Saturday, 5 September 2009

BAA Finals Weekend

It was a real dilemma for us as Magic had qualified for the finals of the UKA Dog Games Steeplechase at Staverton but we decided to give this a miss as the cockers had qualified for several BAA fianls. AND the Clever Dogs (fly-agility) is the highlight of our year.

Both Rupert and Magic were in the finals which tured out to be a round robin. Not good for Rup who is still a bit unfit and we still have somehwere to go with the Galen muscotheraphy. The 12 weaves were still early on in the course - not good for Magic who likes more exciting things up front. To top it Magic and Rupert were drawn to run against each other in the first leg!!! Magic decided to invade Rup's lane and both decided to do it in tandem. So they we through the weaves together, over the jumps and through the tunnels together. And up the flyball lane. Maxine decided to give both a ball. Eveeryone was laughing so much. Rup eventually came 4th and Magic 5th. I think Magic will do better next year if he decides to focas and get through those weaves and not try to race off down the flyball lane. He is by far one of the fastest dogs doing it.

Rupert didn't jump at all well after that, so we decided not to run him. Magic was a little star and we came 2nd in the Trios relay with Sylvia and Malcom.

The highlight of the weekend was the presentation of the Advanced U12 Junior trophy to Jordan, Rupert and Magic. It's a great achievement as this is grade 4-7 and to have won it with Rupert and 22 month old Magic is quite something given the other kids run 2 grade 5/6 dogs each. They won it by about 150 points.

A lovely end to our BAA year.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Cocker Kidz at the KC Festival

I'm writing this with the feeling that I took a load of kids to the KC International Festival. Well, I suppose I did - Jordan, aged 9. Rupert aged 4 and Magic aged 1.

It started with the excitement of the arrival and all 3 were manic with excitement and the atmosphere. Friday morning Sara came to give Rupert some Galen therapy before the International Young Handler and he went bonkers to see her. He is a real Galen groupie and it proves it's making him feel better. He was so excited and got 5 faults in the jumping. Next up was Magic and it was all too much for him and he ran out of the ring to tell Mummy how exciting it all was and jumped back round the course, so got E'd. Next was the agility round, which was in a ring in the middle of the show ground. This suited Rup fine. He bolted for the A fame and stood on the top watching everything from that view point and howling his delight. Then went up the dog walk to do the same. Magic meanwhile discovered the Purina van and paddling pool and ran out of the ring to visit the pool and then did a few more obstacles and back tot eh pool. So much for the International Young Handler this year!!!

The next day Rup pulled himself together and got a 5th in the G1 agility which qualified him for the YKC Crufts agility semi final at The City of Birmingham next year for Crufts 2011. He then got a 20th place in the G1 jumping which again qualifies him for the YKC semi final for the jumping at Crufts 2011 at the KC Festival next year. So all we need is a jumping placed clear for Magic. It wasn't at the Festival it was all too much for him and he kept running out of the ring to the Purina van except in one more quiet ring where he did a lovely round with Jordan but unfortunately got a refusal in the weave entry. I will say that he was a bit responsible as when he exited the ring he did run along the walkways to the Purina van and not through the rings!! So there is hope yet.

The YKC Crufts qualifier saw Magic take yet another trip to the Purina van and an E!! Jordan got badly stung running Rup and it all went belly up.

But all in all the cocker kidz did OK with the 5th and the 20th and most of all the experience. The highlight was meeting Orianne and Murphy, Magic's brother.

Off to DINAS with the kidz.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

A week of rain, mud, promotion and Crufts Magic

It seems like last century but on Monday we drove up to the UKA Nationals at Tewkesbury. We had a late start as I had to sort out my tax credits or else... and we didn't get the camping pitch we wanted and had to camp up the hill by the sand pit away from the rings.

The week began well - Jordan and Rupert did a stonker in the Monday evening tunnel maze and came 2nd or 3rd. Magic enjoyed it but I had to choose to run or hold up my trousers as the belt went half way through and dignity won over glory. Seconds later the heavens opened and every one scattered so I should have erred on the side of glory. The next day Rupert won the juniors and was placed in all his other classes. Sadly he and J got E'd in the Nationals - in the dog walk/wrong end of tunnel grave yard.

Meanwhile the relentless rain continued and the 2 roan cockers became grey cockers. It was like Glastonbury. Wet and damp was the theme. But I was on the top of the hill. I decided I needed some warm so J and I swam down the main road to the pub for dinner. When we came back it was like Supa dogs. Everybody down the hill had or was being moved up the hill. J dug in and helped carry caravan awnings up the hill for people moving before being dried off by me before going to bed.

Mud took over the week and damp. Rup runs well in that kind of weather and did a beautiful agility round with run contacts to rival Dawn Weaver's and won into Senior. But it was the Rise of the Worms and Magic discovered that the rising water drove the worms to the top of the soil and was relentless in his quest to dig them out. It put a new slant on spag bog. Luckily - apart from juniors - we were running him NFC to perfect the run contact, weaves and to make him run with Jordan.

On Friday I decided to go to the Chippenham YKC Show to run Rup in the Agility Dog of the Year and Magic but I felt it really was a year early for him. He still has problems with the A frame and finding the weave entry. If there are worms he just won't run. Greg Derrett was very supportive and said they'd tow us out. But the 4 wheel drive got stuck towing someone else out. was decided to take down the post and rail fence at the top of the hill where we were camped. Horray we were now a 5 star pitch with road access and we took off for the Chippenham show.

After an evening on a camp site on Watership Down and Magic with a dead bunny - caught on his bedtime walk. But on the up side camped beside a wonderful pub called the 4 Magpies. We set off late for Chippenham as I had to clean the van of mud and remains of bunny. It wasn't torrential rain but it was constant, relentless drizzel.

I love the YKC CHippenham Show - the club are so supportive of young handlers. There was a practice ring until 10.30 and we unleashed the cockers. Rup went well over the large KC height on quite a difficult course and Magic was running for Jordan with lovely run contacts. First up was Rup who decided he'd left his brain at Tewkesbury but he was going clear until J decided to run for the weaves and layer the jump with another obstacle. Rup, not used to doing the large height, didn't see the corner jump and followed J's path and was E'd. Ohhhhh!!!!!!!!

J was devastated his Crufts dream was gone. He was quite realistic that Magic wasn't ready. But Magic by name and Magic by nature.... The start was bad, Magic decided to treat himself to some worms on the start line but once he'd done that was over the start line and galloping round. It was a lovely round until, for some reason, he slipped on the A frame. This dented his confidence but J encouraged him back up and he redid the A Frame but jumped the contact. 10 faults. But very fast and lovely weave entry and weaves. E's followed and a slow round with 10 faults. Magic was through to Crufts with what was a lovely round bar that slip on the A Frame and reaction to it. A deserved result as he is only 20 months and this was his 2nd agility round in competition.

He also came 4th in the tunnel maze.

Don't ask me about Rup the rest of the day. He just barked and acted like he'd never been trained for agility.

So Magic is off to Crufts in the U12 Young Kennel Club Agility Dog of the Year (medium). He's also qualified for Stoneleigh 2010 jump off for an agility place at YKC Crufts. And Jordan and Magic now enter the Agility Club U12 League.

Unfortunately the rain brought the worms to the surface and Magic decide they were more fun than agility for the rest of the day, so I took them all home - exhausted, muddy and exhilerated well one was with Crufts, the other with worms and Rup is high most of the time.

I NEVER WANT TO SEE MUD AGAIN !!!! I have spent the whole day cleaning cockers, going to flyball training (where Magic cocker decided the fox hole was the best thing) and Galen sports massage and washing clothes, van etc and cleaning up Magic poo as teh diet of worms does not suit him.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A New Partnership

After a very tense week due to the problems we're having at the moment and worries about Rup's sporting future, we went to Ashfordby for the BAA Mid summer Madness Show.
Rup had had his first session of Galen massage and I feel he is looser. However he had also had the first 2 steroid injections which the vet feels accounts for his looseness. I'm not sure which is benefiting Rup - all I can say is he is quite hyped up with the steroids and I do slightly regret doing the injections at this time of year. He has one more tomorrow and the last the day we leave for the UKA Nationals next week.
The weekend kicked off with the Disney fancy dress and Jordan and Rup came 2nd as Will Tuner and Capt Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Magic was due to join in but was sacked due to trying to chew up Rup's cutlass and pistol. Then we got forked lighting just as we were about to do 2 handlers, one dog and the rings closed for 40 mins.
I decided to work extra hard at getting Jordan running with Magic. J played frisbee with Magic and suddenly Magic decided he was OK running with Jordan and didn't need to keep running back to see Mummy providing she stands on the start line. Magic is much better runnnig with Jordan as he has quite a long fast stride and Jordan runs faster than I do and strides alongside him better. BAA is all heights and I was pleased that they clocked up 4 clear rounds just outside the placings with times of 18 secs. I do think Magic and Jordan will be up in the first 3 next year as Magic is still not working away, lacks confidence, weave entry needs polishing and he isn't yet at full speed. Jordan and Magic are still developing thier communicating and it's interesting as J is using directional claps to run Magic. As you can see from the photos he is economical on his turns. It should be easy for them to loose seconds. They also came 6th in the advanced juniors.
Rup was defiantely slower than normal due to the impact of the steroids on his behaviour. But was clear most of the time and got in the placings.
Well, I'm dogless again but hopfully the next cocker will be my dog. I will run Magic when he starts Agility classes at shows. We've taken him off agility due to needing to polish the run contact. Personally I'm happy to follow Toni Dawkins' advice and keep him out of agility classes until grade 4 when he is confident about his speed and working remotely and the contacts are embedded. I may however run him NFC at UKA in agility classes to trian the contact. However this decision means he will be beginners at UKA for quite a while which is a shame as he already has enough points to go through to novice on the jumping. He is novice in the steeplechase.
I spent a lot of the weekend in thought over what we should do re retiring Rupert in the next 2-3 years/ reducing his agility. I had toyed with looking for a medium collie but I have to remember that Jordan's father was over 6 foot and that Jordan is now 9 and in the next 2 years will start growing and we need a dog that he can grow into long term both physically and as a handler, even if I handle it for the first year or so. He is honestly going to need a large dog to develop further. I also feel he needs a large fast dog as the advanced juniors is always won and placed by the kids running grade 5/6 collies. I'm in love with working beardies/collie beardie crosses and I'm looking at some collie/beardie/lurcher pups this week. But J wants a collie. I've also started to look at collies that would be right for J - fast, trainable, high drive but without the collie traits that would not suit a household of cockers and children. I found several this weekend and 2 were from Canen Roy lines! I plan to watch dogs very carefully over the next few months to identify lines.
I'm now not sure what our summer will be. We are going to the UKA Nationals next week. I'm very unsure as to whether to go to the YKC Chippenham show as I'm not sure if Rup is able/should to jump the full KC height and Magic is not 100 per cent with A frame contacts and I'd only let J run him in that if the dog walk entry was straight. Rup and J were also in the YKC at the KC International and the International Young Handler. Oh dear!!! We'll just have to see how the UKA nationals go and try Rup over the large height in the practice ring.
No agility this weekend but we are trying out for a new flyball team that we can run Magic in from September.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Rupert Has Hip Dyspasia

Oh!!!! It all started back in January when gung ho Rupert tried to fly a dog walk and came off. A few weeks later he started dropping poles and I noticed he was 3 seconds slower. He was also holding up his right leg. I took him to the vet, who was not our usual vet and she simply gave me a lecture of how wrong I was to BARF but she OK take him to a chiro if you want him to do better at agility. Our chiro is great and expereinced with agility dogs. She confirmed he had a compressed verterbrae and he responded well to her treatment. He stopped dropping poles and his times are almost back to where they were. However he still has a great deal of stiffness in his lower back.

At Paws in the Park his Dash n Splash jumps weren't his massive 19 to 20 foot jumps. We are due to see the chiro agian in July but I contacted Sara, who is offering Galen massge to injured agility dogs to do case studies. I feel this will really help Rup with the muscle stiffness. However I needed a vet's consent form so back I went to the vet. Kate, one of the Dash n Splash trainers also feels Rup isn't right and she wondered if it was spondolitis. It was my usual vet and a new permanent vet so they took me a lot more seriously and decided to X ray Rup. The good news is that his spine and discs are OK. They are concerned about the muscle stiffness. BUT he has bilateral hip dysplasia. It is mild at the moment and probably would not have been picked up if all this hadn't happened. The vet feels he must do agility and continue with his active lifestyle. I said I'd retire him from flyball but she says not to. Thankfully I have historically fed him evening primrose oil, glucosamine and chonoroitin, grizzly salmon oil/cod liver since he started agility, so he should have good synovial fluid. The vet has also given his a course of 4 injections that have to be repeated annually.

Jordan is gutted. Rupert is only 4 and we now cannot predict how long his agility career will be. What we do know is that he will only do it as long as he enjoys it and is comfortable doing it. His partnership with Magic is still in the early stages and Magic is a bit of a mummy's boy. And to be honest Magic's heart is in flyball and Dash n Splash/Dock Dogs . I think all we can do is monitor Rupert. When we find a new flyball team he can do starters where he is a nice consistant banker dog. He's not knocking poles and is still doing his cannonball agility runs so he must be enjoying them. And as long as he gets to jump into water it doesn't matter if he does 16 or 20 foot. I hope retirement and the painful arthristis stage is a long way off for Rupert.

We are now seriously looking for new dog(s) to replace Rupert in the longer term.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Cockers Unleashed

It was Dogs Unleashed at Newark this weekend. After one of the worst weeks of my life (thanks for your support) - we left on Thursday to help set up the Clever Dogs. It was a complete nightmare. The area allocated was too small for the Clever Dogs, 50 weave challenge and splash pool plus our camping. Given this was marked out by roads there was no flexibility. The ground was virtually concrete. To further add to our problems while we were trying to crack the logistics and set up on Friday, there was a steam roller driving assessment round the showground with rollers going up and down all day doing our heads in.

Our stress levels were high on Saturday when the show started! Not good if you are running cockers. To top it were were camped by the flyball and Magic completely devastated my mattresses trying to get out of the van to join in. His father, Drake, was racing with the Demons Dogs and I had wanted to watch. Due to running Clever Dogs I only caught a glimpse. But I heard Drake won the gun dog scrurry. Shame we didn't get to do it due to Clever Dogs.

Back to agility...Magic jumped well on the Saturday and got 2 clear rounds, just outside the placings. Rup had lost the script and was all out to be E'd but broke his
es to take a 10th in the primary jumping.

Sunday was a bridge too far. We were parked under the all night spot lights and after another sleepless night, we'd all lost the script. Rup continued to collect Es and only broke his record to get a 3rd in the advanced juniors but that was only due to Jordan's firm handling as he was totally headless!!! Magic then put his paw done and decided cockers just want to have fun so ....he... got addicted to terrier racing and managed to catch and eat the rabbit thing twice. At £1 for one go this meant he couldn't go again. £5 of Jordan's pocket money later and teh concern that tehy were out of rabbit skin, they agreed to pull it faster and he qualified for the final with 4.13. He then refused to do agility and became very distractable. During the advanced juniors he just raced round the ring doing a few jumps and running out of the ring to tell mummy it was fun time. He then jumped the barrier fencing and raced off across the showground and into the splash pool leaving the judge standing in the ring with Jordan. Thankfully Rup had completed his round, BUT he was tied up by the ring. He too bolted, with the ring stake, after Magic and the 2 cockers were found in the splash pool. They were marched back soaking to the juniors to apologise to Jordan and the judge. Well Magic got a lovely well done rosette for entertaining everybody with his antics and Rup got an undeserved trophy for being third.

Unfortunately Magic had once again lost his brain during that escapade. He spent circular jumping eating weeds and jumped the barrier fencing to gatecrash a picnic. As I was working on the Clever dogs most of the day, Sue K took him and J for the finals of the terrier racing. His antics had tired him out and he only managed 4.36 and was 4th. Not bad racing against sight hounds. Sad as there were no terriers in the finals.

We're taking a break from agility this week as Rup is having Galen massage for his back. I saw an ad on Agility Net for an injured agility dog in our area to be a case study. I hope that this will benefit Rup and help us to get a pre jumping massage routine going. He's still not 100 per cent right and it's quite worrying. He's not knocking poles and his timings are now back to what they were but he is stiff. The chiro has signed him off. I think I may get his back X-rayed in case it's spondolitis.

PS If anybody finds Magic's brain on the Newark showground please return it as he still seems to be without it as he spent his agility class with Jordan this am digging up a rat hole.

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Magic Hat trick topples Rupert

It was Paws in the Park at Broadlands with agility and Dash N Splash.

I was worried about Dash n Splash. Since his back injury Rupert hasn't been jumping into water at all well. Magic at the Kent County Show had reverted to stopping before jumping into the blue and was only managing about 13 foot. I decided to book the Greyfriars hydro pool to sort out both dogs.

The hydro therapy session was mad both dogs were manic - jumping in and swan for their entire 25 minute session. I don't think the staff had seen anything like it. We're going back on the 2nd July.

Well, the hydro did the trick on Magic and he is less cautious about jumping into blue water.
He did well at the qualifiers on Saturday doing his 13 foot to get a place in the final. He also qualified for the final of the Splash n Grab speed retrieve. Rupert seemed in slightly better form with a 15 foot jump - not his 19/20 foot jumps but better than expected. We don;t put him in Splash n Grab as he just chomps on the ball and has a luxury swim.

First we had the splash and grab finals with Magic as top seed with a 10 sec qualifying time. He has a lovely targeted jump that lands just where he needs to pick up the ball and when he returns I only have to say ball and he rolls it to me. We were down to the last 2 when disaster struck. It's best out of 3 retrieves. We won the first and then on the second a child threw a stick into the water just nano seconds before magic jumped. It snapped into 2 and Magic caught the small bit. I thought he'd swallow it. We got a re-run but he had lost it. Was it stick or ball? So we were second.

Next was the Dash n Splash mini (17/18 inches and under) finals. Rupert is the unbeaten winner of this event. Sadly he only managed 15 1/2 feet. A springer called Jasper managed 16. Magic did 13. So Rupert was beaten into 2nd place with Magic 3rd.

The next day saw a new Magic. His speed on the run and height in the jump got him a qualifying jump of about 15 and a half feet. Rupert did 15. Magic also once again qualified for the Splash n grab finals.

Magic was out to win splash n grab from the outset. Targeted jumps, instant retrieves, quick release of the ball to me. (Anyone who has watched his grandfather in gun dog trials will know what I mean by this.) Well, we won.

Rupert seemed less complacent about the Dash n Splash finals and jumped 16 foot. Not bad - only 2 more feet and he'd be at his last year's average of 18. But this was Magic's day. He did a massive jump of 18 foot to win. (And I think there is another 3-4 foot in him.)

Rupert was rather sulky at Magic winning a Pets at Home voucher, free entry to Dash Splash and a luxury dog bed plus loads of treats from the doggie deli.

Rupert was a star in the agility ring. We didn't do much due to Dash n Splash but he came away with a 3rd in the G1-5 jumping a 2nd in the G1-2 jumping and 1st in the G1-2 agility.

Check out Steve Collins Momofoto web page for photos of the weekend.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Promotions and a familiy reunion

I cannot believe that I have not posted for 2 months! As most of you know, this has been a really difficult time for us and I cannot thank enough all of you who have supported us in the past months. This post is brief as we are still not out of the woods yet... But I could not let 2 occasions go by without mention.

We met up with Nat and the Demon Dogz at Wood Green and got to run in a starters team with them. It was a fantastic experience and we learnt so much. As we'd not done flyball since Easter we were a bit rusty. Magic and Jordan had forgotten most of their training!!! Magic had gone back to his January habit of running back in the lane. But we came 2nd but most of all I've seen some good flyball potential in Rupert, which I'd never seen before. We also enjoyed meeting Gemma, Paul, Alison and the dogs. I fell in love with Dora, the dog with the giant personality, who has the 100 per cent wow factor. Since then Jordan has remembered his training and is now nagging me to do more flyball. Thanks guys for a great day and for putting the buzz back inot flyball for us.

The pictures are of Magic reunited with Mum and Dad (who struggled to sit still for a nano second for the photos!! Even with Gemma nagging him!!!)
We drove form Wood Green to Chippenham, where Rup and Jordan were cheated of a YKC Crufts certificate and a 1st place by the final pole falling after the crowd and the judge were clapping and celebrating the beautifully handled round. Poor J is now known as the little boy with the pole!!!!! (The less said of Magic that day who was still a bit scatty and spent his rounds chasing butterflies in the ring and was referred to as the scatty one).
The next week was UKA Quad Paws and Magic became his reliable hard working self again and shot up from beginners into novice in the steeplechase programme. He's also done well in performance with points in games and jumping. We just need the 12 agility points to go up but I've decided not to run him in agility until his run contact is consistent. I also feel he needs time at the beginners level to enjoy himself without the pressure. After all cockers jus wanna have fun!!!!
Rupert also went into Senior in the steeplechase programme and he and Jordan are clocking up the points and are moving towards Champ (ahh!!!). However the single agility point they need to go senior in the performance programme eludes them. All their agility points were non qualifying as Rup alternated between contact and weave faults all week with intent!!!! How can that dog do beautiful run contacts one day and not the next and perfect weaves one day and just stand staring at the weaves the next!!! On the final day he deiced to do both weaves and contacts perfectly but to do TYOL agility. Maybe he knows Jordan needs a little bit more time in novice to build up confidence!!! Canny cocker.

Monday, 6 April 2009

The Flying cocker launches

It was a busy weekend. Scrambles on Friday, starters flyball at Barlylands and back to Scrambles on Sunday.

We had a lovely day on Friday at Scrambles. For some reason Rupert was dropping poles, so I need to see a chiro. I'm not sure if it is due to him been "over fuled" on the new raw feed diet or something physical. However all the problems went and he came 3rd in the novice steeplechase. Magic was a bit giddy in the morning and got E'd in the steeplechase bombing off into a tunnel. As the nursery agility was the last class of the day, I decided to ask Jordan to handle him. They are going so well as a team at flyball and agility training, I wanted to see what would happen in a ring. Well, it was quite cos it was the end of the day but it was also 5pm and well past cocker T-time. They flew off really well - fast and confident relating well to each other. Then they turned the corner and cocker spotted my van and flew to the van. Jordan called him back and he continued and then ran off to the van again. Shame. I think I'll wait till we get the enclosed rings at BAA before I try that again and try and get them in long before T time.

It was now 5.30 and it was still not cocker T-time as the circular knockout was about to begin. Rup was entered. Food was written all over his face. Well the king of speed did a cracking first round and we caught up with our oppoment and I had a scary moment on the flick flack as Rup charged towards her dog. Luckily she remembered the rules and gave way and Rup roared to
the finish. The second round Rup was in serious need of food. He stopped to sniff at some goose poo just before the flick flack, lost concentration and decided it was pull through. We lost vital seconds and got beaten. 6.00pm and T time came hours late.

Next morning we left a the crack of dawn for Barlylands in Essex for the Mad Mutts Starters tournament. This was Jordan and Magic's first starters. Guy took control of both Jordan and his friend, Charlie who was going to run Major - a giant Belgium shepherd dog. They were in the Wimbledon Waggers in Division B. Charlie went first, just as well as Major is a seriously strong dog and Jordan second again just as well as Magic is like a greased snake on the start line. Both Wimbledon teams were mostly composed of dogs who had only just started in the new year and it was regarded as a training experience. Some found it all too much, some got quite giddy. It was wonderful to watch Guy and Ray working with each of the dogs and the improvement throughout the tournament. Also with Jordan and Charlie to give them confidence. I was really proud of The boys and their dogs - although there is a lot to work on in terms of technique over time - they didn't put feet or paws wrong. Magic flew, faultless apart from running back in after the first run. It was also nice to see Lian's little Sizzle running so well in the other team. Well, the Waggers were saved from coming 5th on time and we came 4th.

Later that day we entered the Flying Cocker and the King of Speed in the 50 meter dash. The Flying Cocker was tired and wanted his tea as it was 6pm (again!!!) but the blue van was parked at the end of the dash (hehehe!!!!!!!) He flew the dash in 5.37 and the King of Speed at 5.54. The flying cocker was first in the mini dogs with the king second. However Magic also had the same time as Bramble who came third in the big dogs.

We finally got home at 9pm. Up at 6m for Scrambles. First up was Magic's nursery course. I have never seen such a ridiculous nursery course. A staggered start that would have sat well at novice level with traps. It was not a course for dogs at this level. People were quite angry and several handlers decided not to run or go NFC. To be honest I couldn't see the training in that course and after watching 10 Es was about to pull out when Marion sitting in her chair saw a line through the opening sequence that wasn't obvious walking the course. I lined Magic up in front of Marion's chair right on the ropes and he flew over the opening part and did lovely run contacts. He was a dream to handle and as we approached the last jump we were clear.....then the cocker struck he saw the finish and decided he wanted a little more fun and shot off for a lap of honour in a tunnel and back over the last jump. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The beginners steeplechase was another course not really aimed at beginner level. I wasn't concentrating as Jordan and Rupert were due in another ring and due to the lack of ring party J was in tears as he couldn't find the queue. I ran Rupert for the rest of the day. We were 3rd in the steeplechase and surprisingly 2nd in the agility which was over a really challenging technical course that I enjoyed but felt it was aspirational.

Finally, again at T time. It was the Laser Pairs. I was running with Tracey and Star. Star was tired and Rupert wanted his T. It was over full height. We won the first heat. In the second Star was tiring and I took Rup too fast and he knocked a pole. Knocking that pole distracted him and he missed the tunnel entrance. He then took more poles. At least I know now the speed he needs to go at over full KC height when Jordan has him in the YKC agility.

It was then T and home to bed.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Magic's big adventure

I didn't feel like it - still got a cold and infected sinus - but we went to UKA Waverunners. It was freezing cold with an icy east wind. The venue was covered in foul goose turds that the cockers found irresistible to roll in and eat.... and to top it the loos were shut as they'd flooded.

I'd put Magic in the nursery agility and decided to run him over the small height to encourage him not to run under the jumps. When I got him and took him to the ring he was sooooo excited and barked and jumped up and down. He was so excited he took off and jumped the first jump and ran past the dog walk. However that was his only 5 faults and otherwise it was a nice round. In the steeplechases he was entered at medium jump height. I was very pleased as he jumped well and fast, he just messed up the start due to over excitement ...and suceeded in knocking me over when he went into overexcited bambi. I'm told I fell very gracefully and got up and finished well within course time!!!

I won't write about Rup on Saturday. The less said the better. He played up all day - even left the ring for a mouthful of goose poo and, again on a hunt to find mummy to remind her it was getting towards tea time.

That night we had the Wimbledon Whizzers first birthday party. It's quite amazing that a club who only started a year ago have been so successful with 3 teams, 2 starters teams. Run their own winter warmer and got enough variety of dogs to run a multi breed league!!!! Rupert got a certificate for being the most versatile dog and Magic for being the youngest dog to attend training (...memories of him aged 9 weeks in a warm canvas dog carrier, braking and whining to be let out to have a go!) So we were late in bed...

At 7am I felt we had time in hand when we left for Waverunners. I then realised the clocks had gone forward and it was really 8am!!! So we arrived as the courses were just finishing walking. The nursery agility was very technical and Magic forgot about his contacts. (I think at the next UKA, I'll go NFC in the nursery to double check he does know them in the ring as he is 100 per cent in training.)

I decided to do Tellington Touch with him to calm and focus him before the Steeplechase. This worked. Plus it was a Magic course with an exciting tunnels sequence early on after a good run and the fiddly bits half way. I took it slowly and we ran on 2nd and 3rd gears. That's the beauty of Magic you can control him when he is calm. He was very responsive to left and right signs. Well, we went clear and he was 2nd!!!!

Somehow all the novice courses came at the same time and started on midi. So we walked about 3 courses and Rupert went from ring to ring. So Magic was a bit manic when I got him out of the van for the 2nd steeplechase. I tried to calm him down but there wasn't a lot of time. To top it we were next to a very yappy snappy dog which didn't help. Magic just shot off and headed for the first tunnel he could see and got an E. When he did come back and knuckled down he was fantastic.

Well, I'm really pleased with him and that 2nd place. He's now got points on the Gun Dog League like his big brother. I'm really looking forward to next week and to the not so far ahead future when we can run him in 4th gear or rather Jordan can as he runs much faster than me!!!

Jordan and Rup got rather a lot of rosettes. They are only a few games points away from senior.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Gun Dog Weekend

It finally arrived! The weekend of the long awaited Gun Dog Show.

We started by heading north east to the East Midlands for the last Winter BAA EMDAC show. I must admit I felt awful driving up. Very cold and nose like a tap. After the night in a Travel Lodge I'd lost my voice. And realised I'd forgotten Rupert's ritalin equivilent. Ahhhh!!!!

The day started with the primary jumping. I was furious with the ring party and judge. I have told Jordan not to go in the ring with Rupert until the last dog is finishing and not to line him up on the start until the judge and scrimer are ready. Well, the stupid leads person made J stand on the start line with lead off while the last dog was still jumping. Rupert was manic. Then to top it the juge decided to talk to the previous competitor. Meanwhile J was hanging on to Rupert for dear life. When he finally let go Rupert crashed the first fence. (His first pole down in 1 year). He was manic and an E followed.

J lost a lot of confidence and asked me to handle Rup in power and speed. Rup pretended not to know what a contact was but luckily did touch them. He did a stonker of the speed and was 4th -shame he checked my signs and that hesitation cost him a higher place.

J had him in the agility and they made a lovely start over a tricky course. There was a horrid switch after the dog walk to avoid a tunnel that J fluffed. So Rup charged off into the tunnel and an E. Not content with that he indulged in a giddy spot of fun.

Next came the advanced juniors. Jordan had now become dolly day dream. It was also not a course for Rup with a really fast start into some very tricky handling. I was wishing Magic was 18 months as it was much more his kind of course. I lined them up with medium ticket after the large dogs and hid. Suddenly J and R were doing the full height course with J doing the opposite to what I'd told him. Rup was treating the full height as a a sign he needed more speed. Now I must admit it is very odd for J not to wait for the jumps to go down or insist this happens. Well, I just exploded with him about being responsible for his dog and doing the right height. He said the ring party pushed him in and he was copying his friend. Ahhh!!!!!

By now I was feeling really rough. And 2 hours of ring party was all I needed - a voiceless scrimer was all the judge needed. J was doing both leads and sheets. And nobody bothered to help. We left poor Harold Weston doing all our jobs to do take your own line.

J suddenly went up a gear and wanted to do TYOL. I explained the rules and realised this could be a Rup course. J was game and the pair did a stonker that put them in 4th place with points of seconds depriving them of a first.

Thankfully I was better the next day. Still sniffing. But we made our way to the Gun Dog show. J had a new found confidence. First up was the G1-7 steeplechase. J and R flew the course and I was pretty sure they would be first as the jumped the last fence. Everyone started clapping and then.... the last pole wobbled and dropped. 5 faults!!!!! J's face said it all, so did the judge's! J did 2 agility rounds in the G1-4 and came 4th overall due to a handling fluff that caused Rup to uncharacteristically run past the A Frame. I had serious concerns about the G1-4 jumping as it was like the advanced juniors - a fast motorway start with a sharp left instead of carrying on. Well, despite a bat outa hell start with Rup 2 jumps ahead he heard J hoot and may have seen J twist left but he did go left and a fast clear put the pair in 1st place. What with that and being 3rd in the G1 Gun Dog League J is the happiest child in Surrey.

Well next week brings about the "age of Magic". I must say I'm really excited. He was a little star in trianing last week. Eleanor is really stretching the Pachesham pups and introduced some quite challenging "layering". Magic is so responsive he didn't mind that I was handlnig him from 15 foot away with jumps or weaves inbetween me and the equipment he was doing. He did what he was asked. Eleanor is also working hard at the weaving to get the pups going straight down the middle of the V weaves. I need to do a lot more work with Magic on this. He also has a tendancy to go too fast over jumps and go under. I''m not expecting much at Waverunners except fun. (Too many birds and the river in view!!! (LOL) I was hopnig to work with him today but I'm exhausted and still coughing.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Surf the new and cockers you will find

Jordan and I think that our cocker boys are the most handsome and it seems that others may agree!!

Steve Collins' award winning photo "Rupert Gets Vertical" that once graced the front cover of Dogs Today also featured in the nikon World autumn magazine. It's now on their web edition:

The new YKC web site has incorporated Lynn Coupland's photo of Jordan and the cockers onto their new banner:

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Jet lagged, tagged, measured and E'd

What a bad blogger I've become. We went to China to visit a friend who is working there and had the holiday of a lifetime. We crammed so much into so little time and got back with so many happy memories - making a snow Buddah in the Summer Palace; a snow fight and a bottle of Great Wall Wine on the Wall and running round the Olympic Stadium. Photos of our holiday are on Danielle's picsa site. Coming home was a real downer as there was so much to deal with in our life back home as some of you know. My thanks to all of you who have supported us over the past few months and continue to do so.

Well I've been tagged. I'm not going to tag others as all bloggers I know have been tagged several times. When I went to my 5th folder and photo it was a bit emotional....the arrival of Rupert. This is Rupert's first breakfast at our house. We had picked him up from a game keeper in Loughborough on a detour on our way home to Surrey after our holiday in Dorset. He was 12 weeks and had been living out in kennels and ahd never been in a house before. After one night the bond between Jordan and Rupert was there and Rup cried whenever Jordan left him. Just looking at the kitchen I think how much our lives have changed. The floor is muddy, the cat eats on the work surface where she can stare down, goddess like, at the dogs. The only thing that hasn't changed is that bond between J and Rup.
Well, we got back from China and after a week dealing with problems and work etc. Magic was measured at BATS. He's medium but his long legs put him at the top end. No more growing for him!!!
We went to C Side this weekend and it was like taking 3 naughty children to a finals. J was nervous and in a silly 8 year old mood. Rupert was likewise - they are a pair. Magic was his usual kid out a fun day self. We arrived and there was this awful stink in the car park which wasn't Magic breaking wind. It was worse... I let the dogs out and within seconds Magic had raced off and rolled in some urghhhh slime stuff. He stank. I ran him off under the tap in the yard but the stink stuck. It was all over me too.
J and Rup were a right pair in the starters agility. Rup pretended he didn't know what weaves were and shot off into a nearby tunnel. J got disheartened and it was a disaster. I told Jordan off for not rewarding Rupert and for getting so down hearted in the ring. So we had tears. (But I did hit home a life lesson.) They had a stonker in in the starters jumping until J made a mistake and didn't pull through and ran on and Rup back jumped on the 3rd to last fence. J was disappointed by rewarded Rup and seems to have learnt that lesson.
Next was Magic's fun run. A nice helter skelter. I decided to do the 45 cm height. I got him stinking from the car and felt really nauseous. We played attention games in the queue and as soon as he realised he was going in the ring he became so excited. Pulling to go in with his upper lip curled in excitement. I decided this was going to be fun. Cockers are like kids and I decided a fun childhood experience was what we needed. I got a very short wait and he bambied, like some magical beast, over the first jumps at great speed and was going so fast he went under the 4th jump and shot into the tunnel. He ran by the box (he has never done a box combination before) but immediately came back and did a lovely box and back in the tunnel. (A joy to handle) I decided not to correct him when he went under another jump, just to encourage the speed and the go, go go, factor and reward the coming back and attentiveness. He did a fantastic gallop down the final jumps and Liz was standing to catch him at the exit but he didn't do his lap of honour just turned and looked at me with his ear jauntily turned over his head and upper lip curled saying "Can I do this again!!!" He's a fantastic little dog and his long strides and speed will really suit Jordan. He is going to be an accurate little dog as he is so anxious to do what you want him to. His next "outing" is at UKA Waverunners at the end of the month in the nursery and steeplechase.
Next was the C Side final. And the 1-7 jumping. Ahhhhh!!!! I walked the finals course with Jordan and it had the weaves in the very same place with a right hand entry into them and the tempting tunnel beyond in sight. Otherwise a nice course. J was very nervous. I popped Rup over the 1-7 jumping not having walked the course and it was one of Pete Heffer's puzzles. We got a clear but it was slower as I had to find 13 to 14 and we were 6th!!!!! Back to the C Side final., J got cockered in the weaves. He went far too fast off the dog walk and the corner jump going into the weaves and Rup shot past the weaves; then pretended he didn't know what a weave entry was and got bored in the weaves and shot into the tunnel. J was firm with him and thy finished E'd but respectable. J immediately bought Rup a treat at the shop for being in teh finals.
I decided to handle Rup in the 1-7 agility as it was a horrid start and I knew he wouldn't wait for Jordan and the weaves were still in front of the tunnel!!!! Firm handling of the cocker was required!!! The *********** cocker couldn't wait, wouldn't wait and I lost seconds getting him back and sharp right into the course. He then accelerated and... shot past the weaves.... I got him back and he sulked his way through them and missed one but I decided to keep him going through them. The rest of the course was a blinder of speed, fast handling and accurate run contacts. People watching were very complimentary.
I've now made a resolution that I will always have some say into my dog's names and KC affixes as both mine live up to them and I'm now supersticious about them. Rupert does agility courses like his namesake, Rupert of the Rhine executed Calvary charges - fast and furious but not always accurate and often without waiting for the right moment. Magic is simply "magic" (even when he stinks)........ (3 baths later - one at 3am - he is still smelling!) No, I'm not going as far as to call our next dog "I will always wait for you" or "weave well, wait well" or "smelling of roses". Storm and Jedhi were 2 names that Magic nearly got but we kept his affix in his name and I'm glad we did.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Noisest Shed ...and Car in Kent

We soon got over our disappointment at the Gun Dog show being cancelled by a fun Saturday spent training with the Whizzers.

Sunday was the Ball Busters indoor tournament in Maidstone. Rupert was in the Whizzers, who were seeded in Division 3 with a much faster time than the dogs available to run could do, given it was the first tournament or indoor tournament for the majority of the dogs. It was Rup's first indoor and first open.

The noise of the barking dogs and reverberation from the stone floor, steel roof and cement walls didn't put him off. He ran reliably - although he could fun back faster, stop chomping and double striding and stop thinking about whether to run for the ball or take the other dog's ball during cross overs. I'd also like to get him back to teh 25ft line where he does a much faster run. (I also need to make sure I wave the wubba well away from the line in my attempts to get a faster run back!!!) But he is on his way!!! The Whizzers got a lot of support from Ray and Guy who stressed it was the experience and to count the day as a training on the job day and just enjoy it. Well we did and came 3rd!!! But it is really having an enjoyable day with people and dogs from all walks of life that amkes the day.

The only person who didn't enjoy his day was Magic. Confined to the car with the noise of flyball going on was all too much. He barked and tried to chew and dig his way out of the car to be part of it. He also made more noise than that in the hall. Poor little cocker. Roll on 16th May 2009 when he can start his flyball career.

Jordan trained with Magic on Monday at Surrey Weald. If Magic measurers into medium, Jordan and the Magic cannon ball will go all the way to the top. Magic loves running with Jordan and is now learning to watch body language and Jordan is now using more vocals to keep him going on ahead. His run contacts are accurate he just tends to search for food at the end of the dog walk. The biggest bug bear is the cloth tunnel and wanting to go under the first jump - hey he must be medium if he can run under the medium height!!!!

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Gun Dog Agility League Show Cancelled

We are really gutted! The Gun Dog Agility show has been cancelled due to snow. To be honest it was the right decision. We were up since 6am checking AA roadwatch and we would not have got there anyway. Jordan and Rupert were 3rd in the Large Grade 1 League and J was really excited about the presentations. He's now decided he doesn't like snow anymore!!! After a week of snowballs sticking to cocker feathers and the icy slush it's become, I'm not too sure either now. Getting into Pachesham was a nightmare yesterday. Photobucket

Sunday, 1 February 2009


On Saturday we went to Golden Cross for the 2nd show of the C-Side crystal challenge tournament. I was not hopeful as Rup does not run well at Golden Cross due to the acoustics - the background noise seems to de-focus him and he finds it hard to hear Jordan's very quiet noises.
We nearly didn't go as I am that close to taking Rup off agility for a few months to repair the run contact after WAG last weekend. However I did some really intensive contact training with him this week but I wasn't hopeful.

Pigs flew. Well, the flying cocker did. He flew round the agility course with passable contacts and Jordan and Rup came 3rd in the Starters' agility. They then did a fantastic jumping round which sadly got faults when Rup did a wrong weave entry just before the last jump. They both seemed to have gone up several gears. Jordan was more calm and confident and both seemed more focused and not racing each other.

The afternoon's open jumping course was a real Rupert trap. A fast flowing start that led straight into a box with 3 diagonals. I could see Rup doing his flying cavalry charge and straight across the box before Jordan could get in there and switch. When we walked the course I tried very hard to warn Jordan or that danger as well as the need to do the 3 switches to execute the diagonals. ...As well as telling him there would be a lot of Es and it was the experience that was important.

As expected Rupert couldn't believe his luck and flew off over the first 5 jumps. Jordan was running flat out 2 jumps behind and would never catch him up in time to get in the box and switch. Then the cocker did something he has never done before. he decided for once NOT to take his own line if he got there first and turned and looked at Jordan just before he entered the box and Jordan started to run in a diagonal pointing to the left. Rupert immediately did a diagonal. By then Jordan was in the box and there was some lovely fast handling with beautiful switches. They then skillfully executed the rest of the treacherous course - the tunnel into right hand weaves and staggered finish. Jordan was so elated he stripped off his T-shirt. They finished 4th in a strong grade 1-7 class.

They didn't come down to earth in time for the open agility. It was a nasty backward start with a horrid angle from teh second fence onto the dog walk. Rupert went far too fast and fell off the dog walk. Then jumped back on to it from a standstill. Typical Parkbreck cocker.

So the good news is that Jordan and Rupert have now qualified for the finals of the Crystal challenge in March. Whatever happens it will be a memorable show with J and Rup in the finals and Magic making his agility debut in the fun run.

We spent today trying to speed up Rup's weaves and doing some Tellingtouch exercises to try and slow him down and focus him over the dog walk. We also introduced Magic to 12 weaves. He shows great potential but needs a lot of verbal prompting and encouragement. He is defiantely not a take-your-own-line dog. However he is a merry little dog who seems to enjoy running with Jordan.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Team Players!

We spent Saturday with the Whizzers for flyball practice. Jordan and Magic were in the Starters class and both are now running really well. The purple and green Whizzers tuggy has given Magic a lot more speed on the run back and enabled Jordan to catch him more easily. Lian's husband, Colin, got a nice piccy of them so check out the Knight's blog.

Rupert trained with the team who will be running at Maidstone. Ray and Guy decided to do timings. I usually start Rupert right at the 15 foot marker so we can get him in without distraction. However we discovered he is much faster from the 25 foot. However the ******!!! cocker won't co-operate. He just wants to get all the balls for himself and that includes tackling the dog coming out for their ball. We tried running the team so the bigger dogs came out as he ran in. Size makes no difference, he still want sot take them out for their balls. So back to the 15ft marker and running as anchor dog.

We then had great fun with Guy's agility course. Magic ran the course beautifully. Rupert was his normal self. Messed me around and ran well with Jordan.

I really was cursing Rupert's lack of team play and bloody mindedness.

Sunday we left at 6am in gales, floods and pouring rain for the WAG agility at Minnis Bay. Despite weather we had J's bike. I was really pleased with Rup and J as they ran some complicated courses very well. Rup is now getting the weave entry left and right for himself. However he is now going too fast over the dog walk and missing the down contact. (He's also being bloody minded about it!!!) I might pull him out of agility to repair the run contact.

At lunchtime we braved the weather for a cycle along the beach - well J cycled along the sea wall with Rupert running beside the bike to look after him. I took Magic on to the beach with his wubba. Magic was happily playing when he suddenly saw flocks of seagulls. Now I thought I had spent the last 6 months desensitising him to birds. He now recalls in chase. Not then!!! He raced after a flock of gulls who took off in flight pursued by Magic. They flew quite low and he was able to jump up trying to catch them. In seconds he was literally at least 1/4 mile away and not coming back. He then found another flock of gulls and started chasing them out to sea. I was getting really worried as he was quite far out, not responding to whistle or anything. I was about to take my trousers enter the freezing water. Suddenly I could see Rupert race down the beach and into the water. He swam out to sea in pursuit of Magic and started to drive him back to the shore. Once on the shore he gave him a real "pack" dressing down.

Well, Rup might not be a team player but he does pull his weight in this family. Magic spent the rest of the day shivering in Trover towels being a really miserable little ****. Oh well, it's back to the pheasant run.

Monday Magic started agility training at Surrey Weald with Jordan. He is still getting used to running non verbally but I'm really pleased. Some lovely weaving and handling. He has bold but careful run contacts and is a lovely little dog to handle over tricky jumping course as he looks for direction. At the moment he favours verbal directions but he is starting to follow hand signals. The only problem is archaeological digs for ancient horse poo during runs. He's definitely making his debut in the fun run at C-Side in March and UKA Waverunners. I think at UKA I'll enter him in the normal beginners classes as he can always run NFC if the course isn't appropriate. This means he'll get 4 runs to learn how to behave in the ring. At Waverunners, there will be birds...!!!!!....and the Thames.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


We spent this week trianing. It was fantastic to see Lian Knight with Sing and Sizze who train with us at Pachesham at the Whizzers flyball on Saturday.

Rupert was not his normal self on Saturday as he swallowed a discarded tennis ball he found on a walk and had to go to the vet on Thursday to make sure all the pieces had come out. He was not really focused. I hope that we can help him to run faster back after he gets the ball and to stop running back in. He seems more willing to cross over and not tackle the other dog for their ball or run back in. I found this video taken by Lian Knight on one true media.

Magic continues to enjoy flyball and will be doing his next Starters at Stockbridge at Easter.

His training has been agility. He gets very excited at Pachesham and doesn't run as well as he does at home. His weaving is lovely. Contacts firm. He just needs to gain confidence and speed to go on on his own initiative and not always look for mummy/Jordan. Aww!!!!! The baby!!!

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Dog for Jordan

This weekend we went North to Grantham for the 50th EMDAC BAA show at the UK Arena.

I was pleased with how Jordan and Rupert were running but they do tend to make mistakes and are still finding feet and paws at primary level and advanced juniors.

I decided to teach Jordan how to use his back and one hand to block as there were a number of tight handling challenges/traps on the courses. He's finding this technique difficult at speed. But they came away with a 7th in TFO agilty and a 10th in clockwork tunnels - not their normal speed due to Jordan's lack of confidence.

I'm still worried about Jordan and Rupert in the advanced Juniors with the Grade 5 courses. I am not one to try and get Jordan the best dog so he can win but I decided to see if someone would lend him a more expereinced dog so he could learn from teh dog and have to think less about the demands of the course and the need to get an inexpereinced dog round it. Gemma Miles kindly agreed to lend Jordan Focas. We hoped that Focus would run on body language alone and some noise. We learnt a lot from this!!

Jordan is definitely at the stage where he can handle a large, fast collie as they made a fast flowing start over some tight handling. However they came to grief when Jordan made his noise to get Focas' attention to stop him going in a tunnel. Jordan's oo!!! was translated as go and Focas shot in the tunnel and came out and got really confused to see Jordan's body language saying "back- left". They had another go and poor Focas got really confused - here was a handler whose body language said stop and voice said go. It ended in disaster.

The disaster continued. Jordan then tried to run Rupert like a big fast collie. He put him miles back from the start in a down, so he could do remote handling from the 4th fence. Instead of close to the first jump at an angle with a line of vision and handle via hand signals. Rupert interpreted being put a long way from the first fence as the need for a Calvary charge along a straight line of jumps. An inevitable "e" followed.

I was pleased with the learning from this:

Jordan can never handle a dog he doesn't train with.

The dog needs to be trained to run with Jordan so it runs on body language and his distorted sounds.

We are going to have to get Jordan training with Magic sooner rather than later and get Magic up to the standard for Grade 5 junior courses as soon as we can.

We cannot do what most juniors do and borrow dogs to run so Jordan will have to just run Rupert this year until Magic is ready.

Would a Deaf dog be the best bet for Jordan?

I can't afford it at the moment but with this in mind we are going to have to increase our pack to 4 dogs long term. Another cocker and possibly a Deaf collie that has the potential to go all the way to the top with a Deaf handler. I don't know would a hearing collie or kelpie learn to run with Jordan?

Later that day Jordan was playing at the top of a great mud mountain. Rupert ran up the mountain to play and watch over Jordan. He played with Jordan for an hour. Magic took one look and decided it looked dangerous and I was a better bet with his wubba kong. There is defiantely a unique relationship with Jordan and Rupert and it'll be interesting to see if we can get a partnership with Magic on that level.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Whizzers' Winter Warmer

The New Year started with the Wimbledon Whizzers first tournament. For a team who only formed around Easter last year this was really ambitious - but then Ray and Guy are not faint hearted. The result The Wimbledon Whizzers' Winter Warmer a 2 day open tournament with starters and fun events. This was held inside a massive marquee so the dogs had the advantage of running on grass.
One thing was obvious - it was not a "warmer". Temperatures were sub zero. My car was reading -2 when we went home on Friday after helping set up. Saturday dropped to -4 driving up. Rachel's Hit coffee machines frooze up. The dogs' paddling pools were solid ice. (Great for cockers to skate on (lol!!) Water put down for the dogs to drink frooze.
This was our first flyball tournament after the starters last Easter. The Whizzers were running 2 teams in the open in divisions 5 and 6 and were sharing a Starters team with the Mad Mutts. Rupert was in the Whizzers in division 5 on Sunday - scary for a dog who had only done one starters event. Magic was keen to do a starters debut.
Guy advised me to make it known on the Saturday that I had a dog that I'd like to run in the Starters in case a team could take an extra dog. The Hamphire Harriers were really supportive and Magic joined the Hampshire Hurricanes in the Saturday night starters. It was minus -2 when we started. Magic ran in 3 position and was a real natural. He needs to mature as he has a tendency to bambi hop along to the box and was running at about 5 and a half seconds. He can also run back in as he is still not used to cross overs. We were delighted to come 3rd. Not a bad debut. Thanks to the Hampshire Hurricanes for squeezing in a mad cocker.
Rupert teamed up with Jed in the pairs and it was funny. In the first race we tried with Rupert as start dog and the mad thing ran back in with Jed. The next race we swapped them round and they ran well. The last race was the funniest. Jed dropped his ball and couldn't find it hidden behind a jump so came out a bit dejected. Rupert raced in picked up Jed's ball and raced to the box to get the other ball and ran back happily chomping on 2 balls. After this performance we were really shocked to come 3rd!!!!
As our team ran NFC on the Saturday in division 6, our Division 5 team were keen to do well. Rupert measured as between 16-17" so will jump the 12" height. I was relieved when we decided not to run Rupert as he, like Magic, still needs more practice with crossovers and would have lost us seconds. He can also only run as anchor dog due to this. We gave him the run backs and run ups and he ran really well on those in stimulated conditions and I was well pleased with him running like that in open lanes. I was also pleased that not giving Rupert a run paid off and we won Division 6 with a new fastest time!!!
Ray and Guy decided to run Magic in the Mutt-Whizzers starters team. Sam from the Mutts was really great and I had the time of my life running in that team. It was maaaaad!!! The Mutt's ran 2 staffies about the same age as Magic - 12-13 months. We decided to run Magic as start dog and I feel (unless Ray and Guy disagree) that this is his natural position. He is a joy to run as a start dog. He stands ready, pointing and watching that ball... and flies on the first amber light; racing the other dog adds to his speed. It's also a nice place for a deaf person to run as you just wait for the first amber light and if you make a false start everybody waves madly!!!! Sam stood by to stop him running back up - and at one stage she did an ace rugger tackle!!!! I think we can solve this by me tying a slipper on a tuggy rope and lowering it to the ground when he leaves the run which will be more attractive than tuggy ball. Our biggest challenge was interference from the staffies who couldn't resist running to say hi to the other team to share a few balls! We came 6th having had the biggest laugh with the youngsters.
Jordan had the time of his life with his new best friend, Charlie. That is really what flyball is about to me the people. We left after the Starters in freezing temperatures as Jordan was falling asleep.
I was going to help clear up this morning but we are snowed in!!!
Well, I'm now on a flyball high with Magic who is in love with flyball. Rupert prefers agility.