Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy Christmas

I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas. We have had a week off and go back on the 2nd. Lovely to have time to chill and catch up with family and friends I don't see very often.

Scandal has enjoyed being spoilt and even had time for a spot of dusting, see above photo. She is such a funny, tolerant girl. I have clearly got a ridiculous sense of humour as taking this photo I was pretty much crying with laughter. Scandal just goes along with it patiently, which cracks me up even more.

Olympia has come and gone, I was thrilled with how Scandal worked, definitely the most confident out of the 3 years we have been. She *just* put an extra jump in... which my boss at work pointed out perhaps we should have got bonus points for ;-)

We have been playing around with teaching ketschkers over the past couple of months. I went to a Lisa Frick camp in June which was brilliant. I can't say I will be changing overnight to this type of handling, and I didn't put it in the ring in 2013 as I think it should be taught properly first. I don't think ketschkers are always necessary, and have certainly seen a humongous amount of terrible ones done in the ring this year (of course an equal amount of front crosses, but I have just been looking out for the ketschkers ;-)) however there are a couple of scenarios which I think this handling really suits and benefits the dog, so I have decided to teach it with Jed and then I can use it in the ring if I think it's suitable on a particular course. I love teaching the dogs new stuff, so this is FUN :-)

Scandal thinks this is a great new trick and picked it up very quickly, although only in the house with no equipment. Jedlar got the gist of it but unfortunately we also taught him the 'startline setup' involving circling you and then coming through your legs from behind. So sometimes he offers this instead, and headbutts me in the back of my legs. Jed's head is like concrete, so it's not the nicest of pains... hopefully he will work it out quite soon ;-)

Scandal went to Lowri at the beginning of December and she was all good. Jed also went. I have been dreading Jed going as he flings his body all over the place, he is a total bull-in-a-china-shop dog and doesn't do things by halves. So I was a bit scared that Lowri might say he was totally broken... as usual this was a slight overreaction from me and Jed wasn't too bad :-) Accupuncture, massage, and water physio later and he is looking much better and we have just started some gentle training again. He has really matured in the last 6 months and I can't wait to compete with him next year.

Honeyspaniel is still... Honey. It is strange that she is now 7, I still think of her as about 3 years old. Imogen has been doing little bits of training and they had a 2nd in grade 7 agility at Clevedon show a couple of weeks back. I got invited onto the squad with her which I was really chuffed with, but declined it as I haven't worked her since May when she got her 3rd CC  :-) I am tempted to do one or two shows with her next year just for fun-ness.... maybeeeee.... we shall see :-)

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Happy Birthday Scandal

5 years has really flown by... this time 5 years ago I was all in a pickle because there were only 2 girls born in Ruby's litter of 8, and one of those girls was a tri, with a brown leg. I wanted a red and white girl with two white legs, leaving only 1 girl to choose from! I spent hours at Jackie and Ant's each week, watching the puppies growing up. My head was saying the red and white girl, after all I didn't like tri's, and I definitely didn't want one with a brown leg.   

However my heart was saying the naughty tri colour, who's puppy name was "Big Bertha". She was double trouble, always into mischief, loved playing, and was soooo inquisitive. I had wanted the puppy's name to begin with an 'S', and had, for many months, decided it would be Summer. However, this naughty tri-colour just didn't suit the name Summer, she was far too naughty. She was a MONSTER... and so the name Scandal (or Scandalsaurus) seemed more suited.

It was very odd at first having a puppy in the house again. By this point Ricky was almost 10, and Tia was 6 going on 7, and as Tia was my sister's until a year old I didn't do any of her training until she was over a year old. So, it felt as if I hadn't had a puppy for 10 years, and when I had Ricky, I was 10, and had NO CLUE about dog training, and couldn't really remember what I did with him anyway. Scandal landed on her feet and acted as if she had always been here.

So.... 5 years later... I am so proud of what we have achieved... having the most amazing journey, each year just seems to get better and better :-)

Scandal is very patient at having her photo taken... but sometime she does seem to get a little bored of it ;-)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

And there goes June… July… and into August

The last couple of months have flown by. I’ll start with Lansdown…

I didn’t do Newton Heath for a number of reasons so Lansdown was our first show for 3 weeks. Scandal had a 3rd and 6th. Honey had a 6th in the Crufts Singles with Imogen. Tia loved doing anysize with Imogen, and got e’d as she couldn’t resist a goooooo tunnel.

Jed… was a total star! He seemed to gain in confidence overnight from Saturday to Sunday. In the main he can still be very distracted when he’s competing and I often feel his attention wander numerous times round a course… he is very immature, but already much better than when he started. He is still quite anxious on the startline with other dogs behind him, especially if they are barking and lunging. I try and lead out as quickly as possible as he holds such a good wait, even though he keeps checking behind him that he’s not about to get attacked. Novice Olympia, 265 dogs, he went clear and came 6th :-) a second off the winner, and half a second from a qualifying place, which I was super chuffed with! Then his ABC Olympia, 233 dogs, again he went clear and came 4th! Top 4 qualify, so Jed is going to the Olympia semis! This was his 8th show, and most of the dogs in the top 10 were grade 6 or 7, so I was really pleased with his place.

The following weekend at Tuffsbury he brought me back down to earth by being taken out of 4 out of 6 runs, all for different things! I know people say dogs aren’t deliberately naughty, but I am sure that doesn’t apply to Jed ;-) and it reminds me why I want him firmly in grade 3 for a lot longer! Ignoring me on his dw when I cued a turn, using the seesaw as a launch pad, unable to weave, and flying over the apex of the aframe all got him swiftly exited from the ring.

Scandal was a good girl making the champ final with a 2nd in G7 agility, and made the champ final, which I won’t go into detail on lol… On to Rugby, Scandal had a lovely run in the Olympia qualifier but took a pole 3 from the end. Again she qualified for the champ final but got marked on her dogwalk. I am 100% convinced she got it, but heyho it happens… amplifies the need for an up contact judge IMO so the judge isn’t expected to judge two ends of a 36foot plank in under 2 secs!

Jedlar was fabulous, with a 5th and 6th in G3 jumping, and did a beautiful run in the CSJ qualifier, apart from jumping out of his skin at the judge who was racing alongside him on the dw, and he fell off. His other runs were all good with just a pole in his G3 agility… can’t actually remember the other runs, just that he felt gooood :) 

And finally on to Weardale, our last show before EO. Scandal had two clears in the champ jumping/agility, which put her to run near the end in the champ final. I’d seen Chris Cole and Lauren do lovely clears, so knew it would be an ‘all or nothing’ run and it was. Scandal won by about half a second, so now has CC number 4! I just did a short course in the 6-7 agility so I could train her seesaw and dogwalk, which she did perfectly. The following day I just did the Olympia qualifier, one of the only courses I have run this year that actually resembled Olympia, thank you Toni Dawkins! And Scandals went clear and won that too, wooo!

Jed……. Saturday he acted like he had never done agility before, looking around, and just being useless in general. Sunday he pulled his socks up and won G3 agility, with a stop seesaw, by 1.5 secs… and was SEVEN SECONDS faster than 3rd. I obviously wish I had held my seesaw for longer, as he is not ready for G4, but had the 2nd place not been clear, I’d have had a job holding him for 7 secs… he’d have wandered off lol. Now I can see why some people just do a different course rather than having to hold contacts for ages.

Then it was EO, which I will talk about in a separate post. The following weekend I had just entered Jed and Honey at Diamond, as Imogen was hoping to be able to do the show and run Honey, but it wasn’t to be. So we left Honey at home as it was only a local one. Jed got taken out of his first run on the Saturday, and then bucked his ideas up winning G3 agility by a second, again with a held seesaw. He did a nice jumping run apart from wanting to miss a jump out. The following day I just did two runs with him. The first he was great, just took a pole, but ran really well. The second one he was super distracted and at one point trotted off looking for Garth, lol. I think he made it to number 14 before finally being taken out of the ring. Out of G3 with a bang…. Ahhhhh. I may be alone in thinking this, but I do think all grades 2-6 need to be changed to ‘3 wins, at least one of which must be agility’, to prevent flukey dogs getting the win to take them straight into the next grade (although maybe some owners don’t mind this). It still amazes me that he doesn't actually have to even DO an agility class, let alone win one, until grade 5. Anyway, enough on that. I will upload some videos and put them on here 'soon', however 'soon' that is ;-)

Monday, 10 June 2013

Agility Champion Rujaff Red Hot Scandal

OMG. Agility Champion Rujaff Red Hot Scandal. 

Just so happy. I can’t believe we have done it. She debuted at Hinckley show at exactly 18 months old, 3 years ago. I always love Hinckley show. Only 5 rings so fairly small, loads of qualifiers, and the biggest champ entry I have seen this year (156 dogs). She was 11th in the champ agility, clear in the champ jumping, although I don’t know where she finished. We qualified in 5th place so she ran 16th out of 20. I knew there had been several clear rounds. The only dog I watched was Dave and Boss. Boss has been putting some amazing times in, so I wanted to see his run. I say I watched his run, but that was from a distance, as Garth wasn’t at the show, so I had to deal with a crazy Scandal who was taking it in turns to a) chew my fingers off for her Chihuahua food, and b) bark and jump about and try and drag me to the ring. Boss did a lovely clear round in 35.something. So I knew it was going to be an all or nothing run in order to beat him. Which I prefer. All or nothing runs are the best.

I love champ finals with Scandal. She runs differently, she knows it’s a final (ok… maybe she doesn’t know it’s a final, but she knows it’s important :)). She saves all her extra speed up for them. I liked the course. Hard, and a few things to work extra hard on, plus it had some big distances in there, which suits Scandal down to the ground.

She was awesome. She went round in 34.something (so I’m told, I have no idea myself) about a second off of Dave’s time, and went in to the lead. Again, so I was told, coz I had no clue of ANYTHING, I had been soooo focussed on Scandal. There were 4 more dogs to run after us, and then Greg was running 19th and 20th. He messed up with his first dog, so it was all on the second. They (so I’m told, lol) went round in 36.something, which meant SCANDALSAURUS WON HER THIRD CHAMPIONSHIP. Woah, over a week later and I’m still bouncing around on cloud nine. We’ve achieved 2 out of 3 of our goals this year, the third one was related to Crufts 13 and we part achieved it, and took a tonne of experience home with us. 

Now we have a couple of weeks off, lots of time to reflect, and then get more excited about the European Championships which are in 7 weeks time! I can’t wait to go out there, I have asked Scandal and she said she is looking forward to it too.

Thursday, 23 May 2013


Soooo going back over the last couple of months... Scandal... little miss superdog.

She won 4 of her classes of Kernow, then two weeks later we had a good time at Scunthorpe, lovely run in the champ final until I got her e’d two from the end as she went in the tunnel instead of up the dogwalk as I didn’t handle the sequence properly. GRRR.  Went to Kingdom of Fife the following day and had an awful run in the  champ jumping, I think we were e’d by number 6 when Scandal nearly took my legs out to go into a tunnel, so I took her out. Champ agility she won, Bonny Quick had done a lovely round with Ivy, her young dog, who has stunning running contacts, so I knew it would have to be an all out run, and it was… good Scandalbeans.
The following weekend we had the EO qualifiers and we had a great time. Scandal won the second round, had the best time in team agility and our team won too. The following day she had a 4th and then we made mistakes in the next two runs. Very happy to say that we have been chosen to be a part of Team GB to go to the European Open in Belgium in July! 

We had a break the weekend after the EO qualifiers and then on to one day of Woodside. I’m trying to do the shows that I really enjoy doing, even if they are further away, rather than just doing a show every single week. I find it interesting that as Scandal has matured, she is more in tune with what I am feeling. I find it amazing that a dog knows stress/pressure, even if we don’t think we’re showing it. After Scunnie/KoF/EO Q’s, where I felt that Scandal was simmering and I was just about able to keep the lid on her, I decided that I needed to get some control back, and Scandal did perfect startline waits in all 3 runs (no crouching/leaning forward which she was doing a lot at EO qualifiers), and in her champ agility she stopped (albeit briefly) on her dogwalk and again on her seesaw. She was 4th in this. She was then 4th in champ jumping too, which put her through to the champ final running 18th. They ran the heights small-medium-large so I was on a complete high from having just made up Honey to Ag Ch. Jess Clarehugh and Cara were running 16th and had done a stunning clear round, so I knew it was an all-or-nothing run. Scandal went clear, but then no one knew whether Scandal or Cara were leading, as both had gone round in 34.8.. Alan Short and Bruce was running 19th and went clear but was about half a second slower, and then Jacqui Tarn (and Becca?) ran last but got e’d. It ended up that Scandal had just pipped Cara’s time, in 34.807 compared to Cara’s time of 34.863 (I think it was 3), so Scandal won her second ticket! Hooray! We have had a few weeks break and our next show is this weekend at Nottingham, followed by the Team GB training day on bank holiday Monday at Nottingham Trent Uni. And I now don't have work until Tuesday, woohoo.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Agility Champion Honeybear

Well that’s been a rather busy few weeks. I have a couple of weeks break and no shows until Nottingham… I wish I could say I will enjoy lounging around doing nothing; instead I will be spending every spare minute studying for my exams which are less than a week away......

I have kind of given up blogging… I just don’t have time. And then I think 'ohhh I really want to mention that' and then don't mention it until about 2 months too late.

Honey is now Agility Champion Ochtertyre Bonnie Heather. I decided early on this year that I would only be entering her in champ classes in Scotland. We always joke that Honey knows she’s back in the country she was born in and always runs differently (i.e. much better) up there. I know that Honey doesn’t respond well to pressure (unlike Scandal who seems to rise to the occasion) and the more pressure I put on Honey the slower she goes, however when we get to Scotland she is just different. Excited even before we get to the show. So I only entered her in three shows across March – June; Kernow (ok, not a champ show, but Honey always goes crazy at this show), Kingdom of Fife and Woodside.

As predicted, Kernow she was pretty crazy in the two classes we did and got E’d lol. I actually love it when Honey gets eliminated like this as it’s from her craziness and me not being able to be quick enough to respond to it… I’d rather get eliminated like that any day than get a painfully slow clear. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to communicate this message across to Honey.

I have changed my warm up routine with her - I have tried most things, but it seemed the more I did with her had the opposite effect… she would play happily before her run and then meander round the course completely uninterested. At Kernow 2012 I couldn’t be bothered to do any of that and Honey absolutely flew round and won her classes. Laura suggested that maybe I was stressing Honey out through my attempts to get her excited. I kept this in mind but was convinced that she needed to be wound up and Kernow was simply a fluke and Honey must have been in a funny mood that weekend.

So this year, we got Crufts out the way (again Honey not particularly interested, in fact one person thought she was injured as she was so slow – they clearly didn’t see her training 2 days before when she was screaming round the course as fast as her little ginger legs could go!), and then it was on to the three shows, one in March, April and May, before she had a couple of months off.

Kernow we just did two runs but she ran beautifully (albeit E’s). Kingdom of Fife the champ jumping was *very* hard and she managed a fairly scrappy clear. Champ agility was a fast and more open course and Honey decided this was right up her street and won it. Champ final she again was running really well and then towards the end decided to cut behind me to ADD in a jump. Honey NEVER adds in jumps… she usually goes out of her way to miss them out. But it was nice that she was running so well.

On to Woodside – I loved this show last year and couldn’t wait to go back. Again I didn’t play with Honey in the queue – Garth warmed her up for me just by walking her around, we kept her away from the ring and then I took her when there were two dogs to go. This seemed to work perfectly as a) I wasn’t stressed as I was in Scotland = CHILLL, and b) any subsconscious vibes would hopefully not have too long to be transmitted to spanielly. Honey started off well by winning the champ agility by two seconds. She was then 2nd in the champ jumping, 0.1 off the winner. This put her to run last in the champ final. Once I had convinced her to actually do a start line wait (glad they weren’t judging to FCI rules… we’d have been eliminated before we got off the startline ;-)) she ran well, and started to do a huffy-squeak half way round. Actually, how she ran the 2nd half of the course wasn’t
far off what I get from her in training. She won the final by quite a way, giving her her third challenge certificate and making her up to Agility Champion! Soooo Honey now gets to retire from having to run with me. Lucky spaniel. Imogen will be running her in the shows we can get her to, although not sure yet which ones they will be. I will be able to put my time into Scandal and Jed, poor Jed has taken a bit of a back seat in the last month, and he gets SO excited when we get to a show and he thinks he might actually get to run.

Here are Honey's run from Woodside...
Honey has also made breed history by becoming the first agility champion cocker spaniel, I know there are quite a few spaniels on 1 or 2 CC’s but none have actually been made up to agility champion.

I must say a very big thank you to Imogen for letting me run Honey. Honey was Imogen’s first dog and together they went from grade 1 to grade 7, before Imi had to move 200 miles away, and very kindly let me run her. Hopefully Imi can get lots of training in when she comes up to stay with us in the holidays and will be ready to do some more champ classes.

Monday, 6 May 2013


I thought Jed deserved his own post. At the end of March we went down to Kernow, one of my favourite shows of the year. Jed has come on a lot over the winter and so I decided Kernow would be a good first show for him to do. The only thing is he is still very green and I haven’t been able to train him as much as I’d hoped – in the last couple of months he’s only had 1 training session a week… not really ideal for teaching his contacts.

He had a great time… only knocked 1 pole all weekend over 6 runs, which is great considering when he was first learning to jump and had no idea of how his legs worked he used to plough through jumps, breaking the entire cup/wing on more than one occasion. He even managed a clear round in G3 jumping and came 3rd.
He absolutely LOVES running, but you can see from the videos he’s used to only doing short sequences… in the 3-5 agility he did tunnel-jump towards the score tent and then went ‘where’s my toy, where’s my toy’, then I got him back and we carried on and did jump dogwalk, and then he did ‘where’s my toy’ again. And in his G3 jumping he went through the tunnel straight towards the startline ‘where’s my toyyyyy’ and bless him had to slam on his breaks when he FINALLY realised I was calling him. Anyone would think he was obsessed with his toy ;-)

Two weeks later and another weekend of competing. He did a total of 4 runs over the two days and had 3 clears! His first run was 1-3 agility, he was good but didn’t wait on his seesaw, he went on to do the next jump and then realised he was meant to have stopped and came running back pulled it back down and sat at the bottom bless him. Then his next run was another 1-3 agility, he did a beautiful running DW and AF, and a very good stop on his seesaw, and came 5th J:-) then his next class was G3 jumping and I hadn’t walked the course, so he had a wide turn but still came 8th. The following day he just had one run, G1-3 jumping, and did another clear, and this time won it by over a second :-) he is SO much fun to run, a massive big goofball but tries his heart out to get it right. He’s still doing a few jumps goofily, but this is settling down, and I know it’s just because he’s trying extra hard to jump, rather than plough through, which is most appreciated ;-)

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Mendipstar Puppies

Rudi (was Blaze)

Coy (right)


No time... no time... no time. Wahhhhh. Must make time to blog. Must make time to blog.

Crufts... flipping awesome. Scandal... even more awesome than awesome... haven't yet thought of a word that covers that. Here is a video of her winning the championship jumping by over half a second. Love this run. Happy Char :-)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Pups hit 4 months and a catch up

Time flies. Two months in to 2013 already. AHHHHHHH.

Life is great, and very very busy. Rix had his 14th birthday last week. Ahhhhh. Love him.

Scandal and Honey are looking good. I did realise last weekend that it was only 3 weeks until Crufts and Honey hadn't had any training since before Christmas. Luckily Imogen has been staying with us this week and has done some training with Honey (which Honey clearly enjoys FAR more than training with me ;)). Seems that Honey has enjoyed the break and is keen to be back. I'm loving Scandal being back at training, she is so easy to handle... she's perfect :)

Jed is now KC registered and I've entered him in his first KC show *faints*. His attitude towards training is superb, and he is now gaining control of his long legs, although I do feel that I am handling a pony rather than a 'normal size' dog... he is huge. He has filled out a lot now, and has put back on all the weight he lost in the autumn.

And finally, some pictures of the pups at 4 months old. I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing all the lovely photos of them enjoying life with their new owners... thank you for all the updates :) last week 5 of the pups met up for a play at Lee's field. Here are some of the photos (plus one of Ru too, as he is beautifulllll).

L to R: Zephyr, Coy, Rudi, Rusty and Jinx

L to R: Rusty, Jinx, Coy and Zephyr

Rusty, Coy and Rudi




Saturday, 12 January 2013

Border Collie epilepsy

I've posted this on FB before, but below is a link to the new UK Border Collie Fitting Database. The more people who add their dogs to this, the more information we will have when breeding our dogs. It is such a taboo subject, I only wish people felt they could discuss it more openly.
The link to the database is here: UK Border Collie Fitting Database