Clever Dogs

Kim is top of the CleverDogs 2007 Championship Multimix Seedings list! She ran a cracking time at Selby of 22.50 and is currently ahead of her nearest competitor, Poppy, by 4 seconds. We’ll have a couple more chances to improve that time this summer, and hopefully qualify for the Finals in August. Mollie ran a nice time for me in the Open division and is currently 17th in the seedings, but I think we can improve that — we had to double back around a jump so we wasted a lot of time!

CleverDogs is a combination of agility and flyball. The dog must negotiate a simple agility course, and after taking the final obstacle they must then complete a full flyball run. Dogs in the MultiMix division are dogs who are not Collies or Collie Crosses. Only dogs in the Open division can be crowned 2007 Clever Dogs Champion, but Kim sadly can’t run in Open.

Dylan's Blog – April

It’s been a hot couple of days! I got the shell out for the dogs to chill in, because both the girls love to lounge in it when they’ve been out for a long hot walk. This is the first year that Dylan has really been old enough to play in it, and didn’t he have a whale of a time! Mollie goes completely mad when I get the hose out, so both the collies had a great time playing with that first. Then Dylan realised there was a ready-made bath for him to play in!

He spent all day bouncing in and out and splashing about, so that’s definitely been a huge success. It’s one of the few things that was missing this weekend; usually, at flyball competitions, there are two or three of these big shell-halves out, filled with water so that after their runs, the flyball dogs can cool off a little. They’re such an asset! I know some people don’t like letting their dogs bath in the same water as thirty other dogs, but I don’t know of any dog that’s ever got an illness because of it, and I’d rather have a cool dog than a overheated one that might catch something in a bit of water. Mollie would certainly have appreciated it this weekend, anyway. Hopefully it won’t become a trend for them to be missing at flyball — there are never any at agility competitions, which is a shame too.

Anyway, back to the boy! His lovely girlfriend Jetly is coming around tomorrow to tell him all about her new found flyballing love, and that will hopefully wear him out a little.

Dylan's Blog – Selby Game Fair

Dylan had a great time this weekend at Selby Game Fair, where the girls were flyballing with their new teams. It’s a huge fair, and had lots of new experiences for the boy. He behaved beautifully for the most part, and wasn’t at all fazed by the helicopter landing and taking off, or the gunshots, or the fun-fair rides. In fact, the only thing that really freaked him out were prams, which wasn’t so good. He also developed something of a dislike for Border Terriers, which I really wasn’t happy about; everytime one walked past, he went nuts, either trying to back up and barking or actually leaping forward and snapping, which is very unlike the dog I know.

I know this problem is based on fear, but I can’t work out how or why he’s got so scared of BT’s. He was fine with every other terrier shaped dog there, so I guess this is just something we’ll have to work on. The sheer busyness of the game fair did cause problems, because when he encountered the BT’s it tended to be in huge crowds of people, meaning there was no way I could stop and calm him down, or remove him from the action.

Dylan's Blog – March

Not many updates this month – I was busy with Crufts and Kim, obviously for the first part of the month, and then we have been moving clubs over these past few weeks. We’re now training with Leeds Owlers for flyball, and are in the process of looking for a new agility club for Kim. Unfortunately we haven’t found anywhere yet, which means Dylan’s agility work has come to a rather abrupt halt!

My lad has also been neutered this month, which has limited the amount I can realistically do with a puppy wearing a buster collar! We’ve been going over all the basics, of course, and I’ve started clicker-training his target. He’s working really nicely for the clicker, I think I just need a bit more confidence in using it. His target work is going really well; he will now run from a distance onto the target and stay on it until told otherwise, which I’m really pleased with.

His next big trip out will hopefully be to Carlton Towers to watch Kim & Mollie flyball with their new team-mates. Selby Game Fair is a big experience – it has Clay Pigeon Shooting, Flyball, Clever-Dogs, Disc Dogs, plus the normal agricultural fair stalls and tents etc. I’m confident that Dylan won’t be phased, but it’ll be an interesting day out! (P.S. Good Luck Jet, who is running in her first Starters comp at Selby. Go Jetly!)

Crufts 2007

Returned from Crufts a week ago, and many changes since! We haven’t been happy at Springers for a long while now. We are now training with Leeds Owlers in flyball, and are currently seeking a new agility club.

I’ve written a full Crufts Report with loads of photos and video links for those interested. Enjoy!

Growing Up

Dylan and Jet

Dylan and I had a lovely 20 minutes playing on the agility equipment last weekend – just a jump, a tyre and the single bottom part of the stretch. He’s so much more responsive than Kim is/was already, although he still gets a bit distracted! Especially since his gorgeous girlfriend Jet was there, supposedly practising her obedience for Crufts, but secretly just tempting my boy away.

We’ve had a really good week this week; Dylan seems to have grown again, and he suddenly doesn’t look so much like a puppy anymore. We’ve been working on all our usual commands, and we’ve also mastered “heel” (left side) and “side” (right side), and “through” (through my legs).

The poor lad won’t have much to do next week, since Kim and I are at Crufts. Dylan will be staying at home with my dad and sister, but he won’t be doing any special training.

Dylan's Blog – Feb

Dylan’s first snow! And we’ve had a lot more of it that expected. Not quite as bad as Wales or the Southern counties, but still a couple of inches more than we were predicted to have. Anyway, Dylan has had a fantastic time playing with the girls and generally being loopy, and he also thought this morning would be an excellent time to go chasing the ducks. So he came back from his walk dripping wet as he swum right out into the center of the res after the ducks, despite the water being absolutely freezing. He didn’t seem bothered though! Dyl was very chuffed with himself, and luckily he didn’t get cold.

Obviously because of the weather, any outdoor training is a bit difficult! So I’ve been working on his tricks again, and this week we’ve almost mastered Speak (bark on command) and Stand-up (on hind legs), and he’s doing Back (backing up) really nicely now too. I can see why people get so hooked on having collies; they really do have a lot of enthusiasm for whatever you ask them to do.

Dylan might be coming to the flyball competition tomorrow with us (providing it the snow clears up!) but he might also not, since it depends on how we fit the box into the car. Due to a whole bunch of unforseen circumstances, my mum has ended up being team captain for tomorrow, and so we have to take the box, the balls, myself, my mum, K & Poppy, Kim & Mollie down to Newark. Unfortunately there might not be room for Dylan! He will definitely be coming to EMDAC with us next week though, and probably to Newton Heath the week after.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I have been completely caught up watching Dare (Altricia Wishing Silver at Borderstorm AW) on her webcam, waiting to see if the latest litter of Borderstorms have arrived yet! Very sad, but we’ve been following Dare’s Puppy Blog since her last litter in 2006, and it looks like she’s got a lot of people wondering what she’s going to come up with this time! From the number of hits on the webcam, it looks like I’m not the only one being nosy …

Tunnels & Aframes

Finally managed to get Dylan up to the club! This was our first Sunday training session of the new year, and Kim worked nicely in the morning on her dogwalk contacts in particular. Dylan and I only worked for 10 minutes or so after Kim and finished, just playing around the equipment and through a few pipe tunnels. He really enjoyed himself, and so did I; he’s really responsive, but looks to me for direction a lot more frequently that Kim did. Hopefully his confidence will grow as he works more and more around the other dogs and on working a course by himself. He’s still a bit leggy so his speed can be a bit hit-and-miss, depending on where his legs are going!

The A-Frame was on a lower height as well today, so I took the opportunity to walk Dylan over it a few times. The first time was a bit scary for him (!) but after that he was trotting over it beautifully, completely unfazed. I left it at that; no jumps or weaves, although they were available, since I want to make sure his growth plates have settled before he begins anything overly strenuous. I think that will end up being at about 14-16 months, so we have a long time to perfect everything else first! He also had a great time making friends with Bailey, Tilly, and Farley, and trying to say hello to Woody who shares Kim’s general dislike of puppies, and tried to bite his nose.

First post 2007

Had an ok competition with Kim yesterday at EMDAC. We had one good run in the Jumping, but I pulled off the tunnel too soon and brought her with me, and we lost far too much time correcting it. The rest of our runs ranged from ok to appalling! The standard was amazing too, I couldn’t believe some of the dogs were Elementary/Intro level. They looked like good Novice + dogs to me! Anyway, we placed in the top 20 (ish!) in every class, but nothing special and I can’t say I was delighted with our performance, Kim wasn’t on top form and I don’t think I was either. Dropped down to second in the Intro Medium DOTY tables, and just out of the top 10 in the Intro Agility/Jumping League tables – will have to do better next time!

Well done to Katie for her excellent runs with Poppy and Jet – a fabtastic 9th with Pops in the Jumping and Jet was just brilliant – 1 clear and some if-only runs – especially considering it was her first comp. I hope Dylan’s in the same position next year!

The weather has been so bad over the past few days, here as in the rest of Britain, so I haven’t been training outside. Agility training is a bit hard to do in the hallway, so we’ve just been working on little tricks and commands, to keep Dyl’s brain working. Over the past few days we’ve mastered “beg”, which is a bit over-enthusiastic at the moment! Dylan’s paws are enormous, and his beg doesn’t quite have the cute-factor that Kim’s does!

We’ve also been working on “dead”, which is going quite well, providing there’s nothing to distract him. It’s hard to persuade a 9-month old Collie that lying very still is a good idea!

Dylan is looking great at the moment though. He’s very obviously Patch’s pup, but he looks a lot more ‘Border Collie’ than I thought he would; Lassie looks a lot like Mollie, and Dylan does have some of that about him, particularly in the tuck of his tail and his topline/shoulders. He’s also quite dark, which I didn’t think he would be. As a tiny pup he had quite large white markings, but the black has taken over! His face is still quite white but the rest of him isn’t. He’s also developing speckles in his coat, although they are quite sparse still. I wish I could get some photos of him to show you all! Unfortunately the camera is on the blink, so I’ll have to wait until I get a new one/fix this one. It won’t be tomorrow though – Kim is competing and Dylan is going to have to stay at home, despite (or maybe because of!) the fact that his lovely girlfriend Jet is competing in her first official competition tomorrow. Dyl sends lots of kisses your way, Jetly!