getting hit) but turns out she needs some treatment, so then off to Garth's vets we went which was Langford veterinary centre... well, I am still cross about it now! They wouldn't just write us a referral which is what my fabbidy vets would do, no, we had to go in and see the stupid rude vet, for 5 minutes, for her to poke Honey around and tell us she needed x-rays, to which I replied, thanks, but no thanks... now, can you just write a referral to SMART in Cardiff please :) well, you should have seen the look on her face, if looks could kill! She did tell me that this would mean Honey would probably be out of action for a long time, as if this specialist is going to try and keep Honey out of the ring for a long time? Cheeky moo, as this won't be the case I'm sure! After giving me a massive death stare she disappeared off and then came back a few minutes later to say that would be fine but she wouldn't be able to write us the referral until tomorrow. And then charged £29.50 for the consultation. OMG, I know vets need to make a profit, but that to me is ridiculous. I am so cross. And it makes me appreciate what an angel my vet is ("hi, Ricky's lame, I want to go to xyz, can you write a referral please?") lol!

So I am going to Lowri's tomorrow with Rix, Tia and Scandal, and taking Honey too, my lot haven't been for 3 months and I can really tell with Ricky, he's much stiffer than he has been.

Imogen trained Tia yesterday and she was brill, although I suddenly remembered that Tia's been jumping 22" for 3 months and hasn't done any 26... never mind.

We are off to TAG in 2 sleeps time, OMG I can't ever remember being this excited about a show :D :D

Monday, 29 March 2010

6 (& 7)

Ok 2 posts combined, im getting behind.

Trained Scandal for 10mins on Thurs I think it was, or maybe Fri, she was great lovely aframes but was high on her dog walk twice, nooo idea why, but was doing lovely rights and lefts and picking up jumps really well so I was pleased.

Yesterday just did snakes and wing wraps mixed in, haven't done many snakes so kept them on small, only did about 5 minutes tops, she was just brill, think she was perfect every time, seems to be clicking what wing wraps are finally! Also did seesaw and think was best seesaws she has done, gaining confidence in running to the end when she knows I'm not gonna hold it.

Did some gridwork with her today along with Lee and Jess's dogs and Scandal was the worst one of the lot - ahhhhh! Really struggled with gaging distances after the first 2 jumps, just jumped longer and longer and closer and closer to each jump, before jumping the last 2 as a spread. Did some work on it placing the toy in the gap, just doing 3 jumps etc but soon as put it back to 5 she wanted to do the last 2 as 1, so we did 4 and left it at that. She was fine with the moving grid and we will do the progressive next week. The other 2 dogs Cop and Todd did fab, both quickly adjusting and jumping nice and balanced taking off in the middle between each jump. Lots of work on this in the future!

For those that want to know - Honey was seen by Lowri today for a fitness assessment and has got a sore shoulder and hind leg, so is off for treatment along with my 3 on Wednesday. Think she probably got bumped off the side of the car rather than being hit infront - it was a 4x4 that hit her so if she'd been infront would have probably gone under the car, rather than living to tell the tale.

Scandal had her first show on Saturday - nursery agility and 2 x steeplechases, we ran them all NFC and took her toy in for all and broke them up into small sections, as it was Scandals first time working in an uber exciting environment I wanted to be sure to be more exciting than anything else, as still paranoid about her running off, will blog about it tomorrow.x

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


After having a chat with Nancy on Sunday about Scandal, I decided that I would ease up on Scandal's training for a couple of weeks as she was so flat last time I trained, probably due to her season finished, and I was putting in more energy than she was, she didn't want to be there! So rather than working against her, and building up anything negative, just not train.

So today I went to Jess's, took Scandal with me and thought I'd give her a go and if she didn't want to I'd just tie her up and we'd do some with Copper and Todd. Well, Scandal was great :D she was very keen, happy to be there and wanted to work. Her weaves (still only 6) were faster, we didn't do any dog walks, just the aframe, not sure what to do on the aframe as she was working a lot faster, and even just doing 2 obstacles before (on a turn, so not even a massive straight-on to the aframe) she was trying to do a 1 hit aframe, ie she flies over the apex and touches the contact, which of course I don't want as I think it's dangerous. But its hard as then she has to go slower to get her two hit, and then I moan that she's not going fast enough! So we made it easier and I just did the aframe from closer up, the reason she was doing a 1-hit was because I was infront to pick her up after a turn, so she was playing catch up. Then we did some stuff on me doing a front cross on a turn and her dropping in tightly, not sure how to describe it hmmm but once I got my timing sorted she was great :)

I think we did 2x 5 minute sessions. Not going to ask for longer than that for a while, it's hard as then I feel like I can't get everything in, but need to keep her happy. Ahhhh she was a good girl. Well, that was until I tied her up for the 2nd time and we were doing stuff with Todd, Scandal LOVES Todd and they play so nicely together. Scandal decided she wasn't having any of this so chewed through her new (very thick) lead, and then proceeded to chew through her new ball on a rope too! So I retied the lead, and she chewed through it again, grrr naughty Sandals. Then she did some good work where I kept her with me (off lead, seeing as I had no choice grr) and Jess worked Todd, and she stayed with me, no chasing Todd. Yay for Scandal having a little bit of self-control :) There is hope!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Happy days

Lovely day at Chippenham, firstly thank you to Bernadette who offered for me to put Scandal in her car, Scandal got to camp next to the wonderful Zen :O I can only hope some of Zen's awesomeness rubbed off on Scandal and eagerly await our next training session :) well done Bernadette on winning the ticket it was a stunning run.

Imogen and Honey did well in the jumping, winning 1-2 jumping by a second, think there were several dogs who did it in 22, and Imogen did it in 21, which she was dead chuffed with. In the 2 agilitys Honey was a bit pushy, she's getting far more confident in the ring now (which of course is fantastic), did lovely dog walk in one, and lovely aframe then moved off when Imogen moved off, so Imogen put her back (wow - progress!) and then in the 2nd agility Honey self-released off her aframe which was a shame as lovely up until then, however Imogen was very self-disciplined (again - wow!) and put her back. Which is nice as they'll still be grade 2 for all of April now which is good.

Shona also did really well with her Welsh Springer ceri getting a 2nd in 1-3 agility, considering they've only done about 4 shows and their last show was August, is brill. Shona put Ceri in the back of the car with Honey, so her mum could drop her and leave her at the show as it was going to be a long day, hence the reason for Scandal going in Bernadette's car. It amazes me how well adjusted the dogs are and how they don't stress about going to different vehicles and take it all in their stride.

Well done to Nancy and Zeki winning 1-3 jumping and going grade 4 :)

Love doing shows when it's sunny, I'm so looking forward to the show season!

Got a 1500 word assignment due in Tues, which I've mostly done, and a journal, which is 10,000 words, due in Thurs, which I've done :O and after handing in the 15000 word dissertation last week, I'm feeling all typed out. But great as we break up from uni soon and it will just be tons of revision, which I can do out in the sun, and much better than having lots of assignments hanging over you! Woop, can't wait till TAG :)

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Didn't do much today as Scandal was quite flat which made training soooo much effort - think I was more tired than she was by the end of it!
Dog walks were 100% and aframes I think we probably did 8, one she didn't do a 2-hit on the down ramp the rest were lovely including turns, infact she went deeper into the contact on turns.

Am putting some jumps on full height and although she is stretching out over them she is getting herself underneath the jump and then ends up miles past it, rather than doing a nice arc shape. Think I will keep the jumps on 22" for a while longer (training on my old jumps today so they only have medium and large, no inbetween) and then raise one end to 26, so she doesn't notice such a difference, she's fine with 20 and 22, just seems to be 26 is a bit more difficult for her.

Have brought 4 weaves home and am planning on putting her through them once, 3 x a week to get her dinner in the evenings, so she starts to value doing them speedily a bit more! She seems to quite like doing them, quite often she'll take her toy off and then walk through them carrying the toy... emphasis on the walk - long as she doesn't have to do it fast she is fine! Grr!

Friday, 19 March 2010


Went to Jess's yesterday - thank you Jess for letting us use your field and for filming :)

Scandal was a good girlie even with distractions of their chickens which she got a great view of stood on the top of the dog walk :) her contacts were 100% too which I was even more pleased with... ok so her stops weren't perfect but she's driving down quicker now, she understands she has to stop, just when she is going faster her momentum takes her a little further on, which I'm not worried about at all right now, main thing is that she gets as much reward as possible to build her confidence.

I back chained her dog walk so did 2 of the down plank and then the whole thing, I expected some jumps but didn't get any so that's cool!

She was a bit steadier but as it was a new venue that is just how she is, she is careful and that is fine, as her confidence comes and she gets more reward for being right, I think the speed will start to come :)
Here's a vid of Scans...


Written a couple of days ago... Trials and tribs of Scandal's RCs continue. Sunday they were great again, so got Imogen to run round playing with Honey (as Scandal looooves Honey), Scandal would look across, when we weren't running, but when we were she was as good as gold and concentrating really nicely, contacts great.

So couldn't think of what else to do so got Garth to hold one of their chickens and stand about 5m from the dog walk. Hmmmmmmm. Once I'd persuaded Scandal she couldn't just stare at the chicken, she did some good stuff. Her dog walks were slower but still held up 100%, was really chuffed as thought they'd be all over the place. I did fear for the chickens life at several points but luckily it's a very brave chicken, who's used to Scandal and Tia thinking it's a sheep.


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Crufts again

Forgot to add a couple of things

Firstly was thrilled to see my obedience trainer (not that we've been for over 6 months now!) win the Crufts dog obedience championships with her supper Aussie Buck, who is only 3 years old, think he entered 4 or 5 ticket shows last year and won 3 of them, Susanne doesn't campaign her dogs heavily and Buck will now be retired from obedience and compete in WT where he's already WDex. Buck to me epitomises what obedience is all about - style, accuracy, drive and precision, without being OTT with an awkward head carriage that seems to be becoming more and more common. Absolutely loved this dog since seeing him in novice a couple of years ago, he took my breath away back then and has done every time I've seen him work since then.

I think worst part of Crufts for me was seeing a horrendously lame collie competing in YKC ADOTY, a big chunky collie, who skidded after number 2 and was clearly holding his leg up, despite several shouts from the audience (me included) that the dog was lame, she carried on, I know when under pressure people don't notice these things but the dog was running on 3 legs and was measuring terribly, it made my blood run cold to see a dog running in so much pain, they really do give everything even though their body is telling them to stop.

Watched a bit of the breed show BC judging but not for long, the BC bitches seem to be tiny, and most of them to me are barbie type collies now, with hugely long coats that are kept trimmed, I would love to see some of them do a days work. Was nice that Sarah's Skye won her class as she isn't OTT (in my expert opinion :)) so nice to see these more normal looking collies getting put up.

Should have a new video up of Scandal by the end of today :) x

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Haven't had time to do a blog post for ages... have been swamped in uni work... handed dissertation in yesterday, seems strange now I havent got it hanging over me, just one more assignment to write and a journal to hand in (well, write!) next week and then revision revision revision for easter, exams starting in May and finish 2 days before Scandal's first KC show, so will be nice to do the show without having to worry about revising.

Crufts was great, we stayed up there weds night to saturday, sooo knackered after each day. Imogen had a 4th in YKC ADOTY on thurs, lovely run, top 3 qualify for final so she was just out of the placings, which was a shame, but great considering they've only been doing agility for 14 months, has also taught her that she does have to push, and can't fanny about like she can in grade 1! Honey is working amazingly well in training and could easily hold her own up against grade 7s, fabulous little bitch, her attitude has changed so much in the last year, complete nutcase now, hope that as Imogen gets her confidence they will start to enjoy being in the ring a lot more.

Show season starts now - Chippenham on saturday, then a show every weekend from then on.

Tia is back home and touch wood there have been no fights and not even any grumbling, shows how much Scandal's season must have affected her. They've been playing loads and are loving chasing each other and trying to outrun one another on walks. Tia was a bit stiff yesterday after running, I think it's because she hasn't done it for about 3 weeks, hopefully it won't be long before her muscle is nicely built up again.


Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Ok, so seeing as I'm rubbish at keeping a diary/scribbles of how training's gone, I thought maybe I could try and keep an up to date version on the blog.

So here goes.

Thank you to the people who emailed me suggestions. When I trained today, Scandal again did perfect running dog walk, from whereever on the dog walk I released her (including full ones). We also did some stop ones and they were great, really pleased with them as she's driving down into the position really nicely where ever I am.

So, to make the running ones a little harder, and adding in a distraction, I put her half way along the dogwalk, and had Ricky alongside, on the floor. Said 'go' and Scandal flew down and hit the contact very high up. So we went to the end of the down plank, but again she jumped. So, I gave her a 'time out' for 10 secs. I think the 3rd and 4th one she then got nicely, so I moved her back a bit along the dog walk. Jump. Jump. We worked on it for a while and I think we made some sort of progress. But Scandal got about 6 time outs, which for me is higher than I'd like, however the majority of these were at the top down plank, so I'm not bringing her any closer than that.

So... I think what is happening is when I train at home, there are no distractions, or distractions that Scandal is well used to and it doesn't bother her. But add anything else in and all of a sudden she does a completely different behaviour. So, we need to increase distractions at home, setting Scandal up with a much higher chance of her succeeding, ie from the top of the down plank, and then move her further back as her % of success increases.

So... plan will be for now to do stop dog walks at UKA shows, and KC shows. When I feel that the running dog walk will hold up in the ring, I will try it out first at UKA, and if it is ok, do it at KC. So we have got a lot to work on, but at least a plan of action to go with it :D


Monday, 8 March 2010


Scandal's aframe has been looking really good this week. She only did a 1-hit twice, the other times it was a nice 2-hit on the down ramp. Her turns are also coming on nicely.

The dog walk on the other hand..... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I HATE THE DOG WALK!!!

The dog walk at home = lovely. Nice and confident, 100%, running through the contact perfectly. We went to James and Sam's yesterday, and Scandal didnt hit one dog walk contact properly! In the end we left it, even if I only let her go from the down plank, she still was missing it.

I'm now at a loss with what to do. When she misses it, I say 'no' and we go and do it again. Previously, this worked... she'd almost always do a perfect hit the next time. However yesterday it became quite clear that Scandal had no idea what she was doing. Then I got into a tizzy because she wouldn't do it (and I didn't know how to solve it) so she jumped off from even higher up.

So, the plan for the time being, until I've worked out what to do, is to do a 2o2o dog walk everywhere except home. Increase distractions at home, and see if she still maintains criteria.

I don't know what to do... don't know what is best. If I call her back, she flattens. She'll keep trying, doesn't shut down, but she doesn't go as fast, which throws her stride out even more. If I ignore it, and carry on, then I'm accepting that (it'd be like her not stopping in 2o2o and me just carrying on) and then I don't see how she'll differentiate wrong from right. I guess the best thing to do would be to let her pick her toy up, but not play with her, and then jackpot it when she does a good contact. Problem is, like yesterday, if she doesn't do any good ones, then she switches off completely.

If any one has any suggestions on how I could work on this pleasse get in touch, harding_charlotte @ hotmail.com (remove spaces) as I'm completely at a loss with what to do next!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Mixed week

Well started off well, with Daves lesson, then on Friday Scandal fell off the dog walk... gave herself a dead leg, which ok'd itself after a few minutes. Then she seemed fine, so gave it a few hours and then did another couple of dog walks and they were perfect, she was low across the whole dog walk rather than the stupid jumping which she was doing.

Then on Sunday we tried a raised aframe, did it slowly a couple of times so she knew it was higher, all fine, then did one a bit faster, again fine, then the next time, she went up the apex, and carried on skywards... and landed on the floor. After I recovered from just seeing Scandal's near death experience we did it a few more times and she did it much better.

Not enjoying this RC malarky right now. It's great when it's going well but they go so fast there really is no room for error. In 2 minds about stopping the whole thing now. Did the aframe today and Scandal just wants to go from contact to contact as soon as she's further back than 1-2metres. So I've got no idea how we are going to ever get it into a course.

The dog walk was looking really good today, correct striding, head low, we are putting 1 or 2 jumps before and after it now, all going swimmingly.

Jumping on Sunday we did at 22", she's 15 months and I felt she was ready, however she seemed to find it harder to adjust to this height than when we went to 20". So may do some 20 and some 22 for a couple of weeks. She's fine on the straight ones and wing wraps but on a star she can't keep a tight curve like she can on the lower jumps.

Did some of the stuff we worked on at Dave's and it went really well, with Scandal now driving at me after a sharp turn, rather than pansying in a curve to the next jump :) she is very up for it and it makes training so much easier.

Feel like we have got so much to work on. It was so lovely to train today in the sun. Scandal was knackered, I don't think she's ever got so warm from training before! :) x