Saturday, 17 August 2013

Poodle Fun Day 2013

Last weekend was a slightly different weekend with the dogs.  Instead of agility we went to the Poodle Fun Day 2013.  This was just a fun day conceived by Sue Hunt, Lynne Land, Celia Bell and Patricia Wheeler (and I'm sure many others had a major input) to raise money for the Poodle Rescue UK.
Group photo
The day was designed just to be a bit of fun.  There we people from all over the place, mainly with poodles of all shapes and sizes.  There were probably over 50 poodles there, it was a bit mad!  We started the day with coffee and bacon and a bit of mingling.  There was an activities ring that had agility, egg and spoon race and temptation alley.
Susi and Doople in deep preparation mode
The agility was just a simple course (by agility standards) that people could have a go at.  There were people who had never done agility before just having a go running over jumps.  There was a competition for those who must compete, like me!  All our dogs had a go and all enjoyed.  Me and Doople won the class.  They were all a little excited as they'd been in a cage next to the ring for a while watching what was going on.

Zazu flying over agility jumps
There was an egg and spoon race which pitted two people and dogs against each other in a knockout competition.  One of the races was me with Shadow versus +Susi Cooper with Zazu, family rivalry!  Naturally I won.  Me and Shadow finished second beaten only in the final.
Greg and Shadow in the final of the egg and spoon race
This was followed by Temptation Alley, which involves running with your dog past four plates with some sausage on, round a post, and back again with the dog eating the sausages on the way back.  It was good fun to watch.  I especially liked Sue Hunt's black labrador who would run past a plate, then go back and eat the sausage, run past the next plate and go back to eat the sausage, etc.  Shadow caught the scent about half way up so I had to encourage her to the end, and then encourage her to eat as she was still following her nose.  Susi and Doople were really good, charging to the end and scoffing on the way back to win.
Winnie trying to find the sausage
There were also some fun showing classes, like best puppy, best dog, best bitch.  There were also some other games, like musical 'sits' where the dog has to sit when the music stops.  Last one to sit is out.  And don't forget the fancy dress competition!  It was a great day out that we all thoroughly enjoyed.  The dogs all had a good time and everyone went home home exhausted, not to mention raising a lot of money for charity.

Winner of the fancy dress competition
Here is a link to the photo album contain Around 1000 photos of the day:

Poodle Fun Day 2013 Photo Album

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Barking Mad Summer Show

We were at our previous club's, Barking Mad, summer show this weekend.  We said we would help out so we ended up being very busy all weekend.  The show went very smoothly and swiftly so it was definitely worth it.  We had Zazu running in his first proper classes at grade 3, Doople at grade 4 for the last time (at grade 4), Shadow at grade 6 and Winnie doing anysize.

Shadow was up first in grade 6-7 jumping.  Shadow got off to a flying start, she was really motoring.  I pulled her between two jumps nicely and round the jump.  She flew into the weaves but missed the last pole.  The pull through slalom was a bit much for her as she was still excited.  I should have run the other way, pushing her away through the gaps.  Next up was graded 6-7 agility.  We started with a large box which we negotiated well.  The weave entry was tricky but we managed, albeit slowly picking up pace as she went.  A lovely running contact at the end which she was doing well all weekend.  We ended up 1st!  This was our third win at grade 6 so we only need one more to go up to grade 7.  Next was graded 1-7 agility.  This was a little simpler than before but a similar course.  Shadow started a bit slow but was flying out of the first tunnel and up the dog walk, another lovely running contact.  She was listening well and I was really pleased with the round.  We finished 2nd, 0.019s behind first place! Ouch!  Finally we had combined grade 5-7 jumping.  Shadow was getting a little tired but was still running well.  Until the weaves.  She got a smell of something at the start and lost concentration the whole way through, basically walking.  She missed the last couple of weaves but ran OK afterwards.

Sunday was a very busy day as we were helping on a ring for most of the day.  We started off running in the Jewlnick Agility Pairs with +Susi Cooper and Doople.  Both dogs ran really well over the agility course and we ended up 5th, which is great considering that all heights are classified together.  Sorry to Ruth and Alan as they finished 6th, but placings only went to 5th!  Shadow's first individual run was graded 1-7 jumping.  She started a little slowly but picked up.  She was running away from me really well and I could get into different positions than a lot of people, which I think gained me a lot of time.  We then lost it all with a wide turn but nevermind!  We finished out of the placings but only 0.7s behind the winner.  Next was graded 6-7 jumping.  Shadow started quite slowly but it was because Susi was standing at the side of the ring filming.  Shadow was looking at her as we ran past, then we came back past again with Shadow still looking.  She was still running away nicely so we had some good bits.  Next was combined grade 5-7 agility.  She was a bit slow through the weaves and almost went in the wrong side of the tunnel, but carried on.  I messed up after the A-frame and got on the wrong side of her but still worked her from behind and it wasn't that slow in the end.  Another good runing contact and a clear round, but no placing.  Shadow finished up with graded 6-7 agility.  This was a very fast course so we weren't too hopeful, but still ran it well.  We had a dog-walk jump to finish, which is something that we miss every time!  I worked the contact extra hard to make sure we got , which she did.  I worked it a little too well though and she stopped at the bottom looking at me rather than running!  We did finish 2nd though so it rounded off a really strong weekend for us.

Doople's first run of the weekend was graded 3-5 jumping.  She backed jumped the third jump and then was running quite steadily.  There were some long straight lines but she could have run faster.  It was a warm day and as we already know, Doople doesn't like the heat.  Next up I ran her in the combined grade 1-4 jumping.  She was again quite steady and not driving like she does at training.  She missed the weaves like she often does in the heat.  She thinks that the weaves involve too much thinking so can't really be bothered.  Finally she had graded 3-5 agility.  She ran better here but again messed up the weaves.

Her first run on Sunday was in the pairs agility with Shadow where they ended up in 5th place.  Next up was the graded 3-5 agility.  She ran this one very nicely, still a little slow but with nice tight turns.  She ended with a clear round.  I ran ran her next in the graded 3-5 jumping.  She ran at a good pace, not quickly but steady.  She had good tight turns and managed the weaves again.  We ended up with a clear round.  Doople finished the weekend with combined grade 1-4 agility.  This was a very long fast course, not really Doople's cup of tea.  she did manage it all the way round until the dog walk jump to finish Susi didn't work the contact and Doople jumped it!  Ah well, still a steady round.

Winnie was running at anysize this weekend to help build her confidence.  She was running over small jumps.  Saturday's run started slowly but she still did everything.  After a couple of tunnels she picked up the pace and finished down the final straight nicely.  On Sunday again she started her run a bit steadily picking up in the middle.  She wasn't keen when I asked her to turn but when quickly down the final stretch again.  We'll be keeping her at anysize for a while until she's really going for it all the way around.  As long as she's enjoying it then we're happy.

Zazu was running in his first proper height (medium) classes this weekend.  He was only in one jumping class each day just to see how he gets on.  On Saturday, he started down the open stretch nicely and into the two tunnels.  We did a couple more jumps then he saw the tunnels again and was off!  After a couple of attempts I got him back over the jumps and we finished well.  He's starting to flatten out when jumping, especially when running straight and chasing me.  On Sunday, the course was a little trickier with 12 weaves.  He got a little distracted by the scorers tent but didn't run off.  He picked the weaves up second time, managed half and the second half.  He ran out well after the tunnel but didn't quite make it back in for the jump, but still really pleased with how he ran.

We have a few weeks off now with a wedding and other things.  One more show at Letchworth and then off the Hungary for the International Mixedbreed Championship Agility.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Dog Vegas - Chase the Ace Team Final

On to the second part of our mad weekend, 250 miles from our Saturday show we were in Scunthorpe for the Dog Vegas show.  The reason for the long distance is that both +Susi Cooper with Doople and myself with Shadow qualified for the Chase the Ace team finals, albeit with different teams.  Doople was running at grade 4 and Shadow at grade 6.

Meerkat outside the B&B we were staying in
The weather was even more unpredictable than on Saturday, perhaps due to being (much) further north.  It was fairly warm but with the odd thunderstorm!  We travelled up on the Sunday evening as I didn't fancy the prospect of leaving at 4:00 AM.  It was a nice little B&B just outside Scunthorpe complete with pigs, ferrets and meerkats!

The show was much quieter than the previous show with only 4 rings, one of which was dedicated to the finals.  There were a lot of finals being held for various competitions from teams, to grade 3-5 agility, to Anything-but-Collie (ABC) jumping.  The finals were held in very good spirits with people sitting around the rings watching.  This is a good experience for the more novice handlers as it can be quite daunting for both dog and handler with all the people watching.  They were good finals to watch with very good courses set by Alan Bray.

On Monday, Shadow was first up with graded 5-7 jumping.  Shadow started very well indeed but didn't run out enough on a long run and so came in missing the jump.  I tried again a she went out when I told her to.  She was very excited afterwards though.  Next up was the graded 5-7 agility.  This had a very interesting start that caught a lot of people out.  It was tyre then dog walk with a tunnel wrapped around the entrance.  I tried to walk to the other side of the tunnel and call Shadow up the dog walk so that she wouldn't look at the tunnel.  It failed.  I tried again but stayed closer her and she went up fine.  Apart from the weaves the rest of the round was lovely.  I was steering her from behind down a long run with tight turns so still very pleased.  Her last individual run was the graded 5-7 jumping.  She seemed a little steadier but still ran well.  She wasn't driving off the turns as well as she does so we lost some time.  We finished clear but unplaced.

Doople started with graded 1-4 agility.  It was quite a nice course, but perhaps a bit much for the grade 1-2 handlers.  Doople was a little steady but listened and ran clear, eventually winning the class!  That means Doople is now up to grade 5 which is brilliant, we weren't really expecting it.  Next up was graded 1-4 jumping.  This was a fairly straightforward course but still had some traps.  Doople was her steady self but still listening and running.  They had a nice clear round finishing in 2nd place.  Finally was another graded 1-4 jumping.  This had some straight lines, circles and slaloms.  A nice fast flowing course, but not really Doople's course, to much running!  She still ran well and got round clear.

Finally, at the end a long day was the teams final.  This is a relay race over a simple steeplechase course but run in two parts.  Dogs 1 and 3 run the first course, dogs 2 and 4 run the second course, which is the first course in reverse.  The results for all heights are combined together.  It's simpler than I make it sound!  First up for the small teams was me and Shadow running with some of the Poodle Training Club, Julliet, Mo and Heather.  We all had lovely rounds and they were all really going for it.  Unfortunately there was a dropped baton at the change so we incurred some fault which was a real shame.  We were still the fastest of the small teams in the end, 110s, but the faults meant that we finished 7th overall.  Susi was running with friends from Northamptonshire where we used to train, Wendy Donna and Sharon.  They all ran very well too and put in a good solid clear round, 113s.  This meant that they finished up 3rd overall, which is great.  The winners were a team of collies in 94s, 2nd place was a team of medium height dogs in 96s.

Greg with the Poodle Team

Susi with the Northants Team

It was a good fun day out, catching up with people that we haven't seen in quite a while.  IT was a good result for Susi in the teams and especially for winning up to grade 5.