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.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Who got the best Christmas prezzies? ME!

Yeah after nearly 20 years of marriage Dennis finally gets it! HA! (just kidding really...) Here is a photo of my two Christmas presents.

Yes it is a NEW dog-walk and a WALL JUMP! (I already owned the perfect contact performing sheltie)

And Dennis is also fixing my collapsed tunnel. The fabric on it just fell apart; so I got a replacement chute but it is a different make and also made of plastic instead of fabric. It will be heavier for the dogs but it will last longer as I keep them outside 24/7.

And just because I know Johanna is missing her dogs while she is lazing around in Australia; here is a cute photo of Tazz curling himself into the tiniest ball on a couch pillow.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve at the Bay house

Well it is not quite as exciting (or fattening!) as back in New York when we always have our "Olsson" family Christmas Eve party! This Christmas it is just me and Dennis and these funny looking guys.....
Thanks to Lian the dogs have this very very big stocking stuffed with Doggie treats to open tonight!

Happy Christmas 2007!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Olympia Small Agility 2007 with videos

Well my 2nd Olympia is over. Hopefully we will return another year! I cannot say this Olympia 2007 was as successful as Olympia 2005 when Zen won; but we had some good moments!

Wednesday was spent bathing and grooming Hex in preparation for her first time at Olympia. We did a little training; 2 or 3 contacts and a few big snakes. It turns out my premonition about snakes (serpentines) was correct and we saw quite a few in the two courses on Thursday.

Off we went on Thursday morning; luckily able to leave after rush hour as our first run wasn't until 1:30 PM. The day started off well as we were able to stop at STARBUCKS on the way! Hurrah! But then the day started to go downhill a bit as Dennis began to complain about not feeling good. Turns out there is a 24 hr stomach bug going around his work and guess which day he decides to come down with it? He was sick all day and even missed work the next day which is rare for Dennis. Lisa was better today; she was in pretty good groom mode although a few pints of beers put her into orbit before the evening performance. She also was sick with a cold. God knows how I will get thru Christmas without myself getting sick!

This Olympia 2007 Final will turn out to be remembered by me as one of the best moments as a Breeder; so that is not too shabby!

The morning performance was Small Pairs. We are paired up randomly; we do not choose our partners. I do think this should be evaluated for the future (here I go again always opening my mouth!) because it can theoretically be dangerous with the hyped up dogs. In the semi-final back in August they also do pairs and there was a scarey dog fight as one team crossed the line to finish and the other was waiting to go for the baton change. Pairs is fine when the dogs and handlers know each other; but in these pairs finals/semifinals the dogs are paired up on the day and do not know one another. Luckily at the Finals at Olympia none of the dogs seemed to have any problems; but it is just a thought for the future.

Hex and I were paired with Sharon Brewster and her adorable little poodle Ruby. They both ran clear and fast and we were in the lead until the last team ran. Up steps the last team, guess who it was?? Yes TEAM OBAY (sable division) with Peggy and Timmy and Nicky and Indy. Now do I root for them or keep my fingers crossed that Sharon and I stay in First? HA!

Well this Olympia is looking quite Deja Vu for me. As with Tuesday we ended up 2nd in the afternoon performance; meaning no trophy! "Darn" and "Yeah OBays!" all at the same time!

We then had a long wait (5 hours) before the next run. I did a little shopping; but everytime I left Hex I got worried and had to go back!God I adore that dog! We also took Team OBay (hey I like saying that!) for a walk to a local park. That was really good for the dogs to get out of the venue to stretch their legs and have a sniff and a pee. I was a little worried as we were counting on Lisa to find the way there as by now Dennis had turned white in the face, had chills and was sick as...well a dog! But Lisa came thru; she is actually very good with directions and we found the park after a nice stroll thru some pretty London side streets.

The evening performace started around 7:30 pm. The walk thru this time seemed even shorter and this was definitely my down fall. I had two plans for the ending sequence and just didn't have time to work thru the 2nd option as the course did not end up being as big on the ground and is looked on the paper and the final sequence was alot tighter than I expected. So again, unfortunately I made an error only FOUR obstacles from the end! Oh well at least in theory I got further than I did with Zen where I made the mistake FIVE obstacles from the end! HA! This is very unlike me; but as they say "There ya go!". Not much else to say about it except that I find it really cute that when you go wrong the British agility people are so sweet and they all say "Hard Luck" to you! I just want to say thanks for that! Although I know it wasn't hard luck but lousy handling! haha!

Anyway enough about me! Although just to say that I was so so very fricken proud of Hex. It is like running a dog on auto-pilot; she just reads the course. Her snakes were so damn cute! Her contacts were perfect and fast and her weaves were awesome! I just love this dog! (did I say that already?) She is only 2 years old and I feel as if I have been running her for years. I can honestly say that if we never did agility again I would be happy just being with this dog. She is my heart and soul dog. (and she likes her drink!)

Now here comes the best Breeder bit! Peggy and Timmy ran first for the shelties. Peggy was so nervous yet it did not show in the ring. After all the start line problems she has had with Timmy over the years; she finally seems to have it sorted! And she had the guts to work it thru at Olympia! I was so proud of her and Timmy strutting their stuff! Timmy put in a nice fast clear; losing time only on his contacts. I think Peggy was so happy to have crossed that finish line that I wonder if she realized how good he had done? He went into 1st place and held that up until Nicky and Indy ran. Indy the pocket rocket is probably one of the smallest dogs in this competition. (The smallest by far would have been Dave and teensy poodle Libby who unfortunately had to pull out because Libby was in season! Now that was a damn shame!) But The Pocket Rocket never lets his size stop him and Nicky and Indy went for it! A little hestitation at the end but it still put him into 1st place! It would have been nice if the competition could have ended at that point with Indy in FIRST and Timmy in Second but alas we still had a fast poodle left to go! Chelsea never looks that fast but Dawn is a great handler and Chelsea is so smooth. The running contacts and the long legs of Chelsea make her a great dog for this venue; they clearly won by full second. Really cool run!

So there ya have it. Another Olympia done for us.

Now we just have to wait and hear how the big dogs do today and Saturday. Fingers crossed for everyone!!

Here is the OBay videos....

First is the OBay Shelties running in pairs.

Second is the three OBay Shelties in their Finals runs.

If you want to see all the dogs in the finals check out: Olympia small pairs on Youtube.

If you want to see all the small dogs in the finals check out: Olympia Small Agility Final

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Olympia Medium Agility wrap up,photos and video!

My second time at Olympia (London Horse of the Year Show) with Zen was good. I knew more about what to expect this time and tried to really take in the atmosphere! It was a strange build up to Olympia not knowing if Zen was going (due to her season being due) or if Chi was going (due to his cancer surgery). So it was hard to get excited up until the morning of the show when we were in the car ready to go.

Sonia came as our groom and was thrown right into the melee of Olympia but she coped really well and took the opportunity for some retail therapy. She even bought a pair of pink Crocs for herself and a black pair for Bob! Dennis drove and did the video and photo taking; although he was not really on form with the photos and he must do better on Thursday! Although he blames the fact that we did NOT win on the reason for so few photographs! ha! Lisa was in annoying mood in the morning on the ride in (this bit is for her mother) and was very argumentative. Not conducive for positive mental imaging and all that on the ride in. But she calmed down once she got there and was so happy to have her mom and auntie there was her cheering squad! Mom Julia and Auntie Mary had the best seats for us as they were right on the ring and you could see them as soon as you finished the course. You can see in Lisa's video that after her run she is getting a nice hug from her mom. That is very special. It was so great that they were there! We also had Tim and Marion and Karen and Lian there as part of the cheering section.
Here is Sonia being a "groom".

The drive in was a big of a nightmare; what should have been 1 1/2 hours turned into a 3 hour drive due to rush hour traffic and accidents. Luckily Bob reminded us how bad it would be at that time of day and we allowed 3 hours to get there. Dennis dropped us off right in front of the stadium and went off to park the car in the assigned car park. The KC gives us car parking tickets which is great because parking is so expensive! It would have cost us 32 pounds to buy the same car park ticket for the day. And I think the people who bought their own car parking tickets (in order to park closer to the venue) had to pay around 40 pounds. The car parking that we get is about a 25 minute walk away but they do have a shuttle bus. We ended up walking back to the car in the evening just to get out in the fresh London air (hah!) and stretch our legs. Alot of the horse boxes are also parked in the same lot; it is amazing how much stuff they need to bring!

The Olympia hall is beautiful with the glass roof. It always looks so festive and really gets you in the Christmas mood! Here is a photo of the arena loaded with horse jumps. For us dog agility people the ring is TOO big; for the horse people it is probably too small. The horses are just gorgeous.

In reality this is a HORSE SHOW! And it is very spectator oriented. So although it is THE major agility final of the year; it doesn't always have that "agility" feel about it. It is a little tense as we have only 2 minutes to walk the course with the dogs in the arena with us and then run immediately. Luckily Kate put up some flowing sensible courses that didn't require too much mental anguish! The noise is deafening down in the arena and the announcers get the crowds worked up. When the horses are doing there things (jumping and dressage ect) you can hear a pin drop. But when the dogs start the agility; the announcers go into overdrive. It is not conducive to a calm focused run! It is exciting though! The huge ring and the crowds do get you wound up a bit! I was really proud of Zen this year; she has matured since we were first at Olympia two years ago when she was only just 2 years old! She seemed to cope better and was able to relax.

Chi took the atmosphere into his stride. He looked great and no one commented on his funny hair cut. To see him run you wouldn't know he just had two surgeries and hasn't run agility in weeks!

So anyway this is how it went.....

Here is a photo of Course walking in the afternoon. You may notice they had a clown on the course with a fake dog. In addition the announcer was walking about describing the course to the crowds. So an announcer, clown with fake dog, ring party still setting the course and us (in red) walking the course all in two minutes! I just kept moving around the announcer and tuned him out totally! At one point I thought about asking him to get the heck out of the way but I thought that might have been frowned upon! ha!

This is how they bring us in right behind the truck carrying the equipment. We then stand for a few minutes in the arena while they get the stuff off the two trucks. The equipment is cute; lots of Christmas themed stuff. And they use a wall jump which we don't see very often and put tinsel on top of the weave poles! Also the jumps are extra big for audience appeal....

They are very strict about how they take you into the arena and how your grooms hold the dogs ect. You follow the premier cart with equipment in and the little workers get right to work and set the course up in about 2 minutes! Amazing stuff. As they are setting it you have to get right in and walk it. In the morning run (grand prix) it wasn't so bad because the first run was actually BEFORE the spectators had arrived. So there wasn't the crowds to try and please! You will notice in the photos and videos that during the jumping run the arena was empty. The silence was lovely!

I found the hardest thing was walking the course in the two minutes! I usually walk, as in NOT RUN, a course a few times before actually running it in speed. There was no time for this and you had to RUN around once or maybe twice and that was it. I started running on to the course walk and my legs completely stopped working and I felt really winded, my throat went totally dry and I felt like I was running in quicksand! Not a great start! Luckily I was running last out of the ten. Poor Lisa was running first! As usual I was the last person out on the course and had to dash to get Zen from poor Sonia who was being shuffled off the course with the rest of the grooms. As Sonia was leaving she thought she spotted Lisa's shoelace untied; so she was yelling at her and then I was yelling at Lisa as she was walking to the line (you will see Lisa look back puzzled on the video!). HAHA! Actually it wasn't untied but she just has very long laces!

The first jumping run was nice and smooth for Zen and Chi. Chi went first out of all the dogs and put in a phenomenal run; he wanted to show that he was meant to be there! Lisa felt that she lost connection towards the end as she got slightly lost but you can hardly see any errors. I did not expect either dog to do anything in the jumping as they are competing against much larger border collies and the stride length on some of the collies is incredible. In such a big arena they would eat up the ground compared to Zen and Chi. Honestly I originally thought the course was too easy and that we would just put in a steady clear compared to the others; I had been hoping for difficult courses. But it is OLYMPIA and the courses have to be tailored for the fact that there are spectators and there is a time constraint. BUT even with all that; Zen and Chi had no trouble keeping up their speed compared to the others! Wow! Zen actually slipped in the tunnel and I remember thinking "Shit she is never coming out of there!" whereas on the video you can hardly tell! It is amazing what we can notice while we are running.

Well I am very proud that Zen got 2nd in the jumping. Although that doesn't sound as exciting as winning it; it gave me a boost that she can still run with the big dogs even on a big course! Unfortunately for us, in this run they only gave trophies to the first place dog! Bummer!

We did not have a long wait until our second run; probably just under 2 hours. So just a little time to look around the shopping stalls. I didn't actually buy anything! Must try harder on Thursday!

The second run was the agility run and this was the one I really wanted to win. But alas things don't always go to plan! Zen was running well but had one wide turn at the top of the course. This was on my mind (yes I know it shouldn't have been!) as we came into the last jumping sequence. Plus the fact that the announcer was really whipping up the crowds (come on girls and boys blah blah blah almost at the end good times blah blah)! I just lost it after the collapsed tunnel at a very easy part....all I needed to do was step toward the damn jump! Instead I pulled away hoping to get a tighter turn to the long jump and Zen came out of the chute seeing me more that way. She is so honest that she came right along with me. Oh well, coulda woulda shouda! Now we have all winter to reinforce those contacts.

Chi and Lisa went after us. My God he was putting in a stonking run! A darn pole down ruined their chances but hey he looked fantastic! Chi actually had the fastest time out of all the dogs! Chi really enjoyed the atmosphere! Lisa will be resting Chi now for the next month or so; just working on his rehab and getting him fighting fit; but I am glad he had the chance to shine for the day!

Overall a good day; although maybe not the most successful agility-wise. I do have to remember that Zen did get a respectable 2nd even if she didn't get a trophy for it!

And we got to see Father Christmas!

And so here is the video!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Agility and rescue

I haven't posted much lately. Mainly because there is nothing exciting going on dog-wise! I thought daily updates on "Is Hob-b pregnant?" and "Is Zen in season?" would be pretty boring for most people. On the other hand look at my neo-counter! I have people from 31 countries checking out the blog! Cool huh?

Christmas is coming and it will be low key compared to last year when we had two litters of puppies here to celebrate with. How time flies! Right now we are waiting to see if Hob-b is pregnant but it is way too early to tell. I promise I will let everyone know as soon as I do!

The good news is that it looks like Chi will be OK to compete at Olympia! He looks pretty funny as his neck is shaved but he seems fit and happy to run. Lisa is, of course, worried about him but I think Chi is telling her he wants to RUN RUN RUN! The surgeon was happy that he got all the tumour out with good margins; so now we just watch to see that nothing starts to grow back. With a little luck and help from above; Chi will be around for many more Olympias! Thank you to everyone who sent their prayers and good wishes for Chi; it meant alot.

On the other hand Zen still has NOT come into season! So much for my thinking that she wasn't going to Olympia and would be preggers by now; it seems like she has other plans and wants to defend her Olympia winner title! So fingers crossed for brother and sister team Chi and Zen to strut their stuff at Olympia 2007 on Tuesday!

We did some training yesterday at Premier where we rented their sand school along with some friends who will also be competing at Olympia. Everyone put their heads together and set up some wicked mean courses. I was running like shit! The sand was really soft and we set up BIG courses that involved lots of running. At the best of times I run like a girl and this was even worse; I was huffing and puffing! I did feel better when the two fit men in the group were having the same problem! HA! Luckily Zen and Hex saved me and they seemed to handle the courses well. So watch out for Tig, Dot, Kite, Shy, Minx, Timmy, Chi, Zen and Hex this week at Olympia! Let's hope we all have something special to celebrate!

Today I took Zen and Hex to a practice match. It was a really good opportunity to work their contacts and train. Thank to Leah for organizing the match and let me run each dog four times over the agility course! What was really good was that both girls decided they could pretend it was already Olympia and do some fantastic running contacts. Uhhhh....no girls not yet! So they start the course, hit the first A-frame and run the contact (well not really run as much as stop and self-release). I was able to stop them, pick them up and carry them out of the ring. I had to not laugh at the look on their little faces! A few minutes later we went back in the ring and started again and, luckily, they had spot-on perfect fast contacts! Hurrah! So I only had to carry them each out of one run and the other three were perfect. This bodes well for Olympia!

The practice match was in aid of a rescue organization in Wales called
so it was a bonus not only to be able to run agility but to also help out rescue. I did my part and drank quite a few mulled wines and ate lots of cake so that I could donate some extra money!
If anyone in the UK feels the need to donate some holiday money please check them out! Seriously; many people know of my love of rescue and I am so proud that the rescue group that I helped to start quite few years ago has gone from strength to strength with the labour of a terrific lady named Barbara. She has taken the rescue to new heights of excellence! If anyone ever needs a great organization to donate money to (hint hint)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


My petsitter/housesitter has quit! WAAAAAAAH! It was so nice being able to leave all the shelties in their own home home and know the dogs were safe and happy. We have been using Kelly since we came here 6 years ago. She was very reliable and not too expensive and she even hoovered the house before we came home! Now we have to start interviewing new people and hope we can find someone new.Boo-hoo...

PS She didn't just quit us; she is no longer petsitting (just in case you thought she quit the mad sheltie house because it was too noisy!) HAHA!

In other news; Hob-b and Tazz did their stuff and now we keep fingers crossed for pups due 1st of Feb 2008!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rainy Day Blues

We had some wicked rain and wind yesterday. I had to cancel my few training lessons and was feeling that I should do some training with my own dogs. I have been INSPIRED by Ann (with MACH Spooner) who sent me a music CD with nine of the songs played at the World Champs! WOW... as soon as I played them in my kitchen I was dancing around and felt all energized!I have transferred all the songs to my iPod so that I can listen while at the gym and when I am getting ready for Olympia! Watch out here we come!

I needed that after all the worry we have had lately with my poor little man Chi. Chi had his surgery today and you can follow his progress on Chi's Blog.

Anyway I had Dennis video a few of the things I have been playing around with in training. Zen and Hex were taught both "the elephant trick" and "put your toys away" as pups. As you can see they were a little rusty! HA!

I was starting to try to teach Hex to lift up her back foot on command as I have seen Sylvia Trkman teach her dogs; but was having no luck. Then I thought I would try to teach the dogs to back up onto the washing up box but again was struggling. So we went back to something we know: LEFT and RIGHT. The twist being having them do their lefts and rights on the box. Actually it was a really cool idea as then they had to stay in one spot instead of bouncing around as they usually do. I did not use any luring or body language; Zen and Hex do know their left and rights pretty well. You can see how Zen especially tries to outsmart me and I have to try and mix up my commands so that she doesn't read my mind! Also I used a bigger box for Zen as she was sliding all over the washing up bowl. You will notice that a few times Hex just turned her head left or right instead of actually spinning. This was because although she knew what I wanted she felt as if she couldn't do the entire spin without falling! It was so interesting for me to watch the video back and see how hard she tries. What is really funny in watching the video is seeing the difference in general speed and noise between Zen and Hex. Zen always looks as if she is on speed!