Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2018 is to make the time to sit down at the computer and start posting regularly here on our blog again, and I'm determined to stick to it. I look forward to making the most out of and hopefully growing our blog over the year.

So, here's to an awesome 2018! We can't wait to see what it holds for us!

Monday, 25 December 2017

Monday, 18 December 2017

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Earl and Ethel had so much fun in the snow we had last week, just in time for Christmas!

We have our paws crossed that we get some more snow this winter!

Who else has had snow where they are?

Friday, 15 December 2017

Dog Vegas - 09/12/2017

I had an awesome day at Dog Vegas running Kelly on Saturday! She may be a challenge, but when she listens to me, she's amazing to run and such a fun little agility partner! Getting her consistency up isn't a quick process, but with hard work and never giving up, I can feel us improving the more we work together. It's onwards and upwards for us, and I always feel honoured to have been chosen as her longterm handler.

Kelly and I in front of the giant annual Christmas tree at Oakridge arena.

We won one of our jumping classes with an awesome clear round, which was quite a pretty tight course but really enjoyable to run! Kelly listened to me really well and didn't put a paw wrong, and I couldn't have been happier with her!

We came 4th in our other jumping class, which was a very smooth course and ideal for a speedy dog like Kelly. I loved blasting round the course with Kelly, and we were less than half a second behind 2nd place! She listened really well again and clearly had a whale of a time! Now we just need to push even harder in an attempt to lose those precious couple of seconds that kept us from the win!

We also had a very close helter skelter run, which is basically a jumping course minus the weaves, and usually follows a circular pattern. We gained an unlucky 5 faults when Kelly burst out of a tunnel, took a jump and was unable to slow down enough for a sharp turn and skidded past the correct jump! I brought her back and sent her over it, and we continued the run gaining no more faults. I was really happy with the run, however, as she was really speedy and mostly consistent.

One of her agility runs was awesome, and would've been clear if I hadn't have put her back on her a-frame contact. She got the contact, but I'm sticking to criteria with her and making sure she always stops in the 2-on-2-off position on every contact. Not long ago, she wasn't getting any of her contacts whatsoever, and now she's getting just about all of them thanks to sticking to criteria and making sure she knows what is expected of her. Now to continue putting this into practice with the goal of getting her to stop of every contact on a consistent basis. I believe we're not too far off that point!

Our other agility run was slightly crazy. Strangely, it felt as though the old Kelly had returned! Kelly wasn't listening to me like she was in all her other runs, but I understand that dogs will be dogs and she's bound to have some runs, and even some days, like this. I kept her going and completed the course in the end. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward, and when I look at the big picture, we're definitely taking those forward steps. Luckily this wasn't the last run of the day, and we managed to finish the day on a high note.

I just love Kelly's drive and enthusiasm for agility, and running her is helping me to be a better handler and dog trainer, and for that I am so thankful. She's helping me learn about running a very fast dog, and running a different height to small. In a similar way to when I used to run Earl as well as Ethel, I also have to switch both physically and mentally from Ethel mode to Kelly mode when running both at the same show, as they're both so different to run. Overall, I've seen a huge improvement in Kelly's agility since when I first started running her, and I'm beyond determined to keep the improvement going with her! Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

YKC Junior Agility Team GB Tryouts Day 1 - 02/12/2017

We had an awesome time at the first day of the YKC Junior Agility Team GB tryouts the other weekend! I'm really happy with how Ethel ran, despite her little aversion to tunnels, haha!

Little Ethel the superstar looking as sweet as ever!

Our first run was the jumping. This was a fairly challenging and tight course, and it was really fun to run! Our run was going awesomely, until I lost communication with Ethel at a german and she failed to see my change of hand, resulting in her dashing into the wrong end of the tunnel! I quickly corrected this and we carried on, and apart from another slight miscommunication at a ketchker resulting in Ethel wrapping round the wing the wrong way, which I corrected, the rest of the run was fantastic and I was really happy with it! For a young dog on a pretty challenging course, she was awesome.

Our next and final run was the agility. This was a pretty spread out and flowing course that really let Ethel and I run for it and push ourselves! I couldn't of asked for better contacts from her, they were awesome! Our hard work on them is definitely paying off, and I feel like we're finally cracking them! The run felt fantastic to me, and so speedy! We were clear up until the last couple of obstacles, where a rear cross into a tunnel unfortunately confused Ethel and she popped back out, gaining us 5 faults! I sent her back in and she successfully went through the tunnel without any issues, and I'm pleased that she completed it. She's usually fine with rear crosses into tunnels, but I think she got confused and assumed she'd gone wrong when I sent her in and then moved backwards to get to the next obstacle. I did this in order to block her from taking a jump very close to the tunnel entrance. Next time, I'd either stay on the other side and pull her away from the jump, or I'd rear cross the tunnel in the same way but run up to the tunnel exit afterwards to encourage her to continue through. Overall, I was very happy with this run!

There are lots of positives to take away from the day and plenty of things to now go away and work on in order to improve. No matter what the results, Ethel never fails to make me proud, and she's just so much fun to run! We always leave the ring buzzing!

Huge thanks to the Team GB management team and coaches for holding such an awesome day, and to the judges for setting up such fun and challenging courses! It was lovely to catch up with and support some awesome friends and watch everyone run, everyone did amazing! Every competition and event that I go to reminds me of just how grateful I am to be within the world of agility!

Now to wait and see if we gave enough to make the second day of the tryouts, fingers crossed! In the meantime, we'll go and train hard and practice the areas that we had some difficulties with on the courses so we can come back even stronger next time! See you in the next post!