How to get a fast agility dog

I was stood at an agility show a few months ago watching a friend do an amazing jumping round with their young dog. The ladies mum then also did an equally fantastic round, making a small mistake, but the dog … Continue reading

Vlog | Judging at Dig It Dogs Winter Series Agility Show

So here is my vlog from Sunday. It’s a very short and sweet vlog of my day at a Dig It Show, judging in the morning and then mooching around in the afternoon. I realised that I hardly filmed Guinness during … Continue reading

Stay safe in the dark with your dog

The nights are drawing in! Isn’t it funny (and annoying) how you find yourself repeating those clichés your grandmother and your mum used to say… you know, right about the time you think “I’m starting to sound like my mother!”. But … Continue reading

Fitbits, Fat Bits and Pet Trackers

For the last few weeks Guinness and I have both been trying out our own fitness trackers. I went for the FitBit Charge HR and Guinness has been using the Tractive Motion Sensor, currently the first and only pet tracker … Continue reading

Agility without the Agility

Yesterday I rocked up to the Dig It UKA Camping Show. I hadn’t entered and wasn’t camping as I have so much going on, but I’d got a free day so went along to help, take some photographs and perhaps … Continue reading

Reminiscing this Bank Holiday Weekend

For competitors, Bank Holidays often mean long weekends at agility shows. For me this weekend has been for catch-ups, romance, shopping and today… walking! After two busy days with Ash I now have two days alone with Guinness, and I decided … Continue reading

Nausea, Eliminations & Achievements

On Sunday 17th May, still recovering from a very dodgy tummy the day before, and being fuelled by only a few mouthfuls of cornflakes, I rocked up to my first show of the year! Not just the year, but our … Continue reading

Brereton

I don’t often drive somewhere to walk Guinness as I have ample fields for him to run in nearby plus the Satline a short walk away if we prefer a less-muddy walk or cycle. However I love to take the short … Continue reading

So have we retired from agility?

The answer is Hell No! I’ve had so much to blog about I’m afraid letting you know about our agility training had to take a bit of a back seat! The good news is we are back at it, big … Continue reading

In my Heart and in my Soul

I’ve been working on this video for a couple of months now and I’m so excited to have it finished. It’s exactly how I want it! My first movie project of 2015 and the start of a new phase of … Continue reading

Farm Life

This weekend Guinness and I went to stay with Ash on the dairy farm he is currently working on.   It’s calving time on the farm so I spent the morning in the calf barns! Seriously, who can deny the cuteness of … Continue reading

Dig It: Wrong Trousers

I’d got the wrong head on today. From walking the course, to warming Guinness up, to running, I don’t have the right attitude at Dig It Shows. I have great fun. But not the correct attitude for our competitions.

10391460_10152281735132513_1485666879145039782_n

The day started with Intermediate Jumping. Lydia had set out a nice course, mostly “easy” with little tweaky sections and an around-the-back from a tunnel. Ash walked Guinness while I was ring managing and then met me in the queue. Guinness was tugging nicely and continued off lead, went into a down, released the toy, and came into his start position. We raced off and I sprinted for the push round. As he came out of the tunnel I was stood at the jump leading him around in no-mans-land. It was a very “demotivating” manoeuvre. 12 weaves fabulous!! Brilliant achievement. The next jump was off to the right so it was a real tricky weave exit, especially for the dog that likes doing 11 weaves! From a wide wing wrap it was a tricky angle to the long jump and Guinness took it sideways.

Second run and Guinness wouldn’t tug. I knew this wasn’t going to go well. Into a wait, and he bogged off. Circled the first jump and came quite quickly back into position. Off we went again, this time I was supposed to be attempting to serpentine the push round, still didn’t get there or make it. However 12 weaves again! Yes! But 2/2 eliminations so far.

Onto Agility. Lou was judging and as always it was a lovely course. Plus it was nice for her to see me run after we trained on Thursday. I wasn’t sure which way round a jump to go, I’m sure I walked it one way and then ended up running it the other way. I don’t know what happened. First run and again Guinness was tugging off lead, into a down and then came into position and kept his wait. Contacts were much better than they have ever been. He still stops quite upright but then ducks into a bow and nose touch. Tunnel, jump and quickly into 6 weaves and he missed the entry. On Thursday Lou had mentioned about “Weaveweweweweweweave” fairly voice. As I ran her course off I went “weweweweweave”.

Second run and he wasn’t tugging. Uho I thought. Into a down, lead off, bye bye Guinness. It took a little longer but I stood my ground and he came back around. Better handling this time but again, two failed weaves from the tunnel, still with fairy voice. I looked at Lou, “Weave!”, nailed it, but not from the tunnel and jump.

Straight on from the weaves was a tunnel they had to avoid and instead take a jump to the left. I though that me being on the left and moving across would be enough to draw him from it, but this is tunnel-addict Guinness we are talking about! On the first run I called him late and with a paw inside he pulled off it. The second time, straight in the tunnel. Commands are needed woman! Turn left!

Disappointing. I said that I’d being doing at least one of each runs NFC today. I didn’t. I left this morning thinking I could get 5 out of 5 rosettes. There were low entries. I wanted to win. Instead I made a mess of my training opportunity.  I’m pleased with our waits (50% anyway) and out contacts and weaves also.

Steeplechase was last and again, Ash took Guinness for a walk and then I met him at the ring. He tugged and then we got into a good wait. Nice handling up until a turn and then I chose to push across a diagonal, but I didn’t commit or get ahead enough. Guinness found the jump but wasn’t sure where to go and ended up re-taking the jump.

I’ve not had any AWFUL runs today but they certainly haven’t been that productive. 12 weaves successfully twice and much better contacts is something good I suppose. Plus 3/5 off lead tugging into waits. Not bad.

Time to get my head straight at Dig It Shows. They are fun and relaxed shows that I’m always helping at or photographing. I don’t think I will ever treat them with a competitive mental attitude, and therefore I should be running NFC. We haven’t got the skills up rock to a run and win it, so I shouldn’t act like I can. Also as I’m doing more Kennel Club Shows I think I am becoming accustomed to the ups and downs of Grade 1, and perhaps the Intermediates are trickier than I thought.

As I said I’ve had a really good, fun day, but not the runs and results I hoped for.

Ynys Mon (Anglesey)

Ash and I set off on Thursday evening for a long weekend camping, with the added luxury of a day of Agility! I’d been recommended the Anglesey show and it was a perfect opportunity to have a nice weekend in the tent as well as get to a new, quiet show.

_DSC0001We’d chosen a campsite about half an hour away from the show and set of at 7.30am to arrive nicely for 8am. It was blowing a gail! We had lovely sunshine on Friday but came back from a walk to find our tent sideways, practically flat on the floor (it was a miracle how no poles snapped).  It was no different at the showground, if anything I think it was windier,  however the rain was holding off and we quickly got started with G1-2 Agility first up.

I considered this my most important class and I opted to run start. All started well and I pulled off a nice rear cross on the a frame with strong contacts. A tricky round-the-back from the dogwalk while calling away from the tunnel and then three jumps diagonal to rear cross the seesaw (mind your chin) then another round-the-back into the weaves. Yes, he’d done the weaves, then across a box and ARGHHHH!! He turned left in the box toward me and took the wrong jump. Nooooo. Even the judge looked gutted for me. A nice 270 and finish.

Man!! I thought we had it in the bag. He drove into the weaves so nicely and did 6 lovely, we were on for a winner. But I was holding back from the weaves to ensure I didn’t rush him and I ended up so far behind! Never mind. I am so so pleased, that is the best run we have had at a competition for a while, lovely contacts, nice handling (if I do say so myself), only slips up were we got a little stuck on the diagonal and he turned the wrong way from the seesaw, but overall very good. Plus no knocked poles!

A long break now as the next two runs weren’t until after lunch. The day got a little slow and we were very glad of the company and hospitality of Kev, Adele and Avril. We settled down in the car for lunch of homemade ham & cheese butties and chips! Nom.

1908013_10154145813590578_7007415439657938295_nG1-3 Jumping next and I choked down a miss-timed brew and only managed to walk half of it before they were calling to clear the course. Damn. I went away and quickly drew the course (a technique I’m really getting along with) and studied it on paper. Into the ring and I got Guinness tugging outside of the queue and then kept it up nicely before our run. We went for a wait, nervously, and managed a step away before he leapt up and I ran for it. Some nice rear crosses, although he went off course a little and I needed to spin him around to get back on track. Not knowing if we’d been marked for a refusal I ran on, second to last was the weaves and we powered over the finish! Had we been given a refusal?? I looked at Ash and Kev who raised their arms and said “Ah what happened to the weaves!”.  “What did happen at the weaves?! Did he mark our refusal?!” I said. No refusal but apparently Guinness missed his last weave! Aw. I hadn’t even noticed. Gutted.

We had all got so excited, another fantastic run yet a fall at the second to last “hurdle” again. Gutted. Phew! This was exciting. It was really feeling like the final Agility was going to be ours.

As we walked the Combined 1-3 Agility the heavens opened! With the wind blowing even stronger the rain came sideways and we were soaked through in no time. It didn’t last long and luckily went off just before our run. At lunchtime they had finally decided to take out the dogwalk, a sensible decision, but it left the course lacking a little imagination in places… jump, a frame, jump, wing wrap, a frame, jump.

The queue was a bit manic with everyone trying to get their run done to go home. It was far from relaxing. The person queuing in front of me and I spread out and took the queue in a wide circle to keep some distance from the ring, but then the person queuing behind ended up in front of me, which left Guinness surrounded by three dogs. As we entered the ring I had Guinness tugging on his lead nicely which is a great achievement, but as I unclipped his lead a spark of nerves struck me and I grabbed his collar. I don’t know what came over me, despite the queue we were on track to go for our wait but this run was “important” and I didn’t want to risk a Guinness-bog-off-special. As I grabbed his collar Guinness tried to make a runner and freaked out on me (he isn’t a fan of sudden collar grabs) and after a quick pause we set off and knocked the first pole. The rest of the run went in the same style, but I managed to get my head back on as we reached the seesaw and held his contact. I was impressed to see he stayed on it (totally expected him to break) and then nice 6 weaves at speed followed. Always taking positives, we also did a lovely wing wrap, but other than that a potty run!

Disappointing end! Ah well. As I drove away I was kicking myself. I am in such a rush to win out of Grade 1 I am sacrificing my waits. Something that is much more important! I’m rushing toward a short-term goal and spoiling the long term goal. I think I’m ashamed to be in Grade 1, especially as I have started teaching classes, yet I am confident in my teaching and handling ability, plus it is only a matter of time before we get that first win. If I look at my true feelings I am more ashamed about becoming someone without a wait than I am of being in Grade 1… so I need to get a grip and sort myself out!

Off to Holyhead, we finished the day with takeaway pizza and a visit to South Stack.

_DSC0149

The whole weekend was very enjoyable. We had a lovely walk through Newborough Forest and a visit to the beach on Friday and a cup of tea by the seaside and a pit-stop at Snugbury’s on the way home today.

The Anglesey Show is a lovely, quiet, two ring show in a nice venue. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of friendly faces and it felt geared towards the lower grade dogs. With Beacon being the main show this weekend it certainly seemed that the more relaxed handlers had chosen this show. Plus I hear it was just as windy back home and no one can control the weather.