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.