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 :)