Friday, November 26, 2010

Update

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

2010 AGILITY NATIONALS

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 **

EEK - It's Been How Long???

Wow - It's been far too long since I have posted anything here - 3 months even. So many things have happened too! So a list of posts that I need to write about....

2010 Agility Nationals
Jetzen Turns 1
Nixy's First Masters Jumping Runs
AD For Phoenix - Finally!

Ok so now stay tuned as I search the memory banks and hopefully remember all I can to bring you up to date on the life and times of Phoenix & Jetzen :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

WA STATE AGILITY TRIAL

Sorry folks it's a long one........

Wow - what a weekend!! Friday and Saturday just gone saw Dogswest host the 2010 State Agility Trial. Two days of qualifying trials followed Saturday afternoon by the finals. Firstly may I say a big congratulations to everyone involved in running the trial, you did a fantastic job and your efforts are greatly appreciated by myself and I am sure from my fellow competitors.

Qualifying Trial #1 - Friday Night

We had quite a wait before our runs and then they were almost back to back. First was Excellent Jumping. A lovely course set by Judy T. Nice and flowing but with a couple of tight turns / crosses which caught out a number of people. Nix wasn't running her best - a little distracted and I really had to work hard at the start to keep her focus. None the less, we gained a clear round and FIRST PLACE!!! Also a spot in the finals.

Next Novice Agility. Again a nice flowing course, set by Cindy D. Nix was happier in this run and worked beautifully. Unfortunately Nix had a sniff in the weavers and missed the second one. Other than that she ran beautifully and I was very happy.

Home sometime after midnight and on too much of a high to go straight to sleep!! Big day ahead tomorrow though!!

Qualifying Trial #2 - Saturday Morning

Ok - so after 4.5 hrs sleep and my 7th alarm has gone off I finally wake up (I had a feeling it'd be a bit diffucult to get up) quickly get ready and load everyone back into the car for another big day.

First up again was Excellent Jumping. A nice course from Vicki N. Some great handling challenges with nice sections for the dogs to stretch out in too. nix was running better today than last night - more stretched out, responding better to my signals, and it just felt nicer. Another clear round, and, her Excellent Jumping Title - Yay Nixy Pixy!! There were lots of other clear runs too (well done everyone) but we still managed 6th place overall and 4th in height class.

Last of the qualifying runs - Novice Agility. As we stepped up to the start Nix was even happier than her previous runs and I had everything crossed for a nice clear run, Nix didn't dissapoint, her first pass in Novice Agility - finally. Thanks to Sarah W for such a nice course. We also managed 3rd place overall and 2nd in height class. Along with.... A spot in the finals!!

State Agility Finals - Saturday afternoon

So after quite a break from the end of the qualifying runs, and watching a number of the other finals it's our turn. Really wasn't sure how Nix would go after such a long break and a bit of a snooze in the car. I shouldn't have worried. Nix got out of the car and was sooo happy and just full of beans - awesome!!

Novice Agility - Judged by Gail B. Unfortunately not a clear round - sorry Nix. It was all my fault, poor dog with the dodgy handler. I was thinking an obstacle ahead (the weavers) as Nix is always consistent on her A-Frame. I got myself a little too far ahead and as such I inadvertantly caused her to jump and miss the contact, and then put her in the wrong position to get the weaver entry. Sorry again Nix. Unfortunately for Gail there were no qualifiers at all in Novice agility.

Excellent Jumping - Judged by Cindy D. I think this was Nix's best run over the entire weekend, she was happy, she was fast, she was focused and she was having fun!! An interesting course with a number of spots where it could all come unstuck. Luckily for us it did not!! Nix had a beautiful clear round - woohoo!! Being second dog in I had to wait and watch as a number of fantastic dog and handler teams took their turn at the course. Unfortunately for them they were unable to manage a clear round.

Presentation time...... First was presentations for agility. They started with Novice and no-one was sure who would win as everyone had a penalty, or two, or three!! Well didn't I get the shock of my life when they called out Nix and I!! I remember looking at Graeme next to me and asking him if I heard right. WOW!! We won. I was so surprised. Good girl Nix!! Being the only clear in Excellent Jumping I was pretty confident in winning that one - Yup. Again such a thrill to hear Nix and myself called out as the winners, I think I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat after that.

So after a long weekend..... Phoenix is.......

2010 WA STATE WINNER NOVICE AGILITY

2010 WA STATE WINNER EXCELLENT JUMPING

Way to go Nixy Pixy :-) Such a good girl. Congratualtions also to the winners of the other classes a fantastic effort!! Thanks also to all of my fellow competitors who made the weekend so much fun. The atmosphere was fantastic - so friendly and encouraging, great work everyone!!

http://

video

Thanks go to Robyn Evans & Graeme Fairley for the pics. To Graeme for the You Tube Vidoe of all of Nix's runs, and to Linda W for the video of Nix's Exexellent Jumping Final run which Graeme couldn't quite get all of. Thanks everyone.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ten Already???

So there it is 10 years has gone by since I got my little brindle and white runty puppy from the RSPCA. What a 10 years it has been :) The Saxy Man has taught me so much over those years that I have no idea where to start, and if I did this blog post would be far too long for anyone to want to read!! :)

Saxon has had his issues and hard times over the last 10 years and has shown me a different side to dog training and how to be a more humble person - thanks Sax. He is a wonderful boy with such enthusiasm for everything he does. A big hearted dog who loves people and his ball more than anything you could imagine. A giant softie and a great mate.

Thanks for the last 10 years Sax and look forward to many more with you.

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY SAXON

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Double Trouble

"Jetzen & Phoenix"

"Phoenix & Jetzen"

Yes, so very cute. Don't they just look like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths?? YEAH RIGHT!! These two when they team up really are "Double Trouble". I swear with the noises you hear outside sometimes, that they are egging each other on to see who can dig the biggest hole under the trampoline (just as well the grass was already dead under there!).

Then there is stalking each other around the outdoor table, with lots of paw lifts and play bows, followed shortly after by tearing off and racing madly around the yard playing catch me if you can. It's a bit much for poor Saxon some days. As soon as Nix & Jetz start this he is off to the safety of his kennel!!

But you look at those faces with their big Kelpie smiles and you just can't resist giving them big pats and cuddles. It's not so much Double Trouble then, more a Double Act - double the love, double the fun!!

The Three Amigos

Just some recent pics that I have taken around the house of the hounds together. The old man of the house Saxon (almost 10yrs old), Phoenix, who absolutely rules the roost (2 1/2yrs) and Jetzen, the newcomer (9 months). Three VERY different personalities, each of which brings me different joys and challenges - but I wouldn't be without a one!!

"SAXON"
"The Old Boy"

"PHOENIX"
"The Ruler of the Roost"

"JETZEN"
"The Newcomer"

"THE THREE AMIGOS"

"Phoenix ~ Saxon ~ Jetzen"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Where did the time go???

Seriously folks... Where has the start of the year gone?? Summer is nearly over already! So begs the question.... How did my plans for training go? Well I was pleasantly surprised at what I got done. Not quite as much as I had planned but I was still happy.

PHOENIX...

  1. Dog Walk - We are progressing nicely with her understanding of the end criteria. I thought I would test this at training Wed just gone. Previously Nix had been hesitant on the down ramp but this has greatly reduced now. She is still slower than I would like but is running straight to the end now instead of hesitating and then walking into the contact.
  2. Weavers - Aaarrghh the weavers. They are improving but still have a LONG way to go. Nix is getting the footwork happening and has a good understanding of the entry and even the exit! If she misses a weaver she will then miss another one before the end so that she exits on the correct side - go figure. I guess I have reinforced the exit well :) We just need to get the consistency still. So we will say the weavers are still a work in progress!!
  3. Handling - Ok so this was more about me and what I do than anything Nix was doing! With a lot of concentration and several mistakes in the beginning it seems, from all accounts, that I am no longer confusing my poor dog so much! It shows too, as she is running a lot nicer and faster. I still need to work on my timing so as not to pull off from an obstacle to early, but we are getting there.
  4. Stand For Exam - Lots of informal work on this. Any time Phoenix has been standing next to me I've touched her back in some way, gradually increasing the pressure as I go. She will now quite happily stand for me and allow me to do a proper exam. Now I have to pair that with my moving towards her to do it instead of starting already at her side. It's a vast improvement from the start of the year, but still a long way to go!
  5. Trick - I have been working on teaching Nix to walk backwards while standing only on her two hind legs. She manages about 5 steps. Now I have to get her to do it in a straight line instead of curving away from me.
JETZEN...
  1. Targeting - Hmmm... Seems this one went by the way side a little, and became more about focusing on me rather than his environment. Must be working as he was much more responsive and far less distracted at training on Sunday just gone.
  2. Flatwork - My main aim here was just to do more of it!! So in that sense we have achieved well ;-) I still have to work harder on holding Jetz with me on the right but it's definitely improving!
  3. Barking - Well I can at least call Jetzen off the back fence now, instead of having to go and fetch him when the dog over the back is razzing them up!! He is quite the barker at the moment and I have learned well that the more I stimulate him mentally the less he barks - or maybe he has trained me well!!
  4. Positions - I'm really happy with the work Jetzen is putting together here. He is so eager to work and to please that he is doing things at a million miles an hour which is great but challenging my timing :-)
  5. Trick - Ok, I'll be honest here - we haven't done one!! I couldn't decide what to do and thus it hasn't happened.... to be continued ;-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Summer Fun

With the warm weather well and truly upon us, what could be better than spending a few hours at the beach with your best mates? Not much I say!! It was a great morning, made even better by the fact we had the beach all to ourselves :-)

I love taking them to the beach because you really get to see their different personalities come out. Jetzen will plow straight into the water without a care in the world. The lead comes off and he is off and running.

Phoenix is a bit more cautious, especially around water. She would much rather hang back at my heels and suss everything out. I would say it takes her a good 20 min before she will investigate the water. Once she does though she has a great time playing chasey with the waves. She reminds me of a little kid standing, staring at the water and as the wave comes in they turn and run as fast as they can away from the water, and then, as it receedes they chase it back down again. It is hillarious when she miss times her run and the water touches her paw unexpectedly, she leaps sideways in the air to get away from it - funny!!

There was a great sand bar a little ways out and I decided to wade across and see if the dogs would follow. As I headed out Jetz came running from up the beach at a zillion miles an hour, as did Nix, however as they approached the water Nix hit the brakes while Jetzen bounded in. As he realised she had stopped, he sort of froze mid bounce through the waves, looked at me, looked at Nix and couldn't decide what to do. He chose to go back to Nix and then proceeded to jump into the water look at me, bark at Nix and jump out again. Look at the water, bark at Nix and jump in the water again. This went on for about 5 minutes. I swear he was trying to tell Nix it was ok!! Eventually Nix decided to come in and they had a great time running through the shallow water.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010

Ok so the New Year has arrived - time to get off my butt, stop focusing on those things I have no control over and work on the things I do have control over. Time to stop making excuses for the things my dogs do that I don't like and find solutions to turn those behaviours into something more constructive!!

After a few weeks off training my dogs are well and truly ready to get back into the swing of things and so am I - time to switch the brain from holiday mode into work mode and get back into it.

So my to do list for the rest of summer.......

PHOENIX

  1. Plank work for her dog walk - give her a solid understanding of what I expect as her end criteria
  2. Weavers - Getting her consistency up on a straight set of poles without reducing her drive in them.
  3. More single jump work - mainly to improve my consistency in signals that I am giving!!!
  4. Stand for exam
  5. A new trick - yet to be decided upon.

JETZEN

  1. Targeting - lots of it.
  2. Flatwork - circle work, come to hand, etc
  3. Ignoring and not barking at the little yappy over the back fence that does not shut up!! Damn dog takes great delight in standing at the back fence and trying to raz my dogs up - grrr.
  4. Positions - increasing duration.
  5. A new trick - yet to be decided upon.

So there you go. Thats the start of my Summer training - deciding exactly what I want to work on - now to get on with it. So folks anytime you wish, please feel free to ask how it's going. No matter how accountable you are to yourself, there is always extra motivation in knowing other people are following up on what you are doing too!!

So to everyone - I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and wish that 2010 brings you much success in all you attempt, both with and without your canine friends. Here's to a great year!!