Sunday, February 28, 2010

rainy Sunday morning and a stupid game!

You can't believe how much rain we have this week! I cannot think of a day this week that is dry. The ponds in the Common are over filled, most paths are under water and we also have some new ponds! My garden is water logged! The pond is nearly filled up to the top and can you imagine the mud my shelties bring in? YUK! Go away rain! Give me some snow! If this rain continues, I think I better start thinking to build an Ark!

this is one of the over filled ponds in the Common:

the paths under water:

and some new ponds made this week:

The dogs still get their walk everyday in the rain and mud, you can imagine everytime when we got back from walk, I have hell out of job to clean them up!

Luckily, our usual Tuesday and Thursday training is indoor, part of the indoor school in Pacheham had a pool of muddy patch! So, we had a course set up to go around the swamp but I nearly fell in the swamp once!

Yesterday, we had Dawn Weaver's training day in the rain. I've booked to train in the morning and afternoon with three dogs. I came down with a terrible cold on Thursday evening, so I am not in the best of health but I am agility addict. I love to train with Dawn so I go ahead and train in the rain. The weather in the morning was not good at all, we have patchy rain here and there and at one point, we have to stop for about 20 minutes because of the heavy rain pour! We were a bit lucky in the afternoon, it was mainly dry with a bit of drizzle here and there.

It was an interesting training day, we learned pre curving and layering. Dawm set up some easy sequences to start with but I wasn't fit enough to concentrate so I made mistake all the time. Sizzle is an honest dog, he tried so hard for me and I think he did so well in the rain. I have to put his rain coat on and kept him under the DW from rain. Poor little soul wasn't happy at all. I was very surprised and happy how he handled the layering. We have a sequence that we have to layer a jump and the dog have to weave independently, Sizzle did that beautifully and stayed in the weave all the way through. For a young dog like him, I am amazed. Then, we have a sequence of round the three jumps into the weave but DW in between, so we have to stay this side of the DW and the dog has to weave on their own. If you know how much Sizzle loves his DW, you can imagine how hard I have to push him to take the weave instead of the DW. He finally got my message at the thrid go, so not bad at all and I, again, very impressed with him staying in the weave while I run along the other side of the DW.

The pre-curving exercise probably is the hardest for me to handle. It is so much depend on the handler's shoulder. I made so much mistakes with Saturn but I am learning. I just wanted this rain to go away so I can practise more!

and this is the only video we had from training as it was too wet to take the camera out:

This morning, we have a heavy down pour again. The weatherman said we will have 3cm of rain! I haven't get the dogs out yet. I am hoping the rain will stop at some point so I can quickly take them out for a quick stroll. At the mean time, me and the dogs are practising some new tricks and this is one of them:

Rain please stop!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Little Miss Sipzie

I received this beautiful picture of Sipzie taken last weekend in Germany. She was away with her mummy Ypra and all aunties and uncles to an agility show. We also received the good news that Ypra won the Agility and auntie Jaimy won the Jumping. WooHoo! Up the Shelties!!
I cannot believe she is 4 months old already!
I am counting down the time for her to join me ...


I am blessed with all the shelties I have owned. Each one of them is unique. They thought me so much in life and they also bring me new friendships ...

Yvonne is one of them. Sizzle brings us closer than ever. Yvonne owns Sizzle's litter sister Ellie and they live in Scotland. Eventhough we are so far away from each other but we feel so close in heart, we share our joy and sadness, we support and cheer for each other.

I want to say a big thank you to Yvonne who send me this beautiful and meaningful picture frame, it is such a wonderful present.

Thank you for being part of our life

Monday, February 22, 2010

delay, roadworks, traffic cones ... 500 miles round trip!

I had a mad weekend!

I have entered Wimslow, Ribble and Newton Heath and only to realise they were far away to travel for one day show! SO, please do not ask me for directions advice. I have once read the map upside down while Colin was driving! This is why you never see Colin driving anymore!!!

Anyway, back to my MAD weekend. I got to cancel Wimslow and Ribble in time and forgot about Newton Heath. When the running order arrived last week, I chuck it aside, never thought I will go that distance to compete.

As you all know, I was busy with two Skyes staying, they really kept me on my toes. Baby Skye went home with her mummy on Friday afternoon ... I really miss that lunatic. She is a joy to own, such fun and always running around when she is awake and I do miss the crazy tuggy game!

After she has gone, I felt so empty and quiet! I rang Colin at work at 4pm asking him if he thinks I am crazy to go all the way to Preston? Well, the answer is YES but he said to me: I bet you want to go and let's go! Ha, you really have to love this man. He is very supportive eventhough he doesn't understand why I enjoy agility so much. He keeps telling me he wants to find me a cheaper hobby!

I picked him up at 6:30pm from the Station and drove straight up to Preston. According to my sat nav, we should be there by 10:30pm but it took us 1.5 hours to get through Central London, then we got caught in the roadworks on M1. At many areas, we were merging into ONE lane and speed limit was down to 40/50 mph! After one quick toilet stop, we got to Preston at midnight. We stayed in ibis. It is very nice and clean and have a good area for the dogs to run around. The boys settled in very well especially Sizzle. He almost went straight to his bed after we settled down. This is only his second time away staying in the hotel.

Luckily, Myerscough College is only 12 minutes from ibis so we got a bit of lie-in on Saturday morning. This is our first time at this venue so it took us a while to find the place. The indoor arena was brilliant, the surface was very good to run. They have 4 rings running, I thought we will finish before mid-day but I was wrong! We were actually the last ring and my last run with Sing was at 3pm!

We got there slightly passed 8:30am, Sizzle's Graded 1-4 Agility run is after the Medium dogs. I got to watch some Medium dogs ran, the course has some tricky bits and I have seen so many dogs making mistakes. It wasn't long before they put the jumps down for small dogs. We only have a short time to walk the course. I knew I have to work hard on the jump-tunnel-jump-jump-tunnel-jump- DW (after the A Frame). I have seen most dogs did jump-tunnel-jump, then straight up the DW. I have to say the jump before the DW was very close together, so I was very worried Sizzle will go straight up to the DW and I was very proud that he was very responsive and I think we did that part very well.

By the time I went to the car and got Sizzle in for the run, the queue was long! We have a long wait and watched some small dogs go around. Some fast small dogs also make a mistake in the jump-jump-jump(right around)-jump-weave (after the see-saw), what they all did was ... jump-jump-jump-tunnel! I never thought of that!! Sizzle almost went into the tunnel but he was very good to come back to me when I called his name. That was the only detour that cost him time but I was glad that he still win the class by a big margin! Also, there were some small dogs found it hard to tip the see-saw. I remembered seeing a tiny breed stood there ages waiting for it to tip! Sizzle is only 4kg and we sometimes have that problem too!

Our second run was Sizzle's Graded 1-4 jumping. I was very disappointed there is no weave in the course. Again, Sizzle surprised me by winning that with a good margin too! This is his first jumping win! WooHoo! I am so happy!

500 miles, 27 hours away from home, TLC (Time Lock in Car) spent most time stuck in the traffic and roadworks, all over within a minute! That's worth it though as my little Sizz man gone Grade 5! I am over the moon!

To top that up, Sizzle's playmate Zev won the Agility and Jumping in the Medium with two superb rounds! Mega Congratulations to Christine and the handsome Zev!

Thanks to Marc (Zev's daddy) for this wonderful photo of the boys and their winning

Sing and Saturn's first run was at mid-day. Unfortunately the medium boys got eliminated! I was very glad with Sing, this is his first run since October. He seems happy to jump medium height again. We started training two weeks ago but he was jumping small height. I was worry that he may not cope with the medium height but he was happy. I don't care him making mistake as bringing him back to run again is a big achievement but I have learned that never takes your eyes off the dog eventhough he is one experienced dog! My Saturn plan went wrong, I wanted to do a front cross before the long jump, I guess I forgot so I was way behind him when he shot through the cloth tunnel, I knew there is no way I can turn him then, so I lost him and he went off course! Hahaha ...

After the jumping, we had a long wait for the agility. Saturn is still not allow to do agility so I was wondering is it worth waiting for that? I decided to stay as we came all this way and I want to run Sing to see how he is coping. We took the dogs for a good long walk and Sing found the stream and went for a quick swim! I think he is fit now, I haven't seen any stiffness in him but I know he is a little over weight at the moment but he is lively.

We got eliminated in the Agility! Again, I forgot to do the front cross which I plan, so he went in the wrong end of the tunnel but his running DW was beautiful and I am very pleased with him.

We didn't hang around after the last run. We knew it would be another awful long journey home. Luckily we set off quite early as I have heard they have some heavy snow that night! Phew! Lucky escape! We got home 10pm on Saturday night.

Funny, I wasn't tired, I was still hyper! I guess I am going crazy, agility addict is my new name! I didn't get to bed till midnight. I was playing with the other dogs as they were left with my nephew and Ling while we were away.

We have to wake up early on Sunday as we have the Sheltie Club Working Section AGM. I am a committee so I have to be there. So, off we went early in the morning, stuck in the roadworks and traffic cones again! I think Britain is being converted into one giant roadworks site, the traffic cones stretch from London to Preston!!

We left all the dogs behind this time, the boys were very tired and fed up travelling in the car!! I think it is fair to give them a good rest at home.

The AGM went well, Brax (Saturn's pair partner) won all the trophies!!! And so do Brodie! Congratulations to Matthew & Bracken and Rhoda & Brodie!

here is our runs, the music might not be right but I just loved this song, it was on the radio most of the time when we stuck in the traffic this weekend:

Friday, February 19, 2010

from Skye to sis Tiggi

this one for sister Tig:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

chasing hoover

I was hoovering the house this afternoon, baby Skye came over to attack the nose of my hoover. I quickly got the video camera out to film it. She is so much like Sing in this way as Samber always hide away when I have the hoover out. I wonder is Sadie and Tiggi are the same?

trick 'n' treat Thursday

baby Skye is such a joy to live with, she is so much fun and full of life. Having her around made me young again! She is full of beans, I am amazed how fast she learns a new trick and she does think in speed as well. I have been observing her for the last few days, and I can see she is 90% of Sing and 10% of Samber!

Her mummy and daddy are coming back tonight, so she will be going home tomorrow. The boys will be so glad that she is gone and I will feel so empty without her! Well, at least she keeps me moving all the time, I must have lost some weight running around with her!!

this is Skye's TT Thursday:


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

wild Wednesday

We are a MAD house at the moment! I have two Skye(s) staying, a black one and a brown one, the brown one I called her baby Skye. Both Skyes are a handful, they are both young and crazy. It is fun to have them around. I really enjoy their company. They keep me busy all the time, I forgot how busy are you when you have a young one, let alone TWO!

I wish the weather is better with the girls staying. We had a lot of rain yesterday, tons of it! This is the first time our garden is waterlogged! Can you imagine having 8 shelties running in and out? I seems to constantly mopping the floor!! :(

The boys, other than evil Titan are not impress with the new girls. Sing, Saturn, Sizzle and Seagull trying to stay away from these mad Skyes. Little baby Skye is the combinations of Sing and Samber. She has Samber's madness and Sing's intelligent.

the wild kid:
she is a mad tugger like her daddy, she can tug on her lead for the entire walk!

Monday, February 15, 2010

moody Monday

this picture said it all

Sunday, February 14, 2010

St Valentine & CNY!

GONG XI FA CAI 恭禧發財 to my friends who celebrate Chinese New Year. It is the first day of Chinese New Year today and I believe this is the year of the Tiger. We are not allow to celebrate CNY as I've just lost my beloved brother last year and according to tradition, we cannot celebrate any festive seasons for three years. To be honest, any festive celebrations didn't mean a thing to me anymore! 

Today is also St Valentines Day, Colin and I are still very much in love but we don't celebrate. So, what  are we doing then?

Well, we woke up early today, drove down to Dial Post to do "sheep herding" with Saturn! Colin and I agreed that this is possibly the best way to celebrate our love as I love training my dog and he loves watching Saturn "stupidly" (don't ask me why but Colin thinks he is so funny when he herds the sheep) herd the sheep!

The weather wasn't too kind, very cold and miserable. It was snowing while we herd sheep! Saturn couldn't care less, he loves rounding the sheep up and he was very good to bring back the "lost" sheep. I left my doggie car in the garage for repair and they don't have the parts till Monday so we have to drive the convertible. We can't take all the dogs so we managed to squeeze Sing, Saturn, Sizzle and baby Skye in.

here are the series of photos of Saturn herding:


youngsters watched and learned:

baby Skye is here to stay for a week, her mummy and daddy is on holiday. She is settling very well and love to play with her mama and uncles:

Happy Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

first agility show of the year

We went to TraVal show yesterday, this is our first show of the year. To my non-UK friends, this is an unaffiliated show, so the wins did not count towards your progression with the Kennel Club Grading system.

As I have no longer have a Grade 3 dog so I cannot compete in the Combined 1-3 classes (what a shame!), I think I need to start a new dog? I always enjoy running a Grade 3 dog. I have entered Sing, Saturn and Sizzle in the Open classes (combined 1-7), so the earliest of my first run would be sometimes after 12noon. This mean I have a lie-in (not!) and do some housework before setting off to the show.

We got there just after 12, the carpark was so muddy and the field was under water! I was so lucky that Colin was very happy to walk the dogs in the swamp for me and I can go and watch some of the runs. The dogs were all covered in thick mud and yuk! The car needs a good clean up tomorrow!!

My first run was with Sizzle in the Small Open Jumping. I think our starting was bad, it was a pin wheel and that slow Sizzle down, I need to try to improve that! The trap that most people worried about is the double tunnels and I saw a few dogs did spun around after they came out from the first tunnel and didn't go into the 2nd tunnel (the long yellow tunnel). I knew my dogs will dive into the tunnels, so I wasn't worried. My only worried is the 2nd last jump. I can't decide to whether to do a front cross or scoop on the 3rd last jump, with Sizzle, I did the scoop and he turned wide but he was responsive and we managed the pivot! WooHoo! Pivot is always my weakest point. Unfortunately we got a refusal in the middle. I cue him too early to turn "right" into the green/white tunnel and also if I have moved a step forward, he probably would take the jump and turn (bad and lazy handling)! He was a very good boy, he turned a fraction too early, otherwise, I think he looks great.

My 2nd run was with Saturn in the same course but medium height. He was too hyper on the start line. After the slow pin wheel start, he actually shot through the tunnel and I have learned from Sizzle and didn't cue him until I see him taking off to do the jump before the tunnel. Unfortunately we got eliminated because Saturn missed the 2nd last jump! I should have tried a front cross from the 3rd last jump with him but I didn't! I did the scoop and he took the finish jump! Bad handling!

My 3rd run, also my last run was the small Open Agility with Sizzle. I was very disappointed there is no Dog Walk in it. We still have to do three contacts, A Frame twice. Again, I cue Sizzle too early after the first A Frame to turn left into the cloth tunnel, he turned before taking the jump! Another refusal there!

I think I must have over practise "come into me" last week that made him being too responsive to my call. I hope this is not a bad start of the season!

Sing is still on the rest, so no run for him. Hopefully he will be back on training again after next week. He is on anti-inflammatory until next week. I didn't run Saturn in the Agility because we are retraining his contacts.  

all photos by: Spidge

here is our runs:

Friday, February 05, 2010


One thing I have learned recently ... once a sheltie has the taste of food, he will drifted away from his toy! This apply to Sizzle!

Sizzle came to me as an old puppy, he wasn't the brave of boy (hence, we started our clicker training much later) and he took more than two weeks to start eating his meal properly. I was worried and started offering him chicken/beef/lamb/fish ... anything you name it, I've tried it but he just not interested in food. Other than he is not interested in food (also make the clicker training hard), he was happy to play his little purple/pink fritter toy with me.

Then, later, when he got a little older, he was still not too keen on food/treat, I bought a lot of motivational toys from Clean Run to encourage him to tug, we managed to do a little tugging but not great, he still prefer me to chuck the toy for him to fetch. I kept one of the toys (like a food pouch with tuggy) for Flyball training only and he was mad each time he saw that tuggy. It was a great reward for him to run back to me in Flyball and also a great reward for me to get him to chase the toy and start a little tugging.

Then, we stop flyballing and go back full time on Agility. Food is not a must but comes into handy if the dog loves the food. With running contacts, toy is great, I can just throw it when I see him hitting the area but not so easy with the see-saw. Sizzle is only just over 4kg, so to encourage him to stay on the see-saw til it tilt, toy is not the best option! I have tried it, he got so excited and leave the see-saw too early. People who helped me train/feed him on the see-saw knew how much he dislike good food!!

Until a few months ago (maybe in late September/early October), he started to take a great interest in food, chicken/ham/roast beef/cheese ... anything. He started to beg a lot from everybody at training. He refused to work with toys anymore or if he does, he tends to lost motivation. I tried hard to get him back on toys and ignored the food but it is not easy if you train in a class. He is ok if he is the only dog there and see nobody feeding their dogs. Unfortunately, in our current class, we were the only one that work with toys! Sizzle totally lost interest in his toy when he smells the treats! When he was in the puppy class before, all the puppy owners were very good, they only use food on the contacts, so all of us were working hard to get the puppies to play with the toys and that work so well with Sizzle. I wish I can go back to join the puppy group.

Last week at training, we were working on a sequence (fig below), jump, A Frame, round the back of jump in front of the A Frame. Eleanor told me this would be difficult for a dog with running contact. I tried that wtih Sizzle, uncountable times, he kept shooting into the tunnel from the A Frame. I thought the jump #2 is more obvious to him, so I must have tried to push him too far left, so he took the tunnel. I just can't get him to stay with me so I can push him to go between the tunnel and jump #2. We tried that too many times and every single time was a failure! At the end, I have to break down the sequence and did the "call in to me" after the A Frame but he still go into the tunnel! We did managed that at last but we were both exhausted!

Eleanor told me I need the tuggy to get him to come into me instead of me chucking his toy to do the "call into me". I totally agree with her but when I have my toy out, all he wants is to chase the toy, he is not interested if the toy is "dead" in my hand! So, I spent last week playing a lot of tugging game with him!

Sing got so jealous and he wants to tug as well. He probably is the best tugger in my pack.
He is the only dog that I can get to tug with command.

Saturn makes me laugh, he loves to chase rabbit and he had caught 7 rabbits in the Common so far but hasn't harm any of them. He loves this rabbit fur tuggy. He just wanted to own it and wouldn't let any of the dogs have it.

Sizzle is having a quite word with Puff.
I must include this picture of Sizzle and his new friend "Puff".
Colin and I wandered around some charity shops last weekend, Colin always search for books and I always search for toys. I picked up a few toys for the dogs. This cute red dragon is only £1.