Friday, December 19, 2008

Ticks..... and the point is?!?!?!

Can someone please tell me the purpose by which a tick, namely the paralysis tick serves..... that is other than a lot of stress and heartache for many pet owners who live in the east coast of Australia?!?!?

We are heading up the coast over summer and I am SOOO paranoid about ticks! Never having dealt with them before I am just so worried about what might happen ARGH!!!

I have them on Advantix and they will be checked daily, but that's only mildly eased my stress!!!

So someone... please tell me... exactly what purpose do they serve?!!?!?

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Year that Was.... 2008

First of all – can I just say how much I love writing these posts, even though nobody might read them! I think it’s nice to sit back and reflect on the year that was and see how far you have come.

For me this year has been mixed with highs, lows and countless frustrations. I have always thought that this year hasn’t been as successful as the year that was, but in many ways it has. I think I have learnt and developed so much as a handler this year. I watch many of my earlier videos and I can see the improvement, so if nothing else, that is a huge advantage for us as a team.

As usual – I will start with my boof-head Leo.
Well the plan was for him to achieve the following titles:
CDX JDX, AD, possibly ADX and some games titles (SD & GD). Trialling by the end of the year in UD.
Things progressed a little differently however.

At our first agility trial of the year, Leo pulled off a lovely 1st place and his AD title. Hows that for a start to the year?! After this, I pretty much pulled him out of agility for a few months as I wanted to re-train his weaves and get better contacts. I continued with jumping, but not with agility for those reasons. 12 months passed since gaining his JD and it didn’t look like our JDX was coming any time soon. The story of my life – so close, yet so far… always one fault – be it one knocked bar, or one off course obstacle. After watching a few of his videos and talking to some friends, we decided a sabbatical might be good. Lets work on his drive and motivation – do what works and improve this dog to be what we know he can be. I am SO glad that I did this as to me, he has improved out of sight. We are a much better team, and I think that he has developed into a dog that has the possibility of going ‘all the way’ in his agility career (read masters titles). We came back with guns blazing and in almost straight runs, Leo gained his JDX title… at the nationals no less! Yes, that’s right, 2008 marked the year of the Nationals in Victoria. What an experience that was. I was just SO proud of how Leo ran those courses – with speed and some beautiful moments for both of us as a team. After that, we took another break for one reason or other (no trials, clashing dates etc) and came back for the last few trials of 2008. Leo walked away with a pass for his ADX too… so at least we are getting there.

We teamed up with a partner for strategic pairs and had a blast gaining his SPD title. Go Leo Go! No other games for us though (which would make it a little hard to get the other titles mentioned above :P). But on a lesser scale, I think Leo and I have achieved so much this year, even if it is not represented buy the titles. We have developed as a trialling team and I feel very comfortable with him now. I am more aware of what my handling is saying to him and I can work out how to run a course better to suit him. One of my happiest moments – going from a dog who couldn’t do distance at the start of the year, to a dog that managed quite a difficult distance challenge at Warringal on Saturday! (Now if only my computer hadn’t crashed, I might have been able to do a video compilation for you to show you the difference…meh – maybe I will!)

On the obedience side of things we had many set backs and stressful times. Countless passes were lost – so close, yet so far away. Knocking at the door so to speak. Worst was that we WERE sitting on a pass and some silly handler didn’t realise I couldn’t say his name for the change of position – before asking him to drop…. Boom, there goes a lovely pass and title (would have been 3 passes in 3 trials too!)…. I could have killed myself! In April, he finally gained his CDX, and has been flitting in and out of Open while we train for UD. He has done some lovely work – but unfortunately no more passes to sing home about. Once again, the Nationals were great. As for UD, well – that’s coming along real nice and I’m hoping that by early next year we will re-enter the rings. We’ll see. Leo’s obedience year has been quite quiet this time round. I have learnt so much training him for UD, it has really opened up my eyes training styles and such.

Yes a new venture…. Not really sure HOW we managed this, but Leo did gain his HT title… to me it looked more like chase the sheep and see what you get, but hey, it was fun!

Most Versatile Aussie:
Well this was one of our big events for the year. Even though we got no pass cards, I was very pleased with how they went. Leo was awarded Neuter in Show at the specialty, and also scored very well in the critique. He worked nicely considering the weather (yukky, humid weekend) and especially considering the dogs’ competed in herding, obedience and agility all in one day, I was just happy that they got out and worked! Looking forward to the next one!

So a busy year, with much to be proud of, even if it’s to the lesser degree. Hopes for 2009? I would like to be trialling in UD, perhaps with a pass under our belt, gain his ADX and JDO titles and perhaps this year a few games titles (SD or GD)… we’ll see. Might even give the PT a go (herding)….

Well where do I start with her?! Around July I think we entered the rings. My aim for her was to gain her CCD, CD, AD and JD titles.

Agility she started off with a bang – first trial, first pass, first place. Second trial, 2 more passes, JD title and again, 1st place in one I think. We didn’t enter AD until later in the year (August?) and since then she’s been a one fault wonder… close, but yet so far. We had some difficulty in JDX runs, with her loosing her confidence a little bit. Out of the ring we came to work on that and now she is back with a vengeance. I am really proud of Kinta’s agility achievements and think that she has a great career ahead of her. We still have to work on contacts and weave entries (from other obstacles), but on the whole, she is doing very well. She has been having a stop-start year, with seasons and all (right in time for the nationals)! So it feels like she’s been trialling for ages, but when you look back, she has only really done a handful.

Once again she started off well… first trial, first pass, first place. Second trial, second pass (possibly even second place!)… since then it was all downhill… LOL! She can be a little stress head so it took me a while to calm my nerves and learn a new way of handling for a more sensitive dog unlike bombproof Leo. It’s been an interesting curve trying to not quench my dog’s enthusiasm by my nerves. Many, MANY times we have blown a great pass… in fact I don’t believe she’s ever had a score below 188 or 89 (for CCD), but always we have done something silly in the ring which has cost us our pass. Because I hate the lead in CCD, I decided to go up to Novice once we were working well as a team. Again, very nice scores, one mistake… So close, and I am sure it will happen soon! No titles in Obedience to date.

Again – a new venture and after a period of pretending sheep didn’t exist, the instinct has kicked back in and she does show a lot of talent in this field (I certainly don’t!)… She gained her HT title as well :)

Well with all the other sports HOW do we find time? We don’t really!! Started the year with a Junior In Group and BCC.. After that it’s been more an ‘occasional’ challenge here and there.. I took her out of the ring for close to 6mths, and I am really pleased with how she is looking at the moment. We’ll see how she goes. At the moment we are sitting on 40-ish points, so we are slowly getting there :)

Most Versatile Aussie:
Once again no passes to sing home about, but very pleased that my 'green' dog could compete competently in 3 events in one day. Again - almost sitting on a pass in most events :P. Very pleased with her showing at the specialty, making the final cut for best gaited and a good look in for non-champ sweepstakes. She did win her class and Opposite Limit in Show though. Once again, a lovely critique by the judge for the MVA also.

On the whole I’m pleased with her. I often forget that while I’ve been training her for a while, we actually haven’t been trialling for long, especially once you include juggling all of our events, seasons and such. I still believe that we will get far, she just may take a little longer to mature and keep it all together than Leo. Hopes for next year?

Well we should embark on an exciting new venture of breeding. Kinta will be out for some time raising a litter of pups in 2009 which I am excited and nervous about all in the one breath. Once we hit the rings again though, I would love to get those CD and AD titles, before focussing on showing and getting that elusive CH title!!!

So that’s it from me – I hap-hazard year, where I think a lot of our growth and development has been ‘off’ the course. But that can only bode for good things to come… I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have such willing and ready to work dogs…. They are a joy to trial, despite my whinging and moaning that nothing can ever go right!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Somebody hates me!!!

Ok - lets start with the techno stuff first. Seems that nobody will help me get my data/ photos etc off my E-HDD, even though theoretically they can, but won't because it will void the warranty.

Anyway - aside from that, I've been using for ages this product called Power Director for my videos to get them onto youtube etc. The reason being for some reason, not a lot of programs like my video camera - more money spinning I guess, to get you to buy the program.... or at least get it from somewhere :p. Anyways - when I bought this new computer it had on it the Power Director program on it. Though when I used it, the *sound* wasn't working, so re-loaded it..... only now *that* totally stuffed up didn't it!!! And do YA think I can find the CD?! Or even my Adobe Premiere CD?!!?!?!? They must be sitting with my lost photos of the dogs etc.... grrrrr...

So second part of why the world hates me - Well we had my obedience trial today.... ok - well not mine, but the one that I had the pleasure of organising. Most of it went off ok (except for the brief moment where I forgot about the competitor numbers so had a mad dash for home!)... least all of our judges turned up this time :P

Well Kinta did a really nice run (hence why I wanted to upload a video!).... sitting on a lovely pass of 192.... come to the stays... sit stay - no probs, nice and steady.... drop stay - no prob.... but oh... I just have to ITCH..... right HERE with 10 seconds to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHYYYYYYY! Does she have some allergy to pass cards?! Is there something in her brain that has told her to STAY away from all pass cards and challenge points?!?! I would love to know!

As you can guess it's pretty frustrating. She works SOOOO nice, but for some reason, it never seems to all come together at once.... I don't know what to do :-(

What's the upside of the whole weekend? Leo did some lovely runs in agility yesterday and Leo got his first ADX pass and 3rd place :D

Comming soon - my 'year that was' post (these were the last 2 trials of the year)... however I guess I might do it when I'm in a 'happier' mood :p