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.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring updates: EO, Crate Games and Puppy training

So a few weekends of agility have now passed by. It is nice to be getting out and competing again. I have Zen to run and am working on getting us both fighting fit for the European Open 2009. I am so proud that Zen has qualified for the EO this year. I had not tried out with her last year due to puppies and this year I knew we would struggle slightly from being out of action for the past few months. Even so Zen did me proud and qualified as one of 4 medium dogs to represent Great Britain at the European Open.

Here is our jumping run. There were some loud call offs as the course did not really "flow"! There was lots of large gaps with tempting obstacles either side. I was amazed we got around this course and, along with many other handlers, said something like "f...ing hell" when I got near the finish line. ( BTW stop reading now for this next section of "too much information") This 1st run was difficult for us as we had just spent the previous week with a severe stomach virus or food poisoning leading up to us having to hit the emergency clinic for a injection to help me stop vomiting after 12 hours straight. That was a tough week and I had not had a full meal up to that day! (not that I couldn't do with missing a meal or two!) I really felt that towards the end of that course that I would not be able to continue. My legs felt like jello and I was too weak. But somehow the adrenalin kicked in and we finished out the day with 3 clears and made it to the final where we came, I think, 2nd. We finished 3rd overall. Zen is just a great dog and I am so proud to be representing my adopted country again.

The puppies are just growing and growing. They are becoming real dogs! Training-wise I am attending a puppy "play and learn" class with Zaz. It is a nice class with similar minded people which makes it more fun. Unfortunately I have not yet found a class for Itzy but I am still looking. I wish they had two of the same class in a row! This class is sort of a "pre agility" which is nice; no equipment but lots of basics and fun things. I have been proud of Zaz as she is just so into her training. She works well for food and offers behaviors yet her tuggy and retrieving is coming along great. I am NOT taking that for granted and we are working on tugging and play retrieves ALOT with both pups.

Our "CRATE GAMES" experiment is continuing. Today it was raining and I cancelled lessons, so I watched part of the DVD again. I started with a little "yer in yer out" to warm them up and then worked on the next session called "collar grabs". Both pups seemed to catch on quickly and it was nice to see them staying so well in the crates when the door was open. Hopefully that will only help my startlines stays in the future. Probably the only glitch I had was with Zaz who upon returning to the crate would start offering behaviors in the crate and got a little frustrated with me which caused the occasional yip yip. As this was our first time doing the "collar grab" session; I am hoping that this will decrease in time. I think, according to the dvd, I can stay at this level for quite awhile before adding the "scholarly elements".

This past weekend we attended a local UKA agility show. It is the closest agility show to me as it is only 5 minutes down the road. I can not pass up that opportunity. I do love the UKA shows as having the opportunity to train in the ring in a competition setting is so invaluable. I love to see Zen's face when she hits the perfect contact position and I am able to surprise her with her toy.

I also had the opportunity to run "my" border collie Cory in jumping on Saturday at UKA. The pressure was on as so far we have had 2 runs and both have been clear. I shouldn't have worried as Cory was a star and we went clear and came in 2nd only 10ths of seconds behind the winner. I really enjoy running her and am glad for the opportunity. It can only help me with my own handling although it feels like I hardly handle Cory; she just seems to know what to do. Karen jokes that Cory is not really that fast but she is the perfect speed for me right now. :-)

This coming weekend is another weekend of UKA shows followed by our first championship show of the year. It will hopefully be our last camping show until August. Why "hopefully" you ask? Well I cannot tell you as it might jinx us but will update you all in a few weeks!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bluebells 2009

We took this photo during a muddy walk yesterday. It was nice to spend the day home with Dennis and the dogs after the long trip up to the European Open Tryouts the day before.

Although she doesn't get much blog time Pax is still very important to me. I asked Dennis to cut a hole in the wood panel under the caravan bed so that Pax can sleep in her own personal den away from the riff-raff. At 12 years old Pax's crankiness is increasing and she needs her own personal space. There is loads of unused room under there! We brought her into the caravan to try it out and she LOVES it. Our caravan is not that big so this will make having 5 dogs in the caravan a little easier at night.

Here she is trying it out!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Girl Power Water Babies

Zaz and Itzy have now been to the doggy swimming pool twice. I was quite pleased with their reactions to the place and to the water. Neither pup was bothered by the new surrounding or the strange noises of the swimming pool and that was great.

The ladies at the pool were very patient getting the pups used to the water.

Luckily the pool is full of other creatures to tempt puppies.

They are both at the point now that they are swimming smoothly but Zaz started out splashing quite a bit!

The toys helped but Itzy splashed too.

Itzy doesn't wear a life jacket because they did not have two tiny jackets and she seemed the most comfortable in the water. Neither pup willing to swim away from the sides just yet.

But the chickens are calling and hunting chickens is serious bizness. Itzy stalks, attacks and holds tight to that wiley chicken.

At the start Zaz was all business and just wanted to swim out of the pool bypassing any stray farm animals.

But now she will pick up a toy on her way.

And she is becoming quite the chicken hunter like her grandma True.

It is so great to be able to introduce them to water so young and it is even better that the doggy swimming pool is 1 minute down the road from me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Celebration 2009

I snapped these photos just now. We have one sunbbeam coming through the front door and Itzy and Zaz took turns lying in it! I have heard from other owners of Zen x Tazz pups that their pups love the warmth of a fireplace or sun. This is the first I have noticed it in my own dogs.

Overall we had a good Easter weekend at the agility show. The weather was not great but it was nice to get the caravan out anyway. It was the puppies first time in the caravan and sleeping away from home! They both did really well and we rigged up one soft crate and one little pop-up baby tent to be able to crate both pups at night in the caravan. They are not trustworthy enough to let sleep out at night!

We have finally realized (doh!) that,even with both Dennis and I walking one pup each, the pups do better walking around the rings alone. So if you saw us just walking around and around and around the rings that was why! :-) Walking without their sister near-by makes each pup a well-behaved pup!

I was saddened to see that little Fozzie was bit ringside. While we love to take the puppies out to socialize it is so worrying to know that they can easily get hurt. All it takes is one bad experience for a pup to have a life-long fear. I wish people would think more about others. Nuff said.

The OBay shelties did really well this weekend but the highlights included Kizzy (Zen's daughter) winning the Small Grade 6/7 tournament and coming 2nd in two classes on her first weekend out in Grade 6. AND Todd (Hobb's son) coming 1st in his Grade 5 agility and moving up to Grade 6! I can't wait to see both Kizzy and Todd running in Champs next year (or even possibly this year!). Zen, as usual, was a star and won me two easter eggs. I feel that she is really ready for our EO try-outs next weekend.

I am too tired to go into detail of the weekend but thought you might enjoy my latest run with my gorgeous red and white borrowed Border collie Corrie. I don't know how she ended up placing in this class but she was lying 11th (179 entered) after we ran. So in my mind she stayed there! hahaha To be honest, I don't really care what she placed as I just enjoyed running her so much. She is such an honest dog and she seems to run the course without my help really.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Crate Games update

Well it was raining today! So I spent about 1.5 hours working on our first try at Susan Garrett's "Crate Games". Zaz and Itz both got through to Stage 3 in under an hour which was good. I won't try to explain the DVD but just make a few comments on our first try.

I used a wire crate that both pup had not been in before. I could see them easier than in their regular hardshell crates. I am not sure how to continue holding "criteria" with their regular sleeping crates. Dennis gets the pups up to feed them in the morning and it might be too much to ask him to deal with watching to see if the pups sit first ect. so early in the morning. Do I get up and do this for a few weeks? Ughhhh. I think I just got myself into a pickle.
Some thoughts:
  • I should have had more treats! I had hotdogs but really how many hotdogs can you feed one little sheltie puppy? I added some Burns fish treats to cut down on the hot dogs. In hindsight I should have picked up some more cheese and chicken to cut up. But I was determined to do this today and didn't want to run out to the store!

  • My back hurts from all the bending!

  • According to the DVD the pups are supposed to go into a sit when you put your hand on the crate. I was unsure about how to get this to happen especially since Zaz has more of a default down. So it took longer to get her to figure out to pop into a sit. She was offering me downs and spins! She got there eventually but there was some frustrating barking on her part. I know I could have lured her into a sit or used a command but I wanted to follow the program though as described on the DVD as much as possible.

  • Both pups once in and went through to the "yer out yer in" stage pretty easily once started. The trouble was getting them to come out on a release cue. I obviously haven't worked their release word very much! So I am happy to have realized that and hope that this game will improve their understanding of a release word.

  • The personality differences in how the two pups worked through this was so interesting.

So there you go; we are up to Stage 3 but I am not really sure how to progress now. I think I will move the crate into different rooms and work with each pup on distractions for a few days adding "yer in yer out" once or twice a session? Then move onto "collar grabs"? Any ideas?

I am feeling quite "anorak-y" doing this! (see if the Americans can figure out that term?) :-)

Zaz and Itzy had another swim session yesterday. Photos to come!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My newest Border Collie "Corrie"

Since Johanna wouldn't let me keep Whizz; I have borrowed another border collie to run! :-)

Thanks Karen for letting me run the gorgeous Corrie. She came 4th in this class of 40 plus dogs. I need to dress appropriately because Corrie's name is "Pretty In Pink". First run and it was clean; maybe I should stop while I am ahead? ggg

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Crate Games and puppy thoughts

I have been going through photos of Zen as a youngster to try and see if Zaz looks like her at all. I found this photo of her at 6 months old that I just loved. You can see why Zen is so athletic now when you sit back and look at her at 6 months old. I hope that Zaz and Itzy have her athleticism when they grow up. I am so glad I have kept both Zaz and Itzy; it was a decision of the heart and I do not regret it at all.

OK so I am hoping to sit down this week and work on Susan G's "Crate Games" with the pups. I am hoping it will help me with teaching good stays as both Itzy and Zaz are wiggle butts and I have done no proper stay work yet. This will be something new for me as I am into trying different training methods with these pups just to keep me excited about training again.
I keep putting it off so I need motivation! Please someone tell me that they have done it and it was worth the time and worked fab for them? And you are not allowed to respond if you are under 30, slim and scandanavian. Or if you live in Canada. ggggg
I was tempted to just teach one of them Crate Games and see if they were different when they got older but cannot be bothered to do the scientific experiment. ha!
I am going to sit down and re-watch Crate Games tomorrow as it looks like it will be a rainy day and I have a feeling I will have to cancel lessons.
Gosh I just realized I have posted 4 blog posts in less than 24 hours! Am I sad or what? :-)

Who's the bad puppy AGAIN

MY gorgeous Border Collie Whizz

I was so lucky to "own" a special Border collie called Whizz in 2002. Whizz lived with us for about 6 months and I could have gladly kept her forever. She was the perfect show dog and the perfect companion. Whizz turned 13 years old yesterday! She lives with Johanna but I still think of her as MY border collie. :-)

Here are some of my favorite photos of my time with Whizz. We love you Whizz!

Whizz took me to my first Crufts. She was a doll to show; the ultimate show dog. I loved trying to talk Danish to her in the ring. Bless her she did her job no matter that I told her "go paint" and "stow" which probably sounded like gibberish to her. But I could say "Miss katten" to get her ears up at the right time!

She fit into our family perfectly.

But there was one dog that did NOT love Whizz and that was Joy. Joy and Whizz battled for the spot of "Queen Dog". This is why this photo is so amazing! Probably the one and only time they slept in the same dog bed. I love that look in Whizz's eyes as she watches Joy!

Whizz came with us as the only dog on a trip to Devon. It was the greatest trip; sunny and warm and beautiful all week. Whizz is the perfect dog to travel with and she made friends wherever she went.

Happy Birthday Miss Whizz!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Zaz and Itzy are not puppy school drop-outs

It seems hard to believe that Zaz and Itzy turned 4 months old last week. They spent the last two weekends coming with me and Zen to some UKA agility shows. I was so proud of how they dealt with the new environment, noises and all the dogs.

Here is some very serious directional training that I worked on ringside at the UKA show. This training is essential if you want a great agility champion. It does require friends that drink too much and have to lie on the ground.

Yesterday was the Sheltie Agility show and they both came with me and Zen. Again they were very well behaved and got some great socialization and training. I am concentrating on getting them to focus on me while agility is going on in the rings and also doing short sessions of tuggy ringside. It is a work in progress but that is the fun of puppies; each step is a step in the right direction and they can do no wrong. They both were so tired today after the 3 day agility extravaganza. Come to think of it I am very tired too!

This week my focus is going to be on teaching a wait and continuing work on their retrieves. So far my teaching of wait has been hindered by the fact that I have been working too hard on teaching "reverse". haha Everytime I get them to be still for one second they throw in a reverse.

Tonight was our last night of "puppy school". It has been very helpful in increasing both pup's confidence. We did puppy games tonight including the "Musical Rings with the fastest sit", "Fastest down", "longest wait" "best table exam" and "best trick". Each puppy in class won a little bag of treats for winning one of the games and every pup won something. It was just a little bit of fun but it was so fantastic to see each puppy really do well. All the pups got a round of applause for each win and for their tricks. Every pup in class has improved and you could see such a change over the 6 weeks. I was so impressed by most of the handlers as they were all pet owners with their new pups and had no background of training at all.

Zaz won the best "exam on table" as she did a perfect show stack like she was being examined on the show table. The instructor said "oh you must have been practicing" and of course we had not. haha I just know how to fake it! While everyone else has been practicing their sits, downs and stays; I have been working on important things like "bang" "reverse" and "tuggy". I will get serious soon....yeah right.

Itzy won best trick. Right before class I gave Dennis a quick lesson on "rights and lefts". Itzy performed them perfectly and won.

Here are the graduates with their diplomas, ribbons and prizes.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Little "Pork Chop" is growing up! I know it is my fault for naming a puppy Pork Chop but Marilyn keeps having people ask how "Pork Chop" is doing. haha. Her new, much nicer, name is Zavvi and it really suits her.

Since I have not seen Zavvi since she left at 8 weeks and I am grateful that Marilyn keeps me updated with photos. Thanks Marilyn!

It is so funny to find out different funny quirks that each puppy has. It turns out that Zavvi, like Itzy, loves to dig in her water bowl and spread water all over the kitchen floor. I don't know where that trait comes from but I blame the sire as that is much easier! Zavvi is also a lover of swimming. Last week I took Zaz and Itzy swimming and it looks like Itzy is also a natural water baby. I hope to get photos or videos during their next session.

Anyway, here are some new photos of the lovely Zavvi. Enjoy!