Monday, 8 December 2008
Sunday, 30 November 2008
The Travelodge amuses me - £19 for the room and £10 per cocker i.e £20 for both. Cockers find staying in Travelodges wildly exciting. They wag their tails and race to reception. Wagging their tails to show how friendly they are. Once put in a sit stay they wrap their wagging tails under their bottoms and wobble like wagging jellies. I was relieved Magic isn't a puppy anymore. However he was still up to his tricks we arrived at the room to find he'd helped himself to a handful of leaflets on local attractions at reception - (whilst Jordan was holding him in a wobble stay.) The first hour was manic with a 3 boys playing tuggy in the room.
As this was our first BAA show of the season we set ourselves some targets. To win out of primary by the end of the season. Jordan wants to try and win the U12 advanced junior title. And we'd like to get both dogs through to the finals of the multi-mix Clever Dogs (fly agility) and to try and win it with Rupert (3rd last year.). The targets are ambitious but who knows!!!
Saturday morning was minus 2 and we somehow found the UK Arena in thick, freezing fog.
Rupert doesn't like indoor shows. He can't focus with the background noise. The first class was snakes and ladders, usually one of our best classes. No reason why Rupert couldn't do a fast run across contacts. The nice judge, Mr Retter, had placed the tunnel traps away from the equipment. No sweat! Then the cocker struck!
He was pissed off with me because I made him to a wait start so I could position myself to do a clear, firm switch after the A frame to send him away from the tunnel. Well, he did one of his famous Rupert of the Rhine charges across the jumps over the A frame and darted left of me doing a firm switch to the right and charged into the tunnel. No problem brought him back to number 5 and blow me if the ***********!!!! cocker ignored me again and went straight back in the tunnel and then bolted off and ran in every single tunnel he could find on the course not once but twice. Having completed his course he trotted back, sat sweetly and decided he was ready to do the judge's course. I was cockered!! When will I learn that cockers don't take life seriously - they just want to have fun.
Jordan had him in the jumping and agility. They were going so well in both until some tricky handling. Jordan just doesn't realise he needs to make a lot more noise indoors to get Rup's attention and Rupert goes so fast and misses the hand signal. So 2 Es followed. It's clear that now they've graduated from the fast flowing courses they need to develop strategies to help them cope with tighter handling challenges. Not a good start, but a learning experience.
I had Rup in the helter skelter which was all staggered jumps and some horrid angles and twists. I just wasn't quite fast enough to do a split second switch and Rup knocked a fence righting his approach - so fast with 5 faults.
I wasn't optimistic about the Advanced juniors. To be honest I've been worried about this. The advanced juniors are graded at BAA novice plus level i.e grade 4 upwards. Jordan won in to the advanced on his league points but no way is he or Rup at that level. I know a lot of the advanced juniors borrow novice plus (5+) dogs but it's not easy to find a dog that will run with Jordan who is non verbal. He's also significantly younger than the others. When I saw the course my heart sank. It was a real handling challenge with handling techniques that Jordan hadn't encountered in training and that Rupert is only just starting to do at Pachesham with me. It's also all heights and Rupert is the only non-large dog. The only other ABC is a large, fast G5 kelpie. To make it worse as he was the only medium dog so had to run first. I walked the course with Jordan and tried to give him a crash course in the techniques to tackle it, while a friend patiently held Rupert. Jordan for the first time got the sequance all muddled and it took a bit of time.... The judge was really nice and was happy for us to take a little longer course walking.
I told Rupert he wasn't getting another sausage if he didn't watch Jordan and do what he wanted. I couldn't bear to watch. But it was incredible Rupert showed that he can run like a grade 5+ dog and Jordan that he can handle at this level. Rupert went a bit slower than normal, due to teh handling, and they eventually finished second. I think this was one of my proudest moments. But I'm still not sure the advanced juniors is right for Jordan at this stage. What also worries me is that Magic will have to start in the advanced juniors at BAA. Mmmm!!!!
Magic was a star at Pachesham this week. The black dog wasn't there and he focused and ran really well. He loves contact equipment - like rainbows with treasure (treats) at the end!!! He's running confidently over jumps. I'll defiantely start him at UKA in nursery this Spring and then Pawsability at BAA in May. He may even go straight into UKA Beginners/BAA Introductory in the summer or once he is confident with his full height and see saws and weaves. I find him a nice little dog to handle when he isn't in a frenzy about the black dog. However his focus seems to have really improved in the last week and it'll be interesting to see how next Thursday goes when black Jack returns.
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
Sunday, 26 October 2008
On Saturday there was no agility so we went to flyball training. This was Magic's second lesson. Ray decided to put Rupert in the class with open lanes and Magic in the class with netting. As we've got 2 dogs and I need to interpret for Jordan we decided we'd do both dogs separately and start with Rup in the open lane.
After Rupert performed reliably but without his agility drive, Guy decided to try Magic in open lanes and work backward. He did argue that he was a Bryning after all and maybe Ray was a bit unambitious for a Bryning...!!! Magic had absolutely no problem working in open lanes so was promoted to the open lane class. By the end of the class Magic was a star, not only runing to retrieve all the way up and down the open lane but also triggering the box. Watching him and knowing it was only his second hour of flyball, he made it look a bit well...easy. He's trying his best to look like Dad when he turns and needs to work on that!!!
We also worked on Jordan getting him to run when the dogs have the ball. We need to get him to work them up a bit more and run back faster. Unfortunately my hand gave in and I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle either of our dogs for the foreseeable future. It's a shame that we have the clash between agility and flyball commitments but I must get Magic into a starters when he is a year old. And get photos when we go in 2 weeks and Magic turns 1.
...Meanwhile Rup continues to race to the box but lovingly chomps on the tennis ball running back. If this was a match he'd be runing back to get the next dog's ball!!!! He has been known to run with 3 balls in his mouth.
Monday, 20 October 2008
On Sunday we decided to check out the WAG agility shows in Whitstable. They're run by the Croxfords and promise to be agility as it used to be - small, friendly. It seemed to be just what we needed to get Rup gonig in indoor conditions so we made the hour and a half hour journey to Kent. Another cold, foggy morning...!
Amanda Pigg was judging so the weather was lovely and, when we arrived the tide at Minas Bay was out. So all 3 boys decided to spend some quality time on the beach before course walking. Magic took one look at the seagulls and was racing them to France, but eventually recalled. He then decided to catch up with them down under. I was freezing but all 3 soon waded back in and got soaked and I hadn't brought a change of clothes for J.
The courses were lovely and due to the small size of the event it was possible to really input into J and Rup re the weaves. Finally in the jumping they got it and did 12 weaves without faults. Shame J forgot to line Rup up at an angle at the start and got E'd. They did a lovely helter skelter and came 6th over all - all heights.
We rounded off the day with fish and chips at a pub on Minas Bay.
If this was how agility used to be why did it change?
Friday, 17 October 2008
It all started Friday when Rupert accidentally(?!!!) chomped a tennis ball in half and chewed one half. It was eventually(!!!) removed from him but a great deal of it was missing. Some was found in the garden, some wasn't.
The next morning was a cold winter morning with fog everywhere. We drove south to Weald show. Rupert was clearly not his usual focused self. He barked and barked. He flew see-saws; came off the dog walk twice; jumped from the top of the A-frame. I decided he couldn't cope with the background noise at indoor shows and decided to give him skull cap and and valerian the next day at Warnham and keep him outside as long as possible. I also realised that with the noise of the indoor school he can't hear Jordan's little voice and Jordan is unaware that he needs to be much, much louder indoors.
The next day wasn't much better. Rup barked and barked, came off the dog walk (again!!!!) and knocked me over. Nearly got a clear in the jumping with J but lost focus in the weaves and shot out and into the tunnel. Got so loony he ran the 1-7 helter skelter on his own - well J followed as fast as he could - luckily Rup went the right way and they won.
The next morning Rup was gagging and sicked up tennis ball all over my pillow - don't ask why there!! He panted and panted so off we went to the vet. £200 later the vet could find no more tennis ball. But she told us to monitor him. The next day more ball came out.
We went to Pachesham on Thursday. Well, Rup seemed OK. He was a bliss to handle. Did beautiful wait starts for the first time in his life. Not himself at all. Back to the vet....!!!! Who could not understand why I thought it was odd that he did sit stays at the start and didn't charge off with his usual bat outa hell starts. However she did say the loopy behaviour was more akin to stuck tennis ball.
Meanwhile the Pachesham pups are seriously go!!!! Magic is doing well. He can loose focus when he has women on the brain, or scent but when focused is showing nice drive. I must take some photos of him. He is confident on the wobble board; getting the hang of the dog walk and contacts. Like Rupert he doesn't like to work away from me as he needs hand signals and lip patterns but the aim is to teach him from the start to go on unless told otherwise. He still has a tendancy to take short cuts to his reward.
Saturday, 4 October 2008
As we weren't doing any agility this weekend we rejoined the Wimbledon Whizzers on Wimbledon Common for flyball this morning. It was Magic's first trianing session. We arrived early to walk the dogs and as I was getting the dogs out of the car a black lab-cross ran out of the car park and onto the busy south circular. I rapidly shut the cockers back in, slammed the boot down and told J to stay with the car. By the time I got onto the South Circular to try and get the dog off it was badly spooked and was runnig in a blind panic. I manged to get it off by throwing sausages as it was so badly stressed it was not coming near me. Thankfully a hunky rugby player from the Harlequins came to assist and we managed to drive it into Asda, where it cowered in the bushes by the delivery vans. It was not at all safe.
While I rushed back for my car ...and Jordan. The hunk called the dog warden. After I got back he departed (shame!!!) leaving us with the dog. We sat very calmly hoping the dog would relax and stay where it was and that seemed to work and I was able to approach it. It had a collar but no tag (fume!!!) and would not let me touch it. After about 30 mins the owner came, who'd lost it out jogging and took the dog off without even waiting for the dog warden (fume!!!). Yeah I gave my lecture about no tag and getting it checked as it may have been hit....!!!
Well by then we'd missed the first 25 mins of flyball and I was a nervous wreck. J wasn't much better.
We put Rup in the beginners with Magic to take him back to basics to give him more focus and try to stop him merrily chomping on the ball after he has got it out of the box and get him to run back with his agility speed and drive and not do lallying having a good chomp. Well he only chomped his way through one ball so that's progress.
The star was Magic. We only expected him to learn to pick up a ball and run to us. He was however soon running down the lane, picking up the ball and running with great speed after us. NOT only that he was picking the ball up with a fast, natural turn, just like his father. Ray was really impressed, especially, as he pointed out, he may be his father's son but he has never watched Drake do his famous swimmer's turns but seems to want to do them. (I wonder what Nat does with her pups before they leave the Bryning kitchen (lol)!!!) I can't wait till he's older and we can really begin to unlock his full potential.
Flyball finished and we drove to Wycombe to pick up some cabinets to put all our trophies and medals in. We've finally finished and a large GandT is called for!!!!
Sunday, 28 September 2008
We went out on a high with J winning the time fault and out and the steeplechase on Sunday. The steeplechase win was by 10 seconds!!!!! (But weaves, sit stays and Rup's potty moments remain problems we need to sort out during the winter.)
The good news is that the Disabled Handlers gold League closes on 30th September and Jordan is a runway winner, having (sadly) beaten Marion and Fizz, the Pap.
Rup and I ran in the pairs with Emma and Flo. We've trained together since our dogs started in agility and always wanted to get the mad cocker and springer together as a pair. Well we did it. We were outclassed as the other midi pairs were higher grades than us. But fluke, we won!!! The course was designed for Rup a lot of ground to cover, which he did in a stonking clear round with no potty moments. Flo did really well too with an unfortuante pole down.
So no more shows until the indoor shows start in October. We'll miss camping and the outdoors. I can't say the sunshine as we didn't get much this year.
Next time we are outside Magic will be competing in nursery/pawsability/all sorts jumping. He's enjoying his training and I'll post some photos over the next few months. The plan is for him to make his debut in the fun run at C-Side in March.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
A few days ago Steve emailed me to ask if I would release the model as the Nikon World Magazine want to do a feature on the photo in the forthcoming Autumn issue. http://www.nikonworld.com/ I duly released the model and signed for him as he is under 18!!! Then came the news via Steve's web page that the photo is also being considered for entry into the prestigous 3rd Fédération Internationale de l’Art Photographique Club’s World Cup in Paris later this year alongside another one of Steve's photos “Big Mick”.
Another of Steve's doggy photos of a would be carriage dog ‘When I Grow Up’ - has just been placed runnner-up in the Dog Photographer Of The Year 2008 Competition - Dogs At Work category and we'll be able to view it at Discover Dogs at Earls Court.
Steve is an absolutely incredible dog sport photographer. The guy amazes me. He stands above the crowd at events like Dash n Splash and has the split second timing to get incredible photos of the dogs hitting the water and all the power and energy. Then there is an almighty splash and Steve gets soaked but somehow his camera stays dry and the splash and water drops are encaptured in his photos. Do check out his web page.
This year Scrambles wasn't our best show. All 3 of us made silly mistakes that cost us dear - a pole in the steeplechase because of my body language; missed weave enteries and Jordan's loss of confidence with weaves and slight panic about hearing the whistle in power and speed. It was unfortunate that weaves in the Royal Canin Agility were just before the last jump so Rupert seeing the finish acellerated, realised he had weaves and went in at the second pole. Shame as our time was the fastest and we lost a qualifying place in the RC Agility. Sunday's agility had the weaves after the start. Again Rup charged off like a bat out of hell at the start and realised he had weaves and, again, went in the second pole. Jordan lost confidence with the weaves in the jumping. But Rup weaved beautifully in snooker and we came 3rd. I realise I need to rethink how I do snooker. I asked the judge and scribe to give me waves instead of a whistle. According to the ring manager they need to wave a lot more!!! They said I was too busy running like a bat outa hell to see them!!! I didn't realise I'd faulted and finished the course. We'd have come 2nd if I'd gone straight to the finish. So folks, if you see us doing any of the whistle games please stand round the ring and wave like fury when the whistle sounds and I may see you in the nano second I'm not controling the mad dog. Our day ended with a 3rd in the steeplechase for Jordan - only points of seconds separated the first 3.
Well, it has been a good year. Only one more show to go before the end of September and we'll find out whether Jordan has won the gold Disabled Handler's League. I have to say I was willing Marion and Fizz to win and am really pelased they have beaten me. But it looks like Jordan is gonig to win it.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
Today was Magic's first agility training session with Eleanor Balchin at Pachesham. He joined a class of 6 other pups of similar age. He isn't the only Bryning in the class! Clare and Skipper one of Pip's pups are also Pachesham pups. Clare even remembers lifting up Magic when he was 2 days old at Nat's. I remember a handsome choc merle boy when I picked up Magic. Well, agility is a small world.
Eleanor's message is Go! Go! Go! Think we'll have to call this class the Thunderbirds. Well, Magic knows that word, phew!!! As long as she doesn't change her theme to wait! (...Must start working even harder on those waits!!!!) It's a miracle if Magic is still for a nano second.
Magic really enjoyed his lesson. He's got "go round"; "walk back" and is enjoying planks now. He is not so good at running over jumps to me - tries to take the short cut to best watch the pigeons in the roof. I realise I need to sound more exciting than the pigeons.
Monday, 15 September 2008
We went on Friday for the Dash n Splash training day. This is a must in our calander as it's the only opportunity to train our dogs to do measured long jumps into water and compete at Dash n Splash and Dock Dogs. We're really grateful to Gwain and Kate Theobold who run these days and are responsible for training the top British water jumping dogs.
This was a great day for Magic who is just starting out. We spent the morning with Jordan handling Rupert in trianing and Gwain worked hard to get more height into his take off. In the afternoon it was Magic!!! How did he get on???!!! Check out this link
Well, he might have lacked some technique in Steve's photos but he was a bold little jumper with a lovely high take off. Gwain was pleased with his natural style!
We caught up with our friends from the GunDog team and Alex kindly spent some time helping me sort out Magic's recall problem. He recalls beautifully except when he gives chase to a live animal. The death toll is currently 3 pheasents, 2 rabbitts and some near misses, which include a baby deer. He's currently on a 30 foot training lead to control these chase instincts. Alex showed me how to use our "dead fowl" and a slip lead to create control and we may have to take him to Alex to work with a pheasent pen soon.
Sadly we weren't camping for the weekend as our cat is on a feeding tube and we had to get home to her. We were both upset as the Hop Farm in Kent is our favourite venue - even if our last expereince was being towed away after the river flooded at Supa Dogs.
Saturday saw an early start as we had 4 courses to walk for the agility. Jordan was nervous. Although Rupert is medium at BAA and UKA he is large at Kennel Club and has to do the full height and both he and Jordan struggle over full height courses. J carefully walked the courses with this in mind, planning his lines and turns. Despite this they didn't do well with faults with knocked poles and weaves. I realise with Rupert going slower over the large height Jordan is alongside him and sending him into the weaves too late. Rupert looks to lipread and goes into the second pole. I tried to troubleshoot this over the weekend but no luck! But they did well with some fantastic rounds and lovely handling. 2 judges actually came up and congratulated Jordan on handling.
I had one of my best agility moments doing the 30 weave pole challenge with Rupert. He did all 30 weaves and we were clear and fast!!! He's gone long way from the dog at the start of the year that ran past weaves to avoid them. (Thanks to Eleanor Balchin at Pachesham!!)
Magic went manic. He was like at kid in a theme park for the first time!!!! He had a go at the 100 meter sprint after a drag. He was underage for this but as he was so up for it the ACES team decided to let him do the full 100 meters. Well, the flying cocker did it in 10.64 seconds not bad. Only points of seconds away from a place in the final.
Rupert was an old hand at Dash n Splash. On the Saturday he jumped into the finals of the mini dogs with an 18 foot jump. He was first in the mini dogs final and 3rd in the division 2. We were could not believe the first prize - a dog basket full of toys and treats donated by Horley Pet Supplies. It was worth carrying it across the showground to the car!!!!!
Sunday Rupert decided to "go weeble" instead of vertical in the Dash n Splash. If you don't know what weeble is check out this link
Despite this change in style he jumped into the division 2 and mini dog finals with a jump of over 18 feet. He was once again first in the mini dog final - and - yes, won another generous dog basket! However by division 2 he was tired and wanted his dinner and only managed 5th place.
But on Sunday Magic was a little star!!! He jumped 12 foot and got a place in the mini dog finals where he jumped 11 foot to come 4th. Not bad for a youngster. Watch that dog next year!! Who knows he may even beat Rupert!!!
We returned home exhausted. The cockers think it's Christmas with 2 dog baskets full of toys and treats.