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 02, 2012

Crufts 2012: Zaz's 1st Crufts and other updates

I believe in Zaz; she is an amazing girl. We have both put the training in and I felt positive and calm. I also know that luck plays a small part for everyone whenever we step into the competition ring. This Crufts, for whatever reason, God smiled down and the the stars aligned for us. That is a tremendous feeling and one I wish for everyone to feel at some point in this game of agility that we play with our dogs.

We went into Crufts competing in three events: The Small Agility Challenge, Crufts Singles and Championship. We had both the Small Challenge and Singles on Friday. So four runs on the day. It doesn't seem like much but with the atmosphere and the energy it is a long tiring day. Saturday would be day off and the Championship (3 runs if you made it to the final) was on Sunday. I stayed at a local B&B which was only a 1/2 mile away from the NEC; you could even walk to the NEC from there! This was great for Zaz; less time in the car and more time to chill out. On Saturday I was able to keep her at the B&B and take her for a nice long walk. I think this really helped her for Sunday.

We received so many nice good luck cards and gifts; it really makes you feel special!

Each day I displayed them all at our benching spot. On sunday we benched next to Zeki so it required a photo. We had three other OBay shelties at Crufts this year. Zeki was in Medium Championship at her first Crufts and came 3rd in the Champ final! Todd was in the medium team event and put in 2 lovely clears. Oz was competing in the international freestyle and did a great routine with a handler he never met before that week! You can see Ozzie in his routine at around 35:00 minutes into the video.

The Crufts main arena was shown live on You tube which was fantastic as Dennis could watch from home and work! And I could go back (after some time to be brave enough to watch!) and see how we did.

This is the final of the small Agility Challenge. We ran around 21:00 min into the video. If you watch the end it is so funny as the commentator kept saying that we did not win. Luckily we did!

Here is the final round of the Crufts Singles all heights. We ran around 5 min. into the video clip.

So at the end of Friday we had run 4 clears and won both events.

Sunday we first had the jumping and agility qualifiers to try get us into the final on Sunday night before Best in Show. You need to run both qualifiers with no eliminations and be in the top 20% of your height class in order to get into the finals. Here is a video of the winners of the agility qualifier runs in each height. Poor Zaz I told her left after the wall when I should have said right. Bless her she corrected herself after I screamed her name a few times and she still won the class.

Zaz won the agility round and placed 4th in the jumping round. This gave her the most points for the final where the dogs ran in reverse order. So we would be running last in our height category. What a great place to be running in; we would know exactly what we needed to do in order to win! I watched a few dogs run just to see how the course flowed and then I concentrated on Zaz. I did see Greg and Scout run so fast and thought to myself well that is it; shit or bust! I love that feeling; knowing we couldn't just coast through but had to pull out whatever we could and still stay focused. "Bring it on" was all I could think of as a motto to get me through the run. Zaz did just that, she ran like a dream and put on the speed that she had been holding back on all weekend. What a little star.

Here is her final run to win the Championship. If you see my face at the end looking puzzled it was because I didn't know if we had done it because I can't always hear the announcer and I am so busy playing with Zaz that I don't look at the scoreboard. I kept asking people "Had we done it?" and still didn't know/believe for sure until we were called in at the end for prize giving.

Zaz has given me so much this year. An Agility Champion in her first full year of competition, an individual medal at the World Championships and now winning three events at her first Crufts.....

When Joy arrived into my hands 20 years ago in 1992 I knew she was special and I thought she was my dog in a million. Then she gave me Pax and I never thought I would have another dog that would be my soul mate. Then Zen was born into my hands I never though I could have a sheltie as great as her with so much heart for the game....then I was blessed with Hex and never imagined there could be another sheltie that would make my heart sing as she did....now I have Zaz and just feel amazed to have her. I just want my dogs to freeze in time and stay as they all are right now. All perfect, all healthy and happy.

So what about this coming year? I am hoping God has a better idea in mind as all my puppy plans are not going very well! I think I am 0 for 10 at this point with no girl puppies for me either in my own breedings or from other special litters I have been interested in. So it looks like a quiet year in that respect. I won't say I am not extremely disappointed; it is hard to keep up a breeding program with only one girl. Agility will take a smaller part this year. I need a break from the constant shows and want to sit back and enjoy our house and our life. I will not be chasing qualifiers or travelling all over the world.

I miss running Zen and hope to have her back running this year to do some Medium ABC classes (Anything But (border)Collie). Itzy is enjoying agility and I love her enthusiasm; she will get more training this year. I will run Zaz this year just focusing on keeping us as a team rather than chasing qualifiers. I will not run her at Olympia this year and am already qualified for Crufts 2013. She will not be trying out for the EO and I am unsure about the World Champs. I am looking forward to the WAO (World Agility Open) in Belgium. Giz-mo is finally getting trained and he will be the challenge that I think boys can be! Small but mighty will be his motto; I look forward to our journey together.

If you read this far I will let you know that this blog will stop for a few months. Not only do I need a break from agility; I need a break from the internet. I will still enjoy catching up on my favorite blogs and hopefully you won't all forget about me! Talk soon.....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chicken-topia March 2012

I know you are all expecting a Crufts update! I realize that I am over-sensitive but it takes me awhile to work through all my thoughts and feelings about big events. There is that excitement before-hand, the focus on the day(s), the sense of accomplishment, followed by a let-down and slight worry if we did well enough! Topped off by my mental struggle lately if I want to continue with agility, cut back or just take a break. For me it is not as simple as putting up some videos; I have to let it mull around my head a little. I am working up to it and have actually watched a few videos; so watch this space.

So instead you are all going to get a Chicken update! I LOVE my chickens; they make me smile even when I have to get up at 6 am to let them out. I am enjoying learning about them and constantly trying to see if we can improve their living conditions. Now that I have lived with chickens I am even more horrified to see videos and photos of caged birds no matter how "enriched" the cages are. I am not a vegetarian but I like to think that we can be humane even to the animals we eventually eat. I probably could be a vegetarian again (I was for many years) but do find it hard personally to stay healthy without meat. And I do love a good steak!

The house extension is going fantastic! We have had 3 weeks of perfect weather since the building started; so no delays at all. This is a view from where the new bi-fold doors will be. You can see to the right of the wooden pergola is the fenced-in vegetable patch, the green house and the chicken pen.

When we walk down to the veg/chicken garden they all come running up to greet us. They always think we will have extra goodies for them. They follow us around clucking like crazy and telling stories. Giz-mo likes to come down with me for our evening feeding of corn. Plus I couldn't put an entire post up on the OBay sheltie blog without a photo of a sheltie...

I love to see all the colours. Right now we have 8 chickens. They are all hybrids bred for laying. We reached a new record of 5 eggs a day this week which is pretty good as 5 of the birds are very new and young.

The chickens get to free range in the vegetable patch and greenhouse during the day for now.

Once we start planting the veggies they will be more restricted but will get some free range in the main garden when I am out to supervise. They have a nice large dedicated pen that houses their coop, a little dog kennel for daytime protection, branches and lots of dirt to dig around in. We are eventually going to put a roof on this pen and then it will be 100% (as much as it can be) secure from predators. It has a very expensive wire mesh around it that is both dug into the ground AND bent outwards to form an apron. These are both deterrents for the foxes. The mesh is about 8 feet high right now and will also go over the top. Then the roofing will go over that to provide both sun and rain protection.

We have been trying different options for the chicken coop. I hear all kinds of horror stories about mites and other beasties so I wanted to try one of the plastic coops. Unfortunately they are ridiculously expensive so we thought we would try and make our own! This is a little plastic garden shed that we have adapted. We have gone through many revisions so this is the current rev. Lots of ventilation, wooden perches and 2 cat litter trays for nesting boxes. The only issue with this current revision is that the chickens like to roost in the nesting boxes at night and that makes a mess. Chickens are VERY messy!

Crufts update maybe in a few days! Now off to close the chickens in for the night and to scold them for sleeping in the nesting boxes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

February is not a great month...

I have been in a funk lately but didn't know why. Only today I realized that it has now been 5 years since I lost Joy (16 February 2007) and 2 years since I lost Pax and Jordan (17 Feb 2010). Maybe February is not a great month for me...

And now a friend just lost her beautiful border collie Jessie yesterday on 19 February. Gone too soon... Another special dog that will be greatly missed....

And it seems only yesterday that Spooky was competing with Johanna for the first time in the UK in 2002. Now he is gone too soon as well...

We have these little souls for such a short time and I am so glad to be around people who cherish their dogs as much as I do. Enjoy them while they are here and give your dogs a special hug today.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 2012

December and January has flown by. I really wanted to do more blog posts but time got away from me. I also need to do more videoing of Giz-mo but I have forgotten how to edit video! My new little video camera is great for short clips of runs but I don't really know how to simply edit longer clips of training.

Here is an example. If you decide to watch ALL 5 minutes of it you may be bored silly. In addition you will see alot of my crocs and, while I love my crocs, that wasn't quite the point. Finally you will see a great video of Giz jumping into thin air. LOL I was trying out my new Gorilla-pod tripod for my video camera. I haven't quite figured out where to stand to get the entire session in the frame! It is hard to train and stay in one place as I have found out. I now have an increased appreciation for those who put out good little video clips while training their pups. And I am in awe of those who put out video after video of running contact training PLUS slow motion! My head explodes just thinking about doing that....

This video is slightly better as it was shorter and I was forced to stay in one position by the official upside down elephant-trick bowl.

Really both videos are pretty pitiful.....help!

Agility and training has taken a back seat this past month. We have spent time getting the chickens sorted and "Chicken-topia" is progressing. More chickens are planned as soon as we get a secure top/cover on their run and put up the new improved BIGGER chicken coop. I am so egg-cited about getting different breeds of chickens! So far these two girls (Wilma and Betty) are giving us one egg per day. I am not sure if it is one chicken laying everyday or they are taking turns.

Giz hasn't really done any true "agility" training. I did this little video of him 3 weeks ago and that is about the extent of his training. His cone/champagne bottle training as a puppy seems to have carried over to his wing wraps and I am pleased that he is working for a toy. He doesn't always feel the need to bring the toy back to me but he will happily tug once I catch him up. LOL

I wanted a smaller sheltie from this litter but Giz-mo has taken my request a little too far. He is all of 11" at 5 months old. I am hoping he will grow a little bigger; if he hit 13" I would be thrilled!

Zaz wonders if he is leaving yet?

Dennis and I have taken TWO non-doggy holidays this month. First we were off to Portugal to visit a friend. That was such great fun and I hope she comes to visit us in England also now! It is amazing how dogs can bring people together as I first met Connie when I fell in love with her sable sheltie Teller and wanted to use him to breed to Joy. That combination produced my darling Pax; the sheltie who was my sheltie soul-mate.

Then after being home for a few days we jetted off to Iceland hoping to see the Northern Lights. We had a great time but the Northern Lights were elusive and now we have to try again next year! We are thinking maybe Finland or Norway next year to try again.

My gorgeous Zen is now over 8 1/2 years old and I had to make the decision to spay her. She was obviously not going to have anymore pups and I wanted to spay her while she was still young and healthy. There was still a part of me that felt sad at doing the spay as it felt like the end of a journey for Zen and I. What an amazing girl she has been to have given me four litters of puppies. Thanks Zen-star and I look forward with joy to the next stage of our life together.