Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Ironing out a few tweaks

Yesterday turned into another long day as I set off down to South Manchester after tea to take a few of the dogs to see our friend from flyball, Kath. Kath is not just another friend from flyball she is also a McTimoney-Corley animal practicioner (see her website for more details). I've had Mac seen to a couple of times before with strains and muscle tears here and there but I was particularly worried about Faith and Ethan. I was suprised by how unfit Faith has come off this litter but watching her move I realised it was more than this and that something is just not quite right with her, she's not extending her back end at all so getting no drive when running and finding it difficult to jump/hurdle. Ethan got very stiff after racing at Easter so I've been very careful to warm him up and down before and after exercise but I just wanted to get him checked over, at only 3 half years old I don't expect him to be like this!

Well, it transpires that Faith has sustained some muscle/ligament damage around her left hip, during either pregnancy or labour, so doesn't currently have a full range of motion on that side, this is what is causing her to 'tuck' and preventing her from extending while running. We're going to continue with the lead walking this week and Katherine will have another look at her at Drax on Saturday...fingers crossed! I would prefer to rest her this weekend to make sure she's fit for Belgium if need be but we're running out of time to make an assessment and declare the teams so we'll see how she is. We have to declare which dogs are running in which teams and what times we expect them to run 3 weeks before the Championships!

I had been worried about Ethans' hips by the way he was(n't) moving but Katherine says he has a good range of movement in both sides so this isn't what is causing his stiffness. Compression of the veterbrae in his upper spine is where the problem lies, probably something to do with the way he charges around like a bull in a china shop all the time!! Ethan is quite short backed so is likely to be more prone to these sort of impact/compression issues. He was very funny being gone over, kept having a real good stretch involuntarily, firstly from his front legs and then stretching right out to his back toes, you could almost hear him saying 'ooh yeh, that feels good...yeh...that's the spot...just up a bit....down a bit'... funny dog...he didn't want to leave, I had to practically drag him out the door!

Mac is the one who least enjoyed the experience, he hates having anything 'done' to him and immediately tenses as soon as he thinks someone might want to do something to him that he might not like, before he even knows what that something might be! He has areas of scar tissue in the muscle on his inner thigh and above his left hip from previous injuries which are very sensitive to the touch but he is in fine fettle at the moment so no worries about him. I'm actually very pleased by how quickly he has lost his winter weight and regained condition this spring. Hopefully as he gets fitter over the season his form will continue to improve.

So...Faith is still a concern at the moment but at least we know why she's moving like a slug now!

A new addition

So on Sunday we took a 520mile round trip up to Dundee to visit my friend Laura (CorrieDhu Sheepdogs) and meet her new baby girl Lucy Jessica who was born on Easter Sunday. It was another beautiful morning and I left dogs and pups out at home and had a nice drive up through the Lake District but was greeted with rain as we reached central Scotland, having not seen any rain for a week or so I actually found this really depressing!! lol (I'm sure I should be living in a more Mediterranean climate!). I spent a lovely few hours with Laura, Cameron and Lucy just chatting and catching up with stuff. What a lovely bright and happy baby, so pleased she is doing well after such an ordeal in hopsital!

We came home with Lauras' lovely little black tri sheepdog Tammy who will be living here for a while, she's a very sweet natured and happy dog and is settling in really well. I like her a lot :)

Spring has Sprung!

We share our country lane with a dairy farm and Friday was the day the cows went out for the first time after a long winter in the cattle sheds. I love watching their first foray out into the fields again, even the oldest grumpiest milker becomes a spritely young heifer again as they run and jump and play and enjoy the freedom and fresh grass.

I wish I'd been able to video them leaving the sheds but my camera batteries were flat so here they are all settled down and grazing in the afternoon...

The large white one on the left is actually a bull who is running with the herd of milking cows.

Not terribly exciting I know but a welcome sight for all us country dwellers...it means summer is on it's way!

And then there were five...

Fi's pups have started leaving home. Happy to see them on the way to their new lives but at the same time sad to see them go, they've been a lovely litter and I've really enjoyed having them. The little black tri girl 'Ziggy' was the first to leave on Saturday.
Bryning Unbelieveable
Her new owner Wendy flew over from Portugal on Friday and stayed overnight with us, we spent a lovely evening chatting dogs and Saturday morning she helped me get some stacked photos of the whole litter. Now, I must confess, my pups have usually been stacked and photographed 3 or 4 times before they leave so they are old pro's by the time they reach 7/8 weeks; I can't say they same for this lot! Some were more willing than others as you can see in the resulting pics. Ziggy is destined for obedience and agility in her new home in Portugal so good luck to Wendy with her.

Next pup to leave was squiffy faced sable boy, also now called Ziggy!

Bryning Dare to Believe
Vicky and Tom came up on Saturday afternoon to meet the pups and Fi and took him home to Shrewsbury. Ziggy is also destined for agility, good luck Vicky!

Vicky will be back to see us again in a couple of weeks when they come to collect Jeep (classic sable boy) as they are taking him to Heathrow to send out to Dallas, USA

Bryning Believe it or Not
Jeep will be the first Bryning pup to set paw in the US, he is destined for flyball and agility and I wish Susan every possible luck with him.

Ossy, the smaller black tri boy, was the next to leave yesterday morning, he has gone to live fairly locally to here in Knott End so I hope we get to see plenty of him; Os is also destined for agility, good luck with him Helen!
Bryning Would you Believe
So that leaves us with five here still, the big flashy black tri boy (as yet un-named) will be coming over to Drax with us on Friday where he will going to his new home in West Yorkshire. He will be doing a bit of obedience and flyball and (hopefully) showing too, he is a really lovely boy
Bryning DaydreamBeliever
Dino (dark faced black tri boy) will be with us for another month and will be coming over to Belgium with us when we go to the EFC's where he will stay with his new owner, my good friend, Wendy Eeckeloo at Hof Diabolo Border Collies.

Bryning Beyond Belief

So...that just leaves Monkee and Mouse...

Bryning I'mABeliever

Bryning Believe In Me
For the time being they are both staying here...they will NOT both be staying long term and actually neither may end up staying but at the moment I don't want to let Mouse go and my mum doesn't want to let Monkee go!! We'll just wait and see ;)

Playing Catch Up!

Ooops, nearly a week without a post again, I can see the number of posts are going to be dropping as we get busier and busier over the summer!

So, what has been happening this past week?

Mum was away in Bulgaria with some friends from church, painting a shelter for abused women on behalf of a charity out there called 'Mission Possible'. This left me home alone and actually, I had a very constructive week! I always seem to get a lot more done when left to my own devices...not sure why that is?!

We had beautiful weather all week so the pups got to spend a lot of time out in the garden and the dogs spent a lot of time out, I left them with the run of the yard and 'dog room' while at work each day. Road walking lunchtime and every evening with my competing collie girls and then some flyball box work and agility training after that. I gave agility training a miss on Wednesday as Teal and I were going up to Hest Bank for a Nigel Staines training evening on Thursday. By this point I had to 'vet wrap' my lower legs because of the shin splints I had inflicted on myself with the excessive road walking all week! Amazing the difference some simple strapping can make! lol

This was supposed to be a Grade 1-4 training session so I wasn't sure how much we'd get out of it as we're obviously not competing yet but it was a useful session so I'm pleased we went. I very much liked Nigels' manner with both dogs and people, very patient and very encouraging. So we have some new exercises to train at home and I have a lot more to think about. I had been struggling with Teals' seesaw still, in fact what I learned is that she totally understands her running contacts...that she has to run to the end of each piece of equipment so what I actually need to do is leave her to get on with it! We did a flowing sequence of dog walk - flik flak - A frame - jump - seesaw (ok, it was supposed to be flowing but I kept cocking up the flick flak by trying to rush it so it took me a few attempts to get it right...cue EXTREMELY patient intstructor! lol)...regardless...what we learned was....when I was running like stink alongside my little dog she was tending to leave her contacts early and only just getting them or missing them completely but when I stayed very wide of the contacts and limited how much I ran with her she nailed them every time! It's ME inadvertently rushing her that's making her do it wrong, she's more than capable of doing it right if I leave her well alone! lol This is going to be quite tricky for me because I have to start thinking very hard, about where Teal needs to go and where I need to go...i.e. not the same route...yeh, I know...that's agility handling but I'm learning ok! I think Teal could be ready to compete fairly soon, me on the otherhand.... ;)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A hive of activity

Just a quick post...today is Teal's 3rd birthday. I know I say this every birthday but it's really hard to believe 3 years have gone by already! She's a super little dog and I'm so glad I found her :)

wasn't she just the cutest puppy??

I've been struggling for a while trying to get her to do a decent turn off the flyball box. She does a lovely fast four footed turn off the chute but as soon as you move her to the box she reverts back to sort of tentatively touching the bottom and turning on the ground in front of the box instead.

So after chatting with Katie and watching a video of her box training Jet with an angled slant board in front of the box I thought I'd give it a go. We did a few reps on Monday and again this evening and...By Jove...I think she's got it!

Thanks Katie :)

Have quite a lot of work to do with all the dogs as the flyball season gets underway. Faith has come off her litter VERY unfit so I'm trying to get condition on them all. Teal isn't too bad as she's been agility training quite a bit over winter and Drake never loses any condition...he's permanently like a coiled spring! I've started off doing quite a bit of brisk lead walking on the roads, during lunch at work and in the evenings at home. I started with Mac, Dottie, Lexie and Faith but have dropped Mac as he needs reminding to walk to heel every 3 seconds and I'm aching from head to foot having to keep checking him! We're doing about 5 miles a day at a brisk pace so that the dogs keep to a steady trot so hopefully I'll be getting fitter too! lol

The lighter sunny evenings are sooo nice...the pups get to play out for hours and I get to spend lots of time out training with all the dogs so I hope they continue!

Monday, 20 April 2009


Have been very lax at blogging again (tut) but here's a couple of cocker updates...
Teal weave training in the garden last week...

starting to close the channels up closer now so she has to 'get a wriggle on' lol We have a group training session with Nigel Staines next week, I'm not sure how much we're going to get out of this as we're not competing yet but I'm sure we'll find some of it useful. Looking forward to it anyway :)
Here's a pic of daughter Rio who made her agility debut at UKA and won her first rosette...2nd in the Steeplechase :)

Radley also made her flyball debut in starters this weekend and she was soooooo good!! The star of the team :) I really wanted some video of her running but as I was running Squirrel in the same team it didn't happen :( It was an 'interesting' day and just about anything that could go wrong did at some point but there were also some very encouraging points too...Squirrel stayed focused all day and proved very consistent on the start (good girl), we just need to work on getting her to take the ball cleanly and come off the box quicker. Helen's litte rescue girl Meg ran reliably but she is still very lacking in confidence, hopefully this will improve with time. Oban had moments of brilliance (very speedy little height dog!) followed my moments of sheer lunacy! lol He has an awful lot of eye and is distracted by the other team dogs very easily. All in all...a work in progress!
We did however get some video of the 'Intermediate' team...

...this was actually 3 of our open sanctioned dogs (Pip, Bailey and Drake) being run by completely novice handlers with Alex and Jeep running anchor dog, Jeep hasn't run for nearly a year and had a lovely day bless him :) Our new handlers were actually my uncle Conrad and two cousins (Amy and Jess) with Auntie Jackie collecting balls and shouting all the dogs back so it was effectively 'Team Holtappel' lol, they did a really fantastic job with some cracking starts and changeovers and came 2nd in the division! :)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

'Shattered and Sunburnt'

Anglesey at Easter

Well, who would have predicted the fantastic weather we had over the four days we spent on Anglesey, blue skies and sunshine from the time we arrived to the time we left...absolutely perfect :)

With only 6 divisions of racing over the weekend we had plenty of time to enjoy the fabulous weather, the big open spaces for dog walking and the fantastic flyball and agility training facilities provided by those lovely PODS. Racing started at 9.30am each morning although we were racing in the last division on each day so we got to enjoy a nice leisurely walk and breakfast in the sunshine followed by a very civilised hour lunch break and presentation around 4pm. The whole weekend was just a very leisurely and relaxed affair, a perfect little flyball holiday.
Breakfast on Easter Sunday...boiled eggs and 'soldiers'...what else?!! lol

Paul also introduced us all to his new favourite vodka cocktail...Apple Pie...a specific brand of Vodka (sorry, can't remember which), cloudy apple juice and a sprinkling of cinnamon...absolutely delicious (it does taste just like Apple pie!!). I'm so glad we decided to spend our Easter over in North Wales; Anglesey is one of our favourite venues and chances are we won't be at the summer show this year as it's only on for one weekend, it's a bit of a trek for just 2 days.

I'm also really glad we took Faith and the pups, she got plenty of exercise to help get her back fit and they got lots of time and attention.

sunbathing on Gemma's lap...look at all that milk still!!

a short vid of the pups playing...

Dora also had a whale of a time, she was able to be allowed loose pottering around the caravans most of the time and really enjoyed the freedom, she's a very easy little pup to have around, she loves company but is equally happy off playing and amusing herself and so far (fingers crossed) she has a fantastic recall!

Both teams ran well but we did get an awful lot of lights! We ran the same dogs in the same order as last weekend but swapped all the handlers so we might as well have been starting from scratch! lol I did get to run Mac start dog again though which is something I always really enjoy. I also had to run Teal as she suddenly decided she was going to be a mummy's girl and didn't want me running Drake instead of her! I think it may have been something to do with the fact I had been doing some chute training with her in the morning. We've started loading her ball in the left hole as she's now decided that's the way she's going to turn. I remember Oskar took a while to make his mind up so maybe it's a spaniel thing! The Alpha's did a brilliant job boxloading for us though which was greatly appreciated and Genna has offered to be our boxloader for the Euros which will be great. I judged div 2 on the Sunday and really enjoyed it, the racing was tight and the relaxed friendly banter between teams was really nice.
On Monday Gemma and I competed in the flygility with Bailey and Teal, this involved a short agility course and then straight onto a flyball lane, the dog must bring the ball back out of the lane and then do the agility course back the way they came. It sometimes takes the dogs a while to understand that they're doing agility and flyball at the same time but Teal seemed to pick this idea up quite quickly, so long as I didn't move past the first agility jump on the way back before she'd exited the flyball lane (else she thought we were done with the flyball bit and dropped her ball!). The course started on the weaves so dogs not weaving got to miss the first obstacle and got a 10 sec penalty, you then got a further 5 secs for every obstacle you (the handler) had to run past so the further you can send your dog ahead the faster time you get. I just decided to run the agility course with Teal because at this stage she's still learning and I want to keep her confidence high, she did however complete the whole course (minus weaves) in the fastest time of the day, under 16 secs. Gemma and Bailey predictably won it (again!) as he was the only dog that would send on over the whole course and back again so they incurred no penalties, he did the whole lot, including the weaves in under 20 secs. Go Bailey!!
I had also agreed to run Squirrel with the Dolphins starter team on Monday but after her performance in training recently wasn't sure this was such a good idea. It wasn't a problem because they had a 5 dog team so I could try her and take her out if she messed about. Well, unfortunately a Dolphins team member had to leave urgently on Monday morning so that left them with just the 3 dogs so Squirrel had to run. We took Viggo over with us too, in desperation really because he really isn't ready to compete. We tried running Squirrel last dog in the first race of the day but she just got so excited watching the other dogs go she wanted to just chase them instead of going for her ball (bad little parson!!) so we ended up trying Viggo and...he did it!! We won that race :) In the next warm up we tried sending Squirrel first with Gemma on the box to get her focused, this did the trick and she ran fine after that. We even managed to get two rolling starts on the last race of the day! Don't think I've ever seen a terrier running start dog before?? lol Vi didn't run again, they'd started the flygility in the top arena and he was totally distracted by that and wouldn't bring the ball back. To be fair to him, it was a big ask, I only showed him flyball 2 weeks ago and he's done about 10 mins training so I really didn't expect anything from him. There's plenty of time to let him pick it up slowly. So our little starter team of Squirrel, Steve's Rory, Roxy the cocker and Bridget's Tearlaidh ended up unbeaten and winning the division!! Not bad for a first outing and especially considering how our day started! Paul took a couple of short videos of Squirrel running so I'll upload them when I get them.
We're over at Sutton Fields this weekend for the judges training seminar and starters competition. Radley will be making her flyball debut so we're hoping to get a little training session in one evening this week and see how we get on. I just hope Squirrel remembers what she's doing!!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy Birthday Mac Man

Well the 'big man' is seven years old today. SEVEN!!! Already!!! I can hardly believe it! I don't think anyone has told him quite how old he is yet because he does still insist on behaving like an over enthusiastic puppy all the time!!

I remember vividly the day I drove over to Shirley's to see a litter of pups. I had in my mind that I wanted a dark marked choc merle with green eyes and she had just the pup so I arranged to go and see them. I was working in Penrith at the time and went straight from there to Shirls in North Wales one lovely sunny summer evening...a 3 half hour drive! I then spent another 2 hours watching the pups and meeting all Shirls dogs and trying to make my mind up which one to take!! Poor Shirl...she had the patience of a saint! None of the young pups quite took my fancy, there just wasn't that 'thing' but when Shirl said she had a couple of 16 week old dog pups that she'd been given backword on I said I'd take a look. She opened the kennel door and these two stunning young boys bounded out. Mac just followed me around the field and wouldn't take his eyes off me. He was a big chunky flashy marked BLUE EYED puppy, not what I had gone for at all but there was just something about him. He was coming home with me. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate that someone else had turned this puppy down and given me the opportunity to own such a fantastic lad. I feel very sure that he was meant for me.

That weekend we were at the Nuneatons flyball tournament at Sharnford when Pam Harrison spotted Mac and dashed over to ask me where he was from and was he for sale?!! After much pointless persuasion she accepted I wasn't letting him go (lol) and they headed off over to Shirls on the Monday to collect his brother, Indi....they also came home with a pup from the other litter in the form of Tigger!! I don't think Pam would regret that day for one minute. They've proved to be really smashing dogs.

So I have Mac to thank for the longtime firm friends I found in Shirley and Pam :)

I wouldn't say Mac has always been the easiest of dogs to live with, he went through a very difficult 'teenage phase' where he was very hard work! I soon realised that for all his bravado he was actually very lacking in confidence and all he really wanted was for someone else to make all the hard decisions for him. Once we had agreed that 'someone' was me things improved dramatically and we formed a very strong bond. He's a very friendly lad, he absolutely adores people and will accost anyone that comes to the house or people he meets out on walks to play with him. If he can't find a toy he'll just find the nearest thing he can...a plastic bottle, a piece of wood, a shoe! He's very enthusiastic and incredibly keen to please. Whatever you ask of him he will always try his hardest and I think this is the thing that I love most about him.

At this moment I don't have anything from him and this worries me, he has a work ethic that none of my other BC's can quite match up to and tends to pass it on to his offspring; this is something I don't want to lose. Hopefully I will have another litter by him at the end of this year and keep something from this, my next 4 sec flyball dog (not asking too much then!! lol)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Flyball training musings...

I've been spending a bit of time this week going back and looking at some videos of our dogs training and competing and have come to the conclusion that we're still a long way from getting the best performance possible out of each dog. Most of it comes down to efficiency in box turns and drive/motivation back from the box so I have resolved to sit down and devise some exercises, tailored to each dog, to see if we can make some improvements in these areas.

By far my biggest headache is Ethan who has bags and bags of drive and enthusiasm; the muscle, power and speed to pull his handlers arms out the sockets(!!) and get him down to the box very quickly but a complete lack of focus on the runback which results in an amble back down the hurdles while having a nosey at what's going on in the other lane!! (Grrrrrrr)...I'm wondering whether it's possible to buy one of those head blinkers they use on racehorses but designed for dogs instead?? Surely they have something similar for Greyhound racing? Not that Eth's head resembles a greyhounds' head in any way, shape or form!! lol Might scare the opposition too!! lol

I need to seriously get my thinking cap on for something that will draw his attention back to his handler and motivate him to get there as fast as his fat hairy legs will carry him! lol Unfortunately a bevvy of 'in-season' beauties is totally out of the question but it has got me to wondering whether having him castrated might help him concentrate a little more?? With the season about to get into full swing it's really too late to be thinking about having him done now (why didn't I think of it earlier??!) so we're going to have to come up with something else if we're going to see any improvement. Maybe running him with Mac would help?? Clutching at straws??? lol

I think we'll take the training chute and a couple of jumps to Anglesey with us and hopefully we'll have the time (and weather) to do some additional training while we're there.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


This is my absolutely fave pic that Toni took of the pups playing on Saturday :)

Dora with all four feet off the floor as she launches an 'attack' on brother Bolt...what a pair of hooligans!! lol

(photo copyright to Toni-Marie Hudson)

Monday, 6 April 2009

And so it begins...

The hectic spring/summer schedule got underway this weekend starting with flyball at Rotherham on Saturday.

We had decided on a slight change of teams on Saturday and had both the cockers running together in the Pawz (always a gamble!) while Dottie moved into the Racers. At this stage in the season it's very much about moving dogs around and see what does/doesn't work. I'm pleased to say that this did work! :) Both teams ran really well. The Pawz were seeded bottom in division 3, Paul and Pip went start, I ran Drake second (and have the extensive bruises to prove it!!), Gemma ran Teal 3rd and Alison ran Ethan last. The 4 really gelled well, Teal ran in past me and Drake running out no problems and we didn't get cockered once!! Both ran like little angels all day :) Steve did the line for us and, for a team we'd never run before, even in training, the changeovers were near perfect :) I was so proud of our little team. They finished up coming 3rd with a fastest time of 20.08 (I think).

The Racers were seeded 3rd in Div 3 and this lot took a little longer to bed down. Paul and Mac went start. Mac really wasn't running that great, will have to get Katherine (Chiro) to have a quick look over him next time we see her. He seemed to be really struggling off the box. Gemma and Bailey ran second and Alison and Lexie third. Alison struggled a little running Lexi in behind Bailey simply because she's not used to running behind a dog that's so fast!! It does take some getting used to! I ran Dottie last dog and I was SO pleased with her...she was storming!! lol It wasn't til the afternoon that we really got changeovers sorted and by that time the ground had really started to go off so the times weren't great. They did run 18.88 in the morning which matched the fastest time the Racers have ever run. This team finished up 3rd too. I think we'll probably stick to this combination at Angelsey this weekend.

Div 1 was very exciting and I was really very proud to see all the Brynings putting in some cracking performances. Young Lucy and Tarn (Bryning Tarn - Jaff X Spangle) running start dog in the Live Wires and winning the division with a fantastic time 17.62. Zephyr and Nell (Mac X Molly) running in Wire Sparks and finsihing up 2nd with another sub 18.00 time. Ollie (Storm X Flick) and Charlie (Ethan X Dazzle) running in the Rotherham Razors and putting in some fab performances. I did actually video Ollie and Charlie in a couple of legs...
Ollie running start dog...

Charlie running last dog

Only running the two teams was lovely as we had quite a bit if time off over the day to catch up with folk and walk the dogs etc. We even managed a very civilised hot lunch in the pub! :)

Dora and Bolt were with us too and had a lovely day enjoying the sunshine and just running free round the van. Toni from Rotherham got some lovely shots of them playing so I'm hoping she's going to send me a couple. Bolt developed quite a fan club and Gemma even begged me not to send him to Bermuda so she could keep him!! lol (Don't think the family waiting patiently for him since January would have been that thrilled!).

Here's me, Alison and Gem sitting out of the breeze and enjoying a hot chocolate in the back of Gemma's car lol

There was an awful lot of giggling coming from the back of that car!!

And here's the boys waiting for their next run....

Eth using his bowl as a pillow (hmmm...very comfy! lol)

Mac man...

I think my van crates could do with a scrub!! lol

We left abut 7.30pm and I headed straight down the M1 to Joy and Becca's. I hadn't anticpated the 30 miles or so of roadworks that had us down to 50mph a good stretch of the way so the journey was really rather tedious!! We arrived about 9.15pm to a lovely hot meal! Thanks Joy! :) Then I got to have a good nosey at Wren's pups, just 12 days old and eyes starting to just open slightly...absolutely gorgeous...glad I'm not having to choose one!!

Becca had had a good day at Shuttleworth show with Teal having her first grade 7 agility win. Well done girls :)
Here's the winning run...

Sunday morning we had a very civilised lie-in 'til 8am, got the dogs walked and the pups had a good hour or so playing in the garden before we had to give Bolt a bath and blow-dry in prepartion for his journey to his new home in Bermuda.

Here he is just ready to leave for the airport...

They've opened a new animal reception centre at Gatwick now which is much better and we saw Bolt off on his way. I got an e-mail late evening to say he had arrived safely and was making himself at home.

Back to Joys' and we had some lunch and faffed about and then did some training with Teal. (My Cocker-Teal, not Joy's Teal...confusing I know!)

Firstly we did some on lead seesaw work, just teaching Teal to check herself for the 'tip' (she's a bit gung-ho on this piece of equipment!); this was definitely starting to sink in so hopefully more repetition at home once ours arrives this week should have it sorted. Then we just did some contact work. Joy took a couple of vids so you can see how she's getting on...

I'm pleased with what we've got just 10 weeks into her agility training. I can't stress how much easier it is starting with a dog that has already done flyball and totally understands the concept of working for a reward. She's a joy to train because her enthusiasm is limitless! I love this little dog :)

Am hoping to make training at Hest Bank on Wednesday, flyball training on Thursday (Mac's 7th birthday!!) and then off over to Anglesey on Friday morning for 4 days of flyball fun!! There are only 6 divisions running over the weekend so we're looking forward to a lovely relaxed and chilled out weekend. I can't wait!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Four Week Pupdate

Fi's babies are 4 weeks old today and I moved them from their small pen in the dining room into an extended one in the utility last night. It was quite late by the time we'd finished training, eaten and caught up with Eastenders (although wishing I hadn't bothered...it was complete pants...how much longer can they drag out the 'long lost daughter' storyline??!!!) Anyways...I had put all the other dogs to bed and the pups were having a whale of a time scampering around their 'double-sized' pen. I must apologise for my shouting at Dora in the vids...she was whining and yapping (and doing my head in!) because she decided that although she'd been out playing all evening, she didn't want to go to bed and would rather play with Fi's pups too...she can be SO demanding...little minx!

Here's one starring 'little mouse'...

Here they are mauling each other and trying to finish off Faiths' tea (they'd already had theirs!)...

sorry that last one ended a bit abruptly because the camera batteries died!

How patient is Faith? Bless her, she's being such a good little mum :)

Star pupils and class clowns!

'Perfect Pip'

Well, the weather stayed fine enough for us to do some flyball training last night. Conrad, Jackie, Paul and Alison came over and we spent quite a long time with the babies first. Radley was a little star and as she gets more confident about what she's doing she's starting to demonstrate her dad's speedy turn off the box! I have high hopes she's going to be one speedy little dog! We trained her mostly with Teal to begin with and also did a little with Faith, while her pups are only just 4 weeks old she just did a little bit over the low jumps and wasn't exactly speedy! I hope we can build her back up gradually and have her back to full fitness for the Euros...keeping fingers crossed!

We then got Squirrel out....the less said about her performance the better!! I'm putting it down to her being in season at the moment! She was AWFUL...the attention span of a gnat! I have ordered her some new 'different' tennis balls as this seems to make quite a big difference to whether or not she's going to keep hold of it. She doesn't like small balls but sometimes struggles to hold onto the harder full sized ones so we're compromising with full sized softer balls that she can 'squish' a bit! She would have to be different!

I then decided to get Viggo out and just have a look at him...the first runback he did was actually more like a 'walkback' lol He was really unsure about what was being asked of him (this is Vi all over!) and slowly stuttered over the hurdles. However...the second and third he started to get the idea and was really getting into this game, pulling on his harness and running down with purpose! Then we tried sending him up to Paul for his squeaky ball until he was having the ball rolled down the box front (and doing some nice turns actually! lol). He thought this game was great and just kept running up and down the jumps by himself. Now this is quite cute and at least demonstrates that he knows what to do but could get quite annoying if it becomes a habit! For now I want him to enjoy it and be happy but we'll have to nip the 'laps of honour' in the bud! lol

We then ran Pip (Paul), Mac (Conrad), Drake (Jackie) and Ethan (Me) together while Alison boxloaded. Now, for a first attempt at running a (manic) trained dog within a team I was really impressed with Jackie and Conrad! Mac and Drake are not the easiest dogs in the world to run (one pulls like a train and the other wriggles like a cobra!) but they did a really good job. There is so much to learn about running a dog that experienced handlers take for granted. Pip was putting in some lovely four-footed turns off the box, she's running really well at the moment. Mac was a bit of a plank about the starters netting still being up and kept running out but we got him sorted. Drake and Ethan both ran fine although I was finding it harder and harder to see Drake (an almost entirely black dog!) coming back as it started to get dark so my changeovers were seriously suspect!

All in all it was a good session and I was pleased with (nearly) everyone. Gold stars to Radley, Viggo and Pip and a big red penned 'must try harder' for that naughty terrier!!