While on holiday in Wales during Easter Weekend Ash, Guinness and I stumbled across this National Trust site with a little car park and numerous footpaths circling around and leading up a small hill. Graig Fawr sits alongside the little village … Continue reading
An off lead walk is the perfect opportunity to do some vital training with your dog. Yes sure, let them mooch and sniff around, but also use this opportunity that you’ve got together in a big open space to work … Continue reading
After our quick adventure around Devils Bridge we headed to a spot on the map labelled The Arch. Just the other side of the arch is a small Natural Resources Wales car park with a notice board, picnic bench and … Continue reading
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Tittesworth. Ash and I have been a handful of times in the past but not for ages. We had a free Saturday last weekend and despite it being a murky day we … Continue reading
Today I was at TAG. My first outdoor show of the season.
5.30am we were up and making scrambled egg for me (on toast) and for Guinness’ breakfast. I’ve been pondering a lot about what to do with Guinness’ meal on show mornings, he often has a bad first run and especially if he hasn’t done a poo, but on the other hand they do need some energy food. A recent discussion on facebook brought up the method of feeding high protein food such as scrambled egg and as I love it too I thought it was a jolly good idea. So with breakfast and poo’s done before we left we set off in search of unknown territory, West Midlands Show Ground!
I arrived before 8am (shock horror) and had plenty of time to get my bearings and walk my course. First up, Grade 1-3 Agility, although a long wait until our running order. I walked into the ring and my stomach fell, first hurdle, a tyre! We have not seen a tyre for over 12 months and the last time we did one in training Guinness ran smack into the bottom of the loop and head-butted it to the floor. He then jumped through it afterwards, but still a concern.
We got there towards the end of the class and had a nice short queue which Guinness happily tugged in! I decided to run start him to help him through the tyre (plus I wasn’t confident with our wait anyway) and I revved him up, aimed him in the right direction and hoped for the best! Hurrah we got through and onto the Aframe. Jumps, seesaw then pull off the tunnel for 180 jumps. A lot of people chose to handle it differently to me, pulling the dog back onto themselves, off their natural path, and I was really pleased with my decision. A blind cross while he was in the tunnel and then dog walk, a tight right angle from the contact down three jumps and then another tight 90 degree angle into the weave. No chance we were getting it, refusal. Second entry and good weaves until pole 11! Too late I’d started running on and we’d had a pole down so time to finish. 2 poles knocked on the 270 boxwork and finish.
It felt like such a messy round, but not too bad. Lovely Ella happened to be watching and videoed us. Watching back it looks a lot more successful than it felt! Of course lots of little things to improve but I am generally pleased with our contacts, handling and overall performance.
A huge break until our next runs and I was given a very appreciated seat, coffee and company from Lou and Deb. G1-2 Agility was set up before lunch and I walked it then sat in the sun with Guinness to eat my sandwiches.
G1-2 Agility was a lovely course, all on one side and very fast and flowing. Jump jump seesaw, I went for another running start, tunnel dog walk tunnel and I saw the judge raise him arm to fault us as we left the dog walk for the tunnel. “What?!” I thought. Guinness never gets faulted on contacts, even when he self-releases his 2 on 2 off he has normally gotten into position. Tunnel to weaves is often a challenge but the weaves were a lovely distance away so I could collect Guinness and send him. Yes! He nailed the entry but then popped out about halfway through and then again at number 11. We carried on for a tight 90 degree and then a 180 and as I stopped still in the middle of the 180 he pulled through the gap to me. Douche, my bad really, second attempt and I kept moving and he turned nicely. Aframe and I held his contact. I expected him to run off and I made it very obvious that I was stopping and expected him to do so also and he stopped nicely! A nano-second passed and then I released and we continued across a box to finish.
Pfft there were my dreams of going home Grade 2 gone! I won’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed, I was. But I was pleased and having a great day! Ring experience. We said it last year and as this is the first competition away from home of the season we haven’t yet got the experience of new environments. But every show helps and Guinness was running lovely.
Speaking to Lou later on and she had seen our run from a distance and said it looked like Guinness took a very long strides off the dog walk and she wasn’t surprised he had missed it. We had been quick releasing all day and with the tunnel in sight I reckon he pulled off a very un-stylish running contact, otherwise known as not even attempted to stop despite his training! We had a great contact training session on Thursday however it is nowhere near the level of proofing that I am aiming for – gotta keep at it!
Final class of the day Combined 1-3 Jumping. We watched as the Judge laid out his course. There was a tricky section in the middle which looked a little strange but okay, then the Judge wasn’t finished and he changed it completely to something far stranger. Gosh. I hate to be one of those people who complain about a course, especially as I know how it feels to be a Judge myself, but I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t good in my opinion. Sections were nice but the tunnel was a very close trap in more than one place, the long jump was set off at an odd angle, directing away from the dogs path and there was a huge space between the long jump and another jump then onto an angled jump at minimum distance, a bounce for large dogs. 180 degree pull off a flat tunnel and then flat tunnel quickly to tyre ending. Plus I wont even bother trying to explain the funny middle section.
I put my positive head on, decided how to handle it and went for the challenge. We had a lovely time in the queue with no barking collies in sight. Guinness queued next to a male husky which I was a little concerned about (because Guinness can be a dick not because the husky was nasty) but we all kept a nice distance and Guinness stayed calm.
With nothing to loose we went into the ring tugging and I popped Guinness into a down, ready for a wait. I unclipped the lead and walked away backwards, then calmly turned away from him, silently expecting him to break. He didn’t move. Time stood still! Feeling more confident I walked a little further and then released. Ahhhh!!! Hurrah!! (I really need to man up and start pushing my dog more. So what if he breaks and we get E’d?!)
Onto the course and a nice 270 avoiding the tunnel and then into the weaves. Guinness wasn’t giving 100% and spun around in front of them but on second attempt he got in and flowed through 12 weaves in great style. Finally! Only taken 3 runs! Off onto the tricky bit and I’d opted to work it from behind, a little more risky, and I couldn’t pull him off a jump in time. Never mind we carried on and over the long jump and then he flew straight past the next jump. The 180 was superb and then he zoomed out of the flat tunnel and quickly ducked under the tyre. I’m just so grateful that he didn’t run into it! Not wanting to leave on a failure I popped him back over, and he ducked under again, then third and final attempt and he jumped through it.
Day finished! Phew. Three disastrous Eliminated but three runs with positives to take away!
A lovely first experience of TAG and West Midlands Show Ground with a stunningly sunny but cool day!
Today I was at Dig It from 11am til 6pm, and it was fantastic!
This morning started with a coffee and a chat with a friend in the new seminar room above the agility arena.
Then I moved outside into the sunshine to help with the Agility taster session. All dogs and owners that attend an Obedience course are invited to try out agility in a free taster session. Pups of all ages can come along as it is designed to be low impact with just a few jumps on the floor and the tunnel. I always enjoy seeing the owners reactions to their first go at agility and seeing how each different dog takes to it.
Lunchtime and I got Guinness out onto the field for a free run while I ate my butties and then we did a little box work and independent tunnel. During my tunnel work I was holding Guinness’ collar saying “tunnel tunnel tunnel” and then releasing and throwing the reward onto his exit path.
It was only after I had moved away that I realised my tunnel command is “in”…. WTF Ruth?!
What a numpty! I’ve always regretted having “in” as my command as it’s a little harsh and short and always more useful in other places. Well apparently I have done the first steps to change it.
A quick sit down to finish my lunch in glorious sunshine (although sitting on my coat as it is still chilly and damp) and I planned my next class.
2pm I had two puppy classes to teach, covering for Katie. I really enjoy covering a class as it gives you a little bit of free rein to be naughty and have lots of fun (not that classes aren’t fun anyway). I covered this class at Week 3 and today at Week 7 so it was fantastic to revisit and see their progress.
I used some Rally exercises to improve the heelwork and we also worked on focusing when next to other dogs, recalls, leave it and stays.
Then with an hour to kill I got Guinness back out for a little bit of contact work inside and rear crosses. His seesaw is lovely and committed however the A frame was very creepy crawly. Guinness bounces onto the bottom lovely with drive but when performing the full A frame he didn’t stop so I put him in a stay down for a minute and then retried and it was very slow and crawly. I wonder if I have knocked Guinness’ confident by “punishing”. I left the A frame alone and instead worked on jumps and tunnel with some handling.
5pm and the cavalry arrived to load up for the show. An hour later we were finishing setting up at Alsager for the Can You Dig It Winter Series Show tomorrow. One of judges Lou has been rather poorly so I have stepped up to Judge the morning for her. This gives me and Guinness a different competition day, as he will be in the car all morning and then the classes we will be running in the afternoon are likely to be Beginners. Not For Competition as normal but this removes the opportunity of weaves. However it is start lines that I am struggling with more than anything and I can focus on that goal tomorrow.
6.30pm home time!
Fantastic day! What more would you want to be doing. I am living the dream!
Today was the Dig it Christmas Show and a lovely finish to 2013.
I’m not really sure what our aim was. Just to have fun and have a run.
We ran one for competition and one for training. Guinness went up first in Jumping. He tugged really nicely on the start line and waited, although I did back away from him steadily, not march off with confidence. We had an around the back of the jump which we got nice and then missed the weave entry first but did 6 weaves lovely second attempt and came through them a second time too.
Agility we were tugging lovely in the queue and on the start line, although he broke he his wait but I got him back into place. He self released one contact but had the rest nicely and again missed the weaves first time but nailed it second attempt.
The Agility course had a few wing wraps and a pull in. Nice things to train in the ring. My wing wraps need work. I was watching Lauren Langman’s session on Friday and she talks about having a command for absolutely everything. This isn’t the first time I’ve told myself I need a command for Guinness to shorten his stride but I seem to forget to say stuff when running. Definitely need to practise “Dig”!
Our training run went much better although no tugging in the queue. Finally Steeplechase. Guinness went into a wait position nicely but I still stood him up and run start as it wasn’t a long lead out. My course choices went well however I wasn’t really competing properly and hadn’t decided if I was front crossing or not at a section. I got there in plenty of time so decided to cross, but didn’t cross enough and ended up in a jump myself! The pole was down and I was in between the wings before I’d barely had time to realise what we’d done! What a funny run.
The weather stayed nice and clear and I mixed around between Ring Managing and helping.
Low entries meant that we went home with a 3rd and a 4th! Although the bottom of the placings due to high faults.
A lovely finish to 2013 and nice to have a fun run without thinking too much. It was so relaxed and it’s nice to run in my training arena.