I am buzzing. During Guinness’ physio session tonight I was asked if I was planning on doing agility with Guinness again and it was actually recommended that we should do some! While I had accepted that we may never do … Continue reading
Routines help us to get our brain in gear for the situation that each specific routine relates to, plus its good for the dog too. If you get nervous or stressed at competitions then developing your own routine may help you … Continue reading
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
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
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
Off to Birmingham? Yes Birmingham!
Last weekend Ash and I went to help Cheshire Canine Services at Bark in the Park, a fundraising event in aid of Retired West Midlands Police Dogs, held in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham.
It all started when Mike asked me if I knew anyone who would run Have a Go Agility… “Why don’t you do it.” I said… famous last words!
We were all set to leave on Saturday morning, however on Friday I had noticed Guinness’ paw was all red and sore and on Saturday morning it was worse. I couldn’t leave it until Monday! So instead of being on my M6 at 9am, we were at the vets.
Luckily there was nothing stuck and it turned out that Guinness had licked and chewed it to death, probably from the stress and pain from his other leg. I dropped him off at home with a wash, some more painkillers and a sock on and we eventually set off.
We rocked up in Birmingham at 10.30am, just as the event was starting. No worries!
Cannon Hill Park is HUGE! 120 acres! The Bark in the Park event was on a lovely section alongside the boating lake, near to the tennis courts and crazy golf. Dog agility next to tennis courts… genius.
There were displays in the main ring throughout the day, starting with Sarah Hanson of Wiggly Dogs talking about training methods and then Paws for Thought Display Team did a very entertaining display with flyball, agility, tricks and fire!
Next up it was the turn of Cheshire Canine Services. I slipped into the ring to take some photographs of Mike’s display. He started off with Bob his young springer puppy and talked about foundations, before moving on to show Bill his working springer and Emma came in with her rescue Labrador, Monty. The real highlight was when Mike demonstrated how to work two dogs, using Bill and Alf. He left the two dogs in a sit and turned and walked away. Bill bum shuffled forward. Alf took a step forward. Bill snuck forward. Alf crept forward. Sending shifty glances at each other the whole time. Mike turned around and they sat bolt upright, stark still. The crowd was roaring! You could not have planned it.
As the day finished we started to discuss hotels and evening plans. Mike and Emma were driving home, Ash and I had booked into the Travellers Inn nearby and Owain and Katie had grabbed a last minute room in the Birmingham Hotel… the reviews were not great!
After a moderately quiet day with a bit of rain, Ash and I went to do 18 holes of the 32 hole crazy golf, before heading off to the hotel. There was a fair and square pub just up the road so we wandered off to grab some tea. “We need to go straight on at the round-a-bout and then it’s just on the right”. Round-a-bout… more like a spaghetti junction! After dodging across 12 lanes of traffic we made it!
Sunday morning arrived and the first question on everyone’s lips was how Owain and Katie’s hotel was! “We walked in and walked back out”. It turns out they got a refund and stayed at a nearby Holiday Inn, and then their bathroom ceiling leaked so they got a full refund from there! Not bad!
The sun was out and Sunday was already feeling a lot busier. The agility was almost none stop and a lot of police puppy walkers had come for the day so they all had a go. Perfect socialisation for them, walking through a tunnel and across planks on the floor.
The Police rocked up to give a very entertaining demo, showing off their detection dogs and some bite work with the up and coming pups, before getting the big boys out. Mr. Angry is obviously quite a well known character in these displays and he has a great entertainment factor during the bite work. The last capture was a dog running out and grabbing him and then dragging him back to the police officers who were hiding behind a shelter. Then when Mr. Angry fought off the officers and tried to escape the dog nailed him. I love watching “attack” dog displays, they are always so entertaining.
Rookie mistake alert, I had left my spare memory card in the car! Mike was straight in with his display so I didn’t have chance to photograph it. Instead I sat back and watched. A slightly different display to yesterday, this time Mike used Alfie a little more. As he set Alf up for a blind retrieve he said “Now I don’t know if it’s because he’s ginger… but… he doesn’t have a very good memory”. Just for you Ash! I reckon the two gingers are quite content with their “colour disadvantage”.
Emma joined the display and they set Alf and Monty up on retrieve races! Monty grabbed his dummy but then ran over to Mike, bouncing around next to Alf looking very pleased with himself! Poor Emma had to go and fetch her dog from the “head trainer”.
As the displays had a break all of a sudden everyone had come to the agility! I had a queue of dogs and people crowding around to watch, cheering on each dog as they bravely made it through the tunnel and over the jumps, quickly followed by their owners. A great success.
It was brilliant to meet some twitter people and I finally came face to face with Mark Doggett (@MarkyDoggett) and Dave Hibbert, the event organiser and voice behind @WMP_dog. Plus I also met a fellow Andy Biggar Photography student, Joanna! (@joeynoble).
The afternoon was getting hotter and hotter and Ash and Mike both released their legs. Much to Mike’s dismay it was concluded that crocks and socks are not cool!
The final demo of the day, Mike and Dave did some bite work with Morgan and Kai. Dave donned the jacket and was adamant that he could do the commentary and take the bites… there were quite a few lines of “So I’m going to try to get away and Kai is….”. We were all impressed with Dave, for a slim bloke he can take quite a pounding from these dogs!
Time to go home, Ash and I went back for our second round of Crazy Golf. As Mike drove past he shouted “Whose winning?”. “I am!!” Ash and I said at the said time! It turns out Ash won… twice!
A really fun weekend, it was great to meet new people, put faces to twitter profiles and spend a day with friends and dogs!
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.
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.
My first trip to Catton Hall! (Does that make me a proper agility competitor now). It was a wet one! I had a late night and then was up from 2am to 3am with the HUMONGOUS thunder-storm, and then up at 6am for the show.
Waterproofs on! Today I discovered that my football boots are not waterproof, and it wasn’t until I reached the show that I remembered I had some sealskin waterproof socks at home! Numpty.
First up was Combined 1-3 Agility. I’d already decided I was going to run start and off we went. A lovely stop dog walk and then a nice wing wrap with the pole still intact. I pushed him for a distance send into the tunnel while moving into position but he pulled back towards me and then started straying toward the wrong end! Oh no. I pulled him back further and re-sent him in and saw the Judge mark a refusal. Darn. Nice six weaves and finished! My mistake, I should have watched and made sure he was committed before moving away, plus one more step forward would have been all the difference. Never mind.
I was all alone so there are no videos of any of my runs this time.
Back to the car to chill out and I popped Adam FM on the radio. I wasn’t sure what it was and there was some music playing and then all of a sudden an announcement came through the radio!! OH MY GOD!! I may be easily impressed, but I think this is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! I could sit in my car and keep track with what each ring is doing. People can be in their caravans and know where their ring is up to. WOW. Mega impressed. Just as I was starting to worry I’d need a push start to get home I remembered my wind up radio/torch that I always have in my car. Voila! I knew it’d come in useful one day.
Onto Combined Jumping 1-2 and I stood at the start line looking up a line of 6 jumps across the diagonals. All with just about 4 metres in between.
This song popped into my head straight away! I think I know what the soundtrack to my next agility video will be!
There was a nice big start area and only me in the queue when I arrived so I got Guinness happily tugging. The scrimer gave some tickets out to the next few people who had arrived before sitting down to mark my run which gave me more time to tug and get Guinness really revved up. I left him in a down and set off. He waited. I only took a few steps and then released. Brilliant! I raced ahead and didn’t watch him but we had no poles down on the first stretch! I wish I could have filmed it to have looked at his jumping. We fluffed a front cross and the pole dropped and then onto weaves and he made a beeline for the tunnel after only 5! Let’s try again… no out at 5 again. Third and final time, out at 5!! Time to get out of the ring.
With the rain still bucketing down Grade 1-4 Jumping was soon ready for walking, today was going great with hardly any waiting around! As I walked it there was a lot of murmurs. “Ooh that’s hard”. “This isn’t very nice for Grade 1s!”. “More like Grade 5”. I liked it! I liked it from the moment I started walking it. Yes it had tricky bits, but do-able tricky bits. Maybe because I’ve been training way out of my grade at Dig It. Ironic as we couldn’t even win out of Grade 1 until last month, but it certainly has helped with our confidence and Guinness’ drive and ability. I walked it with a Ketchup (Ketschker) turn in mind. I’ve done them in training but not for a while. I think they have their place. But I’m still not sure why I was even considering doing it. I thought it would help create a tight wing wrap and open up the weave entry as I wouldn’t be blocking his sight of the weaves. However only the other day I had decided to be consistent and work on basic foundation handling skills with Guinness; building up our drive, flow and smoothness around courses rather than adding in new manoeuvres and new rules.
We started with a wait. He wasn’t tugging but went down and I felt more confident that he was going to wait. As I took a few steps forward he stood up and stalked forward and then went down again on command and waited. I don’t mind so much if he is breaking to run over the jump, it’s when he breaks to circle and bark at me that is frustrating. From the wait I was in the perfect position for the ketchup…. I stopped by the wing with my “correct” arm sending him over… he stopped and looked at me. Why was I stood still at the wing with my back to the jump! After what felt like a minute Guinness took the jump, wing wrapped correctly and then missed his weave entry, getting in at the second gap. So much for opening up the weaves! I was kicking myself. 11 weaves and sod it I’d had enough. We went on to do the tricky section nicely and I’m generally pleased with my handling. But what a stupid decision to make.
With only one class left I was listening to the ring waiting for them to announce that the course would be walked and would restart after lunch (it was already 1pm). To my surprise they said the ring would not stop for lunch. I walked it, a little unsure about some sections but pleased with my choices. I went for another run start and sprinted after Guinness as he powered over the dog walk. A quick front cross at the tunnel to a sharp turn and a sudden jump and he ran past the wing for a refusal. ARGH. I think I’d babied the turn from the tunnel and was in his way. Dammit. 12 weaves and he pushed right to the end beautifully. Typical. The rest was great!
I came out and saw Vanessa and she complemented our run. It had been good, just bitterly disappointing. That would have been our ticket to Grade 3! I decided to wait for the results as all of the classes were coming to a close and I sat with Guinness ringside and chatted to Vanessa and her husband. She is a new Dig It Instructor that has moved from America. She’s amazing! It was so lovely to get to know her a little bit better.
The results came and I hadn’t been placed which was expected. Grade 2 Agility only had 2 placements.
It was only 3.30pm and time to go home! This car parked near to me did make me chuckle… a little over-optimistic I think!! (Although the sun broke through for about 20 minutes and was directly on the windscreen).
Muddy, damp and absolutely knacked I pressed the wrong button on the Sat Nav and before I had chance to realise I was on the M6 Toll. Bye bye £4.80! Never mind, it was a nice quick blast down the M6 rather than the windy lanes and the bumpy A50.
Home for half 4 and enough time for a lovely bubble bath before tea. It’s been a great day with some fantastic runs! What an improvement to Dog Vegas! I look forward to being back at Catton Hall soon.
I don’t normally do “tough” things. I’ve never been one to take on challenges. I do achievable things, which to me aren’t massive challenges. I wouldn’t try to swim the channel, because I’d drown. I don’t go on rollercoaster’s because … Continue reading
Our last show in Grade 1, off to new territory of Osmaston Polo Ground to pop my Dog Vegas cherry.
Hurrah, not the first class of the day, I gave myself half an hour lie-in. A nice quiet show with only 54 max in G1-3 classes, compared to 130 at Oswestry.
The ground was soft and we’d had some rain so studs were on (I did take my agility trainers too this time) and we set off for G1-3 Agility first up. A hesitant wait and I must apologise to the person doing leads, I rudely appear to ignore him and chuck my lead at his feet when he had his arm outstretched, I am so busy concentrating and worrying on Guinness’ wait that I often don’t look at what I’m doing with the lead.
We got a wait nonetheless and took down the first pole (I left Guinness too close to the jump). It was a good run with some pleasing handling, he ran out of the weaves around 9 (due to me rushing I think) but nailed 12 weaves second attempt. Contacts were shocking – he self release all of them, didn’t even think about stopping, and is a little hesitant down to the bottom.
I don’t know what to do with contacts in a show. I agree that bouncing them back onto the bottom doesn’t really help, but if he misses one I would quite like to do something about them rather than just running on. Onto the next G1-3 Agility and this time we were going to concentrate on contacts, we have got that win into G2 and now it’s time to use the show experience wisely.
I went for a stronger wait and Guinness bogged off before I had even taken a step away. He wouldn’t come back, just stood barking at me. Messily I got him into a down and then we went and he blasted past 6 weaves. We ignored it and ran on, taking a quick course up and down the contacts. I made sure he stopped on the Aframe, he released off the seesaw and then release off the dogwalk, but I paused and he reversed back onto it. Argh.
After spending a lot of time sat in the car reading the first Grade 1-3 Jumping was set up and we sneaked in to run before the lunch break. The first jump was a nice distance into the ring and we were able to get in and get tugging while the previous dog was finishing. I felt confident, Guinness was tugging nicely. I popped him through my legs and into a down, unclipped the lead, and off he went on his own. AHH. I couldn’t get him back again! Barely bringing him around near to me before setting off. The rest of the run was okay, missing a jump on a tricky off set row towards the end, but I’d had enough.
I was so annoyed!! I’ve never felt frustrated with Guinness at an agility show before, ever. Until now! I didn’t show or tell him (although it was probably ebbing out of me) and I rewarded him the same, but mentally I wanted to scream and yell at him. Of course it isn’t Guinness’ fault, it is my training fault.
I could have cried. My mood flowed out at Ash and we bickered. Then I sulked.
Good job it was lunch time. An hour in the car reading, eating sandwiches and a lot of cuddling later and I had sorted my head out. Time to get the last run done and then get home and do some serious thinking and training!
It was a while still until my run and we went to get coffee and donuts and sit ringside. They were presenting some results out and suddenly I recognised my own name! I had got 2nd place in Agility!!! I was sooo surprised. With 10 faults! I wasn’t expecting that.
Final jumping class came and Guinness was tugging on the start line! I unclipped his lead and carried on tugging. Into a down, release the toy, we were feeling good. He jumped up and ran off ! He didn’t go far and quickly came back around in between my legs. He ran off again and circled the first jump, 5R. I had almost given up but called him back and he came into position in a down back at my feet. A more confident wait this time and off I went and released! A FANTASTIC RUN! I was so pleased with my handling choices. We were fast. I ran! I got a front cross in a place I wasn’t sure that I could get to.
Jenny was scoring and shouted “Great run Ruth. Fast. You’re 2nd!”. As the next person finished “3rd now!”. Ack. If only we hadn’t had that refusal! But overall our start line had been so much better! Tugging is definitely for us and tugging off lead and then into a down is our key formula I think, we just need to get it 100% now.
That was it! I decided to wait until the presentations at the end of the day. I knew we were unlikely to be placed but I couldn’t go home and miss the chance of a rosette.
We settled down in the sunshine reading again, I finished off Agility Voice and Ash made good progress through his book. Then the results came and only 2nd and 1st were announced in Grade 1.
Never mind! A late finish. A mental day with tears, cheers and learning curves. Overall another great show and some value ring experience.
Success. The topic of this Dog Agility Blogger Action Day. Success is broad, it covers so much. Success that your dog is fit and healthy. Success that your dog managed to queue without being upset by another dog. Success that your dog came out of that run safely, free from injury. Success that you remembered the course!
The first thing I think about when I think of success, is taking a success from every run. Whenever I write blogs about our shows, (especially when I write about our many Eliminations), I always try to find a positive from every run. Something that we did well. Something that was an improvement. That is my success. It was a success to complete 12 weaves poles. It was a success to get a good stop dog walk contact. It was a success that Guinness waited on the start line. It was a success that we did a nice tight wing wrap. It was a success that we queued calmly.
But success proceeds much further than each individual run. Each show. Each result. Success comes in training. What is your success rate?! How many times was that behaviour completed correctly? It’s an important tool for dog training programs. Did your dog sit when asked 9/10 times. A success rate of 90%!
Dog agility is a human-selfish sport. If we never did agility again and instead allowed our dogs a good run through the woods twice a day, would they miss the agility? I reckon not. Although agility gives us the drive to train our dogs and the means to physically and mentally stimulate them, that can be done without agility. Therefore the biggest success for me is that my dog is fit, healthy and happy. Every time we do a training session, every show we visit and every run we do, I have succeeded if Guinness is happy.
However winning is definitely a very favourable success as well!
Read about what other agility bloggers consider Success as they upload their posts throughout the day: http://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/success/
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.
We’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.
G1-3 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.
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.
The first show of 2014 started with Dig It Winter Series.
Lydia was away so I helped to run the show with a few other Dig It guys. I had a lot of fun but I was very busy in between runs. Amanda Hampson judged the Advanced and Intermediate Jumping and it was a pleasure to see and try her courses! I am continuing with NFC runs and chose to do a 9 obstacle sequence from her course. There was a flick flack/serp that didn’t quite go to plan with a tunnel drawing them away from the third jump, I couldn’t get it even with two tries. However weaves we managed 12 poles once but 3/4 times popped out at pole 10.
In Agility I made my own course but included a nice 3 jump sequence from the judges course. Again we popped out on 10 weaves so I didn’t attempt them again. The sequence didn’t go to plan either however our contacts were good.
Watching a friend run I saw them make a handling choice different to mine that worked much better! I watched and immediately thought “of course, why didn’t I do that!”. It seemed like such an obvious option yet I’d missed it. The same with the Jumping!
I am failing to see all of the handling options. I look with blinkers on and see one or two options, make a decision and then go for it. It’s something that I need to work on and also an ability that I want to pass to my students, so I best get better at it myself! Perhaps more time walking the course?! Or at least concentrate more while walking and broaden my mind.
Steeplechase I blasted for a run but I’d got my Dublin boots on and I tried to lazy handle/push Guinness out and i left him too far. We didn’t train track! I went off the rails.
This show was a lot of fun! I had a bit of a lazy start (I was there by 8.30am nonetheless!) and had a wait until first run so I got my camera out and did some photos and filming for Dig It. There were three rings with two clubs providing ring parties so everything was well run and the rings moved quickly. Agility first and a tricky handling section with lots of options got quite a few people pondering while walking it. I made my choice and was really pleased as it worked well, flowing smoothly into the tunnel! (Hurrah my course choices are getting better perhaps). I ran for training but stuck to the course as it allowed everything I wanted to work on.
I filmed the worst of my two training runs so be open-minded when watching this, it went much better the first time…
[There is a lot to analyse and take away from that video but I wont bore you with it in this post! Important thing is the fecking weaves! Epic Guinness!]
6 weaves and we nailed the entries plus Guinness powered through them so fast he got stuck! Really impressed! Contacts were good although he released on my movement more than he should, however he had stopped so promising for competition.
Jumping was a nice up and down blasty run with 6 weaves from the tunnel. Again amazing weaves and only missed 1 out of 5.
I pushed our waits aiming to leave Guinness closer to the edge of the ring. As you can see from the video he doesn’t even think about it in the agility, as soon as the lead is off he goes. However our other runs were better with some nicer waits. I’m struggling to see how we will bridge the training-competition gap! At the moment it looks like a huge, bottomless valley.
Steeplechase was a fun course from Becky Sargent with two tunnels next to each other. Although some say this tests nothing, as it is not obstacle discrimination, I had a lot of fun! I didn’t guide Guinness enough nor judge how long his jump is (partly due to not walking it) and and we got Eliminated when he took the furthest tunnel rather than the one closest to me. Never mind still a fun run with some good distance work and rear crosses.
Only two more shows to go and competition season is creeping closer and closer! I am hopeful that our waits outdoors will be better as Guinness was always happier on grass last year. The Dig It Club Comps start in March so I’ll be out there as soon as possible, pushing and testing our waits!