Rum has been suffering from stress for a while now, just before Christmas it got really bad so I had him on DAP and some xyklene, we worked through this bad stage where I could not get him to do a thing because he couldn’t think he was stressed out up to his eyeballs! Then when the outdoor season started I realised that he wasn’t fast because he enjoyed it, he was fast because he was stressed out, he wouldn’t wait because he was stressed about the dog behind him, he started missing contacts. I realised my hopes of getting to Olympia were vanishing before my eyes, but what’s more important? In my opinion it’s a dog who actually enjoys agility, people may have thought he did but if you looked closely he didn’t at all – it was adrenaline from the stress. Chris Hickman has been excellent and really helped me, after reading Control Unleashed I started working with him at Waldridge initially. From there we have been doing calm around the rings, making eye contact with me rather than watching the dog competing. Slowly we are getting there, and working him now really makes me realised how stressed he was! We started getting our waits back (though if we have a barky dog behind us they aren’t great and I don’t really want to push him in that situation as he isn’t comfortable) and contacts back again.
At Newton Heath this weekend he was amazing, a 3rd in Novice Olympia (not qualifying as was in 2 parts) and I got lost in an awesome jumping class which I really drove him round and he had a great time, followed by a beautiful run in agility where I held his contacts and ran on past. His contacts are so much faster and confident I haven’t had a creepy contact all weekend which is a first!
Cas was a little stiff this weekend and had a couple of poles in her jumping classes so am going to see how she goes. At Thames she was the only one to have 100% clear rate including a 14th in Pairs with Lisa Thompson.
Ember has been another reason I haven’t been enjoying competing, at Waldridge there were lots of start jump then weaves which she has always struggled with and didn’t get a single entry. After that she seemed to lose all confidence in finding her weaves and didn’t pick any up in the ring, I felt all that hard work had just been wasted and we were back to square one. But am pleased to report she didn’t miss a single one all weekend, in her jumping she picked up a really tricky entry and just had a pole otherwise would have won by 2 seconds! Then we are still having a-frame issues and I have decided to down her afterwards as putting her back over is rewarding her for missing and if I took her out it’s giving the obstacle a really negative association. Anyway in the next class she had a beautiful a-frame and we had a 3rd in Grade 6 Agility. Sunday she was so fab in Crufts singles but made a stupid mistake and messed up a straight line of jumps! I was so pleased as I got into position while holding her on her dogwalk and left her in her weaves while I went off into position. In her jumping she was NAUGHTY and was so headstrong she wasn’t listening.
Here are some pics I took with my new lens.
And this is Jingo, Chris Hickman's goldie, she hasn't got many photos of him so I said I would take some, weather wasn't great so didn't get any particularly amazing shots, but I just love this one - isn't he gorgeous!