Monday, April 8, 2013


I find it fascinating how life has a way of putting things into perspective for you. This past Saturday was a great example for me.
So this is how it was ........
Spent the morning at an agility trial, beautiful weather and great friends around, kids at their grandparents for the day. I had three runs for the day - all 3 were clear, but yet all three left me feeling dissapointed.
First, Excellent Agility. Clear round, our first pass in Excellnt after almost 3 years - STOKED!! But yet, in that same moment I struggle with the fact that Nix was running far slower than I know she is capable of. (Found out later in the evening Nix won this class!)
Next, Masters Jumping. Slow to start over the first couple of obstacles, but then Nix picked up the pace and we had a really nice finish to the run - clear round - WOOHOO!! Only to hear as I'm putting the lead on that we were out of time - what the?? :-(((  Frustrating again.
Lastly, Excellent Strategic Pairs - Nix and her partner Chuckles both had awesome runs, super excited. But wait, as I'm going out the ring my dog stops and pees - yup disqualified - heartbreaking. Even worse we were the fastest by far and would have won - aaaarrrghhhh!!!
So as I sit and ponder my morning, and feeling a little dispondant trying to work out how to produce the same speed and excitement I get from my dog in training at a trial situation I get a phone call... My son who is anaphylactic to bees has been stung by something. In that split second my day changed. I get off the phone and explain whats happened. Before I can blink all my buddies around me are up and packing down my tent, grabbing my stuff and packing it in the back of the car. Others are packing their stuff up to move their car so I can get out. Lots of people saying "I hope he's ok"
We spent 5 hours at the childrens hospital - but my boy is fine. This is where perspective comes in.
I was having a "woe is me" day as I call it - focusing on the negatives. But sitting in the hospital I had lots of time to think - Thank god the most important man in my life is OK!! I should be gratefull I had the opportunity to be out playing with my dog doing what I love and OMG what an arse was I - my good friend is sitting next to me at the trial with an injured dog and here I am complaining that I've essentially had 3 clear rounds and wasn't happy??
So to the powers that be I say "THANK YOU" Firstly for making sure my son was OK, secondly for the wonderful friends and fabulous agility community that I am proud to be part of, and finally, for putting things back into perspective for me. Clearly I needed a wake up call to say - "Hey you, get over yourself" Never again will I take for granted the simple gifts I have been given.
So....... On the positive side of the trial - here are some great photos courtesy of Brett Sandells

 Glad that Nix thinks this agility caper is so darn easy she can do it with her eyes closed!!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goodbye 2012 - Hello 2013

Ok - so after several attempts at writing this post, which was going to be somewhat of a long winded highlights of 2012 kind of post, I came across a quote, via Susan Garrett, which really struck a chord with me.
So to that end this is a simple post with my message for 2013 ........
"Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be" - Karen Ravn

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous 2013. Here's to reaching high, dreaming big and achieving all that we set out to achieve.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Getting Back To It!!

Summer is here and its time to get back into training. I have taken the last few months off training and trialling for a variety of reasons, but mainly because there were becoming too many things that I was needing to 'fix' and that is never a good thing! I figured that continuing to trial with performances that were less than desirable was pointless. So we have all enjoyed a nice break, but now its time to get back to it.

So.... To that end, I have signed up for Susan Garrett's recallers 3.0 course. I had looked at it before but it is not cheap, however I think the time is right to splurge on what is in reality an investment in the welfare of my dogs and those to come. I must say I am very excited and a little nrevous at the same time. I know I am going to learn SOOOO much and that can only benefit myself and my dogs, however, I am a giant procrastinator and time waster!! I'm hoping that to some extent this course will be a good kick in the butt to get moving.

So what do I am to gain from this course???? There are two things in particular, besides wanting to have a better relationship with my dogs and for them within themselves...

  1. To learn what I am doing that is enabling my girl to shut down. To that, is building her confidence, being able to help her cope with 'getting it wrong'. I know at times in my training I have made it 'easy' for her thus in the long term creating a bigger problem!
  2. To build more desire for my boy to think that I am the bees knees when there are distractions. He's great in the back yard (assuming the cat doesn't decide to walk through!) however if there is another dog within cooee I am stumped!!

Looking forward to getting the process started. Stay tuned for future progress reports and hopefully some videos to go with it! Look out 2012

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mud Monster & Other Adventures

So the last two weeks have been school holidays - loads of fun with the kids and some fun adventures too. Well, ok I had to work for 1 week of them but my week off was full on!! Boy can you pack a lot into a week :) The Royal Show, 3 family birthdays, outing to Lower Chittering, and a big reminiscing trip to the outskirts of the wheatbelt, York - Northam - Goomalling (see the old house I grew up in) - Tooday - Home. Not to mention play dates, trips to the park and good ol fashioned cubby building!!

The dogs, in various numbers, joined us on our trips out to the 'country' - needless to say, and as you will see, they had a HOOT of a time!!


So it was just Astro who joined our adventure to Lower Chittering to visit my sister, after all she is currently dog sitting 3 hounds and I figured that 7 in total might be a bit much!! The day was a lot of fun and if the title of this post didn't give away the theme for the day I'm sure the next couple of pics will :)

Yup - It was Mud, and LOTS of it!! The joys of being a kid - I hadn't laughed so much in ages!! Not to be out done, Astro had his share of fun in the mud...

But thankfully shook most of it off before the trip home ...


Such a different landscape to our last adventure!! My brother has a little patch of land about 20km out of York - his escape from city life. Another day filled with family and fun and this time the 4 hounds joined us. Boy did they enjoy the room to run...

Not to mention a rest and a snack...

And to finish the day, a nice dip and a drink in the Avon River at Toodyay...

And a reminder from the Old Boy that...

He is STILL the "King Of The Castle"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Introducing ...... Astro!!!!

Ok - So it would seem that I am a bit of a softie :) I couldn't help it - He was just too darn cute!!

So for the short version of the story....

Mum and litter of 4 pound puppies come into work to be vaccinated - woohoo, that means puppy cuddles!! One by one we take the pups out of their crate to be checked over and vaccinated, a brown & white boy, a tri-colour girl, a black & white boy, and a brown & white girl - oh so very cute the lot of them. But there was one I was just drawn to - the black & white boy. I just had that feeling he was something special!

Mum & pups go back to foster carer and I cant stop thinking about the little black & white boy. After a few days I organise for him to come home on foster to see how he fits with the family ....... Well he waltzed into the house like he had been here for years and the rest they say is history!!

So here he is - The little Tenterfield Terrier mix .... ASTRO!!

See ... Told you he was cute!!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Ok so it has been a while since I last updated with the happenings of Phoenix, Jetzen and Co. A long while in fact - eek.

We haven't been trialling much of late - Life seems to have gotten in the way!! Getting back into the swing of training again now just in time for a big break over Xmas :) Always the way isn't it?! Looking forward to the new year and back into fitting things in around trials instead of the other way round (well.... where I can anyway!!)

Our last trial this year was the Royal Show. What an adventure. It was Phoenix's first Royal and I was very proud of my girl. She handled the pressure of the environment a lot better than I thought she would. We had one clear round out of 6 and that was in the teams event. Her other runs though still only had one or two faults. For her first Royal I was very chuffed.

Big thanks to our 'X-Treme' team mates at the Royal too - Graeme & Maverick, Jen & Selby, Bernice & Chuckles - its great fun being in a team with you guys. We managed to get 3rd Place in the Agility Team event too which was awesome!!

*****When I get then tean photos from Graeme I will upload it here!!!******

Now the Jetzki!! Well his training is coming along at home - however out and about we are still working on getting focused on me and not everything else that is moving around him!! Ah the joys!!

The boy is now 18mths old - my how time flys. But stunning boy he is, and oh so smoochie!! He really is the biggesst sook of a dog - loves to cuddle :)

Bring on the New Year - more training, a better yard to be able to train in, (yes renovations in the pipeline) and hopefully trialling with two dogs before the year is out!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


What a fantastic 4 days!! April 29th - May 2nd. Those were the 4 days of the 2010 Agility Nationals held at the grounds of the Canine Association of WA. What a buzz. Ok, so now to break into the memory banks and give a run down of the four days.

Thursday April 29th - Day 1 of Qualifying Heats Ok - So Phoenix's first runs at the Nationals - Novice Agility. Well nerves got the better of us both :-) No wait at the start line, missed contacts, and from memory a missed weave. Phoenix was very pre-occupied with all the people watching, and went into her scardy dog "I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to be doing here Mum" mode. I'll give her credit though because there were WAY more spectators than we are used to at normal trials, and she tried really hard for me. I must admit I too was a bit in awe of the number of people watching and I don't think I handled Nix in the same manner I normally would. Sorry Nix.

Next run was Excellent Jumping. My nerves were still not under control! Nix ran better than in her Agility run which was nice, but still not at her usual level. She still seemed to be a little overwhelmed by the atmosphere and my being nervous wouldn't have helped her at all. Damn stomach full of butterflies!!!!! Thus no clear round.

The afternoon saw us attempt Snooker for the first time! I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing - not a good start :-) We didn't get a quallie card but it was a good fun run and I think we both needed it!!!

Friday April 30th - Day 2 of Qualifying Heats "Get the butterflies in formation and you will kill them" That was the advice given to me in a good luck text before the start of todays heats. You know what? It made a difference. Every time I felt nervous I pictured all those butterflies flying in a 'V' and helping to drive me. Might sound silly but by god it worked!!! It helped Nix too! By me being more relaxed so was Nix. She was fast, happy and more importantly listening to me.

So - Excellent Jumping. An interesting course with many dogs getting caught up on the the run home where they sidetracked to a non existent tunnel entry. Dogs were ducking around a sandbag thinking it was a tunnel entry when in reality it was just the side of the tunnel and causing them to miss the jump they were supposed to take. Having watched this happen I decided to modify how I would handle that section and thankfully it worked. Nix ran clear - gained a 2nd place and a spot in the finals - WOOHOO!!

Novice Agility - Another lovely run. I made sure to pay full attention to contacts and those darn weavers!! Nix wasn't as fluid in her run as she was in jumping but I was still very happy with it - and well I should be. Clear round, 1st Place and a spot in the finals - AWESOME!!

Games again this afternoon - First attempt at Novice Gamblers this time!! Again LOADS of fun. Wasn't sure how we would go as Gamblers involves a distance handling challenge at the end and Nix would prefer to stay fairly close to me. Well Nix did me proud, we got our required number of points and then managed the "gamble" (distance challenge) at the end - first quallie card for Gamblers - Very cool.

What a day - 3 Clear rounds, a 1st Place, a 2nd Place and a spot in the finals for both Novice Agility and Excellent Jumping - HAPPY HAPPY CAMPER!!

Saturday May 1st - Day 3 of Qualifying Heats Still on a high from yesterday and looking forward to todays runs. Novice Agility unfortunately was not clear. Nix had an attack of falling in love with the Rough Collies!! She has an obsession with Rough Collies - Absolutely LOVES them. She spotted her 'boyfriend' Bailey and a couple of others before her run. Hmmmm - I need to do distraction training for Rough Collies. As we make our way around the course Phoenix is looking for the 'fluffy boys'. Very embarrassing when you have a dog waiting on the table looking in the opposite direction to where you are, doing happy body wags as she looks at the boys while you stand there saying "Leave it, leave it" to keep her on the table!! Geez it was funny :-)

Excellent Jumping - Nix definitely prefers Jumping to Agility. She is faster, more relaxed, more focused and happier (note to self to work on this in training!). Another great run today - Clear and 4th Place. Eligible for a spot in the finals but we were already there from yesterdays run.

Novice Strategic Pairs this afternoon. Teaming up again with Bernice & her lovely Kelpie 'Chuckles' for some more fun. Having worked out which sections we were each to do of the course we waited for our turn. What a hoot!! Bernice and I were both so pre-occupied with our own little sections that we forgot to watch what the other was doing!! A few reminders from the judge to look at our partner and eventually we got through the course finishing it with giant smiles and a great laugh!! We managed to qualify and even get 4th Place - CLASSIC!

Sunday May 2nd - The Finals OMG I have never been so nervous in all my life!! Novice Agility was the first final of the day. Nothing else was going on - EVERYBODY was watching. There were rows of people lined up around all 4 sides of the ring. People right on the ring ropes - EEK. This is something we have never encountered before - need to relax - HA! So it comes to our turn. I'm thinking positive thoughts, trying to get all those butterflies working with me. Feeling good. We step up, I remove Nix's collar and lead and it hits me ----- There is dead silence, not a sound. Not only that but as I look up I notice some of the best handlers in the country and they are watching me!! AAARRGHHH

So I try best I can to compose myself and reassure my Nixy Pix that it's all ok - She's not buying into it! We get through the first 4 obstacles reasonably well, Nix is looking at the crowd and I have to call hard to get her into the right tunnel entry, then we get to the A-Frame. Nix reaches the apex, stops dead and scans the crowd. She's not really that interested in coming down!! We continue on and Nix is in one heck of a hurry to get out of the ring, we miss both lots of contacts and the weavers were less than impressive. Boy what an experience that was.

I get a chance to chill out for a bit and watch some other fantastic runs before we go into the Excellent Jumping final. Man were there some fantastic dog and handler combinations to watch too.

Excellent Jumping - I'm feeling a little (emphasis on 'little') more relaxed. I have a better understanding of what to expect and I'm ready to go. The course is nice and we have a good shot at going clear and doing well. Step up to the line, take Nix's collar off and I hear someone call out - I have no idea what they said or even if they were calling out to me. Yet I lost concentration for a second. I return my focus to Nix and the stress has got to her too. She sits at the start line and starts scratching. She didn't do it for long but my god when you have so many people watching you it feels like an eternity!! Dodgy handler returns and I did the worst lead out you can ever imagine - Nix runs past the third jump :-( Such a shame because after that I got it together and we had an awesome run - fast, tight turns and managed the tricky bits really well. Oh well!

What an amazing 4 days!! I was so proud of my Nixy Pix and what we achieved. Still a baby dog (2 1/2) with only a years trialling under our belt I was more than happy. A big thank you to the organisers and all the competitors who helped to make the four days so enjoyable too. I had a fabulous time and the pleasure of meeting and making many wonderful new friends. It was a great experience and a big learning curve for both of us. Now to start making plans for NSW in 2012 :-)

** Photos to come soon **