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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Celebration: Team OBay

I am already getting behind on trying to keep up with documenting all the agility shows this season. Luckily today is the Friday of the Royal Wedding which means this is ANOTHER 4 day weekend! So while Dennis golfs this morning; I will download some videos. I love my new little video camera (Kodak Zi8) which makes videoing and downloading so easy. No more time consuming editing and carrying around a big camera and case. It is smaller than my IPhone! The downside of this video camera is the viewing screen which can be difficult to see in the bright daylight. This is a small price to pay for the convenience and ease of use.

I am going agility-less for the first 3 days of this holiday weekend and going to the Vyne agility on Monday. Monday will be Zaz's first Championship class!

Easter Celebration has always been one of my favorite shows. Who wouldn't love an agility show that gives you chocolate Easter eggs for prizes? Happily Dennis came along on the Sunday to the agility show. He wanted to make sure he got the chocolate eggs that he preferred and also to make sure I was handling Itzy properly. He has threatened to start interviewing for a new Itzy handler. I have news about the Itz from this show but that will need a stand-alone post!

On Sunday we got lucky and ALL our runs were in one ring! It felt so nice to be able to sit around the ring and enjoy watching all the OBay pups run. I am so proud of them all.

So this is a mega video post! With Dennis at the show for the day I was able to get video of almost all the OBay pups and I thought it would be good to see all the pups running the same course. Don't concentrate on any mistakes; just enjoy them all having fun and maybe turn down the sound on your computer! LOL



The Todd-ster

Momma Zen


The Itz

Za-Za-Za Zaz

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lincoln Agility show 2011

The European Open tryouts were held in conjunction with the Lincoln Agility Show. I do not usually travel this far for an agility show but I might do it again. What a nice show in a great showgrounds. We were blessed with good weather and good parking as well so maybe that made me slightly biased!

On Saturday I was preoccupied with Zaz but I did run Itz in two of her classes. I really wanted to run her at this show because she had TWO graded 6 classes each day. She had a great jumpers run but came in second. She also had a super agility run but had one jump bar down. I have to admit to being disappointed because they were her graded 6 classes and finding a graded 6 class is tough for the smalls down south. Usually the classes are combined 6/7 and this makes it tough to get a win.

Sunday we went back to Lincoln and I was able to run Zaz and Itz in all their classes. Itz had another good Grade 6 jumping run but again ended up in second. She then went into her Grade 6 agility which was a nice tricky course so I was looking forward to it. We almost did it! I was so happy with how she ran this course but we just had a silly bobble at the end. I still came off this course in a high that she ran so well. I am so looking forward to running Itz this year; we still have some training to do but when I see her so happy running it gives me such a great feeling.

Zaz had three clear runs on Sunday. She just felt so easy to run on Sunday compared to the day before at the EO try-outs. This shows me that we need more exposure with the tougher courses and also more chances for me to start to trust her more on difficult sequences.

I was especially pleased with this run and this was an European Open tryout qualifier for 2012! We need to do qualfiers for the tryouts for the European Open! LOL It seems a little overkill but we have more dogs wanting to tryout for the EO than for the FCI World Champs. This is due to the non-pedigree aspect of the FCI World Championships.

Zaz came 2nd in this run behind her Uncle Indy run by Nicky G. I am sadly used to coming second behind Nicky; good thing I still like her.

So Lincoln is definitely a show I would go back to. Good showgrounds, results posted for all to see and a generally friendly atmosphere. Slight problems with scheduling for the smalls and mediums but hopefully they will learn from that for next year.

This photo is not great and slightly blurry but I am determined to try and get photos of the pups with their trophies and rosettes at every show this year. This way I don't feel bad when I have to "recycle" the rosettes and trophies at the end of the year.

I am really blessed to be running Zaz and Itz this year. They are each special and unique dogs in their own right. I have goals for both pups but that does not mean I don't enjoy every run with them. We have loads of training to do and that is what makes it fun for me!

And yes yes we are still working on Zaz's startline......hmmph!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

European Open Agility Tryouts 2011

It felt strange leaving on Friday for a "try-out" for an International event and not bringing Zen. I will admit to feeling quite emotional about leaving her behind. Now we move onto the next generation and Zen's daughters Zaz and Zeki were now trying out for the European Open Agility Championships for the first time.

Since we sold our caravan last year this season is all about trying to find clean, reasonable Bed and Breakfast accommodation that allows all the dogs. I have found Facebook and the Agility Forum great resources for this and we booked a B&B that was recommended to me from the Forum. We drove up Friday night so that we would be fresh for Saturday's try-outs and I was lucky to catch a ride with Nancy. It is much nicer than driving that far alone. Dennis stayed home with Zen and worked in the garden getting us ready to start planting veggies this year. God help us as we don't know what we are doing!

The B&B was an interesting place. We were slightly worried as the person that recommended it said the accommodation was in a "summer house". As we drove up the the main house we noticed a little wooden "shed" with a porch. I was so worried that that was the summerhouse! Nancy and I were already starting to think that we maybe needed to do a quick get-away and were planning our escape just in case. I knocked on the door to the main house and was greeted by a flock of young boys and I had visions of "Lord of the Flies". I was getting more worried by the second! Added to that there were screams from the many peacocks roaming around the grounds and the dogs were going crazy. Hmmmm....I was starting to miss my caravan!

Luckily the boy walked past the wooden shed and down a path to a big wooden "summer house". It was actually nice, clean and surrounded by grass so that we could exercise the dogs. The room was good although the shower room was small; overall a good find albeit a strange place at first! I need to start to keep lists of these B&Bs because it can be so difficult to find the right place to stay. Once I have been there I feels comfortable knowing what to expect for the next time.

We arrived at the Lincoln Showgrounds on Saturday morning. It is a fantastic venue for an Agility show; I wish it was not so far away for us to go to for more shows. The EO try-outs were in conjunction with the Lincoln Agility show but the ring was off to the side so it felt more private. I was really looking forward to working Zaz on some difficult courses and I was not disappointed as the courses all day were fantastic. I just love a course that you have to work hard at the entire time. I won't say Zaz and I handled every course perfectly but we gave it a good try and loved the challenges.

The first course was jumpers. It was a tight course and I felt like I was trying to control Zaz too much. We got through 3/4 of the course and the rubber band broke and I just could not get Zaz off an off course jump. If I had layered a jump and/or used a directional I think it would have worked but hindsight is easy! You will be able to find the off course; just listen to where my Zaz Zaz ZAZ get louder. LOL Not one of our best runs for sure!

The second run was agility. This run didn't go so well! The start included a tight wrap turn off a jump onto the dog walk with a tunnel under it. This trap caught many good teams and gave me a good training plan for this week. I have trained dogwalk tunnel discrimination but obviously not as well as I thought!

By the third run I was feeling desperate. Not because I was desperate to go to the EO but because I knew my little Zaz was better than this. I was at the point where I just wanted to prove to myself that I could get a clear round. I will admit I was also thinking I wish I had Zen with me as she helps me out on tough courses!

Thank God we finally got a clear on this third round! I was happy with most of the run except for the push through from 3 to 4. Something more to work on this week!

So now I was excited for the final agility round. The course was changed and the dog walk was moved for this round. In the first two agility rounds the majority of the dogs (even those who had never been on rubber contacts) handled the rubber/aluminum dog walk really well. The rubber contact equipment was a pleasure to run the dogs on; I loved the lack of noise as the dogs traversed the rubber equipment.

The final round began with the large dogs running first. This was good for us as it was the larger class and we could watch 60 dogs run the course before it was our turn. Smalls were running last.

Then disaster struck! Dog after dog balked severely on the dog walk. Confident experienced dogs were crawling up the dogwalk plank or hitting the deck expecting the dog walk to move. Some dogs fell/jumped off. This was so sad to watch and no one could understand why this was happening. We all tried to understand why. Could it be the supports were not placed properly? Could it be the vibration because the supports were not pegged? Could it be the sun shining on the up plank or aluminum supports which blinded the dog or made it appear slatless? These dogs were obviously convinced it was the see-saw.

I was getting more and more nervous for Zaz. She is a young dog with running contacts and I did not want to risk her being injured and/or having her confidence shattered. It was my job to keep her safe and confident no matter what. Sometimes we cannot help it when bad things happen but this time I knew it was happening and at least I could do something about it.The final straw was watching 3 confident experienced medium dogs (2 who had been world/eo dogs before and had run on rubber equipment many times) do the exact same thing. I did what I felt was necessary for Zaz and I; I pulled her from the last round.

I was sad to have to do this; I am competitive enough to have wanted to be chosen for the team. Yet I was happy to have made that decision; my dogs come first and I would have been devastated to have done anything to knock Zaz's confidence and trust in me when I had another option. I had no excuse as I had just watched the large and medium dogs. I could understand the large and medium handlers thinking that "their" dogs would not have any trouble. After all they had just run two rounds with the same equipment and the dogs were fine. I had the "luxury" of watching and my decision was made.

The good thing was that the course was set so that the dogwalk was towards the end of the run and I planned an exit strategy. The course was correct up until 2nd tunnel where I then took 3 jumps out of the ring. This is why you hear my video person questioning was I going to do it! LOL

So the day was over. We were staying on for the next days regular agility show at the same venue. So at least I felt like the trip was not wasted.

We started packing up all our stuff. Why is that i start out the weekend with a nice organized car and after one day my "stuff" seems to explode and double in size? When I heard the announcement that they were going to officially announce the team I wandered over to cheer for the new Team GB. I was officially gob-smacked to hear my name called as a wild card; I truly did not expect it. I cannot compete at any of these events without thinking of Hex. Sometimes I even wonder if I should continue to compete at these events as it never seems to get easier to stop missing her. I felt very emotional at that moment not because I was picked but because I was so proud of my little dog Zaz. I am strangely glad that Zaz is so different from Hex as I do not need to ever worry about comparing them.

So Zaz has now been chosen for her first International event in another country. I have no idea how we are getting to Austria and worry about the cost and the long trip but bizarrely still want to go.

The day was made even better when we heard that Zaz's big sister Zeki was chosen for the medium team. Zen is such a fantastic dog that she needed to send two of her children in her place!

Team GB medium

Team GB small

More about the Lincoln show and Itzy Bitzy later!

If you are still reading this....please send money. This agility stuff is expensive!

Oh and here is another teaser. Wonder what breed they are?

Friday, April 15, 2011

New agility season starts! Shrewsbury Agility

So this photo really has nothing to do with this post but I just found it while clearing out boxes of old photos. How cute was Jordan? We had the last of our boxes delivered from New York....almost 10 years later. It was quite emotional looking through these two huge boxes of old photos and memories. I will slowly start to scan some of these special photos. It did remind me how nice it is to have photos you can HOLD in your hands rather than just view on a screen.

I don't know why I entered Shrewsbury! It must have happened sometime during the cold agility-less winter when I was anxious to get back competing. So I found myself getting up at "way too early" o'clock and packing up all 3 dogs to go up to Shrewbury. I am glad I had the foresight to only enter one day and to catch a ride with Nancy. I like when someone else drives especially on the drive back when we are all tired.

Zaz and Itz liked Nancy's extra big car cages and the sign was appropriate.

My plan this year is to only enter the pups in most shows. I just cannot run 3 dogs in multiple classes and I need to concentrate on Zaz and Itz. Zen is just so easy to run and I know I will miss running her. The difficulty is that I have to run the pups differently and my timing is off because Zen is so forgiving.

Until the WAO is over I will continue to enter Zen because she is competing for England at the WAO. After that she will be shown sparingly until she is bred for the last time.

So Shrewbury was a lovely show. It felt strange running outside in big rings again and having to do all the walking back and forth to the car. I was exhausted! The courses were a nice mix; some fast and flowing and some more challenging. I really enjoy running Itz in fast courses and running Zaz and Zen in challenging courses. Itz needs some fast courses to learn to open up and feel confident. I am feeling really positive about her this season and the courses this weekend suited her. Zaz feels amazing to run and we just need to hold it together for an entire course; she is so responsive but will tell me off if I am not clear enough for her.

Sadly no video from this show; we had too many classes to run! I had at least two classes were I was queueing up for over 1/2 hour only to hear another of my rings was calling to the end. Ran over to those rings only to find another queue of over 1/2 hour! Arghhh! This is the part of agility I don't miss! I wish there was a way to keep to smaller queues but with an 11 ring show and 3-4 runs per dog it must be hard for the show committee and ring parties to organize. Luckily the weather was glorious and you just couldn't get too bothered on such a beautiful day.

Result-wise it was not the greatest show for us; but I enjoyed all the runs. Zaz came second in a Grade 7 agility and Itz came 3rd in a Grade 6 agility. I am hoping we can find more Grade 6 classes for Itz this year as I would love to get her into Grade 7 by mid-season.

We were not entered on Sunday and I was glad for that. 9 runs on Saturday just about did me in. Monday was to be our 25th anniversary from our first date (a blind date!). I arrived home after the show to find that Dennis bought me a wonderful 25th anniversary present. I had been looking for a nice big bird bath forever and Dennis found one!

Of course the photo needed some shelties to dress it up!

Just so Zen does not feel left out. I found her sitting in the middle of the pergola sun bathing all on her own. I wish she would do some weeding while she is out there as I cannot get a handle on all the plants and flowers in the perennial beds!

And a little teaser.....a possibility.....