Wilmslow 2014

I am so glad I entered this show. Dylan had a great time; he was so excited and enthusiastic to be running, I can’t imagine a better retirement show for him.

G6-7 Agility first thing was a nice course, nothing horribly challenging but some interesting handling options. I tried to flick Dylan away from me at the bottom of the Aframe, and Dylan interpreted this as … go take a jump 20ft away. Oh well! We had fun finishing up. His contacts were great, nice and confident. The difference between his performance on aluminium vs. plastic/wood is really amazingly different.

C6-7 Agility was ok. Not really my kind of course, although apparently lots of people loved it. We got E’d early on when Dylan bounded off to add in the jump after the weaves (he was all about offering jumps this weekend). I also didn’t like the tunnel-under-dogwalk discrimination, mainly because the course didn’t give me room to handle it appropriately. That’s a very specific Dylan problem though, he has a big “bubble” and to pull him off the tunnel I needed to be much further away than the course-design allowed. And the weave entry/weave-tunnel discrimination was something we’ve seen all over the place recently, so we’re getting pretty good at that.

Large C6-7 Jumping Wilmslow Jan 2014Got both those classes run by 10:30, and then had to wait until 3pm for the Jumping. Which was the most boring course ever (sorry, judge). I’m all for giving the dogs a nice blasty course occasionally, but there was a C1-7 Jumping on as well which I didn’t enter because I wanted something challenging. I did not get challenging with this course. Having said that, we got E’d, so … ! The E was a result of my being lazy however. Let that be a lesson to me, just because I don’t find a course interesting or inspiring, I shouldn’t be lazy about handling it. Dylan actually ran it fantastically, his jumping was smooth and free and he didn’t even stutter going into the double. Hasn’t managed that for years!

We had a good day; Dylan was happy and confident, and we got E’d in every class because he was feeling brave and offering obstacles. His jumping was fluid, his contacts were great, and his weaves were perfect. I can’t ask for more. He is now officially retired from KC competitions. He might do a few UKA shows here and there, depending on whether they’re using aluminium contacts or not.

Evaluation

Ri did one and a half runs at Empingham, and then I quit for the weekend. She wasn’t focused, wasn’t working, and was going through a classic displacement and calming signals routine during her run(s). This blog is going to seem a bit disjointed, because I’m jotting down fragments of thoughts in an attempt to figure this out.

We seem to have a recurring theme where I ask her to do something, and this is a source of stress for her, so she quits. I don’t know how to fix this?

Most of the things that Rio does very well, were shaped – ie. from her own intiative – but I don’t know how to apply this to an agility ring.

Rio was much more focused and much more engaged at UKA, compared to Empingham. Environmental? Smaller shows, fenced rings, training rounds?

I did some work around the rings on Sunday, experimenting with focus and her willingness to engage. She really wanted to tug, play, offered tricks for food, played Look-at-That and Look-at-Me. She doesn’t see working with me as a reward of itself, I don’t know how to change this either.

Checking her pads on Sunday evening and she has got an odd little blister or maybe a bite? It’s very very tiny, but she was nibbling at it, so maybe irritated/sore = added stress?

Decisions. We have nothing much in August, just Sutton Weavers UKA, and we’ll go from there. In a perfect world, we would spend the next month touring agility training venues and doing lots of generalisation and testing in different environments, but that costs things I don’t have at the moment (money to hire or training day fees, money for diesel, time). I’m definitely scrapping KC shows with her for a while and we’ll focus on UKA and unaffiliated.

Empingham 2013

Running OrdersRio is getting her own post about this show later!

Dylan’s chiro treatment last week seems to have worked, because he was back to ‘normal’ this time! We weren’t particularly successful in terms of results, but he was working much much better and his times were good. Even better, his contacts were fantastic, super confident dogwalks with no hesitations.

First run was the C4-7 Jumping, just my cup of tea in terms of course design! No boring grids, very smooth and flowing kind of course but with plenty of challenges. We had really great clear up until the end, when I stupidly decided to play it safe and so lost loads of time on the final turn. I should have risked it! Dylan was about 5s off the winner, which was pleasing (I don’t usually sat that, but 2 weeks ago, he’d have been 20s off!).

G6-7 Jumping was an equally nice course, same as the above with a few number adjustments. I elected to take the long route off the second set of weaves as I thought it made for a smoother line. Dylan was feeling extremely happy and did the kind of run where he just pings off and takes whatever he fancies, so we got E’d. I never begrudge him his pingy-moments, he has them so rarely.

Large G6-7 Agility Course PlanWe had a long wait until the agility, and the G6-7 Agility was a really odd course. Lots of challenges, all awkward spacings and angles which don’t really come across on my shabby from-memory course plan. And the trendy tunnel-under-contacts thing was out in force, as it was all weekend! It was fun to run. I pushed Dyl out over the top side of 12 and then didn’t leave him enough room to jump, so he ended up circling round. We got 5R and then a few time faults as a result; the course time was 45s and only 5 of the clear G6 dogs got under time. Very confident dogwalk and great weaves from Dylbert though!

C5-7 Agility was exactly the opposite, a really straightforward course which one trap only. Dylan picked up 5f for a missed aframe contact, oops, but he ran the course really nicely and he avoided the dogwalk trap beautifully. Turns out training does pay off!

Sunday was a similar kind of day!

Large G6-7 Agility Course PlanG6-7 Agility was a super course first thing, really open spaced and just what I love to run with Dylan. His dogwalk was super and I was really happy with how he worked, but we ran very early in the day and it was damp. Dylan slipped on the turn off 4 and then was too cautious coming round on 11, and went too wide to pick up the Aframe. So it goes! The only thing I found disconcerting with this course was that the judge kept nearly getting in the way, she was stood very close to 2 and then she ran to view the dogwalk contact and backed between 7-8 to move away. If you quick released your dog, as I did, the dogs came off 7 and she was still moving across their paths. Normally I’m never aware of the judge when running.

G6-7 Jumping was another really interesting course, but I made a silly handling error and pushed Dylan out around 14, so we got 5R. My pull to the tunnel was messy too, lost a lot of speed on that. Dyl would have actually been in the placings if we hadn’t picked up faults, so that was positive!

Our only clear was in the C4-7 Jumping, and although it was a good run, it wasn’t perfect and I elected to take the long route so I knew it wouldn’t be fast enough.

Large C6-7 Agility Course PlanC6-7 Agility last of all and another very open course. Unfortunately it was a spread jump start, so I was really restricted. Dylan has a history of crashing spreads unless I’m supporting and moving with him laterally with him, and I didn’t want to risk even a clip which might damage his confidence, let alone a crash which might damage his body! So we got E’d at the 3rd obstacle, oops. Shame as it was a very interesting course to run, not many clears as the final section offered a lot of options but not much success!

It was quite sweet to see so many dogs and handlers that I used to see when we did BAA (before it descended into dictatorial madness) at this show, and it was really nice to see the super chocolate Flat Coat win the ABC Olympia Qualifier. Have long admired that dog and she was on fantastic form this weekend!

NDDAC Osmaston 2013

I’ve been meaning to do this show for years, Osmaston is one of my favourite showgrounds for flyball! I’ll definitely try and go back again next year, it’s a really gorgeous show. Due to some weekend date swaps this year, it clashed with Otley and Wigan in the same area (plus the big Thames show), which meant the class sizes were really small. Not that that mattered, since we didn’t get any clear rounds!

G6-7 Jumping was a super course, really enjoyed running it. A long run to the wall and Dyl got a bit lost (my fault) so we ended up getting E’d shortly after that, but I was pleased with how he worked. Super independent weaves and he didn’t panic at the wall. As it turned out, the judge accidentally set a totally impossible course time of 31s, which NOBODY achieved. Jo Rhodes got closest with 31.15 in the G7 but that was as good as it got. Felt a bit sorry for the judge as a result, it really was an accidental course time (something to do with the feet – meter conversion on the wheel).

Large G6-7 JumpingThe second G6-7 jumping was another fab course, same ring as the first one, much more achievable time! As it happened we got E’d; I didn’t push Dylan out enough on the corner and he came in, so we re-did the corner. Again, super weaves and he did a fab push-out to #9 where I layered #11 to meet him at #10. Lovely!

Dog Vegas G6 Qualifier was another nice course. I was anxious before we set off as the course started with run up the aluminium dogwalk that had a tunnel underneath … but the dogwalk had wooden trestles, so it was the ultimate test-the-theory moment! Dyl had no issues with the dogwalk so I guess the theory is correct, but being over focused on that cost me two obstacles later at the weaves, where I messed up handling and he popped the last two. As it turned out, Dyl got called for his dogwalk down contact.

However, as it happened, Dylan got called for his dogwalk contact in his final class as well. And his Aframe! Since I video all Dylan’s runs and it’s very obvious he hits the Aframe contact, I’m not worried. Dogwalk isn’t visible on the video due to the angle, just like in the G6 Qualifier. However, considering Dylan has only ever been called 3 times for missing a down contact on the Aframe or Dogwalk, I’m not too concerned. I can only assume the judges at North Derbyshire were blinded by the sun.

Dylan was happy and comfortable and running smooth at this show, but he was sloooooow. Not sure why, maybe he’s just unfit. Lune Valley in two weeks so we’ll see if we can get any improvement in speed there.

Rio got to mooch around the rings, I love her attitude at shows. She’s so relaxed! We sat and watched the Large G1-3 Jumping for a while and she sprawled across the grass and watched people wandering past. Absolutely no reaction to the running dogs, noise, people, dogs tugging, etc, other than occasional mild curiosity. She was very willing to tug and play when it was offered however. Love my Ri!

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.

Easter at Duncombe Park

Five runs a day on not-so-flat ground has killed me, I am going to have to get my running shoes on and do some training this summer as well. When I am not flailing around behind Dylan, I can actually handle him well. This was as much a surprise to me as to Dyl! As I am finally beginning to accept and admit that Dylan doesn’t really have a wait anymore, on a few courses I really struggled to get to where I needed to be.

This was our first Grade 6 show outdoors and at fitness, and although Dylan and I were flagging by Sunday afternoon, we generally did much better than I expected. Our training held up, we both have the skills we need to handle the courses, and when we got it right we were getting top-10 placings. I expected us to be outclassed, or at least out of touch in terms of speed, but surprisingly we really weren’t. Our major weak point was contact speed, which may be down to the rubber contacts and Dylan’s cautious nature when faced with something new. I don’t think he feels completely comfortable or confident on the surface yet, but we have no where to train on rubber contact equipment so I will have to hope it improves as we go. His Aframe and Seesaw were fine by the end of the weekend, but the dogwalk still needs a lot of work.

G6-7 Agility, Hare'n'Hounds Easter 2012We also had one big weakness, called Taking Off Early for the Last Obstacle. From watching the videos, this is my fault; when I slow down on the second to last obstacle (a contact or weaves) and then accelerate, Dylan takes off early. He can get away with this on a single jump perhaps, but unfortunately he crashed through the second part of the spread on our first run of the weekend, and then again on our final run of the weekend he had a fairly horrendous tyre crash. I will post a video of his tyre crash later this week, when I can bring myself to watch it again.

The courses all weekend were generally challenging, particularly on Friday. We had a fair split of 4-7, 5-7, 6-7 and Open classes, but barring the C1-7’s, the others definitely erred more towards G7 than G4/5. Lots of push-outs, obstacle avoidance, and required independent contacts in the course designs all weekend. Is that this year’s trend?

I think we generally either went clear or got E’d, with two 5F runs that I can remember. I trained all the 1-7 classes and held Dylan’s contacts, as they were very straightforward up-down courses where we were unlikely to get places anyway. We got one rosette on Friday, a 6th in the G5-7 Jumping, a really tough course for 4-7 and despite a dither at the beginning Dylan ran it really well. I think we could have been faster; I’d just walked out of another ring and then straight on to the line for this class, and at the third tunnel (obstacle 12) I had to choose between speaking and breathing, so we ran the rest of the course with minimal vocal commands (or forward motion, because there was also an option between running and dying of exhaustion).

G5-7 Jumping Hare'n'Hounds Easter 2012Saturday was marginally more successful, a 13th in the Garry Smith’s very nice G4-7 Agility and then an unexpected 10th in the G6-7 Agility. I thought the agility was a very easy course so I held Dylan’s Aframe contact whilst I got into position, but apparently there weren’t many clears. I can only assume everyone else thought it was easy and trained it as well! There was a particularly evil G6-7 Jumping on Saturday which was at least fun to watch, even if Dylan and I got E’d immediately.

Sunday we had no clears at all, oops! We had a really super run in the G6-7 Agility in Ring 1, Dylan didn’t come through for the pull-thru at 3 so I took him back, but he ran the rest of the course perfectly. That one was a bit frustrating! The very final class of the weekend had a really difficult pull-thru at the start, I wasn’t sure I could get there, but I’m very pleased that I did and I’m even more pleased with how I handled it. Unfortunately I then attempted to fall over a jump so we got E’d. Nobody’s perfect.

Rio had a good weekend. She’s Miss Sociable at shows, she really adores Cat and Tracy so they get regular face washes but she’s happy to sit and snuggle anyone given the opportunity. She was also very polite with all the dogs, although she was a little bemused by the 15 week Bernese puppy who desperately wanted to play. Considering the Bernie was already as big as she is, I can see why she was puzzled! We played lots of games around the rings, mainly a game called Sitting Calmly, which Rio is very good at. She showed some interest for the first time this weekend and watched a few dogs run, but it was very relaxed and she got lots of praise. On Sunday, as she’d done so well, I took a tuggy and we tugged ringside for a while, which she loved. I don’t foresee any problems with her wanting to engage and play ringside so this isn’t really a priority to work on, but it’s nice to know she will if asked. I’m more concerned with keeping her non-reactive to the other dogs working, and so far so good.

Ribble March 2012

Resultswise, not such a good show. We didn’t bring home a single rosette. It also rained consistently.

Apart from that, it was awesome. I entered Kim and Dylan, and didn’t know if Kim would want to play or if Dylan would be able to. Saying I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement; we were all joyously happy to be there and rocking out and running fast and easy and loving every single second. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, even if we did just bring home a lot of Es and faults.

Ribble C4-7 Jumping (Medium) & C5-7 Jumping (Large)Kim was first up in her C1-7 Agility, in which we had no chance against the half a dozen Ag.Chs. (Really nice course from Hannah Grantham though, who was a super judge all day). In fact, neither Kim or Dylan would have been placed in anything even if we had gone clear, as all the good dogs and handlers had descended for the Small and Large KC Agility Stakes classes, and they all brought their Medium dogs too. Kim was bouncing on the line and I knew she was keen but my, she was keen and she flew around. We picked up 5f because I stood in front of the weaves and she thought I was an idiot, but she was so happy to be there and was just having the best time.

Likewise in her C4-7 Jumping (the same course as Dyl’s C5-7 Jp), she flew around and only held up to give me the sideeye at the weaves, because she thought I was wrong. She finished second out of the G6 dogs, some 8s off Jackie Tarn’s superfast collie bitch, but Kim is 11 and so we can cut her some slack.

Her G4-7 Agility was last and just had one too many awkward pull throughs for Kim, although she did a beautiful dogwalk and was still enjoying herself. Pausing to bark at the other ring probably wasn’t the most time-saving move either, and it was a tight course time, so we got 1 TF. She’s also not keen on the rubber-contact seesaws, so that was slow as well. I don’t care, she is amazing.

Dylan hasn’t trained since his chiro adjustment and that’s not normally good for him, but I was more worried with him just being ok. Our first class was the C6-7 Agility Stakes, challenging but I didn’t think it was impossible. We ran clear if cautious and I think finished somewhere around 25th place? His jumping was much better, wary but not stuttering and not uncomfortable, and on the video he looks like a dog who is surprised to find it’s not painful but daren’t quite stretch in case it is. Dogwalk was slow, not sure why, and he stuttered into the final jump because I am a useless handler who stopped giving him any kind of direction so I’m not surprised. I was pleased with his run though, and his finishing time was 38s to the winner’s 31s (Dawn Weaver’s Breezer), which is promising.

It got better from there really, his G6-7 Agility was a nice course and we got E’d because he was feeling good and bounced off every which way and did some extra jumps. Same in the C5-7 Jumping, it was all about the extra bits! His jumping was really great though, no stuttering or paddling, just smooth and stretchy and clean, and he was powering through his weaves in a way he hasn’t for a while (although I only noticed now he’s doing it again).

I couldn’t have asked for more from either dog, I’m so happy that they were happy! I did wonder about calling this Kim’s retirement show but she had such a good time I’ll try and find her some more nice classes to run somewhere in the summer.

Otley

Running behind on this one. I’m always in two minds about this show, the show organisers are great and they always schedule good classes, but the venue is one of the worst I’ve been to. It’s really uneven and hilly, and if it rains (and of course, it rained) it gets very muddy and awful.

Nice courses all weekend, except the C3-5 Agility on Sunday which was really difficult (less than 20 clears out of 200 dogs?!). Our first run was in the G4-5 Ag which was a super course, interesting push-out start and it flowed really well. Dyl had what I thought was a steady clear; we were very wide on the turn after the aframe and had a slight dither on the end because I’m an idiot. We came 2nd anyway, just behind Nigel Staines. And that was our only clear of the day!

We got E’d in the C3-5 when Dyl went back up the Aframe, which I kind of expected as I only got chance to walk the course once and couldn’t figure out how to do that bit anyway. We did the rest of the course well though, including the awkward turn off the dogwalk and the pull-thru at the end. We struggled with the same sequence at Easter, visible improvement!

G4-5 Jumping was a nice open course but we rushed onto the line and Dylan wasn’t focussed at all. He popped out of the weaves (second obstacle) and I took him back to restart and we did finished up well, although Dylan did the pipe tunnel a few more times than he technically should have.

We only got one run in on Saturday when it wasn’t raining. The G4-5 Jumping was a really fun run, we had a pole down (yeah, sharp turn going downhill, we weren’t the only ones with that pole off) so I decided to run the end in the risky way, which didn’t work. More extraneous tunnels!

And then it rained. Torrentially. I was queuing after they’d called to the end of the class in the Adams Derby when the clouds opened. Dylan hated me for that run but we went clear and came 12th. One day I will post the video of the run in the rain and you can all be appalled at how awful I am to run my dog in such terrible conditions. We then ran back to the car and waited for 40minutes for the rain to ease up so we could run G4-5 Agility, which I was looking forward to as it was just our kind of course. We ended up having to run it in the drizzle and I was too much of a wuss to run properly with Dyl, so we got a refusal. Oops! We finished 3rd anyway with 5R. There were a lot of 5f runs in the end, probably down to the weather.

A bit of a hit-and-miss weekend!

Hare'n'Hounds Valentines

I seem to remember saying back in November that I wouldn’t run three dogs again. Well, I did, and it was better – either because I was prepared for the chaos, or because everything just ran more smoothly!

Kim ran her G4-7 Agility first, had a lovely run on an interesting course, and won it. I can’t believe I get to type this, but Kim is now halfway to Grade 7! She has both her agility wins, and she’s enjoying these occasional competitions so much.

Dylan’s G5-7 Agility was a really nice course, but we got called on the dogwalk contact. I’m not sure if he missed it or not, I can’t tell on the video, but he was running a little slow and steady and for some reason, very creepy on the seesaw. Hmm …

Jet ran a beautiful clear on the handler-challenging Redmills C1-7 Jumping, and finished 18th. Which … well, it was a fast course and she was only 2s off the winner, so that’s a good result. She was also the top Grade 3 dog by a long way! We went straight from that ring to the G1-4 Jumping and made a complete shambles of the course, which was a little bit frustrating! It was a very difficult course for 1-4, but nothing we couldn’t handle … or so I thought. The most annoying thing was that Jet popped the last 2 poles of the 12 weaves again. We must work on this!

Kim’s C1-7 Jumping was the same as Jet’s, and she ran a nice clear but we had a silly dithering moment where I was just a stride lazy and it nearly caught us out. Think Kim ended up 6th or 7th, out of the placings either way but she enjoyed the run, a nice stretchy course for her.

Jet’s 2nd in the Graded 1-3 Agility was extremely unexpected! It was a nice course, suitably challenging, but had two aframes and a seesaw rather than the traditional dogwalk-aframe-seesaw. Jet’s Aframe is not her strongest peice of equipment, and she did too acceptable but creepy Aframes and I thought that would keep us well out of the placings. Apparently not!

Dylan had three jumping classes in a row, starting with his half of the Redmills Jumping. It was a lovely big, open course, and Dylan actually opened up and ran it really well. We got E’d, but it was a good run. I was happy! We then went into the G5-7 Jumping. We got E’d multiple times, but I made personal progress by practising what I preach and pretending nothing had happened and that whatever we did was what I meant to do. It worked for Dylan, his confidence was visibly up! We went straight into the BC Jumping and ran clear, he finished 19th.

Kim’s C5-7 Agility was the same as Dylan’s earlier course, and we had a slightly on-the-edge run but managed to get around clear anyway, and finished 4th. Not too shabby! Her C5-7 Jumping was the same as Dylan’s again, and we made pretty much the same mistakes. Clearly I learn nothing from my mistakes.

Dylan’s G4-5 Agility was quite a tough course for 4/5, but ran much better than it walked. I got to watch most of this class run, and wow, the standard of 4/5 dogs was through the roof! Dylan had a decent clear and finished 5th, just out of the placings, but I intentionally took him the long way around the pull-thru so I’m quite pleased with that.

Long time off from agility now, not back until April! I did want to try and enter some in March but it all got a bit expensive with the seminar and Crufts!

Winter Agility Season

I know I’m lucky to have good, competitive shows at KC and BAA within travelling distance all year round. It’s got better and better every year, and this year I’m actually getting to pick and choose which shows we go to! We’re at Hare’n’Hounds next time because I love their shows, they always have a good mix of classes and such a friendly atmosphere. Dylan’s first Grade 5 classes! Really just wanting to see how he does against the competition, and hoping he keeps up the confident attitude.

All those shows mean no break though! I do think a break from competition and training is good for the dogs, although Kim doesn’t do much these days anyway. She does 10 minutes of training for agility a week, and I skip training with her the week before a competition as well. It seems to work for her, although she hasn’t got many competitions booked this winter. One thing about having single-day competitions seems to be the tendency for organisers to offer one or two Open classes only for Mediums and Smalls. I suppose I should be grateful that there are any classes at all, since lots of shows just skip the Mediums altogether! I’ve entered her in the Hare’n’Hounds Christmas show at the end of November, because they have a Graded class and good splits so she won’t get consistently nagging courses.

Dylan will probably get a month off in February-March, but that’s only sketched out for the moment. The summer diary is still very vague so I don’t know what I want to skip.

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Mollie feels a little bit left out, naturally, with all this agility talk. Perfect winter warmer photo though, don’t you want to sneak onto the sofa and snuggle down with fluffy Mol, maybe watch a few films?