Wednesday, April 30, 2008

La di dah

Again - another non-eventful week over here! Mind you it was lovely to have a nice break on the weekend (3 day weekend... bring it on!). Downside is of course that this is the LAST allocated long-weekend for us until CHRISTMAS as the queens birthday/ cup weekend is not recognised by the university... so will have to be taken as annual leave (aka cup weekend ;-) ). I have to keep telling myself "2 weeks for christmas, 2 weeks for christmas".

Sooo... what did I get up to?! Well Fri/ Sat was spent showing at Lancefield/ Sunbury. Was an enjoyable weekend and we picked up a few points too :). Nothing overly exciting as they were small shows in the way of Aussies. Still over 1200 dogs each day I think?! Anyways - at the moment i'm trying various things to improve Kinta's coat, or rather quantity of it. Her coat is actually quite nice and healthy, but it just lacks...... volume! So I've changed her diet and also going to wash her in "royal jelly" to see if that will make a difference at all!

Saturday night was spent with the gals - and yet another Harry Potter night (ok, so the first 2 weren't planned that way, it was more a 'come over for dinner and watch a movie' by which time were were already suckered into HP!). Sat it was kind of planned as we knew we were going to end up watching it anyways ;). We have gone a little 'up market' of late - read: rather than ordering pizza's we have been cooking dinner!!! Surprisingly no-one is dead yet.... I think the closest we came was at MY dinner.... not because of the taste of it (Chicken Parma... self crumbed and all thank you very much :p )... but because the bl**dy non-stick greaseproof paper apparently isn't non-stick!!!! ROFL!

Job hunting is still.... well.... hunting ;). No news there.

Very excited about this weekend - we have our ASCV open show on Saturday - Leo and Kinta entered. Will be interesting to see results as our aspiring judge is a fellow Aussie breeder, so it's always nice to know the type and style that they like :). No points are awarded at open shows, just so you know :p. The main part of the excitement however is that we also have an agility trial on Sunday - a NADAC one (ie: not the usual trials we go to) and Kinta's first trial! I'm very excited about it as I'm curious to see how both dogs will go, Leo too as I've been working on him a lot lately to get a bit of speed on him.

I have also commenced Leo's UD training. Am using Morgan Spector's method of teaching Leo scent work and all seems to be going well so far. I am sure we'll come up with a zillion glitches, but I have a heap of people to call on if the going gets tough! So far:

Lesson 1 - he indicated pretty well up to about 4 articles - when he occasionally started to pick up the wrong one. Ended the session on a high and feeling quite proud of ourselves.

Lesson 2 - seemed that lesson 1 didn't go as well planned as I thought - turned out Leo thought the idea was to pick up ANY article (possibly caused by my too eager clicks when he 'sniffed' the right one). Went right back to start and I *think* we are on the right track now. He will 'search' for the right scent and will confidently pick it up when he has found it - sometimes he searches for a while, other times he picks it up immediately. Much higher success rate. Up to 3-4 articles now.

Another lesson tonight, and the next... then he'll have a few days break. I always like to give them a break after a 'new' exercise has been introduced as it sort of lets the whole scenario 'sink in' and I seem to get a really good response from doing this (whether I am right or not, who knows!!!)

That's it from me I think... back to work!

ETA - now seriously guys - comment on the blog - I haven't had a comment since Feb and am feeling un-loved... I know people are reading ;).... Please..... *bribes with pieces of chocolate*

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

FINALLY - we have a pass!!!

Ok - so it's been a while, I've almost forgotten what it feels like!!! Since my birthday weekend we have not had one pass card/ challenge certificate awarded to us! Despite coming so close a number of times, we haven't quite cracked it yet! Sunday was our CDODC's obedience trial. I could barely sleep the night before, tossing and turning thinking of at least a million things that could go wrong, or worse, something i'd forgotten to do! Everything was pretty much smooth sailing (thankfully), except for the teeny tiny error of hmm... a judge not turning up!!! Scary stuff! Luckily one of the stewards was a judge, so we were able to get her to fill in for us *phew!*.

On top of all of that I was also trialling Leo. Enter a dog who, for the past 3 days has flatly refused to pick up his d/b on the first go (ewww mum that's plastic!)... due to my wooden one being in a very unstable condition (going to break at any stage now), I had to get Leo used to the plastic one. Well - he *still* wasn't picking it up on first go Sunday morning and I was walking around wondering if I should withdraw if he doesn't pick it up, OR continue on.... I still haven't decided what I would have done...

Thankfully - the dog picked up the d/b BOTH times AND came back over the hurdle for the ROH. Held his stays beautifully too :). We finally passed with a score of 184, 2nd place and... our CDX title! WOO HOO! I know it isn't exactly the longest time in Open, quite a short stint actually, but since he got his first 2 so quick, there was no bleedingly obvious reason as to why he kept (just) failing, it felt like ages!! I'm so pleased that he got there in the end! I guess now it's time to brush up Kinta and bring her out hey?! On the whole, I'm very excited as we can now officially start training for UD!!!

That was pretty much the extent of our weekend, given that Sat arvo was spent finalising stuff for the trial.

I'm also very excited as I have entered both Leo and Kinta in our first NADAC trials! I think these courses will be a great way to build up Leo's speed (he goes back to novice, more flowing courses... plus a tunnelers one!) and a good way to see just how close Kinta is to trialling level. I'm really looking forward to it on the 4th May. Our agility training has been completely re-vamped now that i'm taking it more 'seriously' than I have previously so I'm going back and re-training a lot of things as well as changing my approach etc. I can really see the difference!

On another note - of late I've taken a real keen interest in this breed called Pyrenean Shepherds. I've been trying to find out as much information about them as possible, which is not an easy task given the breeds rarity, not to mention there are NONE in Australia. It's super hard to find anything really worthwhile reading on the breed (there's only so many times you can read a standard, and only so much information it gives you) much less in English (sorry but my Dutch/ Sweedish/ French is not THAT good!).... I'd love to learn more about the breed as I believe they are related to the Aussies and I really find the breed endearing! Anyone with info - email me please!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

General dullness...

I just had an amusing thought.... Outside of the dogs, there really is not much to tell (or that you guys would be interested in!)... so when the dogs aren't doing anything spectacular and it is just the week in, week out training... I have NOTHING to say! Plus - I'm trying to be a little creative here and have posts that don't involve the dogs, but hey, what can I say - they are my life!

Don't you hate it when people ask you "so what have you been up to lately?!" The best answer I usually can come up with is "nothing much" - which generally is the case, because lets face it, the stuff I get up to isn't that interesting to 90% of the people that ask! But if "nothing much" is what I get up to, it certainly keeps me very busy! Frankly I'm exhausted! It's that time of year again..... Croydon's obedience trial, and again I have the pleasure of being trial secretary... a task I loathe and love. I enjoy it - because it is a good way of meeting others in the obedience fraternity - I hate it, because in the last few weeks, I have a constant nagging feeling that I've forgotten something, have I done everything and OMG it's only xxxx days away!!! The number of times I have had that feeling this week.....

What else does "nothing much" consist of - hmm... of course there is the general training, which seems to make up 90% of my life and AH commitments. The dogs are going really well, Leo is super enthusiastic and his speed around the agility course is definitely improving. For those of you who don't know I have been working to try and get him to run faster etc. I think it's working! Kinta is also going well and her agility is coming on in leaps and bounds. I am at the point now where I have to be REALLY careful because she is so close to being good, and I want the good with speed. If I push her too much, she will be good, but lacking in speed. If that makes sense. Basically we are at the stage of one step forward, two steps back. Obedience wise, she has certainly matured a lot in that department and is working really nice, especially considering her young age!

Oooh - the dogs also had a go at herding last weekend, the first time in about a year I think. Much to my surprise Leo has re-gained his enthusiasm about sheep, while Kinta has decided that mum was tricking, the sheep were there merely as a distraction and there was NO WAY she was falling for that trick!!! LOL! The trainer said that Kinta probably had tonnes of instinct but was just confused and not used to the whole scenario - more exposure should help! I'd love to give them both more exposure, but access to sheep and TIME are big factors :(.

Ok - so other than that I really, really have nothing to tell. There has been no drama, no stories to tell of over here!