Monday, 31 December 2012

Hello to 2013

The Guys New Years Eve 2012
Wow on Christmas Day, discovered this fabulous new walk for the guys acres and acres to be explored and hours can be enjoyed watching the guys having a great time. It is off the beaten track, so the guys can really let rip and we can walk to the walk - perfect. Since moving to the midlands we have found many lovely walks but this is the best so far :-)

So many things seem to be falling into place, just can't help feeling that frisson and excitment for what may be coming next. So time to say goodbye to 2012 and hello 2013...

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wow Christmas & 2012

Friday 21st December 2012 heralds the shortest day. And I always feel a little jubilation as to me it signals that slowly but surely daylight time will increase. It keeps me going whilst in December and January from Monday to Friday we walk in the dark and play in the half light of electric bulbs.

Time enough for reflection of the year, and it has been a darn good year. Marc, Dixie and Bigs have had such a terrific year, as I have too with Zev. With the agility the last 12 months have seen us start to metamorphosis  in handling style.  I have gained so much experience of handling Zev with his running contacts and it is such a thrill to run this way for me and for Zev and getting less 'oh crikey' and more 'game on we can do it'.

Then Rivi I am still retraining her contacts 2 fundamental elements that have hindered progress as I did not get my head round it till 12 months after I started retraining. Hindsight, wish it was foresight ;)

1. Deconstructing a static paw target is what I should have taught as the first element.. Thanks to Kamel Fernandez for his input. Gave me the confidence with an idea that I had been playing around with. Any future crossover 'hugger' of contact dogs I will incorporate this first.
2. Never withhold reward in a training context.  It fundamentally was wrong for me and Rivi no matter how nicely you do it to not reward is not to appreciate the effort Rivi makes.  Thanks to Silvia Trkman for 'RC that make you smile' DVD.  Always reward and jackpot, is the theme and this is the approach for me. It made me chuckle, when the DVD came out with the title as I did a smile posting in great that agility is not only a competitive sport, but the sheer hard work pays off with moments of elation and smiling... the yes and yahoo moments even in training.
2012 draws to an end it has not been without heartache, but also many wonderful moments and so much to look forward to....all with Nuts still by our side...

I love the Christmas holidays and the time it gives us to be together.  So happy holidays and have a cracking 2013.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Dixie's turn to Shine :-)

Crikey, only said on my last posting little Dixie's and Marc's run seemed flawless to me ;-) and then they did it again at the Riot Tug E Nuff - UKA Final on the 01/12/12. This time coming 1st overall (1st place jumping & 2nd place agility).

Marc qualified Big for the CSJ and I did Zev too. But the day was all about Dixie and Marc. And have to say all credit to the organiser's it is a great final and the sponsorship of the prizes so fabulous. Marc and Dixie got a £150.00 Tug E Nuff voucher and a beautiful big glass trophy. Fantastic :-)

So proud of Marc and Dixie, who must be one of the smallest large dogs in agility. As someone said small and mighty :-) Our thanks to Mandy and Lesley for letting me get her for Marc.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Grand Day Out - Pro Plan Finals 2012

What a great day, well organised, great sponsorship and good competitive but relaxed atmosphere. Overall Dixie and Marc 3rd in Jumping Final and 2nd in the Novice Agility Finals, Zev 1st in the Jumping Final and 4th in the Agility Finals and Marc and Mr Bigs working oh superbly but 2 off courses and such as shame as the little man was flying. Still that is the way it goes as Marc always says ‘Enjoy winning but do not fear losing’ and we both with like to push it to the max :-)


Was almost debating whether to upload videos or not. As Bad Dog Agility said and very apt when listening to one of their pod casts  which is when an agility run that had 'some bobbles’ (a neat way to describe the elements that describe a run that is not flawless). But what the heck we had a cracking day overall and little Dixie's and Marc's run seemed flawless to me ;-)




Sunday, 14 October 2012

Mister Big and the World Agility Championships - 2012

Oh my, Mister Bigs and Marc continue their agility adventure at full speed. This time they went to Liberec in the Czech Republic to compete at the FCI Agility World Championships (web link).

What an amazing time they had, whilst not bringing home any medals as they had a very uncharacteristic elimination, and Biggles got lost in one of the tunnels they are still my champs. A total of 3 out of 4 clears.

That is agility lows and highs but never dull and so worth it :-)

Watching it on Agility Vision via live stream was great for me as I looked after Marc's other guys for him. This video by Dog Sport Magazine, is a super snapshot of the emotion of a world class agility event, with world class handlers, dogs, judges, courses and of course dancing and celebrating :-)

This is what it is all about...

And now for the next world adventure as they have qualified for The World Agility Open Championship in Spain - May 2013

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Wonderful season to have you by my side

With Nuts whilst I would always wish that he be forever young, I am so grateful for the fact that he is still my by side after June 12, when I thought I may lose him. Nuts has adapted to the limitations of his body although he will always believe he can do more. His spirit and enthusiasm to joining in continue. I love the Jonny Mathis song Wonderful, Wonderful and at the risk of being over sentimental, I revised the lyrics to reflect me and Nuts.. The relationships and opportunities we have in life are remarkable and so often taken for granted...sometimes we know straight away when its extra special...I hope I never lose the marvel of that.

We walk side by side along the rolling hills
And we breathe in the cool crisp air
We have so much fun, and had the bestest time
And my heart feels a thrill that your zest for life knows no bounds
When you just seem to know what I need, that immutable bond it's wonderful, wonderful
Oh, so wonderful.
Sometimes we stand on the top of a hill
And we gaze at the earth and the sky
Wherever I t
urn to you, you are always by my side
There we are, my brilliant dog, I so proud to have you by my side

That bond we share, it's wonderful, wonderful
Oh, so wonderful
This world is full of wondrous things it's true
And you constantly show me that is true
Some quiet evenings you sit by my side
And I think of all the great times
Everyday I look at you play, or goof around
I see how wonderful you are as you
I'm aware of the treasures that I own
And I say to myself, it's wonderful, wonderful
Oh, so wonderful!

I guess the reality is now that we have more yesterdays than tomorrows (I think I read that on facebook,, brilliantly said). But I guess it is albout making every day count, and count my blessings that Nuts is still by my side and that is wonderful .....


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Zev qualifies for the Medium Pro Plan Finals 2012

The last key show of the year for Zev and Me, was Prestbury and I was thrilled that we qualified for the Pro-Plan Finals by winning the medium qualifier. It was nail biting, as we ran first, we went in to do our best, but in agility it is never over until the last team has run. The focus as always was about doing the best run we can.

I was already going to the finals as Marc's groom and this was my second  and last chance to attempt to qualify Zev, and I go wanted us to go in our own right. There's the run..

This sheltie of mine, has been so awesome all this year, he has so much attitude and we have so come on as a team. The difference in our performances from last year to this year is huge in many respects. The ride with him, just keeps on getting more exciting.

As Marc said earlier in the year, we have transitioned from an 'if' you to do it team to a 'when' you do it team.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Metamorphosis in Agility

For some metamorphosis is a physical change and others a behavioural change. For me its behaviour that is changing and evolving...

Currently we are learning from Janita and Jaccko. The difference in Marc's handling after a one day course was incredible and he really enjoyed the training. (I was so jealous in a nice way as I was suppose to go but had to work so I got Marc to take my place, what a lucky Marc.) Our handling is certainly going through a metamorphosis ..

Here is a vid of Marc practising the Jaccko turn with Dixie and Mister Big

One Mind Agility is their web site and having had the opportunity to watch their handling at the KCI it really was exciting and a direction we want to explore and pursue further.

It is brilliant how technology is enabling us to gain exposure to so many different ideas and concepts etc in relation to agility. From Jenny Damm, to Daisy Peel to Silva Trkman, so much to be gained and explored. Just watching videos of FCI World Champ runs can give so much 'food for thought' literally. I am sure there is many others I just need to find them.

For me it is like 'coming home' I am starting to finally find a way that suits me in agility and works with my guys. We have loads of work on technique and stuff to do. But hopefully it means our guys will find us clearer, better and swifter and loads more exhilarating.

That is our agility will be exciting to see where it leads..

Monday, 13 August 2012

KC International Festival - Aug 12

This was a great weekend, the new location of Rockingham Castle was fabulous, better camping, better views, better walking with the dogs, better surface in the competition rings and a far more relaxed atmosphere. The only downside was for some strange reason the KC did not use rubber contacts.

On the Friday, Zev and I won the Gr7 medium agility in the main ring and the judge explained that Zev and I posted the 3rd fastest time over all the heights. It was so nice that Bob Griffin the judge took the time to explain this and for Zev living on the edge with is the run..

Marc and Mister Bigs had a weekend that went so very well. They qualified in pole position for the Small KC British Open Final due to coming first and second in the qualifying rounds. They then won the final..a great birthday present for Marc..from Biggles.

Plus, a birthday bonus as Marc and Bigs were also in the small England Team in the Nations Cup, running with Selena Bray and Daniel Croxford. Which the 3 and their dogs did England proud and won that also. How brilliant Mr Big was all day, taking it all in his stride and he so luvs the attention and hype around the events, and he was still posing for photos at 7pm in the evening.

Plus, plus I brought us a set of jumps, long jump and tyre from Doggyjumps as I was so frustrated with not having them at home. And there was some fabulous courses put up by Barrie James, Simon Chandler, Bob Griffin, Antonin Gryar and the British Open Finals Course (judges name was not listed on ring plan) which we want to try out at home, to work out best handling strategy for particular elements. It was just such a good event to have the opportunity to see some of the European handlers as some of their handling and also their dogs we greatly admire and want to learn more.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mr Big...selected for Team GB :-)

Wow, Mister Big and Marc - I am so proud to say they have been selected to represent Team GB and be part of Team GB for the FCI World Agility Championships to be held in the Czech Republic in October 2012.

The website for the championship is up:
It is great to see that the event is now over 3 and half days.

Marc and Bigs won the small category qualifying event overall. How I wish I had been there to compete and watch  with Zev but alas course skills delivery meant I had to be assessed on training design and delivery. How I managed to deliver anything was a surprise as my mind was on Mister Bigs and Marc.

As the excitement grows shopping as befitting a poodle a load of goodies with GB emblems such Lead, Towel, Blanket, Tag, Flexi Lead, Harness etc., Even Marc gets a looking with clothing ;-) Then add one most excellent groom in the form of Nicola brilliant that such an experienced and talented agility person will be looking after him and Marc.

Good luck to all at the FCI World Agility Championships. As they say Run Fast, Run Hard and Run Clean...

pps the crazy football hat shows how tiny Big is

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Zev's 1st CC - Weardale - July 2012 :-)

Wow a dream came true on Saturday, for me with my irrepressible Zev. We won our first Challenge Certificate. These are the two qualifying runs.

And what a day I was so overwhelmed I could not quite believe it, we have been so close so nearly there. But Saturday the 21st July 2012 was our day and we did it. This is the final winning round.

In the qualifying rounds we came 2nd in the Jumping and 3rd in the Agility. Qualifying for pole position, and in the final round we came first. Just so so fabulous, I keep watching the videos and think how lucky am I to have Zev, my wild and irrepressible OBay Sheltie and for a dream to come true.

Agility folk were so great in congratulations, the fantastic support from friends on this journey to achieving this goal. I just wanted to run round the ring yelling we did it. I cried into Nutsey's neck good and proper, and the relief of being able to tell him that me and Zev had done it. The elation, the excitement and the wonderment - it is just one of the bestest feelings.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Zev having a good time :-)

Zev having a good time, he is just irrepressible and always finds a way to make me smile. And for some reason despite having a good half acre of grass to run around on.. he chooses the gravel part of the drive to play on!
Zev got the box good and proper...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tuffley Part 2..Mister Bigs..Wins his 3rd CC

How proud am I to present Agility ChampionVanitonia Mister Bigs (subject to KC confirmation) awarded by the judge Hilary Bowen :-)
As I said Tuffley was a mix of rain, mud, glorious sunshine and some rings absolutely fine to run and others we did not do...that is the way of agility this year. Marc choose not to run Bigs on Friday as we were helping and the weather was rubbish, Saturday they choose to just to do two runs and Sunday was Champ day, the sun was shining and the ring was in very good condition. The game was on....
This is the winning run...of the final round
How proud am I.. of the smaller small dogs at KC shows..but known for being big on attitude.  And Marc is not bad either ;-) Have to say thank you to doggy jumps their see-saw was the best we have come across for small and medium. It tipped appropriately for their height and weight. And also comes with a lovely rubber surface and great colours.

What a fabulous end to Tuffley Show 2012, it just so brilliant that Mister Bigs in now a champ on paper as well as in our hearts.. corny but true :-)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Tuffley Part 1..Dixie..Qualifies for the KC Novice Olympia Semis

Wow what a weekend at Tuffley this year, rain, mud, glorious sunshine and some rings absolutely fine to run and others we did not do...that is the way of agility this year.
But what a fabulous weekend, and it really was all about Marc, Bigs and the Dixie. Hence the posting being in two parts.
Dixie and Marc qualified for the  KC Olympia Semis..she is probably the smallest collie in large however she jumps incredibly well, has such power and as people say she is small and mighty (a nod to Persil adverts methinks) :-) Already this season she has had 11 wins. This is her qualifying run

And they needed to do it as Tuffley was the last of two chances this year for them to try and qualify. Well cool and congratulations also to Becca and Dish, Dixie's brother who won the class overall. Good luck at the semis.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Nuts Rallies..... :) :) :)

The Nuts Rallies :-) what a relief I can breathe...What a rollercoaster of a couple of weeks. Thankfully the Vets have found the right combination of  drugs for Nuts that have eased his pain and most importantly to allow him to enjoy the garden, eating, watching the guys do their agility and camping. He a bit wobbly and uncoordinated and needs help here and there, but he is dealing with it well. And as long as he happy, then that is all that matters.
Nuts Wynne 2010 got the ball good and proper
The scariness of it all, has meant I succumbed to a sickness bug and then spent virtually 48 hours in bed or in the bathroom. I may have got it anyway, but I don't think the emotional rollercoaster helped. But thankfully Nuts has bounced back and I feel that I can breathe....

But few weekends at home now - a chance to start exploring my research proposal. Only one more year of studying to do :-) and then I will be back to agility proper. 

p.s this photo of Nuts always makes me chuckle, you can see the sheer determination that his football is not going anywhere. He has it good and proper.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Nuts and the relentless march of time

It seems that I lurch from happiness to sadness, like a light switch being flicked on and off. The exhilaration of running Zev, the excitement of Marc and Mister Bigs making the Great Britain Team is more recently always tempered by the relentless march of time and its effects on Nuts.
After my bravado about how well Nuts has been doing ...The Nuts Strikes 12 - Blog Posting and Puppiesfrom-hunting-to-waiting-game - blog posting  time decides to march on....and I am like King Canute trying to hold back the tide, I have tried and failed abysmally to stall the march of time. 
As Nutsey's legs wobble and he looks at me in confusion, my emotions too wobble. I feel as if I need the equivalent of AA an anonymous meeting, where we who love can wail at the injustice of it all. But as I type this, I realise that the biggest injustice would have been never to have had the pleasure of Nutsey being by my side.
So I as hundreds and thousands of others will try to ensure that what time we have is special, I have warned Marc that if we can't get him up the stairs at home then we will have to sleep downstairs. The puppy plans may go on hold for a little while.

It has been a shock the deterioration in less than one week from enjoying his walks and bimbling about, to walks, chairs and stairs being too much. Hence the emotional post as today's walk was surreal and empty with me and Zev so very lost without Nuts with us.  Along with the guilt of leaving him at home, as in Nutsey's mind, he can still do the walks. Rivi is fortunately in her own Rivioli world and seemingly oblivious to the changes occurring.

The time is to indulge and not think about tomorrow, but enjoy the precious bitter sweetness of the todays......

Monday, 11 June 2012's agility time

This photo taken at Hinckley 2012 by Watts Photography and now I understand why people say I am a smiler. I even manage to smile whilst running, I was not even aware that I did :)
Christine & Rivi by Watts Photography

Rivi is still very much a work in progress in agility, the winter training has paid off in terms of much improved confidence, but it is a fragile thing. Terrifically we have had two wins and several places this year already.

Rivi at Hinckley 2012  - Watts Photography
I have a quiet belief, that one day all my efforts will pay off and our day will come, in the meantime I have the satisfaction of
- knowing how much we have improved as a partnership
- the pleasure of watching her confidence return
- Rivi being a Happyoli :)

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Zevman @ Hinckley 2012

Zev June 2012
I was so looking forward to this weekend, it was my first weekend free of assignments. However I was not in a good head space...there is still a couple of things that I need to resolve and whilst they can be resolvable in time, they just cannot be resolved as quickly as I want them to. Which is frustrating...and despite me telling my mind to dismiss the thoughts...they just kept popping back up..not 'doubting thomas' thoughts just frustration at a situation that is taking time to resolve.

I crashed the champ jumping, Zev was annoyed and we were just so out of tune, out of sync my wobbly day just got wobblier.  Still onwards and forwards, headspace getting better and Monday was tournament day and we came 4th in the jumping and 1st in the Agility and that meant we won the  medium tournament on the day. I was so surprised and obviously so very pleased.

Zev has such heart in what ever he does whether it is playing, agilitying or even telling me his opinion on things, which he certainly did on Saturday!

How lucky am have such a terrific sheltie?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Rivi's Running Contacts...the Project Continues

The project for Rivi's running contacts has rested, recharged and continues. As my view long term is that I think RC are the best option for Rivi. As I said in my posting on the 18th March 2012, I was down but not out. And this past two months I think we have made significant headway on the plank and it is just (late May) starting to appear on the DW. I think she is starting to actually understand what I am striving to explain to her :-)

My action has been to put the plank in amongst the other agility equipment and placing a sequence of obstacles do to before and after. This took a while for her to adjust to, but I think it is really helping Rivi to do the plank in that context. As to get her reward she had to do the next obstacle. The complexity of the performance for dogs is really very high, as the no stopping means not only moving at speed with an accurate performance but following additional cues at speed.

The most important concept for Rivi to grasp was to let go and just run either when all the stimuli indicated that she should offer her previously learnt 2o2o behaviours. A weird and alien concept for Rivi!!!! but really good for her and my mind set and I am so thankful to Nicky Garratt for supporting and providing encouragement in how I am going forward with Rivi on this.

And over the actual DW there is now video evidence of the improve moving across and through the contact zone.  Rivi's thoughts of what she is doing is changing and the video shows how much she is enjoying the retraining. 
The DW is still high but I am focused on the moving, the refining will come later. And I am also getting more 'thunder' behaviour on the plank. I think with the DW there may be at least another years worth of training to achieve ideal performance levels.
Perhaps they will become like Zev's?

However, I am so relieved I found the way forward with this project rather than quitting :-) it would have bugged me if I had quit...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Mr Bigs..gets his 2nd Agility CC

OH my gosh, I had to stay home and study last weekend and miss a trip to the Scottish KC show.

Marc and his guys went up as I needed to be focused on my study and there was no point on them missing out on this event.  And it was a great weekend for Marc and his guys on the Friday, Marc had a rare opportunity to watch the Vanitonia show team in action and they won the best toy poodle overall. Our congratulations to the Vanitonia Team  Also we learnt that Big's sister is now Show Champion Vanitonia Betty Grable.

Mr Bigs had to go poodle shopping as the inclement weather meant his wardrobe was insufficient. I think he has more rain coats than Marc and I have. Saturday was an R&R day, there was plenty of space for free running the guys :-) And the weather fortunately improved as Sunday was Agility day.
The championship agility was  judged by Peter Elms and I am so excited that Marc and Mr Bigs did it again...CC number 2, that is so brilliant, I am so so thrilled and chuffed with Marc and Mister Bigs for doing this a second time.

p.s To the Scottish KC it was a fabulous show, and what would make it even better is rubber contacts

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Mr Bigs..gets his 1st Agility CC

Wow what a weekend of agility:
Marc & Vanitonia Mister Big
- Vyne 2012 - Agility CC

  • Mr Big and Zev qualified for the CSJ Final at UKA Finals in Dec 12
  • Dixie qualified for the Tuff E Nuff Final at UKA Finals in Dec 12
  • Rivi won Senior gamblers - taking her into champ at UKA shows
  • Big won into champ at UKA shows
  • Zev won into Senior at UKA shows
  • Dixie won into Novice at UKA shows
Then the icing on the cake was Marc and Mr Bigs winning their first challenge certificate (or ticket or CC as it also called) at Vyne Kennel Club show under the judge Arthur Rogers.

I am so so thrilled and chuffed with Marc and Mister Bigs for doing this.

What a fabulous start to the agility season  :-)

But no videos!!!! oppps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012


Its check...check time.,,
Rivi and Zev - pre agility season physio check ü
The project - running contact - continues ü
Agility clothing - check ü
Increase my fitness by introducing some barreconcept exercises - check  ü
Stocking caravan - check ü
Caravan service - check ü
So the majority of it is all checked and done and it with great relief my guys appear free of injury or niggles.  I have been really fortunate, that my guys have not had an injury due to doing agility, even when Zev fell off the dw last year. It may be a combination of the following: -The less is more approach, I won't train or compete if I think there is the slightest issue. That they sleep on the sofas and the beds if they want too;-) The fitness regime and associated benefits such as peanut ball conditioning, massage and good 'rub a dubs' must be paying off or perhaps it just sheer luck? It probably a combination of them all, but I do thank 'my lucky stars' in this respect for sure.

The barreconcept...knackering but brilliantly clever way to exercise. But so tough I am only doing the most basics of the concept.
So checking...check done. Just need some agility action....

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Garden

Mr Nuts ready to supervise
Marc happened to have a glorious week of weather whilst off and has made inroads into progressing the garden.  The garden brings us alot of pleasure, from watching the dogs, to actually gardening, dining out there, watching the sunset. We are really look forward to creating it into our own garden.
Dratted shed = blocked view :-(
The shed that the previous occupiers placed in front of the longe window has gone. It has irritated me big time. To remove it took 4 men nearly 3 hours to dismantle, and to be used in another home - recycled. It just feels so terrific to look out of the window and see light, trees and birds, rather than the dratted shed. What a stupid place to put one.
Shed gone = View and Light :-)

Then when the fence men dug the foundations, it brought up so much cr..p, it was shocking but my delight was that Marc found the original mantel and hearth for one of the fire places - two immensly heavy pieces of slate, that just need cleaning up.  I guess in the old days they did not have tips, what could not be burnt was buried.

Fencing Project started
The cleared and fenced area will be grassed initially and it will eventually become the all weather area for the guys to play in during the winter months as Nuts and Dixie are the king and queen of mud making and grass destroying. So many projects even just with the garden, we have a bookfull of projects.
AF - contactacoated
Marc, even found time to rubberise the AF, the see-saw will be done this weekend. By end of April the Wingate-Wynnes will be fully rubberised. So far so good with using contactacoat .

I think for the first time in 20 years of moving around the country I had the feeling I am falling in love with the place, and we can make it a home. A whole new concept and a whole new way of thinking!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Puppies....from hunting to the waiting game...

I am hopeful that a puppy may arrive this winter or next spring. I am really excited about welcoming a new puppy and having all the fun of playing, training and all that stuff. With Zev now four and Rivi fast approaching 5, it has been a while since I have had the puppy buz.

I have options on several potential litters, and it really a case of waiting and seeing as to what arrives and what happens.  The other thing I need to factor is how Nutsey will be doing, at the moment I am blessed as he is doing well and I think would enjoy a puppy in the household.  The vets at his check ups keep saying he has a grade 4 heart murmur, but so far there has not been any side effects and it has been like that for the past year. Phew! Admittedly he does tire rather quickly these days, but that is to be expected with all things considered and I am just in the fortunate position that he is doing better than expected :-)

So now its the waiting game....

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The project.. confusion and moving on

Well, this posting is not going to say what I had hoped it would say - that Rivi now has wonderful running contacts. Unfortunately the exciting progress made in the garden is not generalising out to other places. Even with just a plank on the ground it is as if all the activity over the last five months has never occurred.
Whilst I would find that some fall back in behaviour might occur, I would not expect it to fall so far back that it is as if it never took place. And it would not be so bad if she offered a 2o2o - she was offering 'I am the best long jumper in the world' behaviour - and my thoughts were 'where did the frick that come from?' as Rivi was not a pinger of contact zones, she was a hugger, too much of a hugger in fact.

Pehaps I just need another 12 months of retraining and we would have cracked it. I just don't know. In my last posting I said, about how well it was going and this is why I was in confusion...however I am not down and out...talking it through with friends perhaps I needed to do all this retraining so that as least I have rebuilt her confidence and improved the contact performance on the DW.
The time spent is not wasted, and as said on a previous posting, I think it has enhanced Rivi's and mine relationship which is a fabulous bonus and I have learn't quite a bit more about RC. Sometimes what you get in life, is not what you expect or planned. Afterall the running contact performance aspect are my hopes and aspirations. They are irrelevant to Rivi and she is currently happy over the DW and now we will rubberise the AF - as I am pretty sure with all the learning I have achieved over the last few months is that Rivi was spooked by the frequent changes of contact surfaces whilst competing last year. And it has impacted on things that would have been exciting to do such as the semis or the EO tryouts.

By the end of March we will have rubber at home and at club it is painted wood, so she will build more experience of going over the two different surfaces. Running her at club last week was so exciting as we could do the DW, I was grinning it did feel good.

What all this means in relation to competing I am not really sure. It is really unknown territory for me.....but the main thing is I have Rivi by my side :-)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Project...A complete revolution...

With the dog walk back in action mid Jan 2012 - I thought time for me and Rivi to try it out. But as some had predicted Rivi's newly retrained behaviors had not transferred. So I thought work through it, but I was not convinced. Too much stuttering and not enough running...not enough success...its as if the retraining since Oct 11 had never occured. There was no generalisation of the learning on the carpet or the plank.

I will confess, at this point I reached a bit of a low, how would I be able to support Rivi in my goals? So I decided to put aside instructions from the on line course. So basically: -
1] I decided to listen to myself
2] out went the manners minder
3] back in as the conditioned (secondary) reinforcer of me saying 'Yes' and pairing it with her beloved cool kong and me playing with her = The premack principle (And initially she did look back for me to throw the toy. But she kept moving, which is what we need to achieve)
4] plank balanced on table between medium and large dog height. Not elegant, but does the job
5] we have trained every day where possible for 5 minutes

Two weeks later on the 13/02/12 -  I have reached an eureaka moment. Rivi 'thundered*' the plank and the half of an aframe. I don't wanna be all excited, but I can't help it. It could happen again.

Since starting 'The Project' last October, I have gained more in two weeks than the previous four months. Some detour!!!! Then on Thursday, the 16th I realised I am now training her as I retrained Zev last summer!

How many light bulb moments is one person allowed to have??? It is very early days. Watching the video, it shows we have a way to go to achieve the ultimate performance criteria, but 'by jove' at last 'The Project' is moving forward.

The thunder* as I call it, is when the dog literally thunders (drives) down the plank, definate and swift, and clearly targets the contact zone at speed, whislt driving through.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Nuts strikes 12 :-)

Would you believe it my brilliant most handsomest dog in the whole world is 12. Well actually he was 12 on Sunday. But I had a doughnut moment of a thought this morning that went like this:

"..........Its valentines, Mr Nuts birthday must be coming up, f--kety f--k it was Sunday. Oh doughnuts, I missed it. I never miss Nutsey’s birthday. .....".

So it official I am crap at birthdays, genuinely. So to anyone who I miss and should have remembered. Believe me it was never intentional ;-)

The picture is of Nuts playing his most favourite game of tug, with me when out walking last weekend. How blessed am I, to have him by my side :-)

Friday, 10 February 2012

The heap has gone...

The heap has gone - Jan 2012
As last the eyesore of derelict compost heap that seemed to have all manner of uncomposty things such as broken bricks, metal and plastics has gone. The man and his digger have done a good job.The guys will be pleased as they have even more room to play in once its all sorted. We really need to decide where we want the veg plot, but I think perhaps that will get sorted once I finish studying.

Now we just need the snow and ice to disappear.... as Rivi and Dixie are not convinced by my explanation that it is just too cold to hang about outside.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The project contines...the AF commences

Yipee - Marc's practical skills have been used well today and he has completed the rubberisation of the DW :-) so will be able to start using it in a few days. Whilst this was going on I thought best try and introduce the concept of the running a-f. And bugger me - despite Rivi not having been on one since prestbury park and the fact it was on its lowest height she still 'froze' the blasted agility gremlin of a 'stutter' was still there. I tried to 'play' around with it but I felt I was in danger of losing all the progress made with the DW - yikes - not good at all

So no free a-f for can I eliminate/terminate/suppress this a-f gremlin??!! I dug out our 'baby' af plank that Rivi always liked, and she went over it, but not mirroring the new behaviour learnt on the DW. So I needed her to think of running and still make definite contact with the contact zone too. So I came up with the following way to do it.

The key is for me is:
  • it resulted in success in terms of achieving my initial goal for training a running AF i.e movement
  • it provides me with a foundation to build on
  • and as said before the ultimate for me is always that my Rivi is a happyoli
  • that I enjoy and get a really sense of satisfaction in being constructive and creative in training - or just having sheer luck that it worked :-)
Its early days I know and who knows if it right or not but at the moment it working for us - we have had 3 great sessions and even if I move the 'send around' cone Rivi absolutely achieves the behaviour :-)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Inspiration and rubberisation

Had the grand plan to rubberise the dog walk whislt the dogs and us have our christmas break - only for Marc to find the wood had rottened. So not only does it need rubberising, we have had to replace the bit the dogs run on (planks) which of course requires priming,  painting, drying and then it can be rubberised. We are using Contact A Coat but not putting slats on. Having watched a huge number of contact videos (running and 2o2o) I am unsure about slats and the impact on dogs paws. Do they need to be more minimal like a ripple rather than a ridge? So that will be another learning curve for 2012 as I learn about rubber contacts.
With short day light hours and winter weather - training is a bit on hold. I am hopeful in about 2 weeks I should be able to dash outside when I get home and do some and get the project back on track. 
Since undertaking this retraining project with Rivi I think it has really enhanced our relationship,  working together to overcome our agility 'gremlin'. 

But to keep me going some brilliant motivation from Silva Trkman - just look at this video. Totally brill :-)