Thursday, 8 December 2011

Scanda Lena Loo at UKA

Oh dear I am four weeks behind now... still have UKA and Olympia to write about... UKA first...

Scandal was a little star for me at UKA. We had qualified for the Beginners Steeplechase back in March. The Finals were held at the Hand Stadium where they held the WAO in May 2011.

It felt a bit weird doing a 'show' in December. But it wasn't so bad as the venue was only 35 minutes from my house :-) so although we had to be there early for the check in and warm up run, I didn't leave the house until 6.20, so not actually too early.

We had a warm up run first, a lovely spread out course, nice and flowing. Ahhh it is SO nice to do a flowing course again! Scandal went clear in this, she was a bit scrabbly on the flooring the first half, having not run on 'non-grass' surfaces very often, however adjusted half way round and seemed to cope much better.

Then the semi final, we ran about 12th, there were 20 in each height of the semi. To get to the final you needed to be in the top 10 in each height. Scandal did a lovely clear and won it :-)

This meant she ran last in the Final, this course was a bit more trappy than the semi, two sets of boxes that the dog needed to go through rather than diagonal. I have worked hard at getting Scandal to do this and it seems to have paid off... I know at least 3 of the 10 got E'd on one of those boxes. Scandal worked the course beautifully, went clear, and WON the final :-D what a clever cookie.
Thank you to Bernadette for taking this pic of us :-D

My main aim of doing this show was to be in a competitive environment before Olympia, work a big course, and enjoy the excitement and pressure, rather than nervous which worries Scandal. I'd also set myself a goal of getting to the final and then getting a top 3 place... so we achieved everything I set out to... very happy :-)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Catch up

Kind of lost interest in blogging a bit now… plus just don’t seem to have enough time to do it. Sooo here goes, roundup of the last month or so.

Gillingham – Scandal got into the champ final again – yeayyy! Got e’d about 100 times in the actual final, I got way too excited and handled like an imbecile, poor Scandal… but we had fun, and got our monies worth of the expensive champ class :-P

Then our next show was Chippenham – I must admit I was not realling feeling it for this show – had had 2 days off work that week, the dogs hadn’t trained since Gillingham, I felt sooo dizzy in the morning – every time I did a front cross when walking a course completely lost my bearings, didn’t really bode well.

Scandal’s champ jumping didn’t really go to plan – she missed her weave entry and then ran round a jump. She did a nice round in the agility and came 5th – didn’t seem nearly as fast as at the beginning of September - she seems quite flat after her season so I think it’s hormones. We didn’t get in to the champ final, however it’s definitely given me the champ bug for next year :-)

I ran Honey at Chippenham, which apart from 1 run at Gillingham and the semis, was her first show since KC Fest – I have to say that after having struggled all year to get any kind of bond with her, in the last month she has improved so much as a pet (nothing agility related) that we are actually getting on pretty well. She’s on lead for most walks so doesn’t ruin them by running off, and now has something that resembles manners – e.g. doesn’t barge out of as many doors, waits for her dinner, and just generally does as she’s told more often than she doesn’t.

So back to Chippenham, Champ Jumping she was clear, and motored from about halfway round the course and even gave a couple of excited yips, think she was about 4th in this. The champ agility she did a lovely round with a great dogwalk (the lure of being homeward bound) and finished 2nd. She qualified for the final in 2nd place, so ran penultimately. She was doing a beautiful round, then I sent her into a tunnel and off I ran, instead of collecting her, so she put in another jump on her way to me. Silly Char – Honey’s done so well this year and has qualified for every champ final I’ve done with her bar one, and then I’ve messed up every champ final bar one. It’s hard as I have to push her harder as she still doesn’t tend to ‘give’ unless she has to, but in doing that it's out of my comfort zone so my timing's not great. We’ve done 1 training session in the last 6 weeks and she was crazy, she’s going to have until the middle of November off agility and then we’ll start training for Olympia.

Last week I went to the WAO tryouts with Scandal, probably not the best prepared for it as we had only trained once in the last 6 weeks or so, I only entered it as a last minute thing, I don't particularly want to qualify for it as I don't think Scandal would be ready for that level of competition at the start of next year, but thought the tryout day would be a good experience, and it was. We ran 4 'drill' type exercises and then 2 courses, we didn't do too badly but there are certainly a lot of things that I've taken home to practice! She was also lacking her usual spark, again I think hormone related. I think she was about 8th overall in the 650 height, out of 20 or 30 ish dogs (can't remember exactly how many). Like Honey, she is now on agility-rest until mid November.

Yay for the fact that we now have no shows until the UKA Finals and then Olympia, love having my weekends back! x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Olympia Semi Final

This is Scandal’s run from the Olympia Semi Final at Stoneleigh. I have watched it back lots, I think all the hits it has on youtube are me watching it on repeat. I think Scandal looks like she is driving a lot better in this. My handling was a bit dopey on 3 – 4, I thought the turn was HUGE but although wide, she didn’t waste 5 minutes as it felt when I was running it. And she drove on to the dogwalk really nicely. Love the acceleration she gets after the aframe. Very pleased with her weave entry. I think this is one of my favourite runs of the year. What a good Scandalbeans.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

What a weekend

Scandal's champ runs from Prestbury Park

Well, that has to be one of the best weekends that I can remember. On the Friday, Scandal had the Novice Olympia qualifier, and Honey the Small Olympia qualifier. Saturday was Scandal’s first champ at Prestbury Park, and Sunday was the Senior (6-7) Olympia qualifier.

Friday my alarm went off at 4am and I promptly switched it off and went back to sleep. Eventually managed to get up and was ready before we planned to leave at 5.30 (those who know me will know this is a record).

I had decided to do something a little different with Scandal this weekend. After KC Fest, where she just exploded with excitement and I couldn’t keep the lid on her, I decided (especially with 3 days of agility) that I would not queue at all, keep her right back away from everyone, and see if it helped with both her and my stress levels. I’ve found Scandal very hard work this year with the two incidents of a dog running into her and another dog attacking her, she has been quite nervous when being approached by strange dogs and more so in agility, which has made her quite reactive to a handful of dogs, although she is improving and is much better than she was in June. Out on walks etc she is fine, but I need to manage it better at shows.

The first class was the warm up for the Novice Olympia. I was excited and a little apprehensive knowing how disastrous last year’s semi was with Scandal bottling out of the big jumps. Well she was great – not fully confident but was very giving and did a lovely clear and came 4th.

Then the real thing. We ran pretty early so did not have the luxury of knowing how many clears there would be. She took a pole after the flat tunnel which proved to be the ‘bogey jump’ of the class with many dogs taking it. So I had to push it, and Scandal flew. Up to 15, which was the easy part to the course… dogwalk tunnel and then a long straight home… Scandal came to me after the tunnel instead of doing the jump… and it was the Joint Aid jump which I should have known she wouldn’t want to drive to. She flew straight past it and over the long jump. So that was that, our hope for the Novice was not to be!

Then a fairly long wait till Honey’s semi. She was fairly excited for the warm up and came 5th. Then in the real thing, she did an ‘ok’ round, got a bit caught in the flat tunnel and was generally sluggy and felt like she didn’t really want to be there. We had run early, so had a long wait as there were quite a few clears, and was delighted that we got in with 8th (top 10 qualify). Clever Honey.

Saturday, Scandal’s champ. I was soooooo excited about this, and perhaps it was a good thing as it meant that the semis weren’t the be all and end all that they were last year. I had my own goals from what I wanted from the champ, and was hoping that the courses wouldn’t be too hard for me to remember.

Champ Jumping first – massive course, really spread out, and a few subtle turns that would see half the class get e’d. Scandal did a lovely run apart from getting slightly caught in the flat tunnel and came 3rd, which I was uber chuffed with. It was one of the first courses where I have felt that she has almost caught me out (at the rigid tunnel) with her speed, infact I thought she was going to take my legs out when I said ‘tunnel’ too early. She loved doing the huge course.

Champ Agility next – again fairly big course and I decided to do a 3 obstacle recall to get a better angle to the long jump, which worked really nicely. I took her seesaw steady as didn’t want her to try and slide it as she hasn’t been on that many rubber contacts. Such a good little girl, luckily for me after the flat tunnel you could put them in either end of the rigid as Scandal had other ideas to me (I was more concerned with her going straight on over the wall.) She did a lovely clear and came 7th… and then it dawned on me that we would make it to the final!

Champ Final – we ended up 2nd over the first two courses combined so ran 19th out of 20 in the final. I did not watch any of the other dogs as have been keeping Scandal away from the ring and other dogs, Will Rolfe was running 18th and I watched a tiny bit of his run, and knew he was clear as were a few others. I took the first 3 jumps a little carefully as 2 was the wall and Scandal has never jumped it on an angle before. How she managed to keep her feet up on the jump before the weaves I have no idea as I completely mangled the turn, got in her way and she had no idea what I was doing. But she saved me and looked pretty neat over it, then through an angled box where for some reason I decided to shout “go go” as she was doing the long jump and I think she had thought she’d finished as she took off over it, lol. Dog walk into tunnel, I had decided to run it and she caned down it so fast I nearly didn’t make it over to the next jump in time. Managed to steer her round the last bit and we went CLEAR! We got the reserve CC. O M G. I am still smiling about it. We were 0.2 off Will and Scoot who won. Ant and Gass were 3rd, Ian and Bobbie 4th. Go Scandalbaby. Soooo happy.

Olympia Qualifier final day. We were in the 6-7 semi. Our warm up course was the same as the 3-5 invitational – really nice. It did not go well. Scandal completely demolished the spread, which was number 5, took off miles too early and just ploughed through it. Scandal so rarely takes poles and is not a careless dog, and her confidence can get knocked sooo easily that the last thing I wanted was for her to potentially hurt/scare herself. Checked to make sure she was ok and then we carried on. All going well until the flat tunnel, long jump, where she ran past the long jump. I called her back to re-do the long jump and then she cut through it coming out the side, so had to re-do it again…. Ahhh there are times I just wanted to hurry up and finish and this was one of them lol.

So, the semi final. Our running order was half way down, and by then there were around 15 clears so I knew that a fast five would not be good enough and it was more likely that a fast clear would be needed. Scandal was amazing. I just tried to say the minimum but give her clear enough commands. I thought two of her turns (3-4, and the box after the weaves) were huge, but they weren’t too bad looking on the video, but something for us to work on. She did a lovely clear and came 4th, so has qualified for Olympia. WOW. I have wanted to qualify for Olympia ever since seeing agility probably 13 or 14 years ago at Olympia, got to the semis with Rix and Tia but always blew out in the qualifiers. And then this year I qualify two dogs! I am soooo happy.

The only slight issue is I now have to get seriously fit. I was exhausted running Honey on the Friday so goodness knows what I will be like at Olympia with the ring about a million times bigger. So much for my planned winter of utter laziness! We just have Gillingham and Chippenham left and then a couple of months off. I am very happy with how the dogs are running and have met all my goals for the year... now to write some more :-)

Tia still doesn't think she is 9, thinks she is a puppy, is sooo bouncy and happy... and still very silly. I think this year might be her last at full KC height as watching her runs back with Imogen at KC she does jump squiffy on a couple, but then that is something she has always done from taking off far too far away. She will have the rest of the year off now as it's unlikely Imogen will be able to run her at the UKA Finals in December, so we will see what next year brings.

Ricky is doing well at 12 and a half, he has been a bit up and down in the last couple of months but he seems much better now (shame the same can't be said for my bank balance lol), he has enjoyed going round the rings at KC Fest, oh and he was at the prize giving for Scandal's Olympia on Sunday and got in on the group shot :-)

Love my dogs :-)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Olympia Agility video and Scandal the Sheepdog

Here is a (slightly delayed) video of Scandal winning the 6-7 Olympia Agility at Agility Club, and some of her other runs including her G6 Jumping win in Barrie’s class (cooool course).

Two weeks ago I took Scandal Tia and Ricky down to Cornwall for some sheepdog training (for Scandal) and some walks on Bodmin Moor too. We did 4 days of sheepdog training, and I think Scandal was delighted that we had traded in a weekend of agility for a weekend of… heaven.

She’s so natural and focused when it comes to working sheep. It took her no time at all before she was going out round the sheep and bringing them back to me, and if I changed direction walking backwards, she would go the other way to keep the 12 o’clock, sheep, 6 o’clock position. The best bit was on day 3 we were out in the field and had *finished* the training session and were stood chatting in the middle chatting, and Scandal decided that we hadn’t finished, took herself off, beautifully collected the sheep and brought them to us, and then kept them with us. She would have worked until her legs dropped… now… if only I could get the same dedication to agility, lol.

Last weekend Ant very kindly let us use his field as Sian was down, and I got to do an hour of agility with her on Saturday and Sunday. I worked Honey too… training with Honey has not been going well lately, she really doesn’t like me, wants Imogen back I think… and I find it pretty hard to like her, when she gives absolutely nothing unless she has to. Not like my lovely little ‘what do you want me to do mum’ collies. But still, I am persevering because I get glimmers of this completely awesome little dog. And sometimes (occasionally) at home, she’s quite sweet… when she’s not barging past me, catching pigeons, jumping on the furniture, barking/whining, running round with my shoe, etc etc. And this weekend showed me why I do persevere – Honey was CRAZY for agility. Well that just knocked me off my feet with surprise. We got ‘squeaky spaniel’ who squeaked/screamed her way through the weaves, the aframe, jumps, like a total nut. She thought Sian was great fun. I got a bit carried away with my enthusiasm, I don’t think Sian could work out which of us screamed the loudest. But wow Honey totally rocked.

The problem? I have no idea why she decided she was going to go similar speed to training at my field, no idea why she was so excited, wanted to work, wanted to do agility. But hey guess that is the ‘fun’ of spanielsaurus J

Scandal was soooo lovely, I am so pleased with how she is turning out. I still couldn’t get my brain to operate fast enough sometimes, but when it did, we did some nice stuff. She is a very happy Scandalina at the moment, I think she’s still in euphoria from all the sheepwork we did J

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

KC Festival

I had a great time at the KC Festival. I stayed with Jess and Lee, but had my own tent so could fill it with the endless amount of junk I appear to need for 4 days away.

Scandal was, as predicted, a complete lunatic, out of the 4 seesaws she did over the weekend she held 3 seesaws perfectly and I put her back on 1. She held all her dogwalks bar one which I put her back on. I took her out of 2 classes, she is obsessing with her 'out rounds' which she loves, and wants to fit in wherever possible. She also decided that weave entries were optional, and didn't actually make one until her 4th class of the weekend. She got a 3rd in G6 Jumping with one little blip at the start (she keeps going quicker than my brain can deal with) and an 11th in Marc Saunders fab G6 Agility with held contacts. I hate holding contacts but feel that with Scandal speeding up at each show I really need the control and Scandal has to know 100% that I expect her to wait for the release command. The majority of each round she did was great, just little mistakes from me being too slow.

Honey was great, 10 days of being on the lead on walks and she seemed very excited to be off the lead for her agility runs! She won the YKC Int'l Agility with Imogen on the Friday, and got a 3rd in the British Open Agility and 9th in the British Open Jumping with me. This put her into the finals on the Sunday for the British Open, lying 4th from the end, and also in the Nations Cup. She got e'd in the British Open, but ran pretty nicely which was a relief in front of so many people. Our team in the Nations Cup got a 3rd in the Jumping and 4th in the Agility which put us 3rd overall and on the podium!!

Very proud of Laura and Be for having an awesome weekend and winning out of grade 3, qualifying for the Novice Cup semi and getting a clear in the semi and 12th place. Lee and Todd also had a clear and won G1 Jumping.

Scandal was in a great mood over the weekend and spent most of her free time playing with Tia, or Stig, Jess's puppy, which she was totally in love with. By yesterday she was absolutely shattered and spent all day sleeping and I didn't hear a peep from her. Back to normal now though!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Agility Club

I do actually have a video finally... but I haven't uploaded it yet. I must try and do this soon but the week is flying by and I have soooooooooo much to do at work, I think I'll need the Thursday of KC to sleep and recover.

Well we were in Kent on the Friday before Agility Club so coming up from that way to Ardingly. And a pedestrian had for some reason chosen Saturday morning to walk up the motorway and get run over, so they shut the motorway between two junctions, in both directions. Lots of traffic and Garth’s own diversion later to avoid the car par park that was the official diversion, we arrived at Ardingly at 8.40. Just in time for Imogen to walk her first champ, and just not in time for me to walk the 6-7 Olympia. Now, the 6-7 Olympia I had chosen to be the one class out of the 3 agility’s I had this weekend to go for – not so much to qualify for, but to gage how Scandal faired against some of the top class 6 and 7 dogs. I loved Simon Peachey’s course, big and spread out, there were a couple of bits I was unsure about how to handle, and I went through these with Tracy F, studied the course for a while until I was confident how I was going to play it, and then we were off. Scandal seems to have gone up another notch in confidence levels and decided that she was going to adopt a new form of startline wait, a crouch, a cross between a down and a sit. She was fantastic, good grief I love her sooo much! Everything I asked her to do she did as fast as her little socks could take her. I told her ‘poles’ and she drove to them, and even though she was driving to pole number 2 or 3 when she realised where the first was she pulled herself round to make sure she got it. Ahhhh she was good. She went into the lead, and held it through the rest of the class. She won it by 1.5 seconds. Cripes, that little girl is a good baby.

Scandal’s other class was a G6/7 jumping and I took my own line to give her a blast. She came out of her weaves as I was pulling off them, but got them 2nd time round.

Sunday, we took our own line in the G6 Agility as I wanted to practice aframe weaves, which she nailed, and then seesaw with me racing her, which she tried to hold on to with her tail, so she went back on that. And then she did a lovely running dog walk to finish yay! G6 Jumping, Barrie James’ course, loved it, and Scandal loved it too and won it! There were a couple of turns we need to work on as Scandal didn’t put a neat check stride in, but she felt like she was motoring.

The Crufts Singles was our last run and probably the only one this year where I’ve thought ahhhhh, help. Scandal thought she knew best :O she did a lovely sequence at the start of tunnel under aframe and very sharp turn into the weaves. I was going to train this class anyway as have no intention of trying to qualify her for Crufts ’12. So I raced her dog walk, telling her to target, and she just ran straight through the contact over the next jump! Just completely thought I’d told her to run it (or, whatever, she thought she was doing the right thing). So she went back on that, and then we did 3 jumps to seesaw on our way out, and Scandal ran straight through that too! At this point I picked her up and left the ring. Well, well, well. I kind of knew that as I’d pushed a few of her grade 6 agilitys and the class on Saturday that I’d have to train a few for a while, but didn’t quite expect Scandal to do that. All fun though! Looks like we will be training all our agility’s over the next few weeks!

I did two runs with Honey, the Crufts Singles and Olympia. And…. She won the Singles and came 2nd in the Olympia!!!!!! This should hopefully give her enough points for the Crufts Singles now, and also qualifies her for the Olympia semis. Good span.

Imogen ran Honey for the first time in 4 months and despite only being allowed to train twice since April they did some great stuff, Honey having 5f in the champ jumping and then an E in the agililty (Honey in her own little world after the dw). They then regained their confidence for the Agility Club Junior Over 12 Finals in the evening and won it, and Tia came 3rd with 5f! They also had 2 fab runs on the Sunday, one judge giving Imi a judges special for great handling :-) with just a small error in both classes. Imi ran Tia in the Singles and got a lot further than we did, Tia just running round a jump. Hopefully she will be able to do some classes at KC Fest.

We've just had a weekend off... what a novelty. Honey is currently on 'Ruff Love' after running off AGAIN after we trained last week. She was gone for ages and it was dark by the time we found her. I was convinced she had been stolen as there was a suspicious looking car that had gone by the time we'd gone back to take the number plate. Stupid spaniel was found later in the night, in the woods, happy as larry, not at all worried! So, she's on lead, or in her cage / puppy pen. Makes me realise how demanding she is as she's always pawing, clawing, jumping up, barking, whining, etc etc. When she's on a lead she's on a headcollar so she can't tow me. We trained once on Saturday for 2 mins, and she was great, very enthusiastic (and promptly tried to run off before I could catch her again). I find this sooooo hard to do as my dogs get lots of freedom, so this is a bit of a culture shock to us both. Still, better that than a stolen-spaniel or a squished-in-the-road spaniel. Time will tell whether it makes any difference.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Caerphilly and UKA

I will keep Caerphilly very brief (for me anyway). We (Scandal and I) had 3 runs, 5-7 Circ Jumping where Scan was running somewhat conservatively and ran round a jump, we just carried on. 6-7 Jumping was a bit silly IMO, with 6 pull throughs (all the same style too, not very creative) and I decided that I would do this as can’t keep not doing her jumpings, but work on layering the weaves with the finish jump so I’d be pulling off to the side. We managed 5 pull throughs and then on the 6th one, round a box, Scandal decided she preferred her favourite ‘out round’ rather than through. But she did beautiful fast and confident weaves with me layering the jump so I was very happy J

The 6-7 Agility, I mostly liked the course, it had huge spacings which suits Scandal but not me quite so much. It also had a weave entry that while I thought Scandal could do it, was much tougher than the ones you get in Novice, and I’m aware that Scandal’s still learning to find them in the ring. I decided I’d just send her to it and drive at them, rather than helping her or hanging back. Also needed a ‘here’ running past a jump which involved me working it from the other side of a different jump, much easier if I had a vid but I don’t! Scandal needs one agility, and somehow, I was absolutely point blank determined that this was going to be it. I think in the last two months I have learnt that you need to believe, without belief you won’t reach your goals. And I believed in Scandal, I believed in our training and trusted Scandal to do her stuff. And she did. The first 5 jumps she was a little steady, and from then on she just flew. It felt amazing, like we were a partnership, and she understood me and I understood her J she did a beautiful pull through, lovely fast dog walk and aframe, a great ‘here’ command where she ran with me until I told her what jump to do, the longest snake she’s ever done (the spaces between each jump were hyuuuge), speedy seesaw and spread to finish. She won it by about 2 secs, taking us into Grade 7 and Champ. Wowwww. Scandal’s 4th grade 6 show, and 4th win.

I’d entered Honey in an agility class too so ran that with her and she actually ran quite fast, was a very good girl and tried hard, and won it! Yayyy!


On the Sunday I entered UKA, I wanted to hold Scandal’s contacts in Beginners Agility, which she did, by the skin of her teeth, i.e. seesaw weeeeee, just keep my toes on. Trained her gamblers and she did two super stop dog walks which I rewarded her for (doing good tunnel/dw discrim too clever girl), and a fab weave entry which I also rewarded her for. Then she missed her weave entry in the jumping, no idea why, it was very simple, think she was just soooo excited. Not going to make a big deal of it, she’s still finding her feet, and her speed. Was very pleased though with how happy she was and how confident she looked, so much fun running her.
Didn't run the spaniel, the sun was out and I just could not muster up enough enthusiasm, she is so exhausting to run, and takes a lot of psyching up, both her and me! Next stop Agility Club... and a video tooo...

Monday, 1 August 2011


Running 3 show behind but never mind big catch up this week!

We had a great Rugby show. This is always one of my favourite shows, we’ve done it for as long as I can remember.

Scandal was a good baby dog and won G6 agility on the Saturday, by 2 seconds! I said very little to her, just let her concentrate on her stuff, and she was such a good girl. In the Crufts Singles I was only going to train it anyway, it started 2 jumps dogwalk, she went into 4off and I said ‘good target’ and she reversed back on. We had a bit of a hitch with aframe weaves as Scandal seemed to get in a bit of a pickle with them and it took us 3 goes to complete them, but I stuck to what I had aimed for to layer a jump the other side of the weaves, which was good. The seesaw she slid and there was no way she was going to stop so I couldn’t help slip in a ‘waitttt’ which she duly did :)

Didn’t run the jumping as it was raining and I had misspaniel to run. Then on the Sunday, Scandal was having a super run in Jayne Widdess’ G6/7 Agility, worked sooo well and did 2 lovely ‘out rounds’ (I think these are her favourite thing!)…… and then she ran past the last jump coz she saw her bally. Lesson for me – must work the last jump! Was a bit gutted as we had done all the hard stuff. In the 6-7 Olympia Scandal did a lovely running dog walk, then nice jumps, then I forgot where I was going and sent her into the wrong end of the tunnel, poor Scandal. Couldn’t quite get the sharp turn into the weave entry but got it on 2nd attempt, and then 4-off on her seesaw, naughtyyy. Her seesaws this year are certainly very different to last year! I then didn’t do the jumping as just didn’t like it, there was no flow to it and I am not going to ask her to unnecessarily bend over backwards to make awkward turns/angles.

And then span…. WELL. She got 4th in the Crufts Singles, which I was thrilled with. Champ Jumping (I was on a high from the place in the Singles) Honey decided that on no account did she like the lovely flowing course the judge had set, and broke into a TROT. I wanted the floor to swallow me up, I was so embarrassed. She finished 5 seconds off the pace, it was truly cringeworthy.

Then in the Champ Agility… well, this it seems, was more do-able, Honey much faster and we came 3rd! How is it that she can go from trotting, to almost galloping, in the space of an hour?

This double clear put us into the final. I’ve had 3 goals with Honey this year and one of them was to go clear in a champ final (this year). She has done 4 champs and made 3 champ finals, but the previous 2 I had managed to mess up in the final. Finals with Honey I’m always in two minds about, I don’t get nervous about the course or running her. I get nervous about the fact that I have absolutely no idea how fast/slow she is going to go until I release her. I am so concerned she will have one of her “I hate agility” moments in a champ final, when there’s loads of people watching. Anyway, she was pretty good in this one, nowhere near her fastest but at least she ran, we went clear, and came 3rd. Yay good spaniel, and goal achieved! Woooo!

She was very naughty the next day in the Olympia Q… she was actually flying, and completely ignored me when I asked her to turn after the dog walk. Bad span. We re-did the turn, she ignored me, so I picked her up, walked her out to the car. I have never not rewarded her after a run. We then had to go and do teams, and I was slightly worried that she would refuse to work after still waiting on her sweeties from the last run. However, always managing to baffle me, she ran probably the fastest she’s ever run in her life, absolutely flew round. AHHHHHHHHHH! So frustrating, I just cannot work her out.

So we ended Rugby with Scandal on 3 wins towards G7 and Honey with a 3rd in champ final and more Crufts Singles points, what a great show :)

Sunday, 10 July 2011


It was my first time doing Diamond show in Bristol, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. Mainly I think, because they had good judges, I enjoyed running all 3 of the courses I ran today, so thank you Andrew Dicker, Barrie James and Martin Cavill.

I had figured that Saturday was going to be a rather messy and late night, so had hoped that my runs wouldn't be first on today. Wronggg, two first on, and one mid morning! That hasn't happened all year! Not that I am complaining as it meant that we could get away by 12 and I was in bed asleep by 2!

So walked the two jumping courses, walked them both wrong, and it took me 5 attempts before i managed to walk Barrie's course correctly, and it wasn't even that complicated!

After how great Scandal behaved at Lansdown (out of the ring), my hopes of a repeat of this were dashed when she behaved worse than she has done for months, launching herself around at the end of the lead like a total hooligan, getting her tooth caught under my watch and making all her gums bleed, and just making me wonder why I had got up at 7am at all. Mum came with me to the show today which was highly amusing, she hasn't come to a show for about 4 years so I found it very funny having her with me. She was very good and queued for me so I didn't have to, which was quite lucky as I think i would have murdered Scandal :)

So, first up (9.30...) 6-7 Jumping, once Scandal had slightly calmed down from her wild child antics she behaved very nicely, near-ish to the ring while mum queued. But she still wasn't as focused as she usually is - asked her to sit on the start line and she completely ignored me, just looking round the ring and seeing if she could see any dogs working in the ring in front. Got her into a sit and then we were off... my poor brain just couldn't keep up with my legs, let alone Scandal, who was flying. There were two bits that I so nearly messed up (one was number 3... great start!) the first bit I ended up working from behind and Scandal doing it all by herself and the second right at the end (where my brain had shut down completely) and just wasted a bit of time getting to number 17 as I was about 3 miles away from where I was supposed to be. Still, Scandal was a fabbidy girl and lovely and speedy.

I went back to the car to die for a bit, and then felt a bit better so wandered back to the rings. I seem incapable of dressing for the weather and had a 3/4 sleeve top on and it was soooo hot, but looked so flipping cloudy a few hours before. Luckily the clouds kept covering the sun so it wasn't too hot before we left. That didn't help my mood :)

Anyway they finished the jumping and I wandered over to see where we had come as Laura asked if we had won it and I didn't think we had but thought I'd have a look anyway... well she did and won it by quite a margin too! Yay! 2 down... 2 to go.

Barrie James 4-7 jumping up next and Scandal was blistering, up until a pull through at number 15 where my legs got tangled and I ended up in a heap on the floor! Cringeee.

Last class was Martin Cavill's 6-7 agility. I did tell Martin initially at this course was way way toooo hard, apart from the last 3 jumps that were in a straightish line. Then when most people had left the ring, I re-walked it and told Martin that actually, it wasn't quite so bad and I quite liked it now. :P

I think this was one of my favourite runs I've ever done. Scandal absolutely flew. I left her to get on with stuff and concentrated on saying the right commands and getting into the correct position, and trusted her to do her job and she did. However... lovely dogwalk, to wrong end of the tunnel at 13 into the weaves 14. My brain forgot what we had to do after 13. And I ended up in a heap on the floor again. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Scandal was foot perfect, and bless her, while I was lying on the floor, re-placed herself into 2o2o very happily, good little girl :) so once I had picked myself up, we re-started from the dogwalk and she absolutely tanked the last bit, the fastest she has ever gone, and I even dared to pull off the weaves a little :)

Scandal is amazing me so much right now, we are getting to be a team and some stuff we are doing is looking pretty cool! Considering all we have trained in the last two weeks is wing wraps for 2mins, on two occasions, and my head was in a different planet for all of today, she did very well. I am finding it hard to get the motivation to train at the moment, just enjoy the long walks we do, but I am determined to train at least once, hopefully go crazy and train twice, this week.

I hope also that Imogen will be at Rugby and will run Honey in her first champ... fingers crossed :) x

Monday, 4 July 2011


Our first show at grade 6!! Eeeeek!!

I drove up to Ant's on the Friday of Lansdown to have a lesson with Sian. It was great fun as usual, Scandal was brilliant, I have no idea how Sian gets Scandal to concentrate for an hour, but she does, and Scandal loves it. Apart from Sian made me run so much I was nearly sick :( :( poor me. Scandal looks so fit now, and really didn't struggle at all with the hour (which was pretty intense from where I was running!!)

Anyway so I'd pretty much decided that Saturday would be a write off as Scandal would be tired from the lesson so wouldn't be going as fast... but I also decided that the lesson was more important because I hadn't had one in nearly 3 months and it was showing.

Soooo first up, grade 6 jumping. Jeepers so much harder than the 3-5s I am used to!! But doable I thought, tested lots of things, pull through, out round, weave entry, etc. Scandal went CLEAR!!!! I have no idea how, I was really scared and only found my voice half way round, handled a bit feebly I thought (although actually doesn't look too bad on the video camera :P) but Scandal was fabs and only one turn a bit wide at the end. She certainly wasn't going at her normal speed but I think that was because I was so hesitant, so poor dog was unsure of what was up.

Anyway, Sian and Ant came over to announce to me that Scandal had gone into the lead :D which I was thrilled with... 170 dogs later and they closed the class, and Scandal WON it!!! Woooooop woooooop!! Sooo clever. And I was even more pleased that she would have been 2nd in the G7s... only Ant and Ruby had a faster time than her (by 0.4). And two of the dogs times in G7 she beat are going to the world champs in Oct! That was a real eye opener for me as I never realised her times could be that competitive against the really great dogs.

G6 Agility, Scandal was absolutely flying, until she got blown off the dog walk :( this was the first DW I'd asked her to run in a couple of months in the ring, I could have picked a better one!! You can see on the vid that a gust of wind just completely took her off balance as she was on the beginning of the middle plank, she went along the middle plank with literally only two legs on the dogwalk, before taking an enormous “ahhhhhhhhhh” leap and somehow getting the contact, bless her. Don very kindly let me re-do the dog walk after I had nearly died of heart failure, and she did a perfect running dog walk, lovely stop seesaw and finished the course really well :-)

Sunday, she had a pole in the G6 jumping when she tried to bounce on a 90 degree angle jump, after a flat tunnel, and tried to turn too tightly for the bounce… this is something I need to practice as she shouldn’t bounce if I ask her to turn, bad Scandal (… read… bad Chars training). In the CRUFTS SINGLES (ahhhh that was scary getting running orders for that!) she was way way better than I thought she’d be. Missed her weave entry because I literally stood still, in completely the wrong place and just said ‘poles’ and Scandal to be fair did try her best to get them! But was very pleased she ignored the dogwalk, which lots of dogs didn’t. Then near the end of the course she got a 5R for coming with me on a pull through instead of doing the 2nd jump… to be fair I did call her… poor Scandals. And another good seesaw :-)

Ricky was also very good, especially since both days I opted for a nice lie in and arrived at the show as they were calling to the end of anysize, hehe. A pole on Saturday and a clear on Sunday where he came 3rd! What a star. Must put a video up of him.

So all in all a good weekend, loved doing the harder courses. Gave Scandal a week off agility last week as I had lots of other stuff to be doing and had a non-dog weekend instead of going to Tuffley. Not actually sure when I’m going to be able to train this week but need to as we should be doing 1 day of Diamond – another local show woop woop!

Newton Heath

I had just entered the Saturday of this, as I've had sooo many shows in June I figured I'd want a day off (which I did... good decision Char :))

Didn't enter Honey either (another good decision!) and I wouldn't have taken her anyway - she ate something Thames weekend and was really, really ill. She is better now, but is still looking pretty anorexic. Luckily she hasn't got any shows for another couple of weeks so she should be fine by then :)

My alarm went off at 4am but on hearing the rain promptly turned it off and went back to sleep. I got an email through at 5am and had the wrong setting on my phone, so it beeped and woke me up. It had stopped raining, so I got up, and managed to leave by just before 6.

We only had 1 run first on, Grade 5 Jumping. We arrived at 8.28 and luckily our ring hadn't started yet, so I was able to walk it several times. It was a lovely course, and to top it off, it was sunny, so good moods all round :)

Scandal did a really nice run in this, listening really well and felt really controlled, with me only having one retard moment when I got in the wrong place when I sent her into a tunnel, making the next two jumps a bit wide. Still, good enough to win it by a good margin :)

Then the 3-5 Novice Olympia, fab course IMO by Dave Deaville, pretty spread out, more like the course you would get at Olympia. Scandal felt lush in this and I think this is the first Olympia qualifier I have ever enjoyed running. The seesaw was near the end and as she went up it, ran to the end, she slightly glanced over her shoulder to see what I was doing and lost her balance and slid off the side, when it was about a foot off the ground. Just one of those things, we needed a bit of luck on our side. But actually I am so happy with how she ran, it doesn't matter.

We then did our last every G5 agility and it was a very flowing course. Started out with 2 jumps, seesaw, jump in a straight line, into wrong end of tunnel. I decided I'd test Scandal's wait, so ran out to the 4th obstacle... beautiful wait. "Go, go, seesaw seesaw". Scandal - beautiful sliding seesaw, stop...go. I was like, ummm, what are you doing Scandal! She has never self released off the seesaw like that! Perhaps her coming off in the Novice Ag made her think seesaws were fine to choose when to release. Anyway I asked her to lie down next to the seesaw and then we were off again and wowww she just flew. Beautiful stop on dog walk, lovely running aframe, nice weaves with me leaving her in them and pulling off to the side, check stride on her turns, couldn't have asked for anything more. Except a nice seesaw ;-) sooo pleased with her, having so much fun x

Sunday, 19 June 2011


Still a week behind...

After coming home early from Hinckley, I wasn't really 'feeling it' for Thames. I didn't go on the Saturday, instead taking the dogs out for a couple of hours with Laura... Scandal making us laugh with her stupid swimming antics. Once she has got over getting her feet wet she wants to have all the goes to get the toy, and swims like her life depends on it.

Of course it was pouring down on the Sunday of Thames. My asthma had been awful the night before and it had woken me up 4 or 5 times with me not being able to breathe... urrghhhh. I decided to give the 5-7 jumping a miss as it was first on and I wanted a lie in - saw the course and loved it, actually one of the nicest I have ever seen and would have loved to have run it, but in the wet, dogs were just slipping everywhere. Walked her G5 agility which again was lovely but I decided not to run it, really liked her Olympia Q... she was totally loopy for this, and it went jump jump, weaves... she missed her weave entry... great. We then did 2 more obstacles before I decided as she was completely tanking it, we would call it a day and not do any more obstacles - just not worth the risk.

On the plus side I have taught Scandal a trick. If you can even call it that. She goes through my legs and sits nicely. It is BRILLIANT! Nice calm focussed Scandal. However I think I need to train another trick as there are only so many times I can do that one in the queue!

Scandal's mum Ruby won the CC at this show, so now only needs one more before she is an Ag Ch :)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011



Ok I am a week behind…

Scandal had her first G5-6 classes. We had a lot of fun. Her first agility she worked really well, turning on my verbal direction and shoulders rather than me having to use her name, she turned nicely away from the tunnel unlike the majority of the class which did a biggg turn. Held her contacts, she ran through her dogwalk and stopped on the floor. Stopped nicely on the seesaw. Then I got her e’d for not collecting her out of the rigid tunnel and she cut behind me over a jump, ahhhh. She was motoring, and we got a couple of lovely comments from people about how much she is coming on. Which I was super chuffed with.

G5-6 jumping and I watched dog after dog get eliminated on what I thought was a not too hard course. Well we got round clear up to about 17… and then Scandal ran past the flat tunnel, as I just ran and didn’t tell her tunnel. Woops. We really don’t like flat tunnels. Me especially :)

She then did a nice clear in the CSJ. As we have already qualified I just ran her quietly and expected her to hold her contacts nicely, which she did, although she wasn’t running flat out. Think she was about 10th or 11th in this.

Honey… hmmmmmmm. The most unmotivated dog in the world! Managed a 6th in the champ jumping and 4th in the champ agility, with her totally not trying. I have no idea how we got those places… she felt so slow. I really should stop complaining about her but I can’t help it! Anyway, these two places put us 18th to run out of 20 dogs… cannot even believe we qualified 3rd top!! I actually found it really embarrassing releasing her from the startline and her just sauntering off, not hurrying in the slightest lol. And… she missed her dogwalk… just after someone had that day asked about her RC and I’d said she hadn’t missed one yet. Jinxed that! Normally I give her the command (go/left/right) but I was so keen to get her actually running I just said go go go go go go all the way down… and she did! She did get 2 brilliant weave entries in these champ classes… not that she was running fast at them, but a huge improvement on a month ago.

She was very embarrassing in the Crufts Singles and ran past the first jump. I say ran, she trotted to me, with a big waggy tail. Extremely embarrassing. Then she missed her weave entry (a nice easy one), dorking around, so we came out took the easiest route possible to come out.

Sunday, Scandal’s Olympia qualifier, she was flying round, it felt amazing, I got through the bits I thought we wouldn’t… and then I forgot to say left, and Scandal ran past a jump. I am an idiot. She also bit me, very hard, which is the 3rd time in two weeks. Not a happy bunny. Scandal seemed to enjoy it though. Must manage her excitement better.

Then I did Honey’s Olympia… I GOT HER TUGGING IN THE QUEUE! MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT! My achievement was short lived however, when it was our turn to run and Honeys legs turned to concrete when she refused to play tuggy and just sat there, looking bored. If nothing else, she has certainly taught me about humiliation. Anyway she ambled round at her usual “Half Hearted Honey” speed, somehow managed a clear although I thought she had refused a jump. And did a beautiful running dw. Damn that span.

Anyway I wasn’t really in the mood for any more agility after those runs, so we left, did the 2 hours home and then I met up with Laura and we took the dogs out for nearly 4 hours across the Mendips and Cheddar. This was definitely time well spent! I love our long walks.

Imogen did her first training session in 8 weeks with Honey and Tia (yay :)) and both dogs and Imogen were great. We set up some exercises from the Crufts Singles and champ from Hinckley and Imogen made them look easy…same old... Spaniel thoroughly enjoying having her buddy back :) hopefully they will finally get to do their first champ together next month.

Scandal is training well and being very cute and making me laugh lots with her cuteness. I so adore her. I am going to be doing a lot of thinking about how to manage her around the rings, she goes completely overboard sooo very quickly and it is hard to get her ‘alert’ but not completely past listening.

Oh I am hopeless, I forgot to mention that Ricky did an anysize class at Packington, and he won it! What a clever boy. At 12 ½ he is getting rather grey but still very happy, think he still has the mental age of a 2 year old but unfortunately the legs of a dog a bit older! Also strange that he is the same age as Imogen!! He is definitely more well behaved than she is :-P

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Videooo of Princess

From a couple of weeks ago, for those who haven't seen it on FB!

Thursday, 9 June 2011


Well what a weekend that was.

This was Scandal’s 2nd show as a grade 5. After her pushing her waits and dog walks at Worcester I was wondering how the weekend was going to go. We’d had two (yes, I managed to train twice – woohoo!) brilliant training sessions with Scandal just being yummy, and me managing, most of the time, to steer her in the right direction.

To summarise… just super, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Suddenly this green baby dog that I brought out last year, has matured like crazy in the last couple of months and we look like more of a team, we understand each other, I am showing/telling her instructions slightly quicker so she knows where she is going and it seems to be paying off...

SWAT on Saturday, I was determined she would stop on her dog walk with me telling her calmly to ‘target’, and she did. Lovely round, and she won it, taking us to grade 6. In the 3-5 combined jumping, bless her socks she fell over coming out the tunnel at the start, and then near the end span before a jump, I was sure the judge had marked it, but we went to have a look anyway as Garth was sure the judge had clapped - she had marked us clear – we came 4th, or 5th, I got a rosette for 4th but apparently they messed up and we were 5th, lol.

Grade 5 jumping, I lurrrved this course. We have been training an ‘out round’ in training and lets just say, Scandal hasn’t quite worked out that you are meant to jump the jump I’m recalling her over. Even if it’s on medium. Work in progress. She will do it if she doesn’t actually think it’s an ‘out round’, so we just don’t call it anything in the ring at the moment  Anyway so I decided to recall her to my hand and flick her over the jump, rather than send her round (if that makes no sense it was the 3rd round on the video, obstacles 1-2). It worked really nicely, I raced her on the weaves and she got a lovely entry, which I was pleased about. She went clear and won that too  Our last round, 1-7 jumping, we got e’d (by jump 2 lol) but Scandal did some really great work so again I was pleased… and starting to wonder if I’d used up our clear round quota for May as well as June.

Packington on the Sunday, started off the day brilliantly by winning combined 4-7 jumping. That was a COOL course, lots of distance, just the sort Scandal likes (I like it too except the running part). What was more cool was she won by 0.8sec, and an agility champ was 2nd – cooooly.

Then in the grade 5 jumping, Scandal again went clear, and got a 2nd. However I am more pleased that she actually went clear and did a generally good round, if a little switched off at the beginning. I need to have better contingency plans. I gave my lead/toy to the lead person, and off they went. I set Scandal up on the line, and the dog that had finished its run ran back in the ring to stalk us. So I released Scandal away from the jump, but had no idea what to do as I didn’t have my toy. We have such a routine now (although I’m sure it doesn’t look like a routine to most people) that I just didn’t know what to do. Anyway dog caught, Scandal re-set, and I was just leading out and someone noticed the long jump had blown down, and shouted this out. So, once again, released Scandal to me, by now desperately looking round for the lead/toy which had seemed to have grown legs and gone for its own walk. Tried to set her up for a 3rd time and she was stood there air scenting for Garth, completely oblivious to me! Got her back doing some hand touches (the only thing I could think of to re-focus her), and third time lucky, we were off. She felt steady 1-4 but then switched back into speedier mode the rest of the course. But that is progress from last year when she’d have probably been off to investigate another ring if we’d had to wait more than 5 seconds before going 

The Purina Pro Plan 3-5 Agility was last and the course was great, just nice and flowy nothing hard. Love these nice courses. Had decided Scandal had to stop (however, if she does a fast dw, I am happy with her stopping on the floor, if I correct, she will then do a slow dw). She did a run to the floor and stop, so off we went, everything else was great. On her seesaw I now run past them, rather than being hesistant, and she braked just a bit too late and slightly flew it, so we re-did it and she did a great one. So I was pleased with this.

Monday (totally worn out after 3 days of agility) was of course Olympia day. Olympia day Olympia day. I was so stupidly excited/nervous I could hardly sleep Sunday night and was wide awake by 6.30 Monday morning, even though we didn’t have to get there first thing. And it was chucking it down. I hate the rain. And, thanks to Scandal tearing a hole in my waterproof trousers, I don’t have any… Although I concluded afterwards that I’d rather have brought them with me and had 1 wet leg and 1 dry leg than 2 wet legs. Anyway I sheltered under peoples brollies where I could, and didn’t get too drowned. Scandal was in part 2 of the class, so watched part 1 and watched people do crazy things that always happens when it’s a qualifier, screaming at them on contacts, running round like headless chickens etc. Actually I do that too, so I best not chuckle too much 

Walked the course, I liked it, well I would have if it wasn’t a qualifier. Of course put qualifier in front and I automatically think we can’t do any of it… but normal class and I’d be up for it. Watched Martin Cavill and his lovely young merlie collie go clear and into the lead, and then watched several other really nice dogs go round. We were near the end and it wasn’t raining quite so hard when I went off to get her.

So, off I went, G went to queue and I went to the exercise area to warm Scandal up. Playing tug with her, and a frickin muzzled staffie comes absolutely flying at her, and thuds into her side… to be fair, not full on slam, but enough for my world to practically end in an instant. Poor Scandal was so focused on her toy that it completely freaked her out, I grabbed princess and manoevered myself between her and evil staffie. The woman managed to get the dog back and apologized and at that time it was more important that I calmed down than got in a tizz. Scandal promptly spooked at 2 little diddy puppies that she’d just said hello to fine, hackles up, wouldn’t go near them, growling etc. We did eventually get over that one. I then didn’t know what to do… put Scandal back… ‘calm down’ (which I knew I wouldn’t be able to do, I’d just get more and more angry that this idiot who knew she had an aggressive dog had let it off lead and come and get my dog, who hadn’t even seen this dog, and wasn’t even close).

So I decided we’d go to the rings, but take our time. I had half calmed down, half mad. G dropped back a couple so I could re-focus. That time passed quickly and I set Scandal up on the line, and then great… a horrible snappy barky dog that was running after us was stood RIGHT behind her, as the woman was trying to find her scribe sheet thing with the booker inner (or whatever they are called!). Scandal really didn’t want to sit. It’s the only sit she didn’t hold first time all weekend. Her sits had been rock solid up until then. Then of course I didn’t know what to do – make her sit, or know that it’s just because she’s scared of nasty big dog behind her (which to be fair I would’ve been too if I was her size). I asked her to sit, but ran out to where I wanted to release her so she wasn’t sat for very long. And then we were off, speedy Scandal ahhhhhhhh just lovely! I can still remember laughing going from the aframe to the weaves because we were having so much fun, felt like we were working together and it was going so well.

Ok up to the weaves it had been going well, so now I start to panic (and go into my conscious) – “AHHHH – we are going CLEAR in an OLYMPIA qualifier!!!” Next up was the seesaw. Having seen a multitude of dogs do various things on the seesaw, a couple sideways roll up and off it, lots skid up and slide off, some just bail out, etc. After the sliding seesaw in the dry on the Sunday, I figured if she tried to slide up again there wouldn’t be much chance of her getting any grip… but we had to run all classes me handling the same, so I was just going to say ‘seesaw seesaw’. However, plans and all that… “seesaw seesaw… WAITTTTTTT” a complete shriek which totally threw Scandal and she just stopped halfway up the seesaw like “ok ok, you didn’t need to shout” and then I had to coax her to the end of the seesaw. And the most amazing thing is she still won it!!! Holey Moley! I was so gutted that I’d messed up the seesaw, as I’d seen some great rounds and didn’t think that would be enough to get in the top 3… but it was! Lesson still learnt… I need to trust her, ALL the time, and any time that doesn’t work… more training needed!

As I said on facebook, it actually feels quite surreal. I am terrible in qualifiers as I just seem to completely lose the ability to get round a course, but apart from the seesaw thing, it was actually a good run. This year for me is about being able to say “yeah, that was a great run” rather than “yeayyy, a rosette”, as I want to be able to know that we’ve done our utmost best rather than hmm that turn could’ve been tighter. And this weekend we had lots of runs that I loved! I am so happy with her, 100% solid on her weaves, 7 out of 8 perfect waits, and the 8th I could put a reason to. Aframes were all brill, dog walks were all fast with no self releasing, one ‘oops’ slidey seesaw, one ‘oops’ slow seesaw, her turns are far far better with me now being able to verbal cue her from a distance, and she adding in a check stride. We still have lots to work on, and I’ve got some ideas to help us proof things.

I will write about Hinckley very soon!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Last few weeks

Ahhh we've been busy the last few weeks. I will start with Beacon.

Firstly saturday was small/medium day so I had Honeypot. We started off somewhat disastrously in the champ jumping and agility, getting e'd in both and looking like we should be in grade 0. Honey still insisting on missing her weave entries and plodding round... me just being generally rubbish.

The day then slightly improved with Honey getting a 7th in the Olympia qualifier despite having a detour on a jump on a snake, which she really didn't want to do... came to me, then eventually went over the jump, which seemed to take her an hour. She only really got going half way round and then she flew.

And then, my day was topped by Honey deciding in the Crufts 6-7 Singles she was going to RUN and run FAST!!! I have always said that if Honey ran like she does in the ring in training, I wouldn't run her, however this little dog is seriously hot in training, absolutely nuts and sooooo much fun. I want to work out how we can transfer this attitude to the ring. Amy Lawson gave me a couple of really helpful things to work on - thank you Amy :)

Anyway back to the Crufts Singles. It was a fairly fast flowy course, all I wanted was for Honey to get a slightly hard weave entry, and just run a bit faster than she had gone all day. In training she's crazy and you can play fight with her, however try and do that at a show and you'd think you were murdering her. Honey really did not want to play to start with, however much persistance later and we finally arrived on the start line me looking fairly battered and bruised with scratches all up my arms where Honey had turned into a crazy dog. And then she RAN. Woop woop, she was brilliant, I couldn't have asked for any more from her. To make it even better, we came 2nd just 0.3 behind Bernadette and the fab Zaz, and beating a couple of agility champs/ticket winners in the process! Ahhhh that was seriously cool, love the spaniel when she tries for me ;-)

The next day was big-dog (proper dog ;)) day. Scandal had the CSJ agility, Dog Vegas and a 3-5 jumping. Her first run was the CSJ. I watched Sandra Adams do an absolutely stunning round with Pip, Pip has to be, IMO one of the best young dogs in the country, she is amazing. So I watched this amazing round, and turned in to something possessed, I was so determined we were going to get round that damn course, I have wanted Scandal to go clear in the same class as Pip ever since she came out as I wanted to see how far behind Pip she would be, to give us something to work/aim for.

Well, when I put my mind to it, it seems that sometimes we can achieve! Scandal was perfect, she ran faster than she has ever run before (and so did I :) : )) it was a total sh*t or bust run, and my god it felt good :) absolutely thrilled with Scandal for being so fantastic putting everything she had into it.

So later on at the end of the class I duly trawled off to see how far behind Pip Scandal would be, only to find out much to my complete shock, that we had won it!! More AHHHHHHHs. That has actually made my year to date, I was convinced that we wouldn't be able to beat Pip's time, but we did. Yipppeee. I think, for the first time ever, that I now believe in Scandal, believe she is good enough, and believe it enough to dispel any crap that has arised since she came out.

The other 2 runs weren't that grade but some super good bits including Scandal doing a lovely slightly difficult weave entry and trying her little tri and white socks off.

Had a weekend off last week and enjoyed doing totally non-dog things which was great considering my next weekend off seems ages away!

Then today we had Worcester.... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Just one run for Honey, the Olympia qualifier, we worked on what we've been practising all week and Honey was doing her behaviours in the queue but not on the start line (although she did look slightly more lively than usual :)) however it's progress and it's progress that I am looking for.

She ran really well - not of the same speed as her Singles run from Beacon, which of course is what I wanted again, however she ran a much better speed throughout the course (i.e actually started off fairly fast) got a nice weave entry even with me at weave pole number 6 by the time she got there, and was just lovely in general. We came 4th, which I am really pleased with as she's now had 3 top 10 places in a month of running amongst the grade 7 dogs, so can actually hold her own. Of course 3rd would have been even better as top 3 qualify, but we're working on it... it actually felt like we were working better this week and I expected more of her and she rose to it, good girlie whirlie.

Scandal... hmm tis best not to talk about it! Her Adams Derby the spread, bane of my life, put us out of doing the speed bit, despite practising spreads since Shrewsbury which she has no problem with, she couldn't do it in the ring.... and then she self released her dog walk (stopped about a metre off the contact), which she was put back on, but more of a game than just calmly put her back and take her out, all got to be fun for the baby.

Sooo then the Pro Plan qualifier, I didn't know whether to stop or quick release in this. I decided it'd be a stop-go (ie comes to a stop, rather than hitting the contact, but I release soon as she's in position). Well, Scandal decided that we'd do a quick release. In my shock at Scandal again self releasing I couldn't quite decide whether to put her back on or carry on, and sort of did the worst of both worlds by feebly saying "Scandal" to pull her off the wrong end of the tunnel, which she did nicely... running straight past the correct end, missing the tunnel out completely and going for a gap between the tunnel and a jump. All I can say is LOL, because it just shows how silly I am, I must know how to react if she does this (STRAIGHT BACK ON THE CONTACT!) and not change my plans. I can't say I am suprised she is doing it, I have quick released several in the last month and have just started doing a running dog walk in training again, so I did expect a bit of this, but two in the same day was a shock to the system. Will have to have a BIG think about this.

On the positive side her turns were absolutely beautiful and her seesaw and aframe in both classes were yummy :)

In the grade 5 jumping (Scandal's first grade 5 eeeek) we favoured a tunnel over the weaves... several times. She just could not see the weaves at all, definitely something to train, although it probably would have helped if I'd handled and given the correct verbal cues... gosh I need to work on so much. There were parts of the rest of the course that Scan looked awesome on, driving in to me, steadying for turns... and then I actually forgot how to do a pull through so we just carried on like nothing had happened, Scandal was flying though. If I can just operate my brain quick enough she is soooo lovely. Need a fix for my brain and quickly :) magical fairy dust maybe? :) x

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Shrewsbury and Vyne

Went up to Shrewsbury over the bank holiday as it had Dog Vegas and Adams derby qualifiers... well we'd have been better off staying at home as we were terrible! Think we managed to get eliminated in most classes, although did some good bits in nearly all of them. One of the rounds I was sure Scandal was being a total moron, but watching the video back it is quite clear that it is I, that is the moron. Poor Scandal.

The only thing Scandal is definitely being a pain on is her waits. Shuffling, and doing the whole paw-malarky. I actually just need to start taking her out when she won't cooperate rather than it being a battle of wills to get her to sit vaguely upright as I lead out. But I guess it's cooool she is getting keener and actually wants to go!

Vyne on Monday, it was good being back at a big show, loved Brian Auty's G4 agility. Am seriously fed up with crappy courses which have no more than 6 paces between each jump and are just a series of 90deg and 180deg angles... then you get to the higher grades and the dogs can't judge distances properly or find a line of jumps that isn't glaringly obvious, coz they've only had to do straight up n down in the ring. Ahhhh. That was a little rant. :)

Anyway so no clears all weekend for Scandal, and she topped it off by missing her weave entry in her last class on Monday, after I'd been really pleased with how strong her weaves had been all weekend. GRRR!

I ran Honey at Vyne as Imogen couldn't go, poor Honey just isn't ready for champ yet, we have soooo much work to do, finish off teaching her 'come here' command, out, etc etc, I trained her last week as I have not run her for months and she decided she couldn't get any angled weave entries. Dave Hutchinson judged the small champ at Vyne and set up a right hand weave entry... which Honey promptly missed :) she managed to get round the rest of the jumping (and do a lovely fast weave entry easy peasy!) with just 5f and came 16th out of 47. Then in the agility, with no dog walk (where she could normally make up a bit of time over the dogs with stop contacts) she manged to get a 2nd! Hahaha brilliant, beaten only by Bernadettes lovely Zaz. Clever Honey. She managed to take 0.3 off of Alan Bray's poodley, bless Honey. Think she made up all her time between obstacle 18 and 19 where she could just run towards the finish line.... however that cost us in the final when she came out of the flat tunnel, I said weave (right angled weave entry again) and she just said 'see ya' and hared off over the finish... naughty Honey, hehehe. Was fun running her though, and nice to be in champ again. Made me realise how well Imogen has done with her, my god you have to work her, she literally gives the bare minimum (although on her good days she is amazing) and if you put in less than 100%, she's like an absolute slug. I need oxygen at the end of her runs. I hope that as I will be running her a bit more she will start to like me (I can hope) and then she may run a bit faster (again, I can hope) as it's a bit embarrassing when she is completely wedged in to 2nd gear. Aim for this year - Honey to do a whole run FAST, rather than just on the last two jumps :)

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Well we are just having toooo much fun. Scandal is just amazing to train, so much fun (as you can see from her dorking around at the start of the vid... what a bad trainer I am letting my dog self reward ;-)) we've made more progress in the last 5 months than we have in the last 18.

Scandal's had 4 clears in the past month and 4 wins. I said to a friend the other week that what I wanted this year more than any win was as many "perfect runs" as I could - runs where I didn't let Scandal down, remembered to cue her, etc etc. Well I think our Olympia run (second to last clip in vid) was getting there (woah I was tired after that run) and then the jumping run (the last clip) was pretty much our first ever perfect run. Wooop-de-woop :) not perfect by a lot of people's standards but boy was I chuffed with it, it's the first time I've ever felt in control and not like my legs/brain were 3 miles behind Scandal.

I'm still going running twice a week, well I say run but it's more of a lumber. We don't run it all but I try and walk/jog/run at varying speeds so hopefully some fat will fall off somehow. Don't think it's working yet but I can still hope :)

Love the fact that the show season is well and truly underway, having sooo much fun. Ohhh and Imogen qualified Tia and Honey for the UKA Junior Nationals in December, which is pretty cool. Tia was great in both classes and got a 1st and 2nd... Honey... hmmm naughty spaniel. Gotta love the spaniels, but I think collies are definitely for me!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Just a quick post

Just a quick post, I have all these good intentions and then time just runs away.

Loving the lighter evenings, have been for 2x short runs in the last 2 days, I am determined to get a little faster, more than aware that I just don't have the self discipline to be super slim and super fit, but can definitely get faster as I am sooooo slow running Scandal. Scandal is getting faster, she is training like a dream, seemingly no hormones that stopped us training for a month last year, apart from she hates Tia, so Tia's on holiday for a while (Scandal likes that :))

We've done 2 UKA shows the last 2 weeks, Scandal has qualified for the beginners steeplechase final which I'm pleased about. She's been perfect and I couldn't ask any more of her. In the agility in the vid and the agility on the weekend both courses she ran past the obstacle after a straight tunnel (one flat and one rigid) Tia is great at this but tooo great... can't turn her at all after one, so I have done less of this with Scandal and it shows! We will be working on it.

Vid of Mapledurham...

She is so much fun, she is concentrating better on the start line, looking where we are going and not at who she can chase! I still can't hold her near the rings or queue with her as she's exhausted herself from barking by the time it's her turn, even if we aren't right next to the rings. However Garth can walk her right alongside the ring on a nice loose lead and she's sooo chilled... ahhh well, guess he and Imogen will just have to do the same shows :)

Tia's loving working with Imogen, although Imogen got a shock running her on the low jumps at UKA, Tia loves 22" and doesn't struggle like she does a little at 26. So goes tooo fast for Imogen's little legs, and barks and barks, and listens less n less. Hopefully with some more training that will balance out a bit :)

Love life, even though it seems I have no time and just end up rushing from one place to the next... better than being bored tho!! Yay for the Spring and sunshine!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Hare n Hounds 2011

Back in Sept or Oct I'd mentioned to Garth about doing a couple of shows over the winter, to see if Ims could get any more of Honey's wins to grade 7 (she had 1 of the 4). By September Honey was a right porker and I think had had enough of doing agility every weekend and during the week too. She was spayed mid October and I think the first session of any sort that we did with her was in December, just running a flat plank on the floor. Tbh we didn't train again apart from 1 lesson with Dave over Christmas, and then down at Carol's in the middle of January. I didn't have anywhere to train and the equipment was in storage. All I had was the weaves and 4 jumps (not that I ever used more than 2 jumps... far too much effort to carry 4 jumps to the park). So the dogs had a pretty long break from agility. I have spent a long time building Scandal up again slowly - she is really fit now. Proprieception/balance stuff twice-three times a week, hill running twice a week, a really long 3-4 hour Mendip walk once sometimes twice a week, and then whatever else I can fit in. She's looking so much better now and is more muscly too.

Anyway going off on a tangent as usual. So, I suggested to Garth we did Hare n Hounds as they had loads of classes, plus it was a 2 day show. I really wanted Ims to get to grade 7 so we could do the same shows, I wanted to do the ones with qualifiers and a lot of them don't have great classes (i.e. lots of Small Grade 6's!). Plus with Ims not being able to do as many shows now, it would be nice for her to enjoy the bigger shows and the prestige of being up with the big'uns in champ/Olympia Q/Crufts Singles etc.

So, show entered, it came round pretty quickly, hardly any training apart from Garth working on Honey's running contacts with the manners minder.

The show was lovely, I entered Scandal in a BC Ag on Sat, and BC jumping on the Sun, Tia had 2x junior and 1 5-7 each day, and Ricky had a Veteran jumping each day. Saturday was a special day as it was Ricky's 12th birthday. Ricky's never been a clear round machine, but he did a beautiful clear on his birthday and ended up 3rd :) what made it even more sweet was when I went up for prizegiving (grinning like a cheshire cat - that moment of being in the ring with Ricky, who was running his little old socks off for me will stay with me forever) I said it was his birthday and they gave us a big bowl of dog treats/chews and a toy - which I thought was so kind of them. Rix thought this was great and practically took my hand off for the treats. The next day Ricky then had the honour of taking Garth round his first ever agility course... Garth did a bit of training with Rix last year but only in July/Aug so nothing for ages. Well Rix was Rix and did his naughty startline (I had instructed G he needed a 4 jump recall ;)) and then went off like a rocket and went clear :O awwww, I actually nearly cried. What's better (worse!) is that the pair of them bettered my Saturday result by coming 2nd, bless Mr Rix, still runs his heart out and just loves his agility.

Tia was a good girl for Imogen. She doesn't take the mick as much now, Imogen's in control much more and they are looking good together. They had a couple of top 3's and a nice clear in the 5-7 agility with a held dogwalk too, so that was good. Considering when Imogen first started running Tia, Tia would pretty much do her own thing and launch off contacts (despite Imogen saying in her dainty voice 'target') they have really improved. It will be nice for Tia to do some junior classes with Ims this year, can't believe Tia will be 9 in a couple of months, still acts like a puppy, don't think she will ever grow up.

Scandal, well she was really good, nothing much to say, I need lots of work on my handling, I was really pleased with her weaves so that pretty much made my weekend (small things), and she jumped nicely.

And HONEYBEAR. What a super sausage. I think a place on the Saturday in juniors, she ran well in every run. Ims went home for her last run as her grandparents were up, so she went back to see them. So I ran Honey. Woop woop. Run fast with the spaniel. Infact, being the twerp I am, I ran so fast, that I fell over on a turn. Actually fell over. In the sand. Idiot. Bless Honey came running over to check I was ok. I then proceeded to get us e'd later round in the course. I blame the shock of falling over. Best stick to a slower speed in the future :)

The next day was a lot better. Honey won 4 classes :O and so is now grade 7. She won 2 jumpings and 2 agility's. Several of them she won by 5+ secs, and in the graded class had a faster time than the 7. So well and truly into champ. Good spaniel. So it was worth the long journey up. AND I drove pretty much all the way home (only because I was happy with Ricky being wonderful, Scandal being yummy and Honey being brill (oh and I guess Tia trying hard :)) so the 4 hours flew past. Glad we made the long trip up. Think Honey will suit doing less shows and less training. Hopefully her hormones won't be as bad now she is spayed. Clever Spaniel and clever 12 year old Ims - they will look cute in champ together :) :)

Here's the vid of some of our runs from the show... doesn't Rix look great :)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Scandal beans

I've been wanting to post all week but just haven't had the time :( tooooo busy not enough hours in the day! Tonight feels like the first time in ages I've been able to sit down and relax which is just bliss!

We had training with Dave on Saturday, this was the first time I'd ever trained Scandal on a t-day, it was brilliant not having to do any 'readdddy' stuff as she actually wanted to have her go because it was sooo exciting watching the others. It was nice doing sequences and watching the others to see how theres did it and also picking some ideas up from what others were doing with this.

I did have a tantrum with Scandal right at the end of the 2 and a half hours (we both needed a sleep :)) because she wouldn't weave... looking back with a clear head its completely obvious why she can't weave... because apart from our one-to-one with Dave in December, we have done no weaves since September, and haven't trained them since August. Our last 'show' was the Olympia semis in Sept where Scandal ripped her dew claw we think from slipping on the weave pole cross bar, so probably confirming to her that weaves are evil and something to be avoided at all costs. This she did, running past them, and then going in the 2nd pole even when I was stood a metre from the weaves. Felt really really dishearted as she was terrible, find it harder as both Tia and Ricky picked it up quite naturally, and couldn't understand why Scandal just cannot.

Sunday and Sian came down from Kent as Ant was training in Bristol, I was really gutted that I couldn't train with her as think she is fantastic and her Canen bred dog Flick really reminds me of Scandal. However Gemma O saved the day by saying that I could use her field which Sian was going to use too - thank you so much Gemma :)

Gemma lives the other side of Bristol to me, I always think of it as quite small and takes a max of about 15mins to get through lol, however it took a good 45 minutes and is really close to the Hand stadium which I didn't realise. Ahhhhh geez, soooooo glad I went, it was BRILLIANT, Sian is AMAZING :D we did a bit of work with Scandal on the uprights then went on to pretty closed up channels. Sian I think is the most exciting person Scandal has ever met, I have NEVER seen her go soooo bananas! And she did the fastest weaves she's ever done in her life, although to start with she'd do 3 or 4 and then come out and want the toy - she very quickly got the hang of it and was then absolutely flying with her confidence flooding back and some. I know where I am going with her weave training now so am verrrrry happy. Yay for Scandal hopefully having good weaves for the summer :) :) :)

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Weave pole proposal

How novel, having time to do blog posts! I think I've done more in the last week than in the last 6 months!

The agility liaison council meet on 20 Jan to discuss several proposals. These can be found on
One of these is an amendment to weave pole spacing. At the moment the distance between weave poles varies hugely, anything between 18" and 24" is acceptable. There is a proposal to standardise the distance to 24". If any of you reading this blog agree with this proposal I would be really grateful if you could email your reps (if you can't attend your area meeting) and voice your thoughts. The contact details for the reps are at the bottom of the page on the link above.

Watching dogs weave on the continent when we went there in 2009 was a bit of an eye opener as to how much easier it looked on their backs... so many dogs over here end up weaving with their spines in an "S" shape wrapped around 3 poles at once, but this should help ease that. It will also be better having one consistent distance rather than each week the dog not knowing what it will face. Something I feel very strongly about :)

First lesson

On Thursday me, Imogen, Lee and Jess had a lesson with Dave. It was my first lesson since May, at Dave's new place in Newbury. It's a lovely venue with lots of miniature shetland ponies dotted around, much to Scandal's delight. It's lovely and flat ground which wasn't too squishy at all, just right :)

Well me and Scandal were pretty terrible, I thought we were gonna be bad but not quite as bad as that! Scandal had little enthusiasm to do anything apart from straight lines, didn't want to weave and I was so unfit trolloping round the course I was worn out after about 5 minutes. Even the foundation stuff Scandal didn't want to do, ambling to the jump wings despite my efforts to excite her. Dave had a little go with her and got more out of her than I managed to, but still nowhere near what she can give. We did do 2 running dogwalks at the end and she did these really nicely so I'm pleased that we did something well!

So Friday I went out with my jump wings to our local park which is perfect as it's so flat and nice short grass. I trained Rix and Tia first for a few minutes each and by this point Scandal was screaming the van down, so I got her out and boy did she want to train, I can tell this by her nice sharp teeth leaving a bruise on my leg... naughty Scandalina. She was 100% better than yesterday, really keen, firing towards the jump wings, turning nicely on my position and driving in to me when I turned and said her name. I find it hard with her as she loops quite badly rather than driving to me in a straight line but Dave gave me some ideas on how to work on this, she looped once at the start and after that made a real effort to turn on the spot rather than continuing on her own path.

Watching Dave's DVD has made me realise I haven't done anywhere near enough foundation with her, his dogs can power into a turn, whip round the wing and power back out... Scandal powers out but generally at a 90 degree angle to me so she can do a bit outrun, so more to work on and build up slowly.

On a different note I was sad to hear Silvia T had lost her oldie Lo, one of the first Pyreneans I ever saw and took a liking to. Ricky will be 12 in two months and it scares me silly that he's now getting old. Dad's springer Zac was put to sleep a couple of weeks ago at the grand age of 16. He was the first dog I ever ran in agility... Zac didn't particularly want to do it but did it in the hope of a biscuit at the end of a course, bless him. Life is just too short...