Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Returning to Agility!

So I decided to enter a few agility shows with the ginger ones, really to get myself prepared better for when Sweep comes out as my handling is a tad rusty (understatement of the century!).  I entered Rum as well as Ember hoping that the weather would be cool as I will struggle to run him if it is hot as it does bring on his collie collapse quickly, though UKA shows may be a possibility as there is not normally much of a queue and the environment is less stressful – we shall see.

So Shrewsbury came round and the weather was overcast and a bit wet – hoorah!  I love my Rum dog and was excited about running him, having not run him at a show for probably 3 years.  First class was grade 6 agility and he had a fab run, just knocked a pole simply because he isn’t as jump fit as he could be – he was so good and listened all the way round, he actually came 5th, would have been 3rd without the pole.  His other classes we had silly mistakes in but he was amazing, he is sooo good, it is so nice to have a dog that listens!  Ember had a clear in a really easy grade 6 course so was out of the placings, she is going a little deaf so I really have to baby her everywhere now.  She is still fit as a fiddle though, but a little slower in her older years!

Hatton agility show and overcast again.  Rum was a star and had a lovely run round grade 6 agility but I messed a turn up (rusty handling!) and we lost a lot of time, think he ended up 4th but they only placed to 3rd.  He had a pole in another run and I completely lost it in the last run as he stepped up a gear and I couldn’t catch him lol!  Ember had one of her Ember days and went off when I didn’t want her to and didn’t go on when I wanted her to! 

We haven’t entered any KC now, only a UKA in June to get Sweep measured as I am pretty sure he is standard, so it would be nice to start him in some standard steeplechase classes later in the year.  I really feel like I don’t know what I am doing in the ring at the moment, am so rusty so I need to sort myself out!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Dave Munnings Training

Doesn't seem that long since our last session, our March session has been postponed to April too so it's going to be a long time before our next one!

Sweep seemed to be flying today, he felt awesome, he did at one point forget how to do a wing wrap with a ketschker though but I think he was just trying to take the easy option!  A few little reminders and he was back doing them - little monkey.  You do forget they are only puppies and sometimes they get a bit bored of doing something or take a bit of  step back, so you do have to take them back a step.  Cas had not even started agility at his age and still turned out to be a good dog, am not going to rush him but it is good to do all these training days so I know what I need to be doing.  Dave is great as he still keeps things really good fun for the pups.  

I need to find something to do with him in March now - April is too far off!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Toni Dawkins at Deena's New Venue

A space came up in the foundation class with Toni Dawkins at Deena's new indoor training venue.  The venue isn't far off the M1 in Daventry.  For me it was a bit far as I seemed to sit in traffic all the way down the M1 and most of the way down the M6. It would be fine on a Saturday or Sunday but during the week it was horrendous so unfortunately I won't make the journey again.  However the venue itself is great as it is so nice to have a heated, clean venue and not worry about the dogs getting sand in the car etc.  There was also lots of room to take crates in and you could make yourself a hot drink and have some cake or biscuits :)

Training was great although Sweep slipped a lot on the astroturf.  We were only doing the basics like wing wraps and tunnels so didn't do anything involving a lot of flat out speed.  Sweep was great and listened to everything I told him to do, have to work on my arms and handling!  Learnt a lot :)

Sunday, 25 January 2015


So I thought we should try a bit of flyball, just to see how he is in an even more hyped up enviroment and seeing as he comes from a flyball family! 

He loved it, he flew down the line of jumps to his tuggy getting faster and faster the more he did.  We had a go at the box and only needed to be shown what to do once so we were allowed to progress to picking up the ball.  Again he did it perfectly, grabbed his ball, brought it over a jump and latched on to his tuggy.

Would love to do some more with him, just need a club a bit closer as we went to Shrewsbury for the taster.  It's a bit of a distance to do regularly.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Dave Munnings Training

We popped down to The Dog Barn this morning for some training with Dave again - I hadn't realised it was a Monday morning this time so had to get up super early to get there in time.  Took me a lot longer than in normal traffic.  Worth it though, we had great fun and I saw a real improvement in Sweep - so did Dave.  His drive and 'go' was a lot better than last time, we have been working on it away from agility.  I do now need to work on drive to just one jump and do a bit more. 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sweep at 9 months

Have taken some photos today of Sweep. I just love his size and shape :)


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Dave Munnings Training

Today was our first training session with Dave Munnings at The Dog Training Barn.  I have trained with Dave before when Ember was competing and he was fab, it was the best training day we had done, I just think Dave's way suits me and he seems to be really clear in how he is training.  So when I saw these young dog sessions advertised I put my name down straight away.

We had a great day, learnt a lot and realised I really need to go back to basics with his drive and forward focus - am going to get the Q Me DVD out over Christmas.  I was really pleased with Sweep's focus though as despite it being indoors and a bit crazy and loud at times, it didn't blow his brains.  Sometimes I forget he is only 9 months and still a baby - he doesn't seem to have grown a lot the last couple of months and seems mature for his age.

I love the Dog Training Barn as they provide plenty of crates to put your dogs in, you can have a sit down, make yourself a hot drink and it is all indoors - plenty of space for big courses.  Not far off junction 11 of the M40 so it is dead easy to get to.  This is what I call civilised agility and I like it! :)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

Cas - One in a Million

It is with a heavy and broken heart I have to let you know that my beautiful girl slipped peacefully away earlier today.  Cas was diagnosed with liver failure and possibly cancer earlier this year, we managed to keep her free of pain and still active until recently when her body really started giving up on her.  She didn’t let it get to her and remained so bright and kept such a passion for living life, but we could tell no matter how hard she tried to hide her pain, the pain was becoming too much, I knew and so did she but she just didn’t want to give in.  Cas was a determined little dog and she always tried her best, she gave 110% and put her heart and soul into everything she did.  Nothing made her happier than when she was making us happy.  When I saw her sigh and go peacefully to sleep free of pain I knew we had made the right choice, she could run free without any pain and was happy again.

I don’t really need to say much about her life as the video tells it all:

The Story of a Rescue Dog from Gina on Vimeo.

I am just glad she chose us and so proud of what she achieved, not in terms of competition achievements but in that she really turned around and loved everything she did.  I will never enjoy working a dog as much as I did Cas, she was one in a million and never even needed a reward, my praise and happiness was reward enough for her and she knew it was a job well done.  I would give anything to have another Cas, she was such a crazy oddball of a dog, but I knew that she loved us to bits and we returned that love.  Some people would say they wished they had had their rescue from a pup to give them a better start, with Cas, her beginning in life made her the dog she was, made her appreciate her life with us, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  God I loved and still do love that dog!

Her colour was pink, she was a merle, she was a girl, so it HAD to be.  The sky tonight was lit up pink, thank you Cas for our wonderful memories that will last a lifetime and you will stay in my heart forever.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dog & Bone Film and TV Masterclass

I signed Sweep up for the Dog And Bone Film and TV Masterclass workshop as I thought it would be good for him to do some learning around other dogs and also good for me to see whether I was teaching him all the right things, it also meant he could be registered for work with Dalys Dogs.
It was held at The Dog Training Barn in Banbury and the satnav took me straight past the venue into the village so it took me a while to find it.  The venue is fab (once you know where it is!) as it’s easy to get to not being far from the M40.
The day started with a talk from Kay Weston from Animal Ambassadors, we worked a lot with Kay when Dizzy was doing work and she is a lovely person to work with and would recommend her to anyone.  She has a lot of experience and has worked on programmes such as Eastenders and Dogs Trust adverts etc.
We then started training and throughout the day when we started a new session on a new behaviour we split into groups so dogs that were already trained could then be in a more advanced group to improve the behaviour and strengthen it.  As Sweep was only 20 weeks I stayed in the lowest group, he could do some of the behaviours well and probably could have gone in to the other group but I didn’t want to push him in a new environment.  We did things like stand, sit and down stays with distractions, this is really important for any kind of media work as there are a LOT of distractions on set.  Recalls with distractions, sending the dog to a mark, touch (nose touch and paw touch), holding an object, leave (food or toy).
Training was great as there was plenty of time for the trainers to go round the group and tailor everything individually.  We had a mid morning and mid afternoon break with a lunch break as it is a long day for the dogs.  Hot drinks and cakes were provided for us.  At the end of the day all the dogs were assessed to see which behaviours they could and couldn’t do in order for them to be put forward for any future jobs.
Sweep – I was really pleased with him, I just took his travel bed in with us and in between sessions he just lay on his bed and chilled out.  I made myself a drink, wandered round and he stayed on his bed with people and dogs walking round.  REALLY pleased as it’s so important for a dog to be able to settle and relax if you are interested in doing filmwork.  They are normally long days and a lot of the time the dogs aren’t doing anything so they need to be able to settle in between working.  Dizzy was always brilliant at settling, Cas or Ember I could never get to settle.

This is a fab course and you don’t need to have done any training before you go but similarly if you have trained all the behaviours the advanced class was there to expand on them.  There was a rescue dog (who is looking for a home) there who came for a day out and obviously had never done anything, he got on really well.  Thanks Dog & Bone for the photos.