Teenage Dreams

Kim is thirteen this month. Thirteen years is a long time to spend with a little dog, but it’s not long enough. We need at least another ten or so, I think.

Kim

Kim went in for a checkup in September, and her heart murmur had deteriorated. She hasn’t been to the vet in a long time, so she went in again more recently to see if it was it was an ongoing process of deterioration, or not. It’s appears that it’s not. Her left side heart is weaker but her right side sounds good, her heartbeat is strong (just … wrong), she has no fluid on her lungs and her breathing is regular, and she’s not showing any symptoms of heart problems. Additionally, she’s looking excellent for her age and does not appear to have any other issues.

She weighs 12.50kg but her muscle tone is pretty flabby these days. She still enjoys her walks, and is pretty angry that frisbee is a banned game for her these days. All games which involve racing after something are now banned, because Kim tends to race after things, dramatically fall over as she triumphantly launches to snatch item from faster, younger dogs, and then do a lap of honour. Whilst humourous and endearing activities, these are also hobble-inducing activities, so … banned.

Get the moles Kim ...

Still do plenty of that digging, though.

Here, you may marvel in some of Kim’s amazingness from years gone by:

Army of Two

Dylan Windswept

Happy 7th Birthday Dylan!

It might have taken me seven years to get here, but I suddenly see my strange little Border Collie.

I haven’t always had the best relationship with Dylan; althought I’ve always loved him, because he’s endearing and silly and honest, but I have found him frustrating and odd and yeah, sometimes a little irritating (with those damn neurotic Border Collie tics), and I definitely haven’t always understood or trusted him. I don’t know why we suddenly get along so well, but I’m holding tight and hoping it lasts.

Dyl Windswept

I have made better decisions for him this year. Pulling from Wyre because I didn’t feel like he was right. Cancelling all the indoor agility shows I had planned. Quitting flyball. These were good choices. Dylan is much, much happier in everything he does now. I trust what he’s telling me, and I hope (maybe) he trusts me now to listen.

It’s been an immense journey for him to get me here. Sorry it took so long, Dyl.

Hare'n'Hounds Easter 2013

Dylan Rosettes Coldest weekend ever. Possibly even colder than the Cold Easter of ’10, and that was also really damn cold.

I could have entered 7 runs per day, but I chose to limit myself to 5. I am not fit enough for 21 runs a weekend! I also didn’t want to mentally tire Dylan, especially after such a long break. We haven’t competed since the beginning of December, and so with four months off from competition and nearly seven months since our last outdoor competition, I wasn’t expecting a great deal from Dylan. He was struggling so much in the last few competitions we’ve done, and I just wanted him to be happy and relaxed.

We had four split class runs each day, and then an Open class; Pairs Jumping on Friday, and then an extra agility class on the Sat/Sun. With hindsight, I should have picked an extra jumping class, since Dylan’s contacts were too slow this weekend and it let us down in a few classes, but it was still useful.

Friday

Our first run was Pairs, and it was a bit of a collective shambles; Emma forgot the course with Diva, and Dylan was really slow and cautious. I think we both wrote that one off! It was a nice introduction back into things though, on an easy course.

The Large G4-7 Agility was a very flowing course, but with plenty of challenges throughout. Dylan ran it reasonably well; he was slow, but he wasn’t stuttering or looking uncomfortable in his movement, and that was encouraging. We got E’d as he ran past the seesaw (my fault!) and I elected to take him back. Everything from the seesaw onwards was encouraging however, he looked confident and smooth.

Large G5-7 AgilityLarge G5-7 Agility was the kind of course you have to work from start to finish, definitely a 5-7 type and one I enjoyed running. I was actually very happy with Dylan’s run, it was by no means perfect and was pretty slow, but there were glimmers of hope as his jumping was again fluent (if slow), and he seemed to be gaining in confidence. He actually placed 10th but with 1 time fault, which was really frustrating for me. The course time was 40s and it was just very very tight, considering the length of the course and the generous ring sizes. There were only 12 dogs that got under the course time and clear out of the 176 dogs that ran (eight G6 dogs, four G7 dogs). Hmm.

Large 5-7 Jumping had a last minute change of judge, so props to the poor guy who stepped in at the last minute to take on his first judging appointment. I liked the course and I was very happy with how Dylan ran, but we lost the plot half way around. Dylan got the difficult weave entry and then decided to miss out a few jumps and add a few different ones. It was the first course where I had the feeling of running my old dog though, the happy confident one, and so it was easy to stay optimistic.

Large G4-7 Jumping was a fantastic course, I was a bit smitten. Quite hard for a 4-7 but with lots of handling options and different tests, and just the kind of thing that Dylan enjoys. Dyl and I had a minor argument about a 360 wing wrap, which lost us time, and we finished out of the placings in 32.186 with the winner about 28s, I think.

Saturday

First course was Large 4-7 Agility and I can’t remember anything about this course, I think because we were lazy and didn’t get to the showground in time to walk the courses, so I just watched a few people and then made it up. I had to go and check on the video for what happened, and it was an ok run until the very end, when Dylan popped the last 2 poles in the weaves (sequence was jump-weave-jump/finish). I’m honestly not sure why, since his weaving was solid in every other class, but we re-attempted twice and popped every time. Eh, discard run.

Similar sort of story in Large G1-7 Agility, which was a very appropriate course for the Open level, but not very exciting. Dylan placed 13th in the end but his contacts let us down, he was not particularly creepy, just slow.

Large G6-7 JumpingLarge G6-7 Jumping was my favourite course of the day. I thought it would suit Dylan and even with the obstacle-avoidance, we should have a decent chance of getting round. We nailed it, finishing 6th, and I am really proud of that placing! Dylan was happy and smooth in his jumping and I felt like I actually made some good handling decisions, and we ran as a team.

The other Large 6-7 Jumping was also a very nice course, and I dithered and dithered over how to handle 11-15 when I walked the course. As it turned out, being unable to make up my mind got us E’d! I remember making eye contact with Dylan on the crucial turn and he had a very quizical expression, obviously wondering where to go. Oops, must try harder!

Large G6-7 Agility, last run of the day. Nice course, another 360 wrap which are really not my favourite thing, and lots of obstacle avoidance (theme of the weekend!). We picked up 5f somewhere, plus 1 time fault, still placed 13th. Again, it was frustrating to take time faults on a course where Dylan was working well and running fluently. I know he’s not the fastest dog and he’s never going to be challenging for the win on a G6 course, so my goal with him is just to have fun, run as well as we can, and hopefully go clear, so getting those time faults it just disheartening. Unfortunately I didn’t get this run on video either so I have no idea what the 5f was for, I assume we missed a contact somewhere but who knows.

Sunday

First class of the day was G6-7 Jumping, another super course (Ring 5 were winning on the nicest courses, they had lovely judges with excellent courses all weekend!). Unfortunately I ran quite early and the ground was still defrosting, making it quite slippy underfoot. Dylan ran well but was definitely erring on the side of caution, and I don’t blame him. We got E’d right at the end, oh well. Not a bad start to the day, and it maintained his improvement over the weekend in terms of general confidence.

Large G4-7 Agility was another flowing course, with just a challenging weave entry and a few push-outs to bump up the difficulty. All the 4-7 classes this weekend were nice! We went clear and finished 13th, but again, sloooow contacts.

A really straightforward course in the Border Collie C1-7 Agility, no seesaw and just 6 weaves on a very fast course. I decided to try handling the start a little differently to how I would usually have approached the box-type sequence and it worked really well, and we had an uninteresting and unplaced clear.

Large G6-7 AgilityOur last agility course was what I believe to be the easiest G6-7 Agility ever. Admittedly, it was nice to run a very straightforward course. Sort of like going back in time to G3, except I think this was easier than the G1-3 Agility that Diva ran immediately before this course, so maybe it was more like going back to Elementary. Either way, Dylan had a super run, nice and fast and clear. I didn’t wait to collect his time, there’s no way he’d get placed on a course like this! This was a course where a tight course time was absolutely appropriate, and it was set at 35s.

Large G6-7 JumpingWe finished the weekend with a lovely run in the G6-7 Jumping. Dyl and I had a minor disagreement over turning at #9, and got E’d, but it was fun course to finish with.

Really pleased for all our friends who won classes this weekend. It was a high standard of competition at all levels and there were some very very well deserved wins.

Flickr set here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEyAGk3

SUMMARY: A weekend of very nice courses and very slow contacts but really fluent jumping and really happy Dylan. Next few weeks are going to involve LOTS of dogwalk training.

Group Photos

Group photos are hard, and not just because getting everyone sat facing the right direction is always tough. I have very white dogs and very black dogs, and so getting the white balance is hard, and the height differences is always a challenge.

Kim, Rio, Dylan, Mollie

It started so well, and we moved on, and then I realised nobody was in focus. Photoshop improved things, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so we tried again …

Group 2

Out of focus and Kim hates everyone.

Bored Now

Kim is bored now.

3 out of 4 ...

In focus, all dogs looking at the camera attentively … shame there’s one missing!

SQUIRREL

Think we have a few problem areas here, starting with Rio’s “SQUIRREL!” impression, and Kim’s “bitch, please …” face.

Group 1

Mollie is slightly out of focus, and Rio isn’t really looking the right way, but this might be the best we can do!

Pass

13 Months

Rio passed her Foundation Obedience assessment with no problems. So she got a certificate and a tuggy! Posing for photos is borrrrring, however.

I also attempted to take some stacked photos of her, but only one was really worth posting and it’s her non-show side, oops. I should have stacked her on carpet as well, she was sliding a bit on the wooden floor.

13 Months

She’s in the Realm of No Coat at the moment, and she’s still in the skinny phase. Rio is from a fairly slow-maturing line, her mum Rita got her final CC this year at 8yrs, so I’m not too worried. She’ll fill out as she matures, and hopefully get her coat back. Some things she won’t grow out of; for an Aussie, she’s a bit long in the loin, verging into too much rear angulation, and her croup is sloping like a badass, but for agility/flyball those are all good things.

I think I’ll keep her, she’s not too shabby.

Sutton Fields Sept 2012

I love this tournament; my dogs and my team always seem to run well at Sutton Fields, and it’s always been my milestone tournament as well. Kim got her first sub-20 time in 2006, retired 2011, Dylan did his first Open 2008, Mollie retired 2012. Dylan got back to sub-20, 2012.

Kim ran in Starters on Saturday, our super-starter team of Snoop, Mylo, Kim, and Diva. We ran these four together at Larden Green and they are such a good little team, we came 1st again. Kim is obviously the experienced one on the team, but the others are true baby dogs; capable of running up and down, but still learning changeovers and occasionally making some silly inexperienced mistakes. It’s a proper Starter team, and these dogs will be ready for Open next season.

Sutton Fields: Mollie

Mollie’s team ran on Sunday and came 3rd, with a BreakOut time of 22.10 – this team won’t run together again so it’s sort of irrelevant. Mollie and Bailey are both officially retired now; they have both been superstars, rolling on with their own unique takes on flyball, but consistent team members to the end. Retiring Mollie does make me sad, she is still raring to go and loves flyball, but at her age and with her fading eyesight, it’s just too much to let her run these days.

Dylan was back running over 9″, the same team as we had at Larden Green. All the dogs were on top form, it was so nice to be running in a seriously competitive team. We were seeded on 20.12 so knew the sub-20s was within easy reach. Dylan clocked some easy 4.6s times, Roxy was consistently producing 4.6-4.7, height dog Ronnie was getting down to 4.9, and even Chip got his act together at the end of the summer and went down to 4.6 at times. We eventually got our 19.85 at the end of the day, with Chip, Dyl, Ronnie, Roxy. I also feel a little bit smug for not getting a single light all day, even when we got dropped into lead dog; 4x rolling starts, I win!

I can’t wait to get the new box and start training for next season; I suddenly feel like 4.5s is within Dylan’s capabilities, and that has never really been a prospect before. I’m pretty excited for next season, but I’m also a little anxious as I’m still not sure if I want to continue flyball after this year. We require some changes within the team to really reach next year’s potential, and considering those are changes of attitude and control, I’m not sure it will happen.

Friendship