Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zen is 11, Yay is 2 and Dania Cup 2014

My lovely Zen turned 11 in May. Zen is retired from agility not due to injury or illness but just because she is so awesome she deserved an early retirement. She spends her days hanging out in the garden, occasionally running around a small agility course and teaching puppies how to tug. Here she is with her three children Giz-mo, Zaz and Itz. I loved that the chicken photo-bombed the photo!
My gorgeous sable fluffiness Yay turned 2 in May. I am just enjoying her so much. She started competing seriously in March and even with limited competing and a month break for being in season she quickly moved up the levels into Grade 5.
Yay has only been to about 10 shows before we left to compete in Denmark at Dania Cup 2014. Dania cup is such a fabulous competition that I have blogged about previously. A wonderful atmosphere, great courses and fantastic handlers. I love it! I was happy to be running Zaz and Yay this year (you can only do 6 runs per day so you need to limit the number of dogs you can compete with). Yay would be starting in Class 2 which equates to her Grade 5 here in the UK. Zaz would be competing in Class 3 which will give us a great warm up for the World Champs in September.
Zaz ran well and we won a few classes and placed top 3 in many others. It was such a great experience for us being able to run European courses day after day. I just love my Zaz-star! But it was Yay who really surprised me! She needed 6 clears (minimum 3 in agility) within the top 20% of the placements to move up to Class 3 and she did it! She had some great runs and won many classes. I feel as if we are starting to be a better team together. She is different to Zaz and Zen as she can easily get over excited but she is still such fun! Yay did well in not only her graded classes but also did well in her "open" classes which qualified her for the Dania Cup 2014 final!!! The final was a great course and Yay handled it well but our inexperience as a team caught us out at obstacle 15. I was so proud of her and know that this won't be our last experience running a major final! She has so much more to give. Here is just a sampling of Yay's runs at Dania Cup.

The greatest part of this show are the trophies! There are none! Instead you get to pick of great useful items or vouchers towards items from the vendors on site. Here is our winnings for the week!

So that is my update for now. Thank God everyone here is well: people, dogs and chickens. Life is Good and may it long continue!

Time flies! Crufts 2014, Team GB, Gorgeous Shelties and more...

Where does time go? I had promised myself never to apologise for not updating my blog; it is not a job, I don't get paid for it nor do I make money from it. I always loved keeping track of people all over the world through their blogs; following their training and later enjoying their competition runs.  Yet I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for updating the blog and it became more of a chore rather than something I enjoyed doing.

I am not sure how to change that feeling but I will start just by doing a little catch up.

After Zaz had her singleton puppy "Z" her first competition back was Crufts 2014. I really love Crufts, it is my favorite competition of the year. This year Zaz qualified for two events: British Open and Agility Championships.   Little 2 year old Giz-mo was competing at his first Crufts in the Novice Cup. In addition there were three other OBay Shelties competing at Crufts this year. OBay Tiz Wild "Zev", OBay Itz A Secret "Zavvi" and OBay Tiz Zensational "Zeki". All three did well and helped keep the OBay flag flying! This was the first year that Dennis and I splashed out to book a room at the hotel on site at the NEC. Wow! That made my Crufts even more fun and relaxing. We have booked a room already for next year!

Giz-mo was a little star. I was so pleased with how he handled Crufts; he was so confident and full of his happy joyful Giz-ness! He is so much fun. A small error on my part in the jumping put him out of contention for the overall win but he won the agility section and went on become the Crufts 2014 Novice Cup Runner up winner.

Zaz was just a dream to run. She won every class she was entered in and following in her mom Zen's paw prints she became the Crufts 2014 British Open winner. To top off a fantastic Crufts 2014 Zaz went on to win her 3rd Crufts Championship in a row. Three times Crufts Champion!!

Here is her British Open agility. Yes I am lazy and don't put any effort in.....must...try....harder....

Here is our Championship Final. Running in the ring right before Best In Show is just the best adrenaline high! This course did not suit us as it was so fast and straight forward. I had to work on my mental game not to give up before we got out there. Our laziness helped us win again! :-) Sorry I don't have a video of Zaz's run on it's own. Our run starts at 10 minutes into the video.

After the excitement of Crufts we were right back to training to get ready for our Team GB tryouts. This year they tried a different way of choosing the team. A "squad" was chosen in January based on points accumulated during the year before. This squad then met a few times leading up to the tryouts in April to work on training courses and sequences. The choice of the final team would depend on your work during the "squad" period before the tryouts plus your results over the tryout weekend. Theoretically this would put less emphasis on a one or two day competition.

Even with less emphasis on the tryout weekend the tension and stress to do well on the day is so high! Zaz did well but the wait to hear if we made the team seemed forever!  Happily we received that call inviting us on the team and I am looking forward to the FCI 2014 World Champs in Luxembourg in September!

I am so grateful to have had two dogs that not only are amazing competition partners but also wonderful producers.  This photo is Grandma Zen, mother Zaz and son Z at 6 months old.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Yay's first agility competition and Puppies 2013

My previous litter (the Boyz litter) was in 2011. So now my long planned Zaz litter is born and ta-da....ONE puppy......Geez...I guess the only positive note is that I won't be called a puppy farm. More about Mr. "Storm" in another post. He is gorgeous, happy and healthy and how can I be disappointed in this.

I have been neglectful about documenting Yay's  progress. She is still such a fun "puppy" to train but not really a puppy anymore! She is now 18 months and I entered her in her first competition. I am certainly not rushing Yay but this is more from sheer laziness rather than any planned schedule. I would normally have had her ready long before now but hopefully we will make up lost time during lots of winter training.

Yay and Giz-mo are such a pair. My little Yin-Yang of sheltie cuteness.

 I only entered Yay in a jumping class at Rugby as her running contacts are not finished. Dog walk is just up to full height and she hasn't started her A-frame yet. Funnily enough I worry more about the Aframe than the dog walk; I am stressing about how to start the Aframe as I have had mixed results with the buy-one-get-one free method.

  The video was edited because we stood on the start line for over a minute. I loved the chance to see her deal with the delay and hold her start line as self-control can be difficult for Yay.  It is a busy indoor show and it was great chance for me to see how Yay dealt with distractions. I would guess that most agility rings do not have judges dressed like snowmen, Christmas puddings, tigers and, my own favourite, St. Lucia.  So one run and it was all over too quickly! I knew I enjoyed it because I just wanted to do more! We were eliminated and it was totally my fault. I went into slight panic mode wondering if she could do certain moves (could she do an acute rear cross?  Could she send around a 180 degree jump sequence?). Silly really as I just should have done them as it didn't matter if we won or not but I am only human!

So here she is in all her gorgeous Yay-ness!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chicken-topia 2013

This post is for another blogger who is thinking of changing her chicken enclosure.  Just for those who worry; my dogs are all doing great! I haven't given up the shelties for the chickens just yet.

Our chickens have just become part of our family. They are just as naughty as my dogs and regularly escape and mix among the shelties.  I have done  many a running dog-walk session with Yay with chickens pecking around under the dog-walk.

The design of chicken-topia has fluidly changed as we add more chickens and learn more about how to keep  them (and us) happy. I am sure there will be more changes as we go on but we are happy with the set up now. It is easy to collect the eggs and to keep clean. The chickens have a very safe enclosure for at night and for when we go away for a day or a night. What I like about this space is that it is fully covered so it does not get so muddy and wet. If we go away the chickens are safe for a day or two as they have access to food, water and can get in and out of their coop.  When we are home they have a larger enclosed area to scratch around, find bugs and make dust baths. Lately the naughty hens are escaping into the main garden.  I don't  mind this but, of course, this is when they are most vulnerable to predators.

This is the entire chicken "paddock" with the secure  enclosure in the back.

This is the chicken enclosure. It is approx. 5m x 3m and houses their plastic coop and plastic nesting boxes. It has both sun and shade and we also planted two shrubs in the corners.

During the day when we are home they have access to this large paddock. We also leave the greenhouse open in the winter so they rummage around in there when it is really wet out.

The interior of their safe run. Everything is plastic as I worry about mites. I wanted to buy one of the fancy plastic coops but they were so expensive! Instead we converted this garden box and it has worked really well. The chickens sleep in the converted garden shed and they lay their eggs in the 3 plastic nesting boxes outside. I need to add another nesting box as they sometimes queue up to get in and start loudly complaining if one chicken takes too long! They are so funny.

The enclosed run is made with very heavy duty (expensive!) wire. The original chicken wire was not as strong but was dug into the ground, so we left it and added the stronger wire fencing in front of it. The new wire fencing is bent out at the bottom like an apron for about 6 inches. This prevents the fox from digging under it. The fence is very high but to be extra secure we added a roof. Theoretically the enclosed run is 100% fox proof but it is still a worry.
When we did the extension on our house we had a trench dug to bring water and electric out to the chicken paddock. This makes taking care of the chickens so much easier  and gives us lights when checking on the chickens at night.
So we do our best for our girls and they reward us with gorgeous eggs and lots of laughs. I still cannot believe how much fun they are even with all the work involved.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kennel Club International Agility Festival 2013

I have so much to blog about but have been trying to stay off the computer.  Instead of trying to cover everything (European Open, Fionia Cup) I thought I would start with the KC Festival.

The Kennel Club International Agility Festival is the marathon of agility! Almost 20 rings, 2000 plus dogs and 3 days of agility. I have a love/hate relationship with the Festival but I decided to go back this year since it was at a new venue and I had a chance to compete at the Novice Cup with Giz-mo.

The venue this year was much nicer but the walk to the rings was still crazy. Especially for those who had to day park the walk was so far; I would hesitate to go again if I am not camping. I think the only reason I would go again would be to compete with a novice/young dog for the Novice cup. I guess next year will depend on how ready Yay is looking! (yes hard to believe but Yay will be competing next year!)

I enjoyed the show because we had a decent hotel near the venue and had the chance to spend sometime with nice people. We even celebrated Dennis' 50th Birthday!

I had my goals set and focused on the important runs. I wanted to use the graded runs to get Giz-mo his 3 wins necessary to move up to Grade 6 and qualify both Giz and  Zaz for Crufts 2014.  I expected to miss a lot of my runs just due to the fact that the walk to the rings is crazy and I wanted to be focused for the finals (Novice, British Open and Nations Cup).

Well to make a long story short: all goals were met!  Here is the obligatory photo of Giz and Zaz with their Festival wins.

Here are Giz and his litter brother, Fuze, looking darn cute with their medals and rosettes.

Giz-mo had a great KCI. He got his 3 wins necessary to move up to Grade 6, qualified for the Novice Semi final and then won  the semi-final and qualified us for Crufts 2014! Giz is going to Crufts! By the way, is he not just the cutest sheltie boy in the world?

 His win was made extra special when I saw the Kennel Club trophy and the engraved plate. This is the memorial trophy that we do not get to keep; it is kept at the Kennel Club offices. The novice cup is becoming a family tradition! In 2005 Giz-mo's mother Zen competed in and won the very first Kennel Club Novice Cup. I was away at a family wedding so she ran for a friend and still won. That's my special girlie Zen; she could run for anyone and still gave it her all.  Later, in 2010 the Novice cup was won by Zen's brother Bailey (OBay Truly Daniel's Dream). Now in 2013 it was won by her son Giz-mo.  I am going to take a moment and be a proud breeder over that!

Giz-mo's novice Cup run. I am really starting to enjoy running this little guy; he is getting stronger and stronger at each competition. It is hard to believe that he has only been competing since April.

Finally my little Zaz-star won the British Open!  She is also following in her momma's pawprints as Zen has won the British Open twice at Crufts. 

Zaz's British Open semi Final run.  I was a bit surprised to win this final and even more surprised to find out that Zaz's times were faster than all heights!

I really enjoyed running Zaz at the KCI; as always, she gave it her all and I felt as if we were one for every run. I cannot feel anything but gratitude for this girl.

So I cannot promise another post but hopefully I will remember what we did in July and be able to get it into a post sometime soon! 

PS isn't this a fun app? It took my blog and made it into a word star!