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, November 20, 2010

Discover Dogs 2010

Discover Dogs takes place at Earls Court in London. It is mostly a promotional event for The Kennel Club where they showcase all the breeds and some of the doggie activities such as agility, flyball and freestyle. It is a nice event for the public with mega shopping opportunities.

In agility they invite the small and medium dogs who are going to Olympia in December. It is a good warm up for the dogs and for me it was a good opportunity to see how Zaz dealt with travelling in London and doing agility surrounded by crowds of spectators. The venues are not the same though as Olympia takes place on a sand/dirt surface and is a huge oversize ring whereas Discover Dogs agility takes place on astroturf in a small ring.

I had a really nice day out with Zen and Zaz. I was really pleased with how Zaz dealt with the crowds and noises of London and how she worked in the agility ring. She is such a pleasure to be with!

Dennis was going to come with me and I am sure I would have loads of photos if he did! But unfortunately the heating in our house was acting up and he had to stay home to wait for the plumber. Luckily Karen was going with Todd so I caught a lift with them. Karen was very brave to drive through London and we got there quickly in the morning although the ride home in Sunday night London traffic was not so pleasant!

The courses were not difficult as this was more about a display for the audience and I think the small ring makes it difficult to be creative. So it was all about speed and not losing your head in the excitement!

Zaz came 3rd in the jumping and 2nd in the agility. This put her 2nd overall. I was very proud of my little girl; she could not have done better. Zen came 4th in the jumping and 3rd in the agility and this put her 2nd overall. If we can do this well or better at Olympia I would be chuffed to bits!

Some video. I do love my new little video camera. It is as small as my phone and takes really good video which is easy to download. Thanks to Nancy and Jay for videoing for me.

Zaz jumping.

Zaz agility. Gotta laugh at Dave who says at the end "I didn't know you could run that fast dear". haha Oh and he got Zaz's name correct! For once she was OBay Itz Got Pizzazz and not OBay Itz Got Pizza! Thanks Dave you are a star!

Zen agility.

It was really fantastic to have 2 days of agility this past weekend; I have missed it!

Next weekend is my birthday and our 22nd anniversary and Dennis gave me my present today. So more about that later with photos. I bet you can guess what it is?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

North Downs Agility 2010 with video!

North Downs is a lovely local indoor show that has become even better with addition of more small and medium classes! I was so excited to be running all the girls again and I had 3 runs for each. Nine runs in all. Since I have not been posting many videos of the girls lately I thought I would try and post a video of each pup's run even the ones with errors. Who knows maybe it will help someone out there to see that we all make mistakes?

First here is Zaz's winning Grade 6/7 run. It is hard to believe that Pax won into Grade 7 (aka Advanced) in 2004, Zen won into Grade 7 in 2005 and Hex won into Grade 7 in 2007 so it has been quite awhile since I had the "pressure" of trying to get that last win to get into Champ classes. I was happy with how we handled this course and even happier with our "Funny Turn" at the #7 jump after the tunnel. I have been wanting to add some European-type blind turns into our training and this is the first time we tried one in competition.

Obviously I had one major goal in mind for this show. To win Zaz into Grade 7. And we did it! The funny thing is that now I remember how important it is to be complete about my Goal setting....Out of 6 runs with Zaz and Itzy I only had ONE clear and it was the one clear that won Zaz into grade 7! HAHA I must remember to add more to my goals because I seem to only get EXACTLY what I ask for. From now on my goals will include 100% clear 1st place runs with both girls! Ask and you shall receive.

Zaz put in two more good runs but with some small miscalculations on my part. She tries so hard and we just need time and practice. In her 3-7 agility I miscalculated her speed down the middle after the Aframe and just could not get there to show her the jump before the dogwalk and she ended up taking it from the wrong side. I am not sure if a double rear cross would have worked either; it is just one of those sequences that you would have to run a few times to see what worked. I was really pleased with how she handled the Aframe even with me peeling off to try and beat her up the line of jumps.

In her jumping we made the mistake at the same place that most people did. I still think the way I handled with with Zaz was the right way for her but she just back jumped due to inexperience. Then it just went all wrong as Zaz was correctly telling me!

Itzy was a little star and I feel that she is still going up a gear. This show was her first Grade 6 show and I felt as if she belonged in Grade 6. In her first run (in the 6/7 that Zaz won) I didn't see the back of the long jump as an off course possibility. Itzy showed me it was a possibility and that helped me when running Zaz after Itzy!

In Itzy's jumping I tried a funny turn and it went all wrong! I couldn't get either pup around this course. Hmmm.. With both dogs I went wrong at #9 and #12 (jump before weaves should be from the other side).

In her 3-7 agility she just miscalculated the weave entrance but otherwise was lovely. So all in all I was really pleased with her and feel as if we will have a great season together next year.

I can't forget Zen. Sometimes I feel that now she is just coming along for the ride but she feels differently. Zen ran 2 beautiful clears in agility with a 1st and 2nd place! In one of the classes Zen got 1st, Todd (Zen's nephew) came 3rd and Zeki (Zen's daughter) came 4th! Unfortunately a border collie snuck in there for 2nd place just messing up our potential sweep! Must try harder!

We had such a lovely day at this show and I was just ridiculously happy to be running Zaz and Itzy. They are such fun: my two little "Soul Sisters". Thanks girls!

I have now finished baking the cupcakes to take to class tonight to celebrate Zaz's win. So more about Discover Dogs 2010 show with video tomorrow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Denmark Trip 2010 Part 3

So we spent the last two days at the Silvia training day. Silvia put up some great courses to run and I have already set them up in my own agility field. It was good to watch everyone running them but, of course, the whole time I was wishing I had my dogs there with me!

I took lots of video but as they were not my dogs I don't feel right posting them. But I did think this video clip was too funny not to post. Silvia had everyone working on their "cik/cap" turns (tight wing wrap turns) in the way she recommended. I thought I would video the three shelties there who were either one of my own or sired by Monty. How strange that the noise increased exponentially when three shelties were out on the floor at the same time? LOL

The only disappointing part of the training day was the flooring. It was a beautiful venue; light and bright and open. A training venue we would all LOVE to have. Unfortunately this lovely venue was let down by the flooring as it was was carpet over concrete. Not something I would want to run my dogs on.

It was a good two days not only listening to Silvia's ideas on handling but also seeing how each handler worked on the courses. I loved the variety of handling and the variety of dogs working. What works for one team may be different for another team and that is what I love about agility. No rules; just knowing your own dog and your own strengths and abilities.

I really enjoyed the week in Demark just hanging out and talking shelties and dog training! Thanks for inviting me Johanna!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Denmark Trip 2010 Part 2

Only in Denmark. Crazy Danes!

Although it even came in pink, I didn't buy the lamp! LOL But I did buy this fab individual coffee press/travel mug. What a great idea and the coffee stays hot. Now I can make individual cups of coffee when I don't want to share my special flavoured coffees with Dennis.

People just kept torturing me with puppies; yet no one would let me buy one! LOL Here is Luna again now with Etta (litter sister to Dutchess). Etta is owned by Kirsten. Kirsten is a fabulous trainer and at 10 months old Etta already has obedience titles and is so well trained.

Yes another cutie! Pieya is a Monty daughter out of Monty's first litter sired in Denmark. Monty has produced so many nice puppies for the people smart enough to use him; for that reason alone it was worth letting him go to Denmark all those years ago. It is amazing to think that Monty had three pups (from 3 different mothers) at the World Champs this year and many up and coming up with promise.

We took a walk on the beach with Johanna and Marianne and a bunch of shelties (and one Spooky border collie). And I thought I had a noisy bunch! It was good to see Monty again. I cannot believe he will be 12 soon! He still does little bits of agility occassionally and he can still perform his studly duties. Go Monty!
By the way notice that Luna does not get involved in the mayhem with all those hooligan sheltie boys. haha

So finally we went to the Silvia Trkman training days. The first day was a trick training evening and Johanna and I just went to spectate. The building was lovely to look at; big and bright. But damn it was COLD and sitting to watch a tricks class generated little heat. Very interesting class with lots of ideas on more tricks to teach the pups. I guess because I agree with Silvia's ideas about starting pups on tricks to teach body awareness I already do alot of the work. But it is good to come back with a few more ideas that I had not thought of! Again there were some really nice dogs at this training and it was fun to watch people work through their training. I think a trick training class is hard as a one day event as some behaviors will take alot longer to perfect but everyone made a good start.

So the next two days would be the agility training days. Our class took place from 4pm-8pm so we had the days free to visit and shop which was great. The bad part about it was that it got really COLD at night! Not bad for the participants as they were running and training their dogs but for me just sitting and watching it as COLD! Did I say it was cold?

More later....

Denmark Trip 2010 Part 1

I invited myself over to Denmark when Johanna told me about a Silvia Trkman training day near her. We don't get many "foreign" trainers here in England and after being at the worlds again I was inspired to get some new ideas. It is actually cheaper to fly over to Denmark than it is to drive some places in England (due to petrol prices). We made these plans months ago and they seemed like a good idea at the time. Then when it came time to actually leave....I was sad to leave Zaz and Itzy again so soon. Johanna was at a Freestyle competition on the day I flew in so I was kindly met at the airport by Marianne. Marianne took me to a local agility show so that she could pick up her husband Bent and the dogs. Luckily I got there in enough time to be able to watch a few runs and even got to see Bent run with Ticket. I must be his good luck charm because Ticket won her class while I was there!

Agility is agility world-wide but there are always differences. This show took place indoors at a sports recreation center. Nice and warm but I did not like the flooring. It was carpet over a wooden floor. I saw alot of slipping and dogs generally being cautious about running; I would have to have thought twice about competing there. The equipment was different from anything I have seen before as it was covered in ribbed carpet! The dogs all seemed fine with it but I would think they would need to get used to it.

The next two days I tagged along with Johanna to 2 days of training Canine Freestyle with Attila Szkukalek from England. Attila was well known for his dog Fly and their amazing Charlie Chaplin and Gladiator routines. I did pay attention a little but I have to say that I sort of glaze over when people do Freestyle as it does not interest me at all. I find it amazing how they can teach the dogs such complicated tricks and maneuvers; very inspiring. But find the whole "dancing with dogs" thing a little giggle-inducing! I have told Johanna that she is still my bestest friend but if she starts doing any of those weird moves that look hmmm well just WRONG! You know...just picture... Moves like lying on your back with your legs spread in the air while the dogs jumps through them OR having the dogs put their feet on your back and hop behind you....just wrong! enuf said! I did see some amazing dogs at the training but was most impressed by......

Dutchess was the most adorable little girl. She is Luna's neice out of a Monty Daughter and would be just what I wanted out of Luna. (Damn Luna why won't you give me a puppy?) I would have bought Dutchess in a heartbeat but her owner wasn't giving in. Boo hoo.

I was so happy to see Luna again. She is beautiful as always but not the easiest dog to photograph. Bi-blacks are the hardest colour shelties to photograph. Luna is petite and feminine but all her photos make her look like she has a huge head! You can see how tiny Dutchess really is as she makes Luna (who is only 13.5") look huge! Gosh I do love the little ones....

We are still waiting for Luna to come in season again to try breeding one more time. I have got to catch a break eventually don't I? Come on Luna help me out!

This is what Luna thinks about all the fuss. If she could speak she would be saying "Whatevah!"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shrewsbury Agility show 2010

The weekend after we returned from Germany I headed up to the Shrewsbury Agility show. It was a long trip up for a one day show but I really wanted a chance to move Zaz and Itz up a grade. Zaz just needs one more win to go Grade 7 and I wanted to get Itz into Grade 6. I have missed so many shows with Zaz and there are not many shows now until next year. As this was a dedicated small/medium show I thought it would be worth the drive.

I stayed at a beautiful B&B and I had the entire place to myself! The B&B was so pretty but it had cream carpets and cream duvet covers so I was so worried about muddy doggy footprints. As I had to wipe their feet everytime they took a step outside; Zaz and Itz were not as impressed with the B&B as I was. We woke up to a fantastic hot breakfast and headed out to the show which should have been only 15-20 minutes away. It is a beautiful part of the country and I would love to go back for a longer visit.

I had never been to this show before so I used my Sat Nav with the postcode given on the schedule. Unfortunately this did not take me to the show site and I drove around for over 1/2 hour trying to find it! I had to keep stopping to ask people if they knew where it was. There were no details on the schedule and it said just look for the sign; but it turned out to be the world's smallest agility show sign. LOL When I finally could see the show site; I could not figure out how to get in! There were closed gates and I could see the show site down the hill. I pulled up to the gates and turned around looking for an open entrance. Then after more driving in circles I met some local people and they said that they thought the gates could be opened! (they were those solid metal gates that you sometimes see in an industrial estate). Finally I pulled up again and some cheery guy in black leather (not!) came up and opened the gates. Without a word he let me in and then closed the gates behind him. Really strange! As he gave me no instructions I headed off to drive to where I saw cars parked and that was the only time he opened his mouth and made a comment about how I had to go park elsewhere. I guess they are used to people who have been there before but the rudeness was not necessary. Not a good start to my first experience there! Yikes at that moment I wasn't feeling too positive about my decision to drive all that way to this show.

Happily after that bad start the rest of the day was lovely. It was a nice little show and each dog had 3 runs. It was so nice to have 2 graded runs with the small dogs; I really appreciate the clubs who do that. Unsurprisingly our weeks of no training showed and I was not totally in sync with the Zitzy twins. Sadly I got an E in the graded 6 agility with Zaz and then got a 2nd place in the Graded 6 jumping. Bleh! So close! I know that Zaz will do it. She has only been shown in 8 shows since she started competing in June yet I feel as if we have been competing together forever. I just love this little dog.

Itzy and I pulled it together for her Grade 5 agility and she won it! Hurrah!!That made Itzy Grade 6. Then Itz and I went on to do two more gorgeous Jumping runs with silly mistakes. That little Itz just keeps me guessing with what she is going to do; I need her to keep me humble! Even though I have actually competed at more shows with Itzy we really don't have a complete and total understanding. I love running Itzy as there is always a little excitement involved! LOL

Her is the naughty Zitzy twins with their prizes from Shrewsbury. I have made an effort since June to get photos with all their trophies and ribbons from each show. This way I don't feel guilty recycling the trophies and ribbons at the end of the year.

Our next adventure was going to be our trip to Denmark to visit Johanna, see some shelties and to see the Silvia Trkman training day. More later!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Autumn 2010

How about this gorgeous (and yummy!) Zen Cupcake? Made by a very talented friend for Zen and I. I had no self control and ate it immediately after taking the photo!

So now the agility season is over and the excitement of the World Championships is in the past. The past few weeks of not getting up early and driving insane distances has been lovely! I have had quite a few weekends of just puttering around the house and garden with Dennis and both of us doing odd bits and pieces to make the house feel more like our own. Dennis is enjoying his new toy. And we are building a garage to house his new toy! :-) The garage was started in September and hopefully will be done in 3-4 weeks. Here it is a few weeks ago before the roof tiles and siding were put on.

Today the roof was finished and the scaffolding starting to come down. These photos show the side facing my agility paddock. The little room with the stable door on the end is my room where I can keep my training bits-n-pieces. Even better it will have a doggie bathing tub so I can groom my dogs out there. After moving the oil tank tomorrow the builders can start doing the ground work around the garage and will be making me a little paved patio for under my porch and then will gravel around the garage for extra parking.

Here is our beautiful garden this afternoon complete with the most perfect semi-border collie called Murphy. I was allowed a short Murphy visit to make me happy and help exercise the shelties. I know you can hardly see the dogs in this photo but the sun came out and everything looked so peaceful.

Training has been sporadic. Zen has been on a mega agility break and since the garage is being built I have had little chance to train the pups. We work on silly things like sheltie torture before dinner time.

I have been trying very hard to keep all three girls fit and a walk at the Witterings Beach was just the ticket to burn off some sheltie energy. Here is Zaz with Poppy. Poppy was not going to give up her tennis ball!

Another noisy walk with shelties; you may want to turn off the volume especially if you are watching this at work! Let it be known that only one of those tri-shelties were mine. I only brought Zaz on this walk; the other two tri shelties were Zeki and Yaz.

I found this photo on my Iphone today while trying to clear out some photos. Here is Zen and I after arriving at the hotel in Germany before the World Champs. I had on my Team Small Dog shirt which had arrived in the post the day before! I really bought it for Zaz and Itz who are my own personal Small Dog team. But thought it was appropriate for Zen as the logo says "small fast kick yer ass"!

We have done a few exciting doggie things over this past month including an agility show and a trip to Denmark. I will post about them later.