Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Orchard Agility Summer Show - August 2014

This was our last show of the summer season, mainly as my wife +Susi Cooper is due to give birth very shortly. The weather was good, a little cold at times but it held out. We were running Zazu at grade 3, Doople and Shadow at grade 6, and Winnie in anysize.

Getting ready on the start line
Doople and Zazu were running in the Embroidery Shop Final, which is a grade 1-5 competition with qualifiers through out the year. It consists of two agility rounds, one preliminary round which sets the running order for the final run. Both dogs had a lot to live up to as Shadow won the trophy two years ago. No pressure then!

Doople ran both rounds really well. A little slow in the weaves but we've been having trouble with those in training lately. We finished the first round in 4th which meant that we ran towards the end in the final. We went clear but there were faster dogs, so we finished 6th overall.

Zazu seemed to enjoy his rounds. We had trouble with the weaves as usual and got eliminated in the first round. In the final his inexperience showed and we were eliminated when he kept running. He got all of his contacts and was running down them better.

Doople sussing out the competition
On to the rest of the show.

Zazu's other run on Saturday was very good. I pulled him off a jump but he managed 12 weaves fairly quickly and his contacts. He finished 3rd with 5 faults. On Sunday he acted very funny in the jumping, deciding to wander off over a jump rather than following me. We did manage to layer a jump, the weaves and the judge at the same time, intentionally! I basically sent him on and an a different way with a jump, the weaves and the judge between me and him. His final agility run was fairly steady but good. We finished in 3rd place.

Shadow had a good day on Saturday with some tricky courses. We came 5th in the combined 5-7 jumping only a few seconds off the leaders. In the graded 6-7 agility however we came 1st! It was a good run with really tight turns. I don't think we could have run either class better. This does mean that she is now finally grade 7, the top grade. It has taken a while. There's less to talk about on Sunday, I was awful. I just couldn't put everything together. We did go clear in the jumping run which was as simple as could be for a grade 4-6.

Winnie had an anysize run on Saturday and she actually ran very well. She was charging around and really enjoying herself. We went wrong but never mind. It's the first time in quite a while that we've seen her enjoy herself that much at a show.

It was a good way to end our summer season with Shadow finally making it to grade 7. I'm not sure how many shows we'll be doing this winter but we'll hopefully keep doing some.

Posing after a long hard day

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Barking Mad Show - Aug 2014

We went to our old club's show this weekend, the RDDTC Barking Mad show near Peterborough. We were helping out for quite a lot of it so it was a busy weekend. We had Doople running her first grade 6 show, Shadow running at grade 6 and Zazu at grade 3.

Greg and Zazu getting ready
The weekend started on Thursday as we went down early to help set up. It was nice and friendly so we always like helping out there. The weather over the weekend was typically British, hot sun followed by rain followed by hot sun and rain, and that was just Saturday!

On to the dogs.

Shadow ran most of her runs really well with a lot of drive. Unfortunately I wasn't quite up to her standard this weekend with no clear rounds on Friday or Saturday. I made silly mistakes like not waiting for her so she would take the wrong jump; getting in her way for weave entries so she couldn't see them early enough; too close to cross behind the A-frame. All annoying little things that show I'm a little out of practice. I got it together for Sunday but Shadow was a little tired by this point. We did get three clear rounds though.

We also entered the weave challenge, which was 8 sets of six weaves and 3 tunnels, no jumps or anything else, all to raise money for a dog cancer research charity. It was fun and Shadow was quite good, we missed one entry but got the rest. She was a little confused why we kept doing so many. It was a very amusing class to watch and everyone enjoyed it.

Zazu only had two runs each day as he still isn't quite there to concentrate for many more. He was running very nicely though. The main things we need to work on are weaves and contacts. He needs more confidence in the weaves and also with the equipment. He didn't miss his contacts but he can be a bit slow. His jumping was very good though, he has come a long way. We got some placings, we came 1st in 3-5 jumping, even with slow weaves. He flew round the rest of the course. We also got a 2nd another jumping run. We got 5 faults on the weaves as he missed the last two but ran the rest lovely, a little wide but I can work with that.

Doople only had one run a day as she doesn't like the heat. She ran all three lovely though. She knocked a pole on her first jumping run but ran well. We got a 2nd in the rain on Saturday, even with me falling over and nearly taking out the last jump! She also went clear on the Sunday in agility.

We had a fun weekend. We have lots to take away and work on. Weaves and contacts with Zazu, my timing and weaves entries with Shadow. Really pleased that Zazu got his first, hopefully of many, win at a Kennel Club show.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Milton Keynes DTC - June

We had a nice quiet weekend this time. Shadow was lame and Winnie wasn't entered, so we just drove round the corner with Doople at grade 5 and Zazu at grade 3. It was great being only 20 minutes away as we could decide when we'd had enough and go home easily.

Susi and Zazu in serious preparation
Doople ran first in graded 5-7 jumping. She had a great run and really enjoying it. She was driving forward and listening well. We were a little wide out of the tunnel though. We did however end up winning the class! It's been a while since Doople won a class. She now needs only one more agility win to advance to grade 6. Her other run on Saturday was graded 5-7 agility. She again ran really well even tough it was a long course with two sets of 12 weaves and a course time of 65 seconds! Doople kept her 100% record for the day and won the class! This moves her into grade 6 now. While we were pleased to win, we're not sure how well Doople will compare against other grade 6 dogs, but we can do all of the course well.

Sunday wasn't quite as successful. In the 5-7 jumping Doople didn't have much drive, perhaps she was tired. She got going a bit towards the end. We had a refusal on one of the jumps. In the 5-7 agility was better but again lacking a little bit compared to Saturday. We messed the weave entry but were pleased overall.

Zazu only had 3-4 jumping on Saturday. He ran the course really nicely with a bit more drive than he has had in the past. He still isn't there on the weaves either. Sunday was a lovely flowing course that he going in well. I could control him from a distance while moving into position. In the agility he got all of his contacts. The dog walk end was a bit slow, but the A-frame was brilliant. I pulled him off a tunnel under the A-frame but we were OK second time.

We were really pleased with both of them over the weekend. I think it helps to have less to do and spend more time doing it. Congratulations to Doople for getting into grade 6, party time now!

Greg and Zazu after a hard day's work

Friday, 30 May 2014

Orchard Agility Unaffiliated Show

Only a few weeks late but never mind! We decided to have a quite weekend so we went to the Orchard Agility unaffiliated show as it is only 30 mins away. We really went to this show to give Zazu some more experience in a relaxed environment. We ran Zazu at grade 3, Shadow at grade 6, Doople at grade 5 and Winnie in anysize.

Spoiler: Zazu looking proud with his Saturday rosettes
Zazu wasn't too keen on parts of the agility ring as there were a lot of thistles on the ground. He was hoping around at times, which was funny to watch if ineffective. He had two agility rounds and a jumping round His contact on all of his rounds were really good. We still need a little more drive but he was running all the way down. The weaves were all a little slow but again we need more practice. He got distracted in the jumping round and ran off in the other direction but he was still enjoying him self. He was eliminated in the jumping, got a 2nd in the 1-3 agility and a 1st in the 1-5 agility. We were really pleased as this was his first win. It also means he qualified fr the Embroidery Shop medium 1-5 final in August. Shadow won this event in 2012, so he has a lot to live up to.

On the Sunday, his contacts were still good in the agility round and I decided to hold him a little longer on them. He decided to sit at the top of the A-frame once though, I guess the view was good! He was starting to tire a little, more mentally than physically. We still managed a clear round in the steeplechase and a 3rd place in the agility.

Shadow started the weekend in the steeplechase, and it took her a while to wake up. She just sort of wandered around the first ten jump, then realised what we were doing and sped up! She ran much better in the jumping class and finished 2nd, a few seconds off the winner. The agility was going well until the contact equipment when she just flew off everything.

Sunday started much better as she won the steeplechase this time. The class ended with a full poodle podium! She also did really well in the jumping class where she finished 2nd. The agility run is probably best forgotten, she missed all her contacts again and also wandered off half way through to find Susi. Still it was a fun weekend with her.

Doople has started losing a lot of her drive at shows, particularly when it's warm. It's still there sometimes, particularly when Susi runs her, but I had the privilege for most of the weekend. She started really well in the jumping class and finished 3rd with Shadow only a few seconds faster. We got faults on the dog walk in the first agility class and eliminated in the second. She wasn't running as well for these as they were later in the day.

She was lagging a bit in the jumping on Sunday, we missed a jump and got eliminated. +Susi Cooper ran her in the first agility run and she went much better. She's more used to running with Susi. They went round really well and finished in 3rd place.

Winnie was entered in the anysize jumping at small height (350mm), one on each day. On Saturday she ran quite well and looked like she enjoyed it. She always enjoys herself when she comes out round the rings at least. Sunday was a bit different as it took a bit of effort to get her out of the caravan! She started slowly but picked when she got to the tunnels.

The weekend was mainly about training Zazu and we accomplished quite a lot. Zazu got his first win and qualified for a final in August. It was a good, relaxing weekend, even with all the thistles!

Relaxing after a hard day

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

RVA Indoor KC Show - March

This weekend we went to our first Kennel Club show of 2014, the RVA Indoor Small/Medium Show. It was busy with people and dogs but lovely and (relatively) quite due to the lack of large dogs. It's amazing how much of the noise id from excited collies! We took Shadow at grade 6, Doople at grade 5 and Zazu at grade 3.

Shadow waiting patiently
First up was Shadow in the graded 6-7 jumping. We were a little wide going into a slalom as the tunnel was quite a draw, but the rest of the round was lovely. She flew through the weaves and we had really tight turns. The fruits of our labour was a 3rd place. Next up was the combined 5-7 agility. We had good weaves and contacts, she was working away well which makes life so much easier. We finished clear, quite a way off but still a good round. After lunch we ran in the pairs with Miranda and Wizz. It was a fast course we were looking forward to. Miranda went first but unfortunately Wizz missed to the last two weaves. Shadow ran well, we nearly missed the first whilst waiting, and we got a bit confused at the end, but still good.

Shadow with her rosette, she doesn't look much different than before her run
Finally we had graded 6-7 agility. This was quite a fast and tricky course with lots traps everywhere. Shadow ran really nicely in this, again working away so that I could get where I needed to be. We had a greate dog walk contact and really tight turn over the next jump which took her well away from the traps. A long stretch of running and a bit of improvisation meant we finished in 2nd place, only 0.5s off 1st. It was a really good day with her.

Doople only had two runs and they were both at the same time. First she had graded 4-5 agility. We had a wide start as Doople wanted to go up the dog walk rather than listen, but we picked and she ran well after that, good weaves and turns. We ended up in 3rd place. Her net round was graded 4-5 jumping. She was driving forward well so I could layer a few jumps. She picked up the weaves after I crossed behind the jump which I'm really pleased with. We ended up that round in 4th place.

Zazu started the day with grade 3 agility. He was very distracted during the round for some reason. He enjoyed himself, but just forgot to listen sometimes! Next up was grade 1-3 agility. This was a simpler course, he stopped on his contact well and ran a bit. He decided to miss the A-frame and run off in a different direction, but you can't have everything now! Last up was grade 3 jumping. He drove forward quite well so I could leave him to do bits and he managed his weaves this time. We ended up clear but we were a bit slow.

All in all it was a successful day but also a lot of fun. Our next show will be outside over Easter, hopefully without the snow this year!

Dogs having a cool down

Monday, 10 February 2014

Pachesham Grade 1-5 - February

We were at Pachesham for the final time this winter for the grade 1-5 show. We took Doople at grade 5 and Zazu at grade 3. We were very fortunate with the weather considering the flooding in other parts of the country. No rain, clear sky and a lot of wind!
Wax on, wax off
Zazu was up first in the jumping. I had to cross behind the tunnel and he came out looking the wrong way, which is something we need to train. He ran well still, even though I was slow on the turns. He was happy in the run and we ended up in 5th place. Next up was the agility. He drove into the tunnels nicely and I could layer a jump with him still going. He stopped to look at the judge on the A-frame but came down well. The only downside was the weave entry which was at an angle. He went round the first pole well but went in the second weave. This again is something to practice. Next was the steeplechase. I started a long way to the side of the first jump, sent him into the tunnel and picked him up for a blind cross between the next two jumps. He was running quite nicely all the way round, still enjoying it. We ended up in 8th place. Finally we had the second agility. round. He started by running at +Susi Cooper but carried on. He had a really good A-frame, driving down to the end. A good drive again, especially for his fourth run. We ended up in 4th place.

Doople only had two runs. Her first run was the jumping. She was really running well until Susi got in her way on a turn. This stopped her and she had the next pole down.  A good run though and finished in 6th place. Her final run was the first agility round. She slowed up a little during the run, perhaps because of the lighting. She managed the tricky weave entry, stopped to look at Susi, then carried on, and finished in 3rd place.

It was another fun day. We have a few things to train with Zazu but we were really pleased with how he's coming along. Not many more winter shows left now and then we're back outside camping again.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Pachesham Goldrush Show

Continuing our winter training we were back at Pachesham again this weekend. he weather ended up being a bit miserable, not great when the show was outdoors! We took Zazu and Shadow this time. It is the first agility Shadow has done in a month so it could be fun!

Zazu doing tricks instead of getting ready
Zazu was up first in the jumping round. There were some tight pull throughs where I was on top of him. I got in his way a bit and he slowed down but carried on. He was running well though, albeit with wide turns, mainly due to my being slow. We ended up in 7th place. Next up was agility 1. He decided to stop on the top of the A-frame, but came down and stopped nicely. It was a little bit messy as he was unsure what I was asking, but he still managed everything, including 12 weaves. we were pleased enough with him, and he finished in 4th place. His next round was the steeplechase. By this point Zazu had pretty much given up. He wasn't really paying attention or running. He was clear, but we decided not to run him in the final agility run.

Shadow also started with the jumping round. She was running well and enjoying it. She listened well and I got into better positions with her than I did with Zazu. We ended up 2nd which was a great start. Next up was agility 1. There was no dog walk, which is one less contact for Shadow to ping! Her A-frame contact was good. She was a little slow on some turn, managed 12 weaves well and had a good see-saw. We finished that round in 4th. Next was the steeplechase run. This was a fast course and Shadow was lagging a bit. I think she's a little unfit as she was looking tired. She still ran and finished in 4th again. Finally was agility 2. I decided to try something different to see if it would work, but Shadow didn't run away quite well enough. Second time she did and I managed to get into a good place for a nice tight turn round into the see-saw. She was very good though.

It was a fun day, Shadow was lagging a bit and Zazu just generally seemed fatigued. We're going to give Zazu a week or two off from agility completely so that he can enjoy it again.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

RVA Indoor Show - January

This weekend we were at the RVA pay-on-the-day show. We only took Zazu at grade 3 and Doople at grade 5. Shadow is still sore from injuring herself last week so we left her at home. It was a cold but clear day. The venue had improved yet again, so it felt much warmer indoors.

Doople was up first with +Susi Cooper in the grade 4-7 jumping. Doople was running quite nicely. Susi got in her way a couple of times though, not giving her space before the weaves and stepping in too much on the slalom. It wasn't awful though. Next up after a long wait was the grade 1-7 steeplechase. This was just a bit of fun as Doople isn't very fast in a straight line. They completed it well and both enjoyed it. Finally was the grade 4-7 agility. This was quite a tricky course but they both managed it well. Susi was practising Ketschker turns and it wasn't bad, Doople didn't fully understand though so more practice required. Doople did miss her dog-walk contact though!

Zazu ran in the grade 1-3 jumping first. As normal for his first run he was really excited. We had a good start up to the tunnel and a Ketschker turn into the weaves. He charged in barking at me but missed the final weave. A shame but happy that he was moving. I pulled him off a couple of jumps by turning too soon but he was listening and running well. Next was grade 1-3 agility. He had lost some of his forward drive but still stopped on his contacts. He started creeping down which is not great, but he still stopped. His second A-frame was much better. Finally we had grade 1-7 steeplechase. We managed it well and he was moving a bit at least.

It was a good day with lots to practice. Zazu is starting to enjoy it more and more each time. Hopefully by the summer he will be running much better.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Pachesham Grade 1-5 Show

We were back at Pachesham again this weekend for the Winter League grade 1-5 show. We ran Doople and Zazu. The day started off nice and frosty but got better later on. It ended up being a very efficient show as we managed to get through everything in a few hours. I think the cold hurries people up!

Always ready on a frosty morning
We started with Zazu in the jumping. He was really going for it all the way. We had a few wide turns as he caught me out with his speed. We were really pleased with how he worked away form me. I messed up a turn so he missed a jump, but we were still pleased. The agility was next. He was very distracted here as Susi went to film from the other side of the ring. He still managed his A-frame contacts so all was not lost.

We had another agility round after. He came out the tunnel entrance, possibly because I turned too soon. I took the opportunity to try a fancy new turn to see if we could get it tighter. It's jump 7 in the video, just before the second tunnel. I have been very skeptical about these turns in the past as most times I've seen them used have either been in the wrong place or poorly executed. We had training with Den Keeler the day before and he was explain the proper places to use these turns, and to be honest they do work when used correctly. Zazu at vaguely understood me and he was tight.

His final run was in the steeplechase. I ran this very far away from him and I didn't have to move very far from the centre of the ring. He worked away well. We had a few wide turns as I was focussing more on getting him to drive forward. We ended up the round in 8th place.

Doople only had two runs here as she tends to get tired and give up towards the end of the day. Her first was the jumping. I ran her in this and she seemed to be very distracted and not really paying attention. She still ran but not at her best. +Susi Cooper ran her in the agility round and she did run better. Turning well and pushing forward a bit. They ended up with 3rd place.

It was a fun day and we learnt a lot with Zazu. He is really coming along and is quite happy to work at a distance. We still need to build his drive but that will come with time and confidence

Monday, 6 January 2014

Pachesham Beginners - January

We started the year off as we left the last, with an agility show! We were at Pachesham this weekend for their Beginners show. We only took Zazu to this to give him some experience on his own. He can be a bit timid when he's away from his pack.

Greg ready, Zazu waiting

The weather had started to play havoc by flooding the indoor school. This meant running the show only using the outdoor school! This could have ended in tears with the weather. Fortunately, the weather held all day and only started raining as we got the van to go home. It couldn't have been timed better.

On to the show. Zazu had four classes, the most he has done at a show before. Being a beginners show, the courses were fairly straight forward. In the agility rounds, we wanted to put our contact training to the test. We were aiming for a 2-on-2-off position, basically his back two feet on the equipment and front two feet on the floor. It took a couple of attempts but he did get there. He was wide on some, OK most, of his turns as he was getting distracted by everything that was going on. This is why we are going to these shows so that he can get over it.

The jumping rounds were better. I started by trying to layer a jump into a pull through. This worked well and Zazu was running forwards nicely. He got distracted coming out of the tunnel towards people again but continued on. When he was driving he was jumping quite flat, which is hat we are aiming for. In the steeplechase round he was running well again. A little distracted around the crowds of people but he didn't deviate. On the straight bits he opened up again. This was a good round an we ended up 3rd, his first placing! It was very close with the times, the first 6 dogs were within 0.8 seconds of each other.

We were both really pleased with Zazu. He wasn't worried about being on his own and was listening most of the time. We still need to work on more drive, especially when turning, and also with distractions. Both of which will come with time and experience.