Thursday, 31 December 2009

What the heck! Lets Embrace 2010

2009, a s--t time for many in terms of the recession. Well hope springs eternally and optimistically. That has to be one of the most endearing traits of humans to hope and try and improve things for tomorrow.
The web world of bloging etc never ceases to astound me how distance is minimised and you’re connected to others, through shared passions, and the assumption of trust. Methinks quite dog like the trust, that goes with the bloging world :-) I was intrigued to have a happy holidays greeting on my blog, and clicked on the link and it took me to a blog Lifewithdogs  that is far-out, humorous and with a passion for helping dogs. People all over try to help those less fourtunate, and I am awed and humbled by their efforts.

One of my special memories for 2009, I helped some people with their dog, they had paid £100.00 to a ‘behaviourist’ to help them and for that the outcome was a very confused, nervous dog and a very concerned owner. I don’t train dogs for payment at the moment, but every so often someone says help and I do, take on a case where previous efforts have not worked for whatever reason. For the sheer heck of it and interest, I say ‘I’ll meet up’ and Marc comes and assists. The outcome was ‘well cool’ a happy owner and happy dog. My approach would not and does not suit everyone, but sometimes I meet someone and what I do just clicks for them and it is great outcome.

We have always had two re-homes in our pack, however with Raz’s deteriorating sight, we are trying to hold off taking in another as he has become ‘Calamity’ Raz. In December needing a haematoma drained x2, and in the end operated on, all this caused by him banging his head. OUCH! I think we spent a fair bit of time down the Vets this December. Fortunately he is better, the stitches out, the wound nicely healed and he retains his irrepressible spirit that made him crazy gorgeous Raz.

So what the heck, lets embrace 2010, and keep hope and optimism fuelled by doing a good deed.

Happy New Year

P.S The photo shows Mr Big found some treasure on his Christmas Day walk! Hmmm…I’m sure a cat or fox had a great Christmas eve meal.
P.P.S I really must work out the difference between following and listing a blog, I remain confused.
P.P.P.S Watched Bolt over the Christmas season, a Walt Disney gem for sure, it is laugh out loud funny and endearing. The side character Rhino is hysterical, well was to me - the perfect complement to Bolt and Mittens. I’m sure Marc cracked a smile or two :-)

Monday, 28 December 2009

Zev – Jumping at Rugby Christmas 09

The video is of Zev at Rugby, I realised after the show he had kept company with grade 7 dogs, as the class was combined. Even with Zev’s “whoa, we actually doing agility at a show, I’m gonna do the bestest wait in the whole world!”. It was like starting all over again and we even pulled off a ‘back flick away’ coming out of the tunnel :-) It was certainly a flick-flacks and tunnels ‘r’ us type of course, with inexperience on our side - well Zev's side - I was so proud of him.
So bring on the 2010 agility season I am so looking forward to running Rivi and Zev. And from April I will have the fun of watching Marc run Mister Big d├ębuting on the agility scene. Oh yeah...bring it on....

Loving the Christmas holidays, such a shame it only happens once a year.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

W ell, must confess I have had my 'head in the sand' for this Christmas well and truly. I adore the spirit of Christmas, luv the fact that we can celebrate the passing of the shortest day, and be cheered by twinkling Christmas lights, log fires and the sound of Christmas songs. For me it is time for a celebration of the good things in life, watching its 'A Wonderful Life' , good wine, snuckling up on the sofa, chilling out, and extra time with the hubby and the guys. Yep, bliss....
So this Christmas a celebration of the spirit; normal service will be resume next year (with prezzies) :-) This song sure made me chuckle and remember how I luv’d Disney cartons as a kid, especially 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp. They transport you to another time and place, as if I only watched them yesterday.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Christmas comes early...Yes...Yes...Yes.. :-)

Both Bigs and I have received Christmas presents early. First, I have got a job so from the new year I will no longer be economically inactive (tell that to the credit card that got me through the last few months!). I decided back in the summer enough was enough with my previous job in one of the worse recessions, and left. It was a huge disappointment to be in placed in such a position. But heck, what is life but a learning curve? The job I landed, I am really excited about I will just have to see how it pans out. So come the end of January I will have money, I will be employed, and able to afford agility shows! It is such a great feeling and a huge relief. And I have missed having my own money for sure. Whilst it has been a difficult process I have no regrets, the only regret would be if I had not taken the action to change the way things are going. To Marc and friends who have helped me through this period - thank you.

On to Big's Christmas present, he had finally outgrown his puppy coat and we know he not going to get any bigger so the time has come for him to have a grown up coat. He is just such a cutie and wears his new coat with such panache. And with the cold weather hitting the UK, it came just in time. Now all I have to do is try and find Rivi a coat that fits her gazelle like figure.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Weeheee - fun in the snow

Why the snow sends the guys into orbits of sheer joy, I don't know. But they certainly made me smile with their antics, running around with a bit of conifer trimming. It was hard to keep them in view!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Oh no…rusty-i-tis creeps in.....

Dammit, went to Rugby Christmas show and having not done a show for 2½ months meant rusty-i-tis was surely showing with me. As my focus on jobs and house stuff, meant I felt like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, where is the oil when you need it? Just the split second timing of ‘outs’ and ‘change of direction’ signals… hmmm I did train the guys to be responsive. Which is of course the upside to all this :-) Rivi does stuff that just sends me into ‘floating on a cloud’ land even on a course that I ‘glitched’, and I’m really excited about competing with them both next year.

I vowed to Marc, we are not having such a break in future. Which was a bit dramatic, as we have always had time off and pretty much have most of the winter off; I liked the balance. However, the way I was I don’t think that I am going to be able to if I want to raise my game. Zev, bless him it was like doing his first show all over again, he came 7th in a combined class of 81 dogs which was not bad at all. I confess in this posting I am being picky, and don’t get me wrong Zev and Rivi had a fabulous time, and were none the wiser about their handler’s glitches. Interestingly even with just two runs each they found it mentally a very tiring day out. Which is another element of the dreaded rusty-i-tis affliction – out of practice with the hanging around and mega loads of stimuli going on.

So I am now on a mission to banish the rusty-i-tis, it will be erased until a memory no more; my movements will be perfected, my signals clear and timely, shows have been entered – well one a month. Just to keep me and my guys ticking over and ensure the banishment works ;-)

Hmmm, but Christmas is a coming, might still have the time off, after all…..

Friday, 4 December 2009

Holy Smackerel!!!!!! – 17 years

SMACK & BAM would you know it, me and Marc have made it to a whole 17 years of marriage! Whilst life inevitably throws up its up and downs at us, we have so far always managed to stick our tongues out at the downs and smile at the ups. What keeps it going? Well during the summer when I was making some tough decisions Marc says to me “listened to a song on the radio and it reminded me of you”. I was thinking ‘oh fu-kty fu-k what can it be? Would I like it or not? Marc and I don’t have a lot of overlaps in our musical taste, that is for sure. And the song? It was Can't Take My Eyes Off You’ by Andy Williams. Cost what 79p on itunes? Made me feel better than a million bucks :-) Ok it would be nice to have a million bucks right now. But heck I’ll remember this and I guess it moments like this that keeps it going.

Darling, Happy Anniversary…………….xxx

Monday, 30 November 2009

My Cleveroli :-)

Cleveroli... Well Rivi said "enough of Zev and Bigs it is her time to blog again". And what a day she had on Saturday. Rivi went to collect an award at The Agility Club, as she had come second in the large grade 3 category. Its her first big bit of crystal. The photo is really naff, but Rivi is a bit like me, not comfortable posing for the camera indoors and acutally not outdoors either. Zev and Mister Big have yet to pass on their all round posing skills. Also her pale eyes mean with our current photo taking skills she all ways end up with 'glowing' eyes. I tried the 'eye fix' to touch up and that was even worse.
Its weird but some think trophies are all about winning and in a way they are, but for me when I look at it I see a a reminder of the journey, the fun and the sheer joy of running a course with my Rivioli.
She was very well behaved at the event and funny as she was the only dog to notice a large mirror where the photos were being taken and she just could not stop staring at the reflections. Well that is my Rivioli very aware of the environment ;-)

Friday, 27 November 2009

Zev caught on video by OBay Shelties :-)

Well, I just had to link to this video that OBay Shelties had done of Zev at training whilst on the birthday celebration. He is so full on and passionate, and luvs his cool kong and doing his agility.  I could wax lyrical all night about my perfect wild man....and I could dance all night.....see the OBay Blog for videos of his great litter mates.

Monday, 23 November 2009

An OBay Weekend :-)

What a special treat for Zev and I really enjoyed it too. Due to the some of the OBay girls celebrating 1st birthdays, we got to go down for the weekend. See the OBay blog for pictures and notes. I was so pleased with Zev it is the first time we have stayed away without the others with him. He was the perfect gentleman apart from getting me up at 2am in the morning, just to check that he was not missing any action!!!!!!!!!!! Ohhhhh me and 2am in the morning are not a well made match at all. He let his hair fly with the customary “wall of death” around the lounge as he got very excited playing with Itz and Zaz. The training session was good for us,  I really liked the way Johanna set the session and gave explanations about the reasons for tackling a sequence of obstacles. That meant I could relax, enjoy and think ‘game on’ to trying a different way to handle a sequence. As someone who loves the speed and freer style of some handling combinations external to the UK, it was an opportunity to be seized. It would have been great to have done it all again with Rivi, Johanna I need a large dog training session – pretty please. There was that many dogs in the house that afternoon, and it fantastic how much laughter and fun was generated just by watching all the shelties having a great time.

To the OBay Gang, thank you for a fabulous time. Needless to say Zev was also very excited to be back home with the others. The photo shows him luring Big into a chase game, before rain stopped play…..

Monday, 16 November 2009

Dirty Dancing - A weekend in London

What a fabulous weekend, did the girly thing, went to London for theatre, food and a real chilled time. Marc kindly stayed home and looked after the guys. Actually he did one better than that he dropped me off and picked me up. What a fabulous hubby he is. Well, Dirty Dancing was just so good, how they brought the film/story to life in what must be London's cutest and also very grand theatre, the revolving stage, went up and down and round. The actors - I take my hat off to them, not only are they singing and dancing, their doing it on a stage that constantly moves. It was great, for those hours the rest of the world just slipped away.

Sometimes you see a play/book/film and then when you see another version it is not as good. Not the case here at all, it was so well done. This show lived up to all preconceived ideas. All the audience was wildly cheering, clapping and jigging about. It was just so fun.

Then off to Covent Garden, and eating at the Cafe Des Amis

Which whilst only offering one vegetarian option for starters and main, they were the best I have had in a restaurant. The service was lovely and dessert mango tart was a perfect finish. Proper food, with flavour and very well cooked, the restaurant itself is both a comfortable and stylish place. It’s a different and great world there in London’s theatre land. So a pact was made for us girls to descend on Jo at least once a year, and go to see a stage show and to eat. Another life to live…weeeheee.

Then back on the tube and we stayed at Jo's to be greeted by Jigs, who is so cool. .He goes everywhere with her on the tubes. A true dog about town. She says friends now come round just to have a cuddle with him. Totally understandable.

Did I miss my guys or what? When Marc picked me up, he brought Zev and Big and they did their first stroll around London and went off lead in Finsbury Park. Needless to say Zev and Big took it all in their stride and got lots of admiring glances and smiles and "oh how cute". Then we hurried back to the rest of the guys at home, its great to go out and do different stuff, but at the same time, I can’t wait to get back home and be reunited with all the guys.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mister Big joins in with the Big Guys

Yesterday at training saw Bigs start to do courses with Marc, an exciting time for them. At Beacon an FCI style course is set and if you have an inexperience team, they are expected to take a simpler route through the course. As you are expected to be able to train and work things out for yourself. This means that all the levels of dogs with experience handlers at Beacon are accommodated in one session, it also makes you raise your game. Well, with 3 Beacon members at the Worlds this year, there must be something to the method. As it is a sports ground, your dogs have to learn to ignore the football matches that are going on at the same time to! This is agility training at the sharp end, no soft and fluffy perfect set up, just get on and do it, train yourself, train your dog and have a good time in the process.

As you can see Bigs is very cute and very promising. It is early days yet, but I look forward to seeing Marc and Bigs competing next year. We are also grateful to the Vanitonia Breeders for letting us have such a super chappie.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Found it….a place to call home

Well three months later we have found the house, its small, a simple two up two down semi detached, but it has half an acre of garden. Perfect for the guys and us, we will be able to grow vegetables and have chickens! It even has a small grape greenhouse, with a green and red vine. Wings will adore watching chickens. The gusto kids, under Nut’s watchful eye will be able to run around to their hearts content.

We have always wanted to have a place with a good size garden. And as we are now both over forty we were getting to a stage where it would be now or never unless we won the lottery. Damm, why does property and land have to be so expensive in this country?

The place is on the Derbyshire border, whilst another county, it is not much further north than we are now. Which is great for Marc’s job and going to agility shows. We will not need to change agility clubs so a bonus there. So our return to the south has been delayed for a good while, it is not possible to say for good. Marc and I seem to move every 5 years or so, perhaps we are just restless or have a bit of wanderlust in our souls?

The village is in the National Forest, so there will be lots of walks we can do with the guys. The National Forest is a radical and bold vision to restore some forestation to the midlands, which is one of the most deforested regions in the UK. And its quite funny, the trees that are planted are really young – think knee high height. But in years to come it will evolve into a real feature and environmental achievement for the region.

So we should either be in the new place just before or after Christmas subject to contract. This means I can relax, today has been a chilled walking day and the guys are all sound asleep and looking really content and I can have a glass of bubbly to celebrate. To new beginnings :-)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Perhaps Love?

Some question whether love at first sight or instant connections exist. All I know is what I have learnt seen and felt. For me there is no doubt that it exists, and has led my life since meeting Marc, it is 20 years this coming Christmas Eve (I’m almost scared to say that, in case something goes wrong, but Marc said “don’t be daft”). I can still recall the moment when we first met, the conversation and the excitement. How I loved that outfit I wore – sassy cropped fcuk jacket, short skirt and heels and the big hair. In that rather crowded pub that I and girlfriends had gone to because our first choice became so packed it was unbearable. Fate or Destiny; another posting. I can still recall the moment we met, the walk home, the tea and coffee and lending Marc a brother’s jumper to walk home at 4am. The first date – a football match he had promised his younger brother but included me. It was memorable; I got hit by the ball!!!

You can debate if its love, lust, the fusion of mutual chemicals causing the attraction. All I know is that feeling changed my journey. And I have not found anyone that put it any better than in an American drama called Everwood. I luv, this series, it is so well written and acted I am addicted. Best thing since the West Wing, although a different plot, it assumes the followers have some capacity for thought.

The lines go:

By the character Irv: “I left this house because I though the world was calling me to a journey. I couldn’t step a foot away you, Edna. You’re my journey. Wherever you are that’s the adventure, I know that now.”

The cynics may say its all rubbish designed to tug at the heartstrings. But heck, so what if it is, it works for me. So many friends are on their second or third marriage, and I’m still stuck on the 1st. That does not make it right or wrong. Its just love really does come in many forms and sometimes it stays and sometimes sadly it goes. It can stay a lifetime or it can be lost in a blink of an eye...sometimes its brief intensity can be as much as a life time of passion. There is no rhyme or reason to love, it just is. For some finding the love can be a lifetime’s journey, its true. One person I know met the love of his life when he was in his fifties. For some it is overrated, for me its magic; the power it has to make you change your life, your outlook, it provides a place of sanctuary and provides a place to flourish, it gives you the confidence that perhaps was hidden before. Most of all it is someone to share your journey through life, wherever it may take you.

Perhaps Love the song, sums it up in many ways performed by Placideo Domingo and John Denver.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Nope - I Just Don't Get It?

I really just don’t get it. I have thought about it, re read theories on behaviour and learning and “nope, I still don’t get it”. So what I am not getting? The growing custom if your dog goes wrong on a contact point, putting it back on and then walking out the ring. Surely the fault has arisen due to inconsistent criteria? And then by putting the dog back on the contact, however nicely and then walking out the ring, surely the only thing you are teaching the dog is “you do that contact, touch that zone and it ends”. "Yep, that is correct you get it right - we walk out”. Which I just don't get, where is the reward for the correct/corrected desired behaviour?

Still that is one of the interesting elements of training agility, the reason why people and dogs do what they do. The training methods, the outcomes, the scenarios, the reasoning, the approaches, the relationships, the cooperation, the team work, the attitude, the spirit etc,. It is all ‘food for thought’ and Rivi clearly thinks it worth chewing over ;-)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Stage 2 continued and Mr Big's Rite of Passage

The Hunt is on….This is hard going and entirely self inflicted, I know. I am now in the world of chases and searches, and then that darn elusive prey – ideal house and job. Have some tantalisingly close. Ultimately they will be caught. But with something as fundamental as house and job close does not cut it, it needs to be pretty much perfect. And really, where do we want to live. The harder we think and research the more confusing it becomes. On the bright side, it is entertaining talking to the new people I meet estate agents, recruiters and home sellers.

Then I have looked at large gardens and thought b-gg-r these would be to hard to maintain, during the summer, but I don’t want a small garden. What I want is a 'tardis' garden. All petite and then when you need it – you open a door and magic a big garden appears. Hmmm……may need more astro turf. Maybe will just go for a garden of around 100ft. More practical, methinks. Buying your house with your dogs in mind too, makes house hunting a whole different ball game. Perhaps what I think I want and actually want are two different things?

Big has now progressed to ‘adult weaves’ and he it looking good, he is trying to go so fast he practically skids!!!!!!!!!! The 2x2 have been packed away. He has now hit teenage hood well and truly. It was real funny yesterday, after a particularly good riot with Zev and Rivi round the house and garden, he charged into the lounge, leapt on to the footstool and started to pee, I was shocked in a bemused way. I said ‘Mr Bigs, excuse me” and he promptly jumped off and cocked his leg against it. Ha ha, the rite of passage, he has cocked his leg for the first time and Marc missed it. I have nicknamed the youngsters the Gusto Kids – because everything they do is with such gusto - like this photo of Zev, about to destroy one of his tuggy toys.

Aren’t they funny and fun, at the same time?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Changes are a coming - Stage 2 -SOLD

Well, stage two has arrived, the on going plan to restore the yin and yang i.e be less crazy busy has evolved to the next stage. Yep, we have sold the house. Woohoooooooo :-)

Now I have spotted the potential gap in the market for an estate agent who specialises in the non-standard i.e not interested in school catchment or sought after areas. Want a large garden and small house/bungalow, with parking for several vehicles. There must be others who need that type of property seeking service too.

Can someone please take up the challenge and source us agility people the ideal property - double quick. I wish, I wish. The sheer irony I was offered a job that I had been trying to get for a long while up here, but its to too late. We are off to pastures new!!!!!!!!!!!!yahoooooooooooo. No I don't want a big house - they need to much maintenance - lesson learnt - a wee house with a large garden and lots of parking for the van and caravan. Oh yes, that is what we need. Hopefully I don't sound like an ungrateful brat, but rather as someone who is on the journey of making life as good as it can be for all my guys. After all your only here once, or are we? ;-)
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Sunday, 11 October 2009

Really, really the end of the Season or Start of the New?

Crazy really, we agreed to do this weekend of shows, as Beacon had not qualified a team for Crufts which is really unusual. So off we headed up to the north, and which I really enjoy. Due to Zev’s and Rivi’s wins last week these shows would be “freebies”. And they did some great stuff and I tried to ‘push’ my handling and so a mixture of rosettes and trophies and off courses. But I nearly lost Zev in the soft tunnel in one run, rather than driving through the middle, he took to the edge nearest to the side he would be turning and as a result, he was struggling to move in the rather narrow funnel he created – a bit of a sideways scrabble! Phew a few seconds later he came out ok, bit of a worry at the time.

All season I have not done teams apart a team run at Burridge – zero expectation of Rivi and a great outcome an awesome run. Two reasons really I was not ready to put our partnership under the agility spotlight in that sense and because my main focus with Rivi this year was been to build the game of agility and create the hype and confidence that no matter what else is happening her focus is on the agility and me. This has progressed well enough to make me think, yeah we are ok to step up now. Its taken from last November 08 to September 09 to get to this stage. At Bromsgrove she qualified for the Adams Derby, so thought “ok, game on”. Nuts was a great team dog, and I use to luv running forth, the need to get it right especially if the other 3 had gone clear. However, now days it’s a relay rather than four individual runs, I have become rather ambivalent about it, as it is just not the same, don’t know why. I digress, after all the travel, Rivi’s team was 'scratched' so we did not end up running, so me and Rivi are now on the transfer listing and looking for a team to join ;-) ha ha……or not as the case may be. Can’t quite make up my mind about it all!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Season draws to an end - Part 2

Then the Zevman, what can I say, we had some real if onlys. You see on this jumping vid. He turned so tight on a pivot he came through the tiny gap between the jump wing and me. What a good boy to be so tight and that just shows inexperience in us as a team. But low and behold lets boogie as we won the grade 3 agility, he was such an angel, doing a tunnel dog walk discrimination. He was so funny. As I decided on the strategy of start handling as you mean to go on. So I did not block the tunnel as it was on the left side of the d-w and I needed to be on the right. I did a mini pull in cue and Zev, got on the dog walk and in a flash looked at me and said “why you waiting there, we need to get a move on”, oh it did make me smile, then there was a flat left hand pole entry, did that, did the wonky line of jumps, tunnel under the d-w. Crikey, was I squeaking with excitement after that round. And further development was he is getting the play after, like I do with Rivi, I think the celebration at the end is really important and gives me a chance to say thanks to them both.

My stomach hurt, and it has not hurt with excitement since the worlds 2006. So thank you to Zev and Rivi, for giving me the perfect finish to the 2009 Agility Season. Prior to Rivi, I did not have a dog to run in agility for around 18 months so what can I say, except "its good to be back :-)"
My thanks for the season are:
-Marc, who is always by my side supporting me no matter what s..t he has going on.
-Nuts, who is also always by my side and indulges the youngest of the pack as only a grand dog can do.
-Big for being the bestest/cutest toy poodle puppy we could dream to have
-To friends for support, guidance and laughter
-To new friendships made
-Rivi and Zev – enough said
-Raz and Wings for being with us and enjoying agility
-Tri, for being a big part of our lives for longer than we could have hoped
-Beacon for being a great agility club

Agility Season 2009 - Draws to an end - Part 1

Season 2009 draws to an end, and did it finish real good. Rivi won into grade 6, and she did a Superoli performance all weekend. Of 6 rounds we had a 1st x 3, a 2nd and a 5th. Someone said does she ever go wrong? My reply, was her co-pilot is only human ha ha ha. Yeah, it was just one of those weekends to savour - our sheer enjoyment of doing agility together. When I look at videos and see the progression over the past few months in our understanding of each other. The investment in the sheer amount of care and effort I have taken to convince her, that she is the most brilliant dog on this planet over the season. And I have been rewarded. Next year will see us in grade 6 which is exciting and scary as we move out of the ‘baby’ grades. But if we have the same enjoyment, then we will have a great time. If only the Dog Vegas Diamonds were real!!!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Bromsgrove 2009 - hiccups and finding grooves

A real hiccup of a weekend, some great stuff, and then some less so!? Then I found my groove and me and Rivi won the combined 3-5 jumping. I was dead chuffed as this was our first weekend at grade 5. Rivi did a great agility but my second rear cross was far too late (pesky jump was in my way, the cheek of it!) so I made sure that she did not know it had gone wrong. The Perfectoli has well gone up a gear, people noticed this and how her confidence was improving. So again I was dead chuffed. It’s a funny expression why say ‘dead’ before chuffed, can someone please explain the origin of this expression?

Zev, is a whole different ball game, he is opinionated, questioning, wonderful and at the moment absolutely exhausting to run. I have tried to work out how he best wants to prep with me to the start line, so that we can find our groove. I think he needs the lead off early, so that he can shout. Good for him to get it out of his system, then heeling along side me and then I say “we doing agility” and cue him with a hand signal for the side he is on. By the end of the weekend we were getting the hang of the start line set up. Zev is doing well, however I was so glad Marc videoed as I was going into careful mode, which is not good as it gives the dogs different vibes and cues to that in training, an example was I slowed down and walked along side the a-f rather than running hard, I stayed with him in the poles!!!! Silly me, I thought it was exhausting, Zev was probably thinking “what the heck is up with her, she has gone all weird?” Despite this he got 6th place in a combined 1-7 jumping, a clear round. Woohoo and a good lesson learnt by me early and quickly in our agility career.

It was great that a practice ring was put on to raise money for charity, Rivi and Zev, really enjoyed being rewarded with their toy in the ring, so thank you Bromsgrove much appreciated and all for a good cause.

The Lumix vids are not compatible picasa for making videos so no pretty ‘dressing’ of the vid.

WC AGILITY 09 - Natasha Wise y Dizzy - Individual Medium Agility

Just look at this, totally cool and fantastic. Could not find the jumping one, what a great WC. With this sort of achievement it seems that congratulations can never be said enough times. Luv u-tube as I would not get there this year it is so great to see the vids of some truely awesome runs. Thank you so much to the people who posted them. Have not found Zev's momma runs who came 5th, hopefully the OBay blog will be posting them soon. Nor have I found the Bronze Medal runs of Team GB in the large dogs. For sure agility is tough, from the 'if only, to the sublime' - it is life on the edge of a moment. And when you get there you have lived for sure.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Gillingham - Part 3 - Rivi and bits...

Rivi, was on a ‘freebie’ weekend, as we missed the date for progression to Grade 5 by one day. Needless to say I was thrilled with her, she is getting into the whole thing, and even did not spook at flies nearly as much :-) On the Saturday she won the jumping, and I was well stoked. And we got a beautiful glass wine glass, thank you Gillingham. I have wanted one all season so that I can drink a toast to the Rivioli with her own special glass. One course I tried a different handling manoeuvre a ‘push thru’ rather than a ‘pull thru’ and me and Rivi got in a pickle but recovered well enough to come 4th. If I had pulled it off, it would have been snazzy, coz I did not it was like ‘’well that cost you a win”. But in the great scheme of things I need flexibility in how I handle, and whilst on freebies, it makes sense to me to try things out.

It was great to run two dogs, and I really like that Zev and Rivi will not be competing against each other as they are different heights. That is a real bonus. I would not like to run dogs, where you end up competing against your self as well as the agility courses I don’t think? I have not got my head around that one.

Then Mr Big was allowed to do recalls to Marc whilst course building was occurring, so that he has the opportunity to learn to really focus on Marc and doing training whilst there is lots of people and dogs around. Bigs was very good and did the most perfect recalls. Now he is over a year old, he can start agility training proper and progression with the weaves is looking really promising.

So that was it, another great show, with our guys and friends. Hard to believe there is only another couple of weeks left and then the agility season will be over.

As the Vid Rec has started playing up, we used the camera. But whilst the quality is good, actually the sound capture is far too effective! The way it records is not compatible with Picasa or other programmes. Which is rather irritating, as I can’t string vids together and all the other stuff. AARRRHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Gillingham DTS - Part 2 - Envy's debut run

The Envy, Rivi’s pair partner made her debut and came forth on the Sunday. So super cool with the babies debuts. And Tidey clearly on a roll from his grade 1 win, won his grade 2 with Caroline. So grade 3, here they come :-)

Gillingham Part 1 - Zev's first agility run

Due to technical hitches the blog for Gillingham will have to be in three parts. Part 1 - Zev's first agility run.

It was weird and tough, without our Tri in the caravan. But knew the first show without her would be the hardest one. However, life doesgoes on, and Zev's first run was a coming.

His first KC show, and it was hard to tell who was more excited me or Zev! There was some great courses and very kind judges, and we even managed to get round one and come 2nd. It was great to see Zev developing more drive with each round, and it was like a ‘light bulb’ moment for him on the Saturday – “Wow I don’t just get to watch, I can do it!” By Sunday, a friend was in fits of giggles watching him, as he is so like ‘come on, I wanna do it now, and I mean right now’. She said I should be under no illusions who is now in the driving seat! Ha ha. By the time we finished our last run, we were laughing so much I could not stand up straight. Needless to say on Monday at training I had a very charming, pushy and full of it Zevman :-) Wooohoooooooo...

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Live Is Life

Well, its that time. The teams are getting ready to go to the FCI World Agility Championships 2009. This song is one of the pivotal songs to dance to, when watching and celebrating this competition.

To everyone competing, spectating, working, cheering, have a fabulous time. This competition rocks.

Monday, 7 September 2009

UKA - Rivi's flying high and Zev's first agility adventure

I debated with myself whether to do this UKA show, it would be weird going without Marc, can you believe in all the years I have done agility, I think I probably have only done around 4 shows without him. But I thought it would be nice and low key, the venue is lovely and the weather forecast was dry.

It was totally mad. It is the first time I have attempted five runs with Rivi, and it was manic, booking in, the guessing which class would get to Rivi’s or Zev’s class/height first. Rivi was a Beautyoli and won 4 of our 5 Novice classes. I was on cloud nine. I am such a kid, I get so excited when we achieve a first place, actually I get excited about handling something well, let alone achieving an rosette! Hence the the thrill just does not diminish.

I could have kicked myself with the snooker, as Rivi was going beautifully and then I heard the whistle and thought ‘last jump’. I should have thought ‘weaves, last jump’. Still only the second go at snooker and the judge was lovely and sympathetic. Oh what a doughnut. I think I will have to have a lesson with someone who is experience in Snooker, as the rule book makes loads of sense until I read the section about the snooker! I also think the more I do the class, the more the rules will make sense. A classic ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma. So that is a project for the winter, get to grips with snooker. Thank you, Babyoli.

Now the Zev was brill I had just run Rivi, and Zev’s class was closing. "Yikes", there is no way I could miss his first one. I ran with Rivi to the ring, explained I was going to get Zev. The lady said the class is closing. So I explained I just had to run in another class and will go and get him straight away. Poor Rivi, straight back to the van. Poor Zev, rushed from van to the ring, plonked on the start line and off we went. It was a good big course, just how I envisioned a steeplechase. I got Zev ‘e’d’ as I pulled him off a jump after the tunnel, but it did not matter. He ran like the wind, was so responsive, hence the ‘e’ and made me feel so alive. His second class, was another steeplechase, now this course was real clever in how the line of jumps was set, and driving Zev round, we had more close shaves with the jumps than Wallace & Gromit. But I was thrilled with how he attempted to change his line, understood the rear cross cue and also did a reverse turn and he ran and found his cool kong and did a little lap of honour. And despite the zigzagging we still came 2nd! We had a really good laugh, as it was such fun. I wish we had the day on video....

What a day, I was beaming so much, my cheeks ached, so chuffed with my guys, it was good to be smiling again. And Nuts really enjoyed getting treats off new people he met. He is such a cheeky charmer shoving his nose at people’s pockets! In his defence, he keeps getting rewarded for the said behaviour ;-)

Friday, 4 September 2009

So life goes on....

Grief is a weird thing, and I agree that those who offer the profound wisdom. Which is that it lets us know we have loved. And we Wynne's are lucky for knowing much love. And yes life's relentless march forward continues on. No power to put the world on hold for a while.

So we look to the future and our hopes for journeys yet to be taken. One such adventure is having a pairs partner for Rivi. Can't be Marc, as he already has a pairs partner! This photo, introduces my friend's lovely youngster Envy out of the last Nedlo litter (Dot x Will) who is going to be Rivi's pairs partner.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

So we have loved.....

So we have loved and so we have lost.
The inevitable day came and our hearts broke once more.
In loving memory of Tri, Marc’s very special girl.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Vanitonia's Mister Big - A celebration of his first year

Well, well, well our little Mister Bigs has just celebrated his first year. If you know us you’ll know that Marc is well and truly smitten, as am I. This fantastic little dog, has packed more adventures into one year than most do in a lifetime. My only question is why did I wait so long to get Marc one? Oh yes, because I would have been entirely grey by now! ;-)

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

August 09 - KC and DINAS

The KC came and went in a blur. I had ‘glue’ legs and run some elements of courses really nicely and then scuppered me and Rivi at the last hurdle, or anywhere in between. As someone said “what a fantastic save” for one particular round – bugger, I had a blip in my flow ;-) The KC is mega large, with the finals run whilst other classes are still going, so unless you give up runs to watch them you miss them. Which is a real shame? Finals should be exactly that, and I would like to see a lap of honour in finals and champs, lets celebrate achievements. I feel a campaign coming on. Till I caught up with some blogs, I was literally ‘Clueless in Seattle’.

Then we leave early on Sunday, more missed runs, so that we can be ready to help at DINAS. This is a fab show and this year was the best we have enjoyed. Critical decision reached and made to put house on market and get moving with our new direction. I’m so excited, tinged with oh f..k/oh s..t I had meteorically ‘hang on to my hat’ as life is about to hit a new phrase of ‘roller coasters’. However, I’m ready to take the risk, we are young enough to start over, so the reckless, the brave, the foolhardy, dutch courage, but no regrets stage is to commence.

In between this, I was still trying to do Rivi some justice handling wise. And low and behold, Rivi is learning to bust a gut for me, and won Grade 4 Agility on the Weds, so we are now grade 5. I know many of her sisters/brothers are tripping the light fantastic and are grade 6 already – way to go guys and congratulations. But what can I say, my Superoli is just that for me and we continue to build as a team and our journey is great fun and full of twists and turns. On one course I remembered the SG saying on her DVD, the ‘perfect rear cross’ you won’t end up behind. And damn we did it good. Her poles were super and I have LO to thank for that, on how to teach entries is really hitting home. Nuts were great, Rivi’s are taking my breath away.

We have learnt some new ways of walking courses for Raz, we realised he hit a couple of poles as Marc was on his blind side, and he turned his head to locate Marc and jump at the same time. Or if the sun is directly facing a line of jumps that can make his jumping judgement a bit haywire. Like Tri, we know we are on borrowed time, but we are just trying to saviour the moments and grab the joy of the doing and the being.

Then ‘crikey ’ at our next show my Zev, will be competing. Yahooooo!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Darling!!!! Happy Birthday

What can I say, I blame dogs in need agility show entirely. This show has been the reminder for me, when Marc's birthday is. As Marc's birthday always occurs whilst it is on. I am crap with birthdays dates, brilliant at presents, but can never guarantee you get them on time. Marc's birthday falls on the glorious 12th. Not so glorious for pheasants, but that is another issue altogether, but hey at least they had a good time until the 12th. I digress, back to the issue of Marc's birthday. Now the 12th usually occurs when DIN is on, we are always going to this show, so I hide presents in the caravan. Do you have any idea how hard that is, hiding presents in the caravan? But each year I successfully do it, or perhaps Marc indulges me?

Well today, I brought said presents, wrapped them up, went to phone a couple of people to make plans and thought I had best check which day the 12th actually falls on next week. There I was smuggly feeling very organised. Then calamity, the calendar said it was today. Friggin' today!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today, of all days. So now I feel totally crap, my planning and hiding for next week, has all been in vain. My good intentions well and truely useless. How will I ever be the perfect wife? Even worse Marc went to work with no pressies or celebrations. Hence this lament............

Darling, we sorry
We have presents and food and drink awaiting
The guys have spent all their pocket money and so have I
We did not forget
We had it planned
Then that darned calendar screwed us around
So I am totally contrite and apologise much
We will celebrate tonight
Happy Birthday, Darling
And love you always xxx

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Burridge 2009

Well the great thing at Burridge, apart from catching up with the old club, there was two whole days of sunshine! But the icing on the cake was Caroline and Tide winning the grade 1-2 agility on Sunday, which now makes them grade 2. Tidey is rather special as he has taken Caroline from Novice to Champ level in Obedience and now at 9 and half years old, he thought he would start being a bit flash at agility too. Not bad for a 'coffee' table ;-) I was so thrilled to witness the occasion. I think it would be fair to say we have seen each other grow in the dog sports that we have come to love. We have supported each other in the ups and downs of life, and by heck it is so great to see the moments of triumph. Then a woohooo Marc and the Razman qualified for the semis.

I was thrilled with me and Rivi too, jumping only vid as the autofocus was playing up. Which is a bugger, as I was so so pleased with some of the handling I did and with Rivi following the cues. We had good places every day. All that positive mental imaging paying off very nicely. Sunday, was totally exciting for me, as at last her beautiful running a-f that I have in training, started to show a glimmer of coming through. (Armed with the Rachel Saunders DVD, Silvia Trkman website and you tube vids of running a-fs, I have tried to sort it out in my head and help Rivi.) The progression in training has been really good, and it has been a learning curve for me. I have to believe that the behaviour will transfer over to the ring. Once that happens the seconds we are losing on our agility courses, will be gone. On Friday we lost 5 seconds on the descent of the a-f and she came 6th. Working all this out, I was jumping around with excitement, we have kapow'ed the courses, had a great time and Rivi was jumping so well, she had some lovely compliments. I can't wait to get the Susan Salo Advanced Jumping DVD, as the foundation one has been a great help.

Then Zev, who I have tried to rest, as he recently had the 'snip', was not impressed with the resting element at all. But he did have a chance to catch up with his beautiful sister Zeki, whilst me and Nancy watched some of the agility. The two Z's are so alike in their characters its rather uncanny and they are both so incredibly endearing.

Oh yes, lots of icing on the cake for sure :-)

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Counting down the Zev's first show

Corny but true, I can’t believe how the time has flown with my Zevman. In a few weeks I hope to do our first competition together. So this means the hunt is on, for appropriate gear to go with him whilst running. I have been treated to this really apt t-shirt, as Zev registered name is OBay Tiz Wild and this t-shirt from H&M just bellows ‘born wild’ and since neither Zev nor I are the quietest beings on the planet. It has really made me chuckle. Then, I was also treated to a beautiful Ralph Lauren Polo tee-shirt that is red with a USA flag on the front. So appropriate too, as Zev’s line generates from there. Although it is a lovely t-shirt I just could not photograph it well enough to do it justice.

Now I have the choice, t-shirt which one and/or fleece. None of them go together –beige, red and pink. Darn it! What is a woman to do? I guess knowing agility the weather will dictate and it will be fleeces or waterproofs ;-)

What can I say about my Zevman. Brilliant to live with, he is a go anywhere type of dog. He has allowed Nuts to retire from alarm clock duties, and taken over this role with great aplomb. Their decision nothing to do with me. And really important for me, as without my hearing aids and having an alarm at a seriously loud level, I would be forever over sleeping. Rivi, finds it all too exciting and goes and retrieves her bedding to suck. Zev is a real hoot to train, and is so enthusiastic and keen. So much so I have had to calm the tugging, as I was getting worried he will do himself an injury. I have been warned of the consequences of to much over enthusiasm as it is apparently causing injuries in agility dogs, particularly smaller ones. Yikes. Advice has been duly noted and you know, both Rivi and Zev had taken switching back to the food games and still tug. As that is how I teach tug initially. I so get the food rewarding the tugging, which what I did with Nuts and Storm. With Rivi and Zev I tried to be far more toy than food. Now I think, “whatever floats your boats, guys”.
Rivi was extra awesome at training last night her drive, confidence, strength and sheer enjoyment just took my breath away. This is good stuff and has given me great reinforcement to my approach. “Babyoli, thank you.”

Monday, 3 August 2009

Pull in to me cue

I was asked to explain what I meant by the pull-in signal, hence this posting. The clip shows the start of the 'pull-in' signal for Zev. I had to teach it to Rivi, as the slightest flicker of a hand signal or my head turning to look at her, meant to Rivi change direction. With this 'pull-in' signal - it reinforces 'stay with me and take this one' I guess it is like a pull-thru signal, but enables me to keep moving in the direction I need to travel. For me it creates a clearer signal when a couple of obstacles come into the dog’s line of vision at the same time i.e two jumps or tunnel/contact choice. I have found it really useful and seen others use it with great effect. Thank you to my very handsome Zev, for showing the basic move with me for this clip.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Holy smackerel!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy smackerel!!!!!!!!!!!! a whole weekend of an agility show and no rosettes. POW! How will I survive? Easily – my fantastic Rivioli has gone up a gear again whilst moving from one obstacle to the next and she either went too fast for herself and ‘smackelled’ a jump or to fast for me and my cues where way late. BAM! Did not have time to think about giving a cue much less engaging body signals. Rivi was like, zoommmm, ‘come on, your looking this way, we are going, going and cool there is the bucket’ (bucket means lead – lead means cool kong and play which means proper sausages). KAPOW! I am Ha ha’d. But what the heck, she is living up to our song ‘I’m so excited’. I was thrilled when someone came up to me and said, Rivi looked so happy as she had a smiley face on. Why was I thrilled? it tells me Rivi is feeling good and that is why the ‘throttle’ on her has opened up even more. The key to a fantastic agility weekend is sheer enjoyment and thrill of tackling the courses, sure I would have loved to have won, but heck… we are doing another show in a couple of weeks time. And I have already been doing the mental rehearsals to get myself smoother for the Rivioli.

Its all feels a bit surreal typing this, as I realise I just have this week left at work and then I can reclaim by work/life balance. The guys will be well pleased and so will I.

My darling Zev, is getting all grown up and now has the full sheltie coat. Thankfully, the moult master by mikki (great grooming tool) makes like work of it. In some ways Zev is quite grown up and in others really very young. I have finally done the deed and booked him in to have the ‘snip’ in August I feel real mean, and it is always a dilemma but I think it is the right thing to do. At Beacon Training last week, real progress as he could hang around and wait for his turn off leash, I was so proud of him. That is a very hard thing for a busy, whizzy, nosey dog to do. However, we are still going through the ‘debating’ phrase. I guess I should say shouting or barking but that does not convey the communication that is occurring. And I’m sure he is debating with me. It is real nice isn’t it, how their little moments of growing up and their characters make you smile?
p.s Holy, POW, BAM etc, the batman and robin cartoon words, can’t recall anymore, but for some reason they sprung to mind - writing this posting ;-)
p.p.s great tee-shirt from H&M - Rivi's emblem
p.p.p.s Have no idea why I end up p.s'ing

Friday, 24 July 2009

The Climb - great uplifting song

Well a friend told me about this as she said it was so written with me in mind ;-). And I listened and it is totally great uplifting song. Listening to this you feel like you can achieve any 'climb' whether its life or agility or whatever floats your boat and make life rock. Ohhh, yes,......

Good luck to Team GB at the European Open Agility, we rooting for you. Run smooth and Run Clean so go go go Team GB

Note: You tube link is Miley Cyrus - The Climb - Official Music Video (HQ).

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Weardale and changes are a coming.....

Changes are a coming, I did the best thing in the past week. I handed my notice in at work. Weeheee..., I so needed to do it. Texted Marc, and he was so cool about it. Phew, so yes changes are a coming we may head south, or north or stay in the middle. But one thing I know for sure life is too short to waste on things that don’t compliment our lifestyle and work/life balance….
This needless to say has trickled over into my agility/home life the past few weeks and that really was not acceptable. But today, the irritation and frustration has gone, I have a plan.. So me and the Rivioli came first and second today in our jumping classes. My positive me was starting to come back. I have missed that ‘positive me’, being in my happy bubble - having a chat, training, socialising and being with my guys and enjoying life.
Weardale was scary wet on Friday, but it turned into a beautiful sunny weekend. And a really good thing they did was to ask people to help, but only for an hour and to volunteer when you had free time, it seemed to work really well. So many great shows and locations, we sure are lucky. Thank you Weardale.
Oh yes changes are a coming and bring it on :-) my life is back on track.
This photo of Rivi chillin' in the Caravan, really makes me chuckle, what a hard life she has, not!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Congratulations to Olden and Tootie Toots :-)

Well, they gone and done it - Lesley and Toot have qualified for KC Novice Semi by wining the class and as a bonus won a jumping class too at Tuffley. Well you know me guys, I am so thrilled and proud of you both, yes despite the fact that you both have legs that go on forever (makes me groan ;-) ha ha.

Joking aside mega well dones and look forward to cracking open the champagne.

Hey, just reaslised I am getting loads of reasons for drinking lovely bubbles. Keep it up and see you at 'W' to celebrate! x

Sunday, 5 July 2009

My weekend - random moments of life ;-)

♥ Home for the Weekend
♥The see saw arrived – yes this is the start of my plan to amass agility equipment in the garden like Lian
♥Killed a fly that was worrying Rivi – it was the newspaper swat or chemical warfare
♥Realised my co-ordination has improved by killing said fly. To the fly I’m sorry, but Rivi’s well being is paramount.
♥Clipped the guys nails and trimmed feet. The upside to having a weekend off competing is the guys look fabulously groomed. Much to Rivi’s and Big’s delight and Zev’s and Nut’s disappointment Hhmmmmm
♥Decorated hall - oh yes
♥Drank wine – now that is not random – that is so so planned
♥Smiled at the guys enjoying the longer walk along the canal
♥Enjoyed time with Hubby and co
♥Watched tennis
♥Watched Ugly Betty. Last weeks episode was the best ever. Need to download the American girl song. Wondered if there was a version/cover ‘British girl’?, its just so groovy
♥Caught up with blog world
♥Boogied round the garden with the ipod – luv that gadget. Dancing is so good
♥Feel cool as I am now on level 3 of the Precor AMT machine at the gym. Yeah, can feel the core starting to muscle up

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Lansdown - does Big think he is a cat?

Lansdown, one of my favourite shows, it was one of our first shows we did on the agility circuit and although now it is further to travel we still make the trip, fantastic location, great walks, great club and great atmosphere.
Little did I know that Lansdown would provide the setting for a roller coaster of emotions. Yeah I am emotional, but I guess it is better than being repressed!
We start off pretty uneventful, Rivi did some great stuff and her confidence is coming back on the contacts. Certainly this weekend, I was really pleased with the improvement. We still have a way to go, but we are on the way. She has certainly made me think. Normally its show them the obstacle and what is required through a bit of free shaping, maintain or enhance criteria and bang in the reward. Not with my Darlingoli, a whole new approach, thank gosh for Clean Run, I would be lost without it. So we ended up with two 4ths and an 11th not a bad haul for four runs and a very frazzled partner on Sunday.
Then Zev, was measured. Realising he will hopefully do his first show in September, I was panic stations I must get him measured and it must be done right now. Two shows – no measuring, at Landown they did but they were full. However, via the organisers of the show the measurers kindly added me to the list and he was duly measured as a medium. It was really funny as I am out of the room for measuring a little girl who I don’t think she could have been more than ten said a very superior tone “I expect he measured into medium”, the tone without a doubt saying Zev had better not be small. It cracked me up, since I choose Zev, we always expected him to be medium.
Then Saturday night, we thought we would go to the pub, not often we do go out but a quick meal with friends, and you can see the camp site from the pub and others would keep an I on our guys. I don’t like to leave the guys, sad I know. Indeed I was in back by 9ish, having quality time with my guys and then time ticked on, Marc, was taking a long time to come back from his evening stroll. I go outside, Raz, Wings and Tri in the compound, no Marc or Bigs, instantly I knew Big was missing ……sh.t!!!!!!. Threw on clothes, leaded up Rivi and Zev and the search was on. Marc, was frantically texting, tannoy announcement went out and so many wonderful people joined in to help us look. Time was swiftly passing, it was getting darker by the minute. An hour and half later he was found, by Clare Murray, the sobs of relief at my darling Biggles being found, were a tad embarrassing, but it had to have been one of the worst and best times of my life. Little Bigs, not quite so brave and tough as he makes out, was unharmed but shaken up. It showed how wonderful so many people are. Thank you…although thanks see inadequate in relation to sheer effort that was made in assistance and support. Without it, I dread to think what could have been the outcome. Big like a cat has used 2 of his 9 lives, hopefully he won't use any more. Phew some adventures you really just don’t need and this was one of them ;-)

p.s the photo is of Zev and Bigs having one of their favorite games - steal the treasure i.e. Marc's posh walking socks and play tug till they are full of holes!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Congratulations to Caroline & Tide

Well they gone and done it - Caroline & Tide have qualified for Ticket in Obedience. Well you know me guys, I am so thrilled and proud of you both, yes - even grumpy bugs ;-). Mega well dones and look forward to cracking open the champagne when you come back to the agility circuit. And Spin on the same day won the B Test, as they say wooooohooooooooo!

Some may say labelling things as a 'journey', is a a tad sentimental or corny, but hey I don't care. Part of the celebration of arriving at a destination/goal is an acknowledgement/reflection of the journey to 'arriving there'.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Newton Heath Ramblings - June 09

With mixed feelings we headed to Newton Heath, keen to go for a break and the glorious scenery. Tatton Park is is really pretty in the grand house tradition that GB is so known for. Great as a back drop to an agility show. Well, a tale in itself, Marc and Wings won grade six agility. Amazing really, our aspirations for Wings when we took her on, was for her to learn that humans actually are really useful and nice and that training is a hoot….. so anything else is a bonus, and blimey I have never seen them run so smooth and swift. And people’s reaction, will give you some idea, as they went “great, really what with Wings?”, and it caused many a chuckle. The reaction is not because she is not any good, but sometimes, she just never really lets rip, and some days she just has a flash of where she really loosens up, the rolling in the sheep ‘dos’ gave us a clue. And whilst the red ribbon and trophy, will mean nothing to her, to us it is a symbol of a journey well worth travelling, when taking on a dog that has more baggage than an airport luggage conveyor belt.

It gave us more time, to come to terms with Raz’s condition, however, Marc was much more cautious about running him in agility, and is uncertain, how much longer they will attempt to do agility. Whilst, yes he does have vision in one eye, that eye at times will have the ‘floaters’ increasing, until the same thing happens in the other eye. So far research shows that there is nothing that can be done that would have a useful outcome. So the tick-tock of time will be trundling on, bugger, but as long as he has a quality of life, we will try to do our best.

Rivi’ had some places this weekend, at each show I learn something new, her playing is becoming more for the fun of playing rather than a going through the motion of playing. A return to pre-hormonal Rivi, Yahoo :-) Which I am thrilled with, she is getting faster and as a consequence when walking a course, I am trying to plan several handling scenarios, as I cannot quite work out where she and I will be in relation to certain pivotal points of the course. She is still spooking at insects on the ground and I am learning how to help her best, when this happens. She is a funnyoli at times, for sure. The speed and the play……………….oh yeah…Superoli

The Zev, surpassed himself this weekend and sat on my lap, to watch the Medium Champ Agility in quiet mode!!!! But the side way glances he gave me, were worthy of on an oscar winning performance. They made me feel really, really guilty, but I persevered. You would have thought I had sat him on my lap and said “Zev, no more pig ears, sausages, digging, sleeping on the human bed or cool kongs - ever”. Boy, does he know how to press ‘my buttons’. Needless to say, his quietness was duly rewarded good and proper.

Big, he continues to grow his fan club, Marc, is really embracing Poodledom, and it is such a hoot.

Many congratulations to Lesley and Toot, Leah & Hex, Helen and Nellie-Bean, Alan & Jude and Kon & Rada, fabulous agility results. And to everyone else, otherwise I will be typing until midnight!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Raz - life's a screw up

Life really seems to throw the joy and then a bucket of sh.t, just so we don’t get to complacent - I guess. Today the specialist eye vet, confirmed our fears. The vit. degeneration has produced a retina detachment in Raz’s left eye - costing him his sight in that eye. Last year it was confirmed that he had a vit. degeneration, which is why he had floaters in his eye and that the condition would eventually cause the retina to detach. I know we knew this would happen, but always hoped that it would happen when he is older. Well actually we hoped it would never happen, but it happened when he is six and in his prime. His right eye will eventually go the same way. He is having steroids to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. How Marc and Raz have managed to get round a champ course this year, has left me quite amazed. Damm life throwing the bucket of sh.t………….and for once I would have so loved to have been wrong.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

For Jason and Helena Wedded Today

Guys, congratulations on doing the deed. So sorry I am not there today. I guess the guys need a quality dog sitter and surprize, surprize that is me. Have a fantastic life together. Boogie to this song, whilst drinking champagne, it is a great mix :-)

Love Christine x

p.s Marc dont forget to dance!

p.p.s Helena for you, these Wynne's may drive us crazy at times but they are so worth it.

p.p.p.s Signing off now, to prevent further soppy out breaks... ha ha

p.p.p.p.s Marc - I love you xxx and so does Mr Big :-)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Zev - the teenage months

Here is a Zev Man update. The photo shows Zev after he has dug a major hole in the flower bed, I think he wants me to replant the conifer as it is now leaning more than the Tower of Pisa. The amazing thing was his paws were still clean. How did he manage that?
What can I say at 15 months he has very much become a teenager. He wants to hump things and is so frustrated, I wonder if my plans to have him ‘snipped’ at Christmas might be brought forward. But some friends are like 'oh no you can’t he is to good'. A guilt trip is the last thing I need. As I always feel guilty about this - ethics and all that. But I have to do what is best for him. For now he is a typical teenage with moments of being very very distracted, marky, sniffy and shouty which is understandable. This means I need to be more considerate, which I do try to be and generally I am. However, I must confess on Saturday I did shout back “shut up” and Zev, was so cool, like ‘yeah, whatever luv” which cracked me up. And mentally I thought what a doughnut to myself (me that is not Zev, but hey I am not perfect)
But don’t be fooled by these descriptions he is still totally my beautiful man. I cannot get that darn song out of my head, coz he is just so great. Especially from that bit where it goes “when he began to dance with me”. How did someone write such a beautiful song, how did someone breed such a beautiful dog to go with the song? From a relationship point of view I can’t ask for 3 better dogs. When we walk in the morning, once they are over the initial ‘blow out’ they walk by my side voluntarily or check where I am if they get ahead, I am so chuffed with this. I guess some people can say so they should, but it is so much more rewarding when it’s because they choose.

His agility is coming on nicely, he is so very different to Rivi and that makes it better for me switching between them. For his weaves we did the channels and within 5 weeks he was weaving, we so did not get the 2x2 together. Although we get 2x2 now we have done the channels ha ha ha. We have also been doing 'round the show training' - play hard whilst watching two teams run - then settle for watching one team. This seems to be working ;-)

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Hinckley and some other stuff

Hinckley like Mid-downs results on paper not so good, but again there were bits that I felt like we are so going up a gear, and Babyoli is really getting the idea that when we do the ring it means a bonus play sessions. This has required me to be quite ruthless with people who want to talk after me and Rivi have just done a round, “sorry, got to play with Rivi” and I walk off playing with my girl. … if I want to maximise Rivi’s interest in working with me, then she needs to know that I pay out ‘mega’ bucks for effort. This she is realising and I am chuffed to bits. I did this with Nuts and it really raised his and our game when competing.

Her sisters had a super weekend results wise so well done to them. Hinckley was a fab show and my only complaint was I did not want to go home TY :-)
Luv this puppy photo of Rivi, with that oh so serious face.

Off on another tangent - It is weird with the camping at agility shows this year as there is some shows segregating the helpers and non-helpers camping areas and it just does not feel right. Most people want to camp with their club or circle of agility friends. Marc and I help at several shows during the year including the KC club one we belong to, which is a two day show. But at some shows we want to focus on ourselves and our agility and have some time together.
It is of course right that those helping on the rings all day are parked close to the rings. But really segregation – non-helpers camping area - has no place, not when you do put something back? So we are going to a couple of shows effectively in the perceived ‘naughty’ corner and it does make me cross at the unfairness of the labelling and the act of segregating. Oh it is a bugger’s muddle for sure and there has to be a better way :-( And lets face it, is it really going to encourage people to help, I think not! You think ‘doggy’ people would get by now that punishment is not as effective as rewarding when wanting to elicit certain behaviours. Punishment generally acts as a suppressor or diverter, either way not good in the long term!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Mister Big's Hair Cut

Well, well Mr Bigs has been given a new hair cut. A nod towards the lion clip. Marc has taken to poodle grooming, like a duck takes to water. We are not sure what style he will end up with, knowing Marc he will try a few styles and perhaps create one of his own, an agility clip perhaps? It will also depend on the heat, as summer seems to be coming at last. So possibly a summer trim and a winter trim?

Whatever the look, we just know that Big is impossibly cute.
P.s Marc, this is for you so you know I can take and load a photo ha ha ;-)

Monday, 25 May 2009

Rivi's Grade 4 win at Nottingham May 09

Well, this was our second grade 4 show. And crikey did Rivi’s need her pilot to get it together, on Saturday there was some great courses set, but I had a hard case of ‘doubt’ an mental teaser that really has no place in sport. I seemed to get this each time we progress, will I be good enough to handle my Superoli? The doubt stemmed from the concern of not having trained a particular sequence. I knew the doubt was irrational, but the human brain it can be hard to train! ;-) And let’s face it in agility; it is unlikely you can train for every sequence. That is what makes agility exciting you never know what the judge is going to set. After Rivi, indulging me on Saturday, I thought I really need to do my PMA, focus, repeat our strengths and believe. And we achieved 3 places in three rounds of which one was first place in Grade 4 Jumping.

Marc, teased me then, “oh you train those sequences then?” which of caused much laughter and made me realised that some bits I had not, the difference was my belief and conviction that we were giving it our best shot. “thank you, Darling” Once again I must thank Lanny Bassham and his book, for agility training is so focused on teaching obstacles, the psychological elements – the mental game is often overlooked both for the canine and the human. Some books can have such a profound and beneficial influence. I find them terrific guides in my aspiration to have a fabulous journey with great goals for myself and my guys.

Congratulations to everyone I know that had great results over the weekend with their guys. Special mentions to Nicky Garrett and Indiana - OBay Truly Driven, who won I believe their 14th Championship Ticket. They are just fabulous to watch. And another up and coming OBay Team Karen Cole and Todd – OBay One Helluva Charmer who had a great result too – a combined 4-7 win.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

End of an Era - Storm, Jasmine and now Spooky-dukes

Lifes journey, full of ups and downs. From the night before of complete joy, to the tears and sadness of today, as Spooky is now at Rainbows Bridge. It's the end of an era as my Storm and Caroline's girls Jasmine and Spooky have all joined together, leaving us to run free over the rainbow bridge.

Oh how these three guys indulged me and Caroline in our fledgling training and aspirations to compete. We can look back at our early video's at training and laugh at how crap we were and what a journey we have been on, and oh how so patient our guys were with us as we learnt.

Spooky had many talents and her most impressive was as chief bin raider. No counter to high, no gap to narrow, no lid tough enough. This was no mean feat as she was a hugh shepherd and nimble is not a word that springs to mind.

"Why rainbow bridge?" Anyone knows how hard it is get to the end of a rainbow, it is like a mystical quest - that seems just too far today:-(

Monday, 18 May 2009

I could have danced all night

Training Zev tonight, this song came to mind,, It so made me smile as Zev makes my heart sing. The words would have to be

'I could have trained all night, could have played all night, could have run all night, could have hugged all night.'

How is it possible a dog can make you feel like this? Zev you rock :-)

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Big and Zev

Mr Big’s fan club continues to grow, mind you he is so darn cute it is not surprising. He has been directly responsible for at least one additional home succumbing to having a poodle puppy! This photo made me chuckle, how perfectly Big blends in with the bedding. Talking of photos check out the OBay blog posting dated Sunday 10th of May, there is some fabulous photos of Zev playing with his baby sister, they had a great time. What was also lovely but not captured on photo was Zev’s sheer joy at seeing Bernadette and Dennis again, it was humbling to watch the greeting ritual and the sheer delight of it. It was one of life’s lovely moments.

Today, Big and Zev found a baby bird in the garden, they just looked and did not try to get the bird but were curious. So I suggested they leave alone and they did so. They are such good dogs :-) And we watched for a while and baby bird just could not make the flight path high enough to get back over the fence. I thought what do I do? I did not want to pick up as I was worried that it was so delicate. So I put my hand down on the floor and waited for the response. Baby bird climbed on! Very carefully I went to the fence and just held my hand out until baby bird decided to fly off back to its nest in the hedgerow. What a special moment, I was thrilled that I helped the baby bird, and by letting it make its own decision, the problem was solved as if it was the most natural thing in the world to give a lift in my hand.

Life sure does have some magic moments sometimes.

Friday, 8 May 2009

UKA and Vyne May 2009

We did our first weekend UKA show last weekend, which backed on to Vyne KC show. In KC shows you do not have snooker and gamblers anymore and I thought they would be a good thing to learn to do. Another perspective on how to approach courses, in terms of flow, timing and points. Gamblers we came second, thanks to Rivi being a smoothie girl. The snooker, I got in a right b-gg--s muddle as having had it explained to me, I thought I had to do it in a particular set sequence, and you do kinda, as a result we only did three obstacles and then I sent Rivi off course, so I left the ring, a bit confused and bemused. Rivi was like “what do you mean we have finished, I can count you know!” Rivi, my apologies. However I am now a bit wiser so look forward to entering them again. I rewarded the contacts and poles in the agilities. So for Rivi two 2nds and a 3rd. No more grade 3 classes YAHOO!!! My next aim at UKA is to reward Rivi in the jumping classes, in the past I have been told theoretically you can’t ‘train’ a jumping round, I do not take this view, as I am rewarding performance. So I am going in to reward Rivi being a darling, the effort for doing jumps and taking direction from me at the same time. That is the beauty of UKA I can choose to reward performance as I would in training by running a NFC round.
The funny bit of the weekend was Marc being the next dog on the line and someone said, your trousers are ripped and indeed they were, it caused much laugher, however his dignity was intact as he had his boxer shorts on. Ha Ha :-) (Sorry darling, had to put it in, it did make us laugh, just like when I knocked the jump down the other week.)
This week I have been trying to work on pull thrus using cones rather than jump wings, as Rivi and I need to move from ‘baby’ ones to good technical ones. And I need to make my training of pull thrus in a way that I get a buzz rather than feeling like I am teaching my guys a drill. My main aspect was that I wanted to convey the information that a pull thru was occurring before reaching the cones. This is so that they understand to commit to the cone and then do the pull thru turn. And last night at training we had to do a pull through the wings and both Rivi and Zev, picked it up I was well chuffed. Knowledge, understanding and insight are bliss when it starts coming together…

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Rivi and Raz at WBSDs April 09

Rivi's jumping run win at the WBSD last weekend., as mentioned in the previous post I was so proud of my Babyoli. And a couple of nice runs from Raz with Marc. Now going off at a tangent I am finding it hard to fit the bloging in now the agility season is here. But I determined to keep it going, as it gives me a lovely record of our journey with my guys. I also braved into the world of having a counter on my blog and have had it for a couple of weeks, and it is ok and it is in a way interesting. What I like with the Neo one is that it has to start at zero. Now I wish I had done it from the start. Have not got my head around the following element of blogging yet, and how it is different from the blog feed/updates. That already shows you follow blogs. But I must confess some blogs I follow but don't have them on mine simply because I use someone's else blog to click on them. Hmmm perhaps I need to update my blog list or join in with following? The jury is out ;-)

Finally, its Zev's momma birthday today, and I just want to wish her a happy birthday. As not only is she is a wonderful sheltie, but with Taz's assistance produced my darling Zev :-)