Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Last weekend saw the kids, myself & my Mum head to Rockingham (about 45 min South) for a double header Agility / Jumping Trial.

I must note a special thanks here to both of my parents. With so much to do in their own lives they still happily give up their time to help babysit for me. Without their help I would not be able to do even half of what I am able to do with my dogs. Thank you.

So to the trial. After a scorcher of a day previously (37 degrees) and expecting another hot day it turned out to be quite pleasant. Still hot for both humans and dogs if you stood in the sun too long though.

In the AM trial I had to wait around a bit as both Nix's runs were in the second session. It was our first trial in Excellent Jumping which of course ran at the same time as Novice Agility. It's been a long time since I have had to memorise 2 courses at the one time - but I managed. It was also the first time Nix has gone straight out of one ring and into another.

I had hoped to run Jumping before Agility but it wasn't to be. Nix had a lovely Agility run but we got caught up in the weavers - Damn Weavers! She powered off the start line, responded well to my body cues and hit both her contacts. Very happy. However no time reflect as we ran down to the Jumping ring where they were waiting for us.

Now if I had of been thinking I would have taken a minute, composed myself, let Nix have a break and then run the course. But alas I was flustered and worried about missing my run so I went straight in the ring. Sorry Nix. My girl did the first couple of jumps and then went all 'airy fairy' on me, not least of the reasons why was the fact that I had no idea what I was doing!! We pulled it together and finished the course, with a few missed jumps and off courses along the way, but I wanted Nix to still have a bit of fun and for us to put a couple of obstacles together nicely before leaving the ring, which we did.

During the break I thought about those morning runs and how I could better transition myself and my dog between runs in the afternoon. Both runs in the afternoon were going to be at the same time again. Hmmmm...

So to the PM trial. After letting the stewards in both rings know that I may clash, I decided I would do EJ first and then NA, and hope that I wouldn't put the agility ring too far out of whack. So it to EJ, a nice course by Mel Rhoden. Nix ran beautifully and even though I lost her position for what seemed like an eternity between two obstacles I managed to find her behind me and get her over the next jump at a HUGE angle - Good girl Nix - to finish with a clear round. Her first leg in Ex Jumping which also gained her second place.

Now to NA. Instead of racing up the ring. I took time to reward Nix for her jumping run and walk calmly up to the next ring. I was called straight away but asked if I could take a minute as I had just come out of another ring - wasn't a problem. By the time I walked up to the line I was calm and focused on the course in front of me (a far cry from the mornings effort). It payed off. Although not a clear round (Damn weavers again), Phoenix was focused and worked lovely. I was more than happy.

So even though we got a clear round. I was more happy with the fact that I was able to read my dog and know when she was and wasn't ready to work in the afternoon, and to give her the chance to succeed instead of rushing and hoping.

Something else that interested me at the trial was my son who is nearly six. He walked each of the courses with me, called obstacles by name and by the end of the day was asking "Mummy do we need to put a cross in here", and darn it if he wasn't right too. He has been coming to trials all his life and was interested but not to this degree. It was great. While we were sitting watching some of the runs he was commenting too. He was picking up when they missed a weaver or if they took a wrong jump. I think his best comment of the day though was after he watched Graeme and Mavy (super fast Working BC) run Novice Jumping. He said "Mummy, you know, I think Mavy would do better if he slowed down a bit, then he wouldn't knock the bars so much" - PRICELESS!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Update For 'The Boy'

The little man is really not so little anymore - 5 months old now and the same height as Phoenix (46cm)!!! Hmmmm - only time will tell.....

As for training, well unfortunately I haven't been able to do anywhere near as much with Jetzen as I had with Phoenix by the same age. Guess there is a lot to be said for getting a 'Summer Pup' as opposed to a 'Winter Pup'. Was by far easier to get out in the pleasent summer evenings with Nix - so many times I 'thought' about getting out and wanted to get out with Jetzen, but alas there was the cold, the wind and the rain. Not so much a problem for me, but Miss 3 and Master 5 seemed to object!!

So instead of 'formal' training. Jetz has had more 'house' dog training! Problem is now he thinks he owns it - he's so darn cute and funny too that it's hard not to let him get away with things at times :) He is hillarious to watch run, all legs and no idea of how to stop!! He tries to race the big dogs out the back door and he keeps up with them just fine but he looses it on the turn. While Sax & Nix pull up and make a gracefull turn and exit out the door, Jetzen has legs flying in all directions and ends up sliding a good metre past the door as he attempts to stop at speed on tiles. This is then followed by the desperate scramble and flailing of legs, again at a zillion miles an hour so as to catch up to the others and not miss out on what might possibly be happening!!

'The Boy' would make a great post hole digger too!! If there is anyone who needs fencing done I'm sure we could arrange a nice deal. Although Jetzen may not dig the holes quite where you want them ;) The following pic shows Saxon retrieving one of his toys from one of Jetz's burrows!!

He is great with the kids too. I always thought how good Nix was - but Jetzen is 10 times better, it's amazing. He came along the other week to watch while my son had Little Athletics Training. There would have been easily 60 kids. At first he tried to jump on a couple but this was soon replaced by a lovely stand as they patted him. Due in part to the well timed delivery of treats by me. About 10 minutes into the session and he wasn't even fussed as the kids came running from behind and on the way past ruffed the top of his head.

Hopefully now though, with the approach of warmer weather (and baby sitters back from their 3 month holiday!) Jetzen's agility and obedience training should come along in leaps and bounds!! Will keep you posted - yes a little more frequently than I have!!

~ Stalking Saxon ~

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time Flies - An Update for Nix

It would seem that the old saying 'Time Flies' is true. As you can see it has been a few weeks since I last posted, so here is an update!!

A couple of weeks back (30th Sept to be exact!) our club had their Agility/Jumping Members Competition. Her Jumping run was great. This was Phoenix's first run on an Excellent level course and I was so very pleased with my girl. I have been working hard on keeping her drive and motivation going and it seems to have payed off. Nix took off from the start and was pushing to get ahead, she was focusing more on the obstacles ahead rather than checking in to me after each one, and responded extremely well to my cues (verbal and especially body) although almost too well at times :) A really pleasing run topped off with a first place!!

Agility however was a different story....... Well, I shouldn't really say that. Her drive was still there, even at the end as she pushed ahead for the run home, she got both her contacts nicely, and just loves to power at the table. So why the different story?? THE BLASTED WEAVERS! Yup, they got us. Guess Nix wasn't as well versed at them as I thought :( Aaaarggh. It really is quite frustrating.

Apart from those weavers though, I was extremely happy with both runs. It seems acting like a loon at training, jumping around squealing and making stupid noises while waving 'tuggie' in the air and wriggling it along the ground in front of a dog who is standing staring at you with a look of 'Are you OK?' pays off. Why? Because now I have a dog that will go nuts for her tuggie (except on the odd occasion if she knows there are REALLY good treats around!). She will launch at it and tug like a dog possessed. Thanks to Gina here for her yells of 'Keep Going' from across the training ground as I am absolutely exhausted from all the jumping around and carrying on and on the verge of putting it in the oh-so-easy 'Too Hard' basket. For anyone who thinks their dog 'can't' or 'wont' play with toys. Don't give up. Yes it is hard, yes you will be exhausted, and yes you will provide entertainment for those you train with, but by geez the payoff in the long run is HUGE!! The difference in Phoenix's attitude to work since has been amazing.

1st Place - Intermediate (Excellent) Jumping NST&ODC Members Comp