Saturday, 24 May 2014

Pedigree Dogs Exposed

A few years ago there was a film called 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed' which exposed many of the awful problems that a lot of breeds seem to have now, particularly those bred for sought after characteristics in the show ring. I have added Jemima's blog to my blog list... I don't necessarily agree with everything she says, but I think it is brilliant that someone has challenged the Kennel Club as strongly as she has done. Agility dogs look so much healthier than many of the dogs that feature on her blog, where droopy eyelids, excess skin, and a squished face are commonplace.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


These lovely pics of Scandal were taken on the weekend by Iain... thank you, I love them :-)

And one of Imogen too just coz she's gorgeous :-)

Saturday, 17 May 2014

A few months late...

My first blog post of 2014, oops. 

The year in reflection…

I had written most of this in January, and then never got round to posting it, so here goes… I have updated it a bit as it was a few months old.

2013 was one of the best years I can ever remember… although I also thought that 2012 was one of the best, so it’s definitely been getting better and better.

My main goal for 2013 was to make Scandal up to Agility Champion, which we did in June. She then won her 4th CC in July, plus a reserve CC in October, and also had numerous ‘if only’ runs which although may not have resulted in clear rounds, felt awesome running. She now has a total of 4 CC’s and 3 reserves, all gained between the age of 2 and 4 years.

Going to the European Open in July was fantastic and was such a high, I loved the atmosphere at the venue, the team spirit, the European courses and of course loved taking Scandal – she was so chilled on the coach and in my hotel room… she seemed to quite enjoy the adventure. After having Tia who spooks constantly and is scared of most things, it’s so lovely to take Scandal away and just be able to relax knowing that she can deal with pretty much anything without freaking out. Even the absolutely HUGE thunderstorm (and I mean huge… never heard anything like it) wasn’t enough to worry her, and she does pretty well to ignore me and not get my terrified-of-thunder-vibes. I love that she has such natural confidence – I see so many nervy BC’s… Scandal is definitely not one of them.

We also went to Olympia for the 3rd time in December… a momentary lapse of concentration on my part put paid to our attempts at getting through to the finals, but WOW it felt awesome to be running Scandals, she was FLYING. Our first show of 2014 was Ribble in February, we just went up for the Olympia qualifier, the rules are different this year, only 1 semi day rather than 2 to try and qualify for, Scandal did a beautiful clear round and won the class by over half a second, so has now qualified for the semis (actually… quarters) in August. Crufts we made the champ final and came 3rd, 0.3 from 1st. That was a lot of fun :)

 Last month Scandal won the ticket at KoF. Honey also won the small ticket on same day. Judge Ian Mallabar. Last year at Woodside,  Scandal and Honey won the ticket on the same day... again under Ian Mallabar :) guess I like his courses.

Then... a few weeks ago we found out that we have made teams for European Open AND FCI World Championships. Wow... dreams, goals... amazing feeling! Vid below of champ win and some clips of our runs at tryouts... love the lyrics of the song...

In 2013 I also made up Honey to Agility Champion, and as many people know, I always said if I could make Honey up, I wouldn’t run her any more, she doesn’t really enjoy running for me in the ring, although training is a different matter and she is C-R-A-Z-Y. So Honey became the first Agility Champion spaniel in the country, and has now semi-retired from agility. Honey has run 3 shows with me this year, and won the ticket at KoF, bless her little spaniel-socks. That's it for me running her this year, although she may be making an appearance at 1 or 2 shows with a different handler later in the year...

Scandal’s puppies turned 1 year (now 19 months), and I got to see all of them last year. I see Ru, Zephyr, Coy and Rusty fairly regularly in the summer and I love watching them grow up. I have also been able to watch videos of them all training which is brill. Ru has had lots of top 10 places and I know the others will be hot on his heels. I am sad that I could not keep one but it wouldn’t have been the right time with everything that is going on here. On the plus side, Scandal is very pleased that she remains my princess.

Ricky and Tia are doing well. Ricky is now 15 and 3 months. 12 months ago when he was totally paralysed I was told that he may only have weeks or even days left, so a) for him to have recovered and be back to walking 5+ miles a day, and b) to have ‘made it’ past those initial few weeks just makes me so so grateful for the extra time that we have had together. He is such a wonderful boy and I have so much to thank him for.

Jedlar… Well, he came out, looking very immature, at the end of March/beginning of April ‘13, getting a 3rd in G3 jumping, and having oodles of fun, and looking very immature at the same time. He showed flashes of greatness and at other times looked like he had never done any training in his life… He can be a lot of fun, and often has us in hysterics with his clown antics. And of course, he does drive me nuts, I have taken him out of more classes than I have any of my other dogs put together. And then he will put together a simply brilliant run and win.  He won out of G3 at Weardale, winning the class by over a second, and then being 6 seconds faster than 3rd place. That same weekend I took him out of 3 runs that he did. I didn’t want him to win out of G3 as he is so gangly and immature, and thought that with his wide turns and stop seesaw he wouldn’t win, oops. He also qualified for the Olympia semis and was 3 obstacles from qualifying for Olympia before I pulled him past a tunnel… Because all year we had been trying to reduce his tunnel obsession, and by August he had finally learnt that ‘here’ meant ‘stay with me and don’t take any obstacles (tunnels included) unless I tell you to’ which he obediently put into practice in the semi. Another Jed-highlight was Imogen doing her first run with him at Gillingham in September and coming 9th in G4 jumping. Jed is uber polite when Imogen runs him… not sure how long that will last lol. I don’t have any big plans for Jed. Getting him in the ring was a lot more than most people thought we would achieve. He is just my ‘fun dog’ and anything we achieve along the way is the icing on the cake.

Garth started taking Jed to Lowri’s in Wales at the end of 2013, and we have now changed his diet and a few other things and have seen a lot of changes in Jed (including lovelyyyyy relaxed calm boy for the few days after he has had acupuncture). I have just started bringing him back to agility and he has matured a lot since last year, and is also becoming more thoughtful when I am working him, thinking about what I am saying rather than taking the thing he would most like to do… ‘tunnel? Did anyone say tunnel? That one right in the far corner?’ Jed has just done two runs this year, one of them he won, qualifying for the Olympia ABC semis. He has some more runs coming up at the end of May onwards... will be interesting to see how he does :)