Monday, December 12, 2005

Last Trial of 2005

We certainly did not finish the year on a bang but I'm hoping that means we might start it next year with a bang. Four runs and no quallies and only one run being my fault really - maybe 2 if you count the not so great front cross I tried to put in on the Masters Agility course. Masters Jumping too much of a hurry and knocked a bar, Open Jumping again too much of a hurry and she dropped a bar, Open Agility my fault I called Tunnel Come Raven instead of Raven Come Tunnel LOL!!! So no exciting runs in this one. She's now on a break from Agility for at least 3 or 4 weeks. I will focus more on her UD training over summer. Cypher will be working on little bits of everything! He's 14 months now can't believe there is only 4 more months to go till he's trialling!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Southern River Dog Club Trial

Last night we had the SR Dog Club trial with the company of thunder and lightning but thankfully only a very light amount of rain near the end. Certainly freaked some dogs out though - luckily Raven wasn't one of them. Far as she's concerned the sky is NOT allowed to make such rude rumblings and she'd be the first one there barking at it in reprimand. If anything she gets a bit more excited than usual. Our first run in Open Agility started well - 1st half was good, stayed on table - good girl and then got pinged for the down end of contact - I was too slow to see and by the time I got in the right spot she had pulled into the wrong end of tunnel *sigh*and then she had the precociousness to take an off course jump on the way to the see saw after I had clearly said COME! More like yelled than said really. So she had to put her little body back on the A Frame chill out for a few seconds in the 2 on 2 off position while I reminded her I was the one who knew where we were going. Then we finished the last 2 obstacles fine. Masters Agility was much better - she listened well did her contacts nice and we went clear for a very close 2nd place. Her time 35.71 - 1st place 35.23. We could have perhaps saved some time getting into the off entry tunnel - I left that call a bit late and she came almost to a complete stop as she looked at me to say 'well where then?' when I said Come. Other than that it was very nice. Open Jumping was a sublime run - I'd seen Yvonne's Ceilydh (Welsh for Kay-lee) run clean and very fast so I thought right we're going to push for speed on this one. She responded fantastically and I pushed myself for speed and was every where I needed to be for her. On the home stretch we dropped the 3rd last bar - which was a shame we were a whole second faster than Ceilydh. Nevermind I was really pleased with her run - the striding between those last bars was a bit unusual and if I had just taken the pedal off the accelerator for a fraction she may have cleared them - but then would she have been the fastest as well? Hard to tell.
Masters Jumping she got called a name by me as in "You are such a little mole" when she decided that 'come' (yelled quite loudly and several times) meant 'hang on let me just do this OFF COURSE jump and then I'll get back to you'. And then she knocked a bar off which I spoke to her quite sternly about as we reset it and continued on our way. So 1 out of 4 clear - but I am glad it was the Master Agility that was the one that was clear - it's been a while since we had a clear in that class.
One more trial left in the year now - the Dobe Club on December 10th.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Third Last Trial of Year

Well last night was the West Coast Rottie Club Trial and there were some EXCELLENT courses to run in both Masters and Open. Raven and I ran in Open Agility first and she did a blitzing round doing a complete running contact off the dog walk - to win 1st place - 33.23 seconds on a 57 second course. Next up was Masters Agility and we got round that beautifully until the third last bar which she dropped! I just said "Bloody hell" and kept on to the finish. She knew what she'd done...Open Jumping up next and a very smooth flowing course. I gave her a crap angle onto a series of jumps and being the dog that she is she dug in to correct her path to get over the jumps - instead of a nice straight line though she ended up zigzagging which cost us time. She still came 2nd though so I was well pleased with her efforts. Masters Jumping and she dropped a bar on a rear cross - which in all respects was due to me not being brave enough to do the lead out I wanted so we didn't HAVE to rear cross! Still she knows enough about rear crosses to keep her feet up so we stopped, replaced the bar and left the ring. So 2 clear 2 with bars down - much better than the last trial so happy with that.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mostly not agility related...

I know this is not strictly an agility/dog/training related post at all but just had to share my latest on the best books out there that I have read recently.
#1 Peter Hamilton's latest Sci Fi - Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained -these are an edge of your seat read with a rather inspirational look into the future - I like the sound of "Rejuvenation", I'd like some of that please!
#2 David Pelzer's series which I have read out of order - I read A Child Called It and A Man Named Dave - still haven't read The Lost Boy yet and I saw in Dymocks yesterday there are a couple more out. There is a kind of slightly macabre fascination for what happened to him (true story of childhood abuse) and you share with him his sense wanting an answer of what makes any mother do that to her child. It sounds like it is all very real and very depressingly sad it does however has just as many moments of his triumphs in there so it does not remain dark all the time.
#3 Jasper Fforde's series - which I have read through completely once and am looking forward to going back to the series - The Eyre Affair, The Well of Lost Plots, Lost in a Good Book and Something Rotten - focus is on a character named Thursday Next. I now have his next instalment - similar universe brand new characters - The Big Over Easy. I shall let you know how it goes.
#4 Tour De Force written by Daniel Coyle and about Lance Armstrong's 2004 Tour De France campaign - I have had an interest in Lance ever since I read - Its Not About the Bike and Every Second Counts - the stories that talk about his cancer and his bike racing and his recovery. He is an intriguing person who certainly has an approach to life that is amazingly disciplined. He is certainly inspiring to read about. I have only just started this one and it has already grabbed me.
#5 I guess I can make this dog/training/agility related - one of the best books to come out on the subject of training is actually a recount of the training of a very nutty Border Collie named Buzz. Called Shaping Success and written by Susan Garrett who is currently competing in the USDAA Nationals as I write this. She tells the story of the incredible journey she had coming to terms with Mr Buzz's breakneck attitude for everything - how she got him to learn some control, taught him restraint and how immensely frustrating yet ultimately exhilerating it was to have an agility dog like Buzz. Along the way she gives detailed exercises of what she did with Buzz to train certain behaviours. Very clear and very easy to follow.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Sunday, November 06, 2005

First November Evening Agility Trial

Well tonight's efforts were marginally better than Northern Suburbs a couple of weeks ago but no clear rounds despite this. We were in Open Agility first up and after judge Gail had a bit of a chuckle at her seesaw SLIDE we got called a fault on that. Then she missed her dogwalk contact - so she and I stopped, I told her to get on that contact and to wait. We then proceeded - she of course also had to knock the very last bar on the line home. Masters Agility we were doing fine until she was a slack ass again and knocked a bar around half way through the course - thus we left the ring. Masters Jumping - she knocked the very FIRST bar, I looked at the judge and went "Well that was quick!" and told Raven to lay down while I replaced the bar. I then asked the judge if I could have another go - a non counting round of course and we did. She took a jump the wrong way and I let her take the wrong jump on the way out at the end. Open Jumping felt like an excellent run - we were working really well , she came speeding out of a bendy tunnel and I threw in a "Steady" command to warn her for the last four jumps home. She cleared the first one out the tunnel and I kept running - as we were going over the 2nd last jump I hear "awwww" from the crown and "FAULT" from the judge as the bar from the first jump out the tunnel finally dropped. I had to turn around and look cos I hadn't seen any jumps drop! She had literally gone "jump, jump and as she was taking off for the third jump the first bar dropped!" It was a ripper run though and an unlucky fault as I really felt she had cleared that bar. An altogether unsuccessful night I must say. Three more trials to go this year and I think we shall work very heavily on our contacts and bar work again.
Some great runs though seen by Sue H and Nifty in only his 2nd Open trial - he took 1st place very easily in Open Agility, Gina O Keefe and Indie ran a very nice Masters Agility to win first place there, Amanda and Sonny took 1st place in Masters Jumping with a very speedy run and Jules with her Scottish BC Samroc took 1st place in Open Jumping.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Pictorial Representation

Here I present a photo of Raven (aka pretty damn amazing dog) and some of her winnings from the State and National Titles weekends - we got a heap of lovely sashes, some beautiful State trophies in wood and some very classy glass trophies from the Nationals. Plus some blankets, a sports bag and cash. I felt it only fitting to do a pictorial display of her efforts those weekends - she performed her little heart out for me.

Cypher report

Yay I got my tunnel today! An early Christmas present from my parents - yes they think I'm crazy! It was delivered from Queensland and sitting on my doorstep when I got home from work. On to the backyard dog exercises from the Clean Run magazine. I haven't got any decent pics of it yet but plan to get them this weekend. Very impressed with Cypher's weaving this week - he still double foots them which is fine by me - doesn't seem to be slowing him down much. Here is a pic.

Yes I know my weave poles leave alot to be desired - that's next on my wish list - a decent set of 12 baby weave poles. I have posted a pic of him taken in the show pose with him all bathed and brushed and looking handsome - he was 10 months there - he turns 13 months tomorrow.

Guess I should get around to taking some more recent ones soon. Think I will start biking him this weekend. I've got to start training him to behave properly in the show ring somehow. He has got most of it - he knows he needs to stand still while the judge goes over him and he is not hard to set up or stack for the ring . Good at standing and watching. What we need to get through to him is the gaiting part - he has overcome his desire to race around the ring at a 100miles an hour we just need to figure out that he is working now and to move with purpose. We think biking will help with that. He has all the elements of a very nice show dog - great attitude and temperament, lovely angles, nice coat and completely animated expression with a sweet face. It would be a shame not to show him!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Note about the Raven

Raven is an intensely driven Border Collie girl who at 5 years of age is just starting to get it all together in the agility ring. She has given me many highs - winning at major events like the Western Classic and our State Agility Titles plus many first places at trials around the metro and country areas. We also had a weekend of success at this year's Nationals here in Perth - winning three classes and coming 2nd in the highly competitive Open Jumping Final. We got our Open titles last year (with a little help from our friend Robyn Evans of Winpara Border Collies) after a number of years(yes you read that right - "years") of trialling in the Open class. Our control issues are being whittled away however our bar knocking issues are something that will be with us for life and I believe this is due to my lack of knowledge when it came to teaching the basics. I will never give up trying to solve this issue. Never having owned an absolute speed freak before,Raven has taught me so much about agility and has allowed me to experience what the ultimate agility team of dog and handler can be like.Thanks Ravies - you're the best and I love you to bits. Let's go have fun in Masters now! Below is a list of her more notable achievements:
1st Place 2002 Western Classic Novice Agility
1st Place 2005 Western Classic Open Agility
1st Place 2006 Western Classic Open Agility
1st Place 2005 National Qualifying Trial 1 - Master Agility
1st Place 2005 National Qualifying Trial 1 - Open Agility
1st Place 2005 National Qualifying Trial 2 - Open Agility
3rd Place 2005 National Qualifying Trial 3 - Open Jumping
2nd Place 2005 NATIONAL FINAL Open Jumping
1st Place 2005 Rockingham Dog Club Trial - Master Agility AND Master Jumping
1st Place 2005 State Qualifying Trial - Open Agility
3rd Place 2005 State Qualifying Trial - Master Jumping
2nd Place 2005 State Qualifying Trial - Open Jumping
3rd Place 2005 STATE FINAL - Master Jumping
3rd Place 2005 STATE FINAL - Open Jumping

Qualified equal 3rd out of 6 for WA State Team 2005
Member of 2005 3rd Place WA State Team at Nationals

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Training Log

All the "professionals" recommend you keep a training journal when starting a dog in agility. Guess I haven't been too disciplined about that but since I'm bored and not ready for bed I thought I'd compile a list of all the skills Cypher has at the age of 12 months - all agility related I guess but some could be transferred to obedience eventually. Let's see:
1) He knows the word WAIT and will wait before coming out of his kennel, out of the house to get in the car, before he gets out of the car, before going through the sliding door to the backyard, in front of a jump, a tunnel, a tyre, a table, dogwalk and the weaves.
2) He will wait in a sit or a down and will move between those 2 positions from a signal from me at up to 20 meters away.
3) The word OKAY to him can mean one of several things - OK to go and eat, OK to move forward to my side, OK to do an obstacle, OK to release off a contact, OK to let go of tugtoy, OK to run and get tugtoy, OK to come and play tug with me. OK to go through a door or get out the car.
4) The word CONTACT when said in open space with no visible target means a fold back down, chin on the ground between front 2 paws,
5) when said (not always) whilst on down plank of dog walk means do a drop at the bottom of contact with bum and two rear paws on contact, front two paws on grass with chin on the ground. Automatic wait for release word of OK.
6) Knows the words sit and down.
7) Will sit or down on the table.
8) Turns to his left on the word 'SPIN' and to his right on the word 'TURN'.
9) On the word CLOSE comes to heel to whatever side my shoulder is turned towards him on.
10) Can do 12 weavers from either side with me far behind or with him or just slightly ahead. Working on a recall with me at one end a couple of meters away and him left just a meter away from the start. I can be on either side of weavers.
11) The word OUT means run away laterally from me dependent on which body cue - ie I lift my arm and hand out on my right hand side and he moves away from my right and vice versa for left.
12) Will recall on COME 8 out of 10 times, will give eye contact on hearing his name.

There's probably more but I can't think of it right's a pic of him on the table.

The Rules...whenever

ANKC Agility is overdue a rule change - so at the end of last year and the start of this year every State in Australia made submissions for rule changes - the big one being a change of heights and more height categories to give longevity in the sport to our large dogs and to give the mini and toy breeds a chance to have a go. These submissions all went before a conference of all state delegates in January this year. It is now nearly November - and we still don't have our new rules. Latest news is that they will not come in till July 1st 2006. This is a huge disappointment for many competitors. Unfortunately it came down to a few people who caused this to happen. There has been a lot of traffic on the agility lists here in Australia about this - and there are many frustrated people out there. All we can do now is sit tight, hope that the motion that passed at the conference to not bring them in till July next year can be rescinded or ammended or whatever the hell they do to motions to get them changed so that our large dogs can enjoy the sport longer and our tiny dogs can enjoy competing...such is life when you're involved ina a big organisation I guess. Patience is required...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cypher's Hips and Elbows...Lookin' Good!

Cypher got his hips and elbows x-rayed for scoring around the end of the school holidays and I sent them off to a Dr Wyburn in Margaret River for scoring - I got the scores sent back to me in a very timely fashion. His elbows were perfect 0:0 and his hips were 1:4 - a very low score so this is one happy Cypher owner! This gives his hips the Australian Grade of 1 and International Grade B. Woohoo! If anyone wishes to use him later on at stud he certainly meets the health criteria most breeders would set. He has also, quite some time ago now, had blood taken for testing for CL (Ceroid Lipofuscinosis - a storage disease) and CEA (Collie Eye Anomaly) and he has resulted in Clears and Normals for both. So for what are considered the most common health issues in the BC he is free of them.

Right must go and tell all dog friends who appreciate a good hip score!

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Sunday After...

Monday 24th October 2005

Well Raven brought me back down to earth with a thud at yesterday’s very small trial (100 entries over in 2 hours!!) up at Carine in the afternoon. She kept her insanity under wraps right up until she crossed the start line of her first run in Open Agility. It was a straight run of 3 jumps and you then had to pull them through for a threadle. She decided to keep going after jump 3 despite the very firm verbal to “Come” and nearly caused us an off course. Then she decided to finish it off – she did the threadle jump and went straight in the wrong end of the tunnel – so after that it was “you are going to give me 2 0n 20ff girl!” on all the contacts – needless to say she did every contact at a flying run and did the next couple of obstacles while I was still standing by the contact waiting for her 2o2o position – she did a nice handstand on the table so she didn’t fall off at least but she seriously shouldn’t have been
going that fast off a seesaw anyway! She popped the weavers despite me facing her and giving her the strong command to weave at the end (I had noticed several dogs had popped the weavers and made sure I was very clear about her doing all the weaves but she still popped them to go to the tunnel – cow!). So needless to say I called her back to redo the seesaw and redo the A Frame and made her wait. It wasn’t a pretty run by any stretch of the imagination and she was quite aware of my displeasure with her LOL!! Thankfully by the time we got in the Master Agility ring she had reigned in some of her insanity and gave me a beautiful run with a completely running contact on the dog walk which the judge called us for unluckily – I had a look on the video someone took and it was quite clear that she got it there. Never mind eventually our judges will get round to appreciating running contacts. I was happy with her run. Open Jumping we ran clear for 3rd place and Master jumping we knocked the 3rd bar and left the ring – so 2 out of 4 runs were pretty good. Just wondering if she is now in the mode of needs lots of runs to get any kind of sanity. We shall see at her next trial in a couple of weeks.
I took Cypher with me and in between runs and at the beginning and in the afternoon at the end and we practiced doing 12 weave poles in many different ways and he was fantastic, very enthusiastic and getting quicker all the time. Very pleased with his weave pole progress.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The National Agility Trials

Monday 17th October - aka Recovery Day
Well it's all over red rover - Perth has held it's very first Agility Nationals and it is all said and done. I am very chuffed with how it all went and the comments I have heard from everyone have been highly positive and very impressed. Please to say also (not that I'm biased) that Border Collies took 5 out of the 6 finals and of those 5 finals 3 of them come from show bred Border Collie lines. The other 2 were a rescue BC and the other was a working BC from Blue Moon Border Collies in the ACT.

I was worried I'd be on a bit of a downer now that it's all over but having today to relax and recover and just reflect and digest all that went on has made me realised I am glad that it is all over but that I certainly had a ball and that the whole thing lived up to and even exceeeded my expectations. Tim took some fantastic photos of so many dogs and he got some great ones of the Raven that I will cherish for a very long time.

This being our first time competing in such a highly acknowledged and competitive event I was content with just making a final. To win 3 events, come 3rd in another event and to come 2nd in a Final was far more than I ever expected and to say I was thrilled would be an understatement. Raven excelled this weekend and it seems the more runs she got to do the better she went. I was so proud of my little speed freak...and I was especially proud to have other handlers who I considered particularly good, come up and comment about her to me. This event has definitely confirmed for me that I will be there next year in June in Sydney and will be especially pleased to run her and Cypher.

We only have 5 trials left in the year now and all of them will be a bit like a country trial after such a weekend but she loves this game so much I will try and keep my handling up to her demanding standards!

Monday, October 10, 2005

GSDA West Coast Challenge Double Header Trial

GSDA Double Header Trial Sun Oct 9th Trial 1 (MORNING) - Trial #38 for the year. Well that theory I have about her being better in the afternoon after she's got the little bit of mania out of her system in the morning was blown out of the water today. First run up was Masters Jumping - we had a tiny wobble to get her over a jump however she did run clear and won 2nd Place Master Jumping! Next run up was Open Agility -It was a nice flowing course and I had a ball and so did she, we blitzed this course and won 1st Place Open Agility. Next run up Open Jumping - no wobbles this time and we absolutely nailed it - tiny flaw in my front cross meant she had to brake quite hard to get around me which may have cause us to fall back into 2nd place by 1.5 seconds. No matter I was happy she won 2nd Place Open Jumping - 3 out of 4 runs all clear! Masters Agility course was very hard for the fast dogs and she took a jump from the wrong side - but I hadn't really expected to go clear so again I was happy she kept every single bar up.

Trial #39 GSDA Afternoon Trial - Absolutely NO clear rounds here this afternoon. However I take responsibility for 3 out of theose 4 runs - I caused refusals to happen on both Masters Jumping and Open Jumping and also Open Agility - she kept her bars up in all three and my handling didn't come up to her standards again. Masters Agility - well that was my 2nd heartbreak for the weekend (afterthe Open Agility State Final). It was a lovely course and I went for broke - we have all our titles and I have complete confidence in her bars now so I pushed her for speed to see if she had any more gears to move up. I ran with her from the start instead of leading out and we had a ball! I handled her really well all the way and she raised her speed several levels and we were on the home stretch - just the weaves and a single bar to go. She just taps that last bar as we cross the finish line - ARGH!!!!! The judge had the decencey (or perhaps indecency!) to come and tell me she was his fastest dog by about 10 seconds on that course ARGHH!!!!!! As much as that last bar hurt I could not take anything away from the run - it was an absolute thrill and great to know how she responds to me upping the speed ante on her. Good to find this out before the Nationals next weekend!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

WA State Agility and Jumping Titles

Trial #36 Morning Qualifying Trial for State Finals - Sat Oct 8th. What an absolute star! Our first run of the day was in Masters Jumping and given the number of rear crosses required I kept my mouth shut and hung back alot and we went clear!! Raven gained her JDM title with a 3rd place WOOHOO!!! The run also gave us a spot in the 10 dog final in the evening. Quite surprised by how high up she was as we were playing it very safe and she felt very slow for a Raven LOL!! Now we just run for the absolute maximum speed now! Our next run up was Open Agility - this one she also blitzed and won 1st place Open Agility beating alot more dogs than usual as we have a number of Eastern States competitors here for Nationals next week. This also gained her a spot in the Open Agility Final. In Masters Agility unfortunately she had a bar down so we stopped, reset the bar and left and in Open Jumping she was in too much of a hurry on the home stretch and flattened out over the 2nd last bar.
Trial #36 Afternoon Qualifying Trial for State Finals - Sat Oct 8th. Again Raven was the star! This time we managed a clear in Open Jumping for a 3rd place and a spot in the 10 dog final, and she did it again in Open Agility going even faster than the morning's run to win 1st Place Open Agility - it was looking great for that final! Unfortunately we had a bar down again in Masters Agility and we copped a refusal in Masters Jumping because I turned her off a jump (deliberately to correct her line to the next obstacle) however she kept her bars up in 3 out of 4 runs so VERY happy with that!

State Title Finals - Sat Evening Oct 8th: Well we qualified for 3 out of 4 finals so I was elated with her regardless of how she did in the finals. Open Agility was the most heart breaking for us - a very BAD count on the table (no timer) by the judge had Raven jumping off just as he said GO and he called her for it - video shows her 5 second count on the table was about 7 seconds at least - very unfair and so unfair for her that I was absolutely seething and we blitzed the rest of the course as I handled like a hell cat and she rose to my indignation at her treatment. In the end I was so proud of her I didn't give a toss about the judge. Open Jumping and Masters Jumping she was an absolute star and did absolutely everything I asked of her and gave me more.We were the only WA Pair to go clear in Masters Jumping and my mistake in being on the wrong side at one point cost us dearly and all we managed was a 3rd. In Open Jumping we were the highest placed WA pair again and this time I was up to her standards and we didn't put a foot or paw wrong to gain 3rd Place. This was around 8.30pm in the evening and after such a long day to be keeping her bars up and still be the absolute speed freak she was I was throughly impressed with her.I did indeed take the best dog home that night and I feel incredibly lucky to have a dog like Raven.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Raven at Perth Royal 2005

Monday September 25th 2005
Trial #35 - PERTH ROYAL SHOW.. Well I had hoped we might be able to break our Royal jinx this year but not to be unfortunately. However considering last years performance compared to this year I was absolutely impressed with our improvement. We did some good work out there and I am sure Raven and I will crack the Royal in the future. Masters Agility was first and after micromanaging her through some very tough bits and finding myself on the wrong side of her once, we were on the home stretch when a tricky threadle was the last challenge and unfortunately she took the 2nd part of it the wrong way - other than that we would have made it! Open Agility she took the bar of the spread down in a hurry to turn back to me as she knew that after the spread there was nothing (course was nested to Masters), Masters Jumping she took an off course that I just did not see coming! Other than that the run was fantastic and I was very impressed with her distance work. Open Jumping, our last course of the day and Raven very uncharacteristically, went past a jump that I had front crossed to turn her onto - she flew by me in the smallest gap, it astonished me really! So a bit of the fluke faults happening - a couple of handler errors as well - but she and I really enjoyed ourselves today. She kept just about every single bar up, did great contacts, held her table nicely, and I got the best lead outs ever this year. So much to be pleased about but heaps to work on as well. Below are some great Royal photos taken by Tim.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Perth Royal Teams Run Off

Raven on her flying way around a jumping course.

PERTH ROYAL SHOW - TEAMS EVENT 23/09 (Jasper above - 1/2 brother to Tag)
Well today was one of the most exhausting (yet fun at the same time!) days I've ever had at the Show! Raven is in a 4 dog team named THREE'S A CROWD (yes ok I know 4 dogs and threes a crowd doesn't compute but the "Three" refers to number of handlers - sometimes we're also known as Two's Company because it is just Robyn and myself), and thanks to several factors today I ended up running 3 out of the 4 dogs in this team! Plus the agility and the jumping were TWO rounds each! 16 rounds in total for one four dog team and I ran 12 of them! The team - Raven, Saffi (CH WINPARA ICEE RED ADX JDX), Tag (CH WINPARA SECRET OBSESSION ADX JDX) and Deb Hyde's Jasper (OB CH BRYNBANK DANGEROS LIASON ADX JDX). Tag has NEVER run with me in a trial and at best we've had about 4 practices together at training, however I had to end up running him for 3 out of 4 runs! Luckily Robyn made it back from the Breed ring for 1 of the runs and ran him clear, and I managed a clear in Jumping with him, however we had more than a couple off courses in our other runs! I ran Jasper for the 1st run in Agility and he did very well, we had one wrong tunnel entry and one bar down and that was it - Deb ran him the other 3 runs with only a bar down in 2, and a couple of missed weavers in the other. Raven was a sta
r pretty much all day apart from her very first run where she was more than a little amped up by the crowd and just couldn't wait till the judge said go on the table! She got called for a slightly suspect colour on the dog walk in her next run and in jumping she was an absolute star - I over handled her in one area (must keep mouth shut!) and caused her to take a bar down and in the last run of the day we both were in sync and ran a clear and very fast round. I am very pleased and proud to say that Threes A Crowd made the cut this year and got into the finals with the top 6 teams for both Agility and Jumping. More than a little surprised about the jumping since poor Saffi is having difficulty with the spread jumps of late due to middle aged spread creeping up on her! But she tries her heart out for me and that is something I will always be proud of with her.
Saffi is directly below and her son Tag is underneath.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Gosnells Dog Club Agility Jinx

Trial #34 September 10th Gosnells Dog Club - Again another clubs' grounds that we never manage to go clear on! There was no fixing that jinx today! The positives of our runs were that she kept all her bars up in both agility runs and did really nice contacts (I have included a pic below) the negatives (which we wiil not focus on!) are that she dropped a bar in both Open Jumping and Masters Jumping and she popped the last weave in Open Agility. The biggest negative was me! running the Masters Agility course and not even realising till we got to the end that I had missed about 5 obstacles out! Luckily we stuffed up before that anyway but I'd have been a bit annoyed with myself if we'd done everything clear and I thought we'd done the whole course! LOL!!! Dearie me sometimes I wonder if I am ever going to meet Raven's demanding high standards as her handler! LOL!! I take solace in the fact that we really haven't had a trial like this since way back in July - 2 months ago actually! Still have not figured out why I remembered the course a different way!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A Team of Two

Trial #33 September 3rd Rockingham Dog Club -Today was an all round awesome trial. To be honest we have competed at these grounds on a number of occasions now and not gone clear and I was not expecting any greatness today - how wrong I was! After submitting our top ten cards for the National Team selection I was delighted to find out at the announcement before the trial that Raven and I have been selected to represent WA at the Nationals in October! She shared 3rd spot amongst 6 dogs! This was an achievement that I really thought could not be done at the start of the year so to say I was proud of my little girl would be an understatement!

Our day was capped off by another historic moment for us in our Agility careers - Raven took out 1st PLACE MASTERS AGILITY AND 1st PLACE MASTERS JUMPING today! And our runs were very close to being perfect and felt extremely smooth. That gave us leg #6 of our JDM and I was absolutely over the moon with my girl and her efforts today! That JDM inches ever nearer! I felt today that we were the best team we could be - she was in sync with me and I was in sync with her - she did her job and I did mine and we both did them well. Such a great day deserves some pictures so I have posted some below - thanks go to Darryl Bourne and Tim Abidin for these great shots.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Midland Dog Club - team selection period ends.

Trial #31 August 28th Midland - This was the morning trial of a double header and as is her tendency first up in her runs Raven was in an extreme rush - we had a bar down in Masters Agility and Open Jumping. Open Agility I wasted the run reinforcing her contact behaviour and we managed a CLEAR RUN IN MASTERS JUMPING - it wasn't pretty (8th out of 10 qualifiers) but hey leg #5 of JDM.

Trial #32 August 28th Midland - This is the last trial to count towards points for our State team that is competing in the teams event at the Nationals. I am pleased to announce that after a very nice run we won 1st Place Masters Agility!! We also ran really well (after Judge gave us a quick run down of the course just before we went in due to missing our walk time) and took out 1st PLACE OPEN JUMPING! Raven gained herself a couple more points towards Team Selection today which is great - we shall submit our scores (we gained a total of 96 out of a possible 100 points) and see if we get selected.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Raising money for the Agility Committee

Trial #29 August 21st CAWA Fundraiser - This morning trial was very cold and the ground was very slippery, she did a GREAT run in Masters Agility, I again opened my mouth when I should have kept it closed and sent her off course. I was very pleased with her run though. Masters Jumping we dropped a bar and Open Agility she blew her dogwalk contact -3rd Place in Open Jumping.

Trial #30 August 21st CAWA Fundraiser - We did okay in this one, we have a sublime run in Open Jumping and gained 2nd place, missing out on 1st by point 4 of a second! She kept all her bars up apart from 1 this afternoon so I was very happy with her overall - 7 out of 8 runs we kept our bars up during the day. Some more shots of Raven in Sydney last year:

Monday, August 08, 2005

Raven gains her Agility Dog Master Title!

Trial #26 July 24th Sunday GSDA - we had a ripper run in Open Agility today and a bar down in both OJ and MJ however in one of our most messiest runs ever she managed a 3rd PLACE MASTERS AGILITY and a 1st PLACE OPEN AGILITY! That elusive ADM gets even closer!

Trial #27 August 7th Bunbury - this morning trial was good for us to iron out our kinks - she does a blitzing round for a 1st PLACE OPEN AGILITY! She also does a quite sedate round (for Raven anyway) for a 2nd Place Open Jumping!

Trial #28 August 7th Bunbury - I've always known she goes better in the afternoon and she certainly earned herself some chicken nuggets on the way home today because she won 1st PLACE MASTERS AGILITY and 1st PLACE OPEN AGILITY!!! AND WE GAINED OUR ADM TITLE!!! WOOOHOOO!!! 7 passes - six 1st places and one 3rd place!!!at the age of 5 years and 5 months old - luckily her father Bear did teach me something - he didn't get his until he was about 8 years old!. Hopefully Cypher will be even more accurate than Raven and get his even quicker. So Raven is now officially: Australian Champion Rhonabwy Raven Ov Bear CDX ADM JDX ET. And it all happened so quick compared to that ADX title!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Historic Master Career Moment!

Trial #25 July 17th Geraldton Dog Club - I was happy with yesterday's performance but today absolutely took the cake - and it was a historical moment for the Raven and me - for the 1st time since competing in Masters she went CLEAR in both Agility and Jumping! Woohoo!! 1st PLACE MASTERS AGILITY and 2nd Place MASTERS JUMPING! Fantastic!! I was absolutely over the moon with her! Then she ran a ripper of a course in Open Agility - but had a close call against her on the dogwalk - yet she still managed a 2nd place - what a star! So we are now 5/7 for ADM and 4/7 for JDM...not long to go now :) She is clocking up some decent points for the State team selection at the Nationals.

Rockingham jinx - Geraldton success!

Trial #23 July 10th Rockingham Dog Club - 1 fault (a refusal) in Masters Agility 1 bar down in Masters and Open Jumping and in Open Agility we had an off no luck today unfortunately!

Trial #24 July 16th Geraldton Dog Club - she was a very good girl today and won 2nd Place MASTERS JUMPING That makes leg #3 for JDM. She had only 1 fault in Masters Agility - a refusal (my handling of course!) however still received 2nd place as there was only 1 qualifier - it was a tough course! She had 2 faults in open agility however as there was only 1 qualifier in that she won 2nd Place OPEN AGILITY! So all in all she had a very good day only knocking 1 bar in Open Jumping!

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Open Queen...

Trial #21 July 3rd ANWA Fundraiser - This morning trial was quite successful with just a bit of bad luck - she put one paw on the A Frame out of order in Masters Agility and in Masters Jumping we had one bar down :( But to make up for it we had a 1st Place in Open Jumping PLUS 1st Place in Open Agility! I also got to run Deb Hyde's BC "Jasper" also known as Obedience Champion Brynbank Dangeros Liasion ADX JDX UD...and he and I took out 3rd PLACE OPEN AGILITY

Trial #22 July 3rd ANWA Fundraiser PM Trial Again some hard luck - both Masters being my fault I handled her onto on an off course in both agility and jumping. Open Agility I tried a front cross - unfortunately unsuccessfully! That was our only error and we made up for it with a 1st Place in Open Jumping, good girl! I ran Deb Hyde's BC "Jasper" again...and he and I took out 4th PLACE OPEN AGILITY.
Once again I ponder all these Open passes and what exactly did hold us back those years! Check out the focus in the weaves! This is a photo taken at our first NADAC (National Agility Dog Association) Trial last year in Sydney October. She loved the courses and so did I thankfully they required very little running from me since I had torn my calf muscle the day before!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Rainy day girl...

Trial #20 June 12th Cloverdale Canine Companions - A Morning trial in the very wet weather. I could blame the wet grass I suppose but we had three runs where she took a bar down - only on one run (Masters Jumping) did I make an error before she did! She did go clear in one though and won 1st Place in Open Jumping, good girl, it just amazes me how easily the clear runs in Open come now that we struggled for 3 years getting our Open titles. Not sure what it is but I think most would attribute it to me not being so hung up on getting qualifications anymore. I'd like to say well maybe I've just become a better handler - you do hope that after a certain amount of time in the sport you could show some improvement!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Northern Suburbs hoodoo!

Trial #19 June 5th Sunday - An afternoon trial at Northern Suburbs Dog Club in Carine. We never seem to crack any clears at these grounds and today unfortunately maintained our lack of success. Masters Agility was a great run for us, she just seemed to lose her rhythm slightly in the weaves and missed one but still came out the right side! So one fault there, all other runs we stopped due to bar down and the Open Jumping course which I thought we'd cleared, turned out a bar had dropped on a jump 8 meters from us as we were completing the spread jump quite weird! Oh well there's always next week's trial!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Raising more money...still having fun!!

Trial #17 & #18 May 29th - Back to back trials again today for the 2nd day of ANWA fundraising. In the morning she did a lovely run in Masters Agility - but we had a refusal. Open Agility we got called on a contact that was quite a tricky one to judge but it was a great run anyway, Masters Jumping and Open Jumping were all going well till she knocked a bar! In the afternoon we went better - 3 out of 4 runs keeping all bars up for 3rd Place MASTERS JUMPING and 1st Place OPEN AGILITY! So was very happy with her!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Raising money for the Nationals and having fun!!!

Trial #15 & #16 May 28th - Back to back trials today for ANWA fundraising. In the morning she did two very nice runs which I stuffed her up on causing a refusal and an off course however she did a bar in both Masters Jumping and Open Agility. She gained a 4th NQ in Masters Agility.
The afternoon trial went better - 1st PLACE MASTERS AGILITY and 2nd Place OPEN JUMPING! What a good girl! I was very proud of her and thought we worked well...Masters Jumping was very tough - and she had an off course before I could blink! Open agility she took the 2nd last bar down but other than that I was extremely pleased!
That ADM inches ever closer - 3 legs down 4 to go...

Monday, May 23, 2005

JDM Here we come...

Trial #14: May 22nd GSDA - Another FANTASTIC DAY today for different reasons though. She just tapped the last bar in Open Jumping and was in a rush over a jump in Masters Agility however she did finish off the day with her very FIRST Q IN MASTERS JUMPING with a 1st PLACE as well! As if this was not enough she also won 1st PLACE OPEN AGILITY! I was extremely happy with her efforts and pleased with our results!JDM by the way stands for Jumping Dog Master and requires 7 clear rounds. Given her jump issues I'm thinking this one could take a while LOL!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Trial #13: May 15th Geraldton - A FANTASTIC DAY in my mind despite non qualifying in both Masters Agility and Masters Jumping. WHY? Today for the first time since competing in four classes we finished EVERY SINGLE RUN as she kept EVERY SINGLE BAR UP!!! Hooray!!! I was very pleased with her and to top it all off we took 1st PLACE OPEN AGILITY and 3rd PLACE OPEN JUMPING. I also got to run Deb Hyde's BC "Jasper" also known as Obedience Champion Brynbank Dangeros Liasion ADX JD UD...and he and I took out 2nd PLACE OPEN AGILITY (0.67 secs behind Raven) and 3rd PLACE OPEN JUMPING (0.25 secs in front of Raven!). A good day all round as that meant Jasper finished his JDX title off! Deb was very happy and I had great fun running him!

Training Day in Geraldton

Trial #12: May 14th Geraldton - today was a training day, she managed to keep all bars up in the Open Agility class and came 2nd despite a fault due to there only being 1 clear round. However the other 3 runs we used to work on her bar issues and we left the ring after knocking a bar in each. This time I kept it as neutral as possible - I got her to drop as soon as she hit one, I replaced the bar and we left the ring. Then before the next run I warmed her up over a jump making a huge fuss out of her when she kept her bar up, we got to the startline as if it was our first startline of the day.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Not a complete bust at Bunbury

Trial #11: May 8th Bunbury Agility Jumping Trial. Well we slightly improved on our last Bunbury performance, we managed a 3rd Place in Open Jumping. 1 bar down in all the other runs. Fingers crossed next weekend at Geraldton sees more success.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mastering success!

Trial #9 & #10: April 24th Southern River Double Header Trial. Back to success!! In the morning she won 1st Place Open Jumping. In the afternoon even better Raven wins 1st Place Masters Agility! This time there were alot more clear rounds and so her time was a very competitive 35 seconds on a SCT of 50 seconds under Victorian Judge Mr T Moore. I must admit we did not have the ideal start to this one - we have been having start line issues - I say wait and she says "Make me" - her whole body is leaning forward on her front toenails her eyes are riveted to the first obstacle - I could have whole chickens hanging off the end of each hand and she would still pretend like I don't exist. So at the startline for Masters today I have her on my left and I take a couple of steps after the judge has said you can go - I go to turn back to her to repeat my rather strong "wait" command and she's off! She'd done two jumps and was on the seesaw before I had the presence of mind to yell WAIT!!! which she luckily did so that she did her contact - the rest of the course was done completely with me behind her and by thye seat of my pants since her start had blown my carefully thought of plan out the water! She's a little lunatic this one!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Perth Training Trial

Trial #8: April 9th Perth Training Club - This one was also not great - slightly improved on Bunbury though with a great run Open Agility apart from a missed down dogwalk contact. Masters Agility she dropped a bar and we left and the same went for Open Jumping and Masters Jumping.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Bunbury a bust!

Trial #7: April 3rd Bunbury Dog Club - well we are just going to pretend we didn't even enter this one! Her first run was Masters agility and it was going well untill the 3rd last bar which came down. Bad handler (me!) didn't stop her and I'm pretty sure this set the tone for the rest of her runs - where she took down the first bar in each just about! So just over 3 hours driving and NO legs today :-((( But I must admit I learnt a valuable lesson today. We have been working very intensively on her jumping - and targeting the dropping of bars. I have sought advice and I am sticking to a very clear, concise and stringent criteria for her jumping behaviour. And I have been noticing a steady but slow improvement - today it felt like she wasn't even bothering in her first few runs. My mood with her got progressively worse after each of those runs and I actually wondered why her efforts were so so slow and lazy off the start lines. Then I realised - as hardnails as I feel Raven is (she is not soft in any way shape or form) she certainly is affected by my moods. I put her over a couple of jumps before our last run and just kind of 'made up' with her as if we'd been arguing. I let her know that she was still my best friend and we were going to have fun. She still knocked a bar on that last run but we got through most of the course and she was her usual grinning speed freaky self. Mental note to self - if shitty with her about a run then I leave it on that course (my shittyness with her I mean) She knows why we've stopped - she gets it, not finishing the run is what she hates most, her 2nd most hated thing is me getting shitty with her - but that has a more lasting (and far more negative) effect than leaving the ring. Once I've clipped that lead back on I'm looking forward to our next run as the first of the day. So whilst the day was a total waste in terms of qualifications it was a very valuable day in terms of me figuring out a very important lesson about us.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Our 2nd Masters Pass!

Trial #6: April 2nd Cloverdale Canine Companions. This evening's trial was a historic one for this team of two. Raven and I finally got it all together on a rather tough Masters Agility course (only 2 qualified) amongst the best dogs in the state to go clear and win 1st Place Masters Agility! and if that wasn't enough she ran clear in Open Agility for another 1st Place Open Agility. This was one happy handler! Leg #2 down - 5 to go!

Sunday, March 20, 2005


After a 2 week break from trialling we headed out to Lumen Christi grounds in Gosnells for the first Gosnells Agility and Jumping trial of the year. After rolling her ankle spectacularly at the last event of the Classic her handler held her back today not being able to run flat out. Open Jumping 1 bar down, Open Agility she misses the down on the dog walk contact, in Masters Agility she took the dogwalk at too shallow and angle and came off the side of the up ramp, Masters Jumping she was a bit disconnected and took a wrong jump. No luck today and we won't tell my physio who told me no agility for 6 to 8 weeks. All my right ankle ligaments and muscle tendons were completely torn and overstretched and I needed x rays and muscle anti inflammatories to get it sorted - I will now probably have a weak right anke for the rest of my life....*sigh*...this better not be a sign of me getting old!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Western Classic

Monday March 5th - Western Classic weekend. The Western Classic is one of the two biggest shows on the WA Calendar being 2nd only to the Perth Royal Show in October. We have Eastern States judges come over and judge our obedience and agility trials and International Judges for the breed ring. I put Cypher in both the All Breed Championship shows over the four days and asked Robyn to show him as I would be busy in the Obedience and Agility rings. He was quite well behaved for such little training and won best Baby of Breed over a number of other very cute just on 3 months baby Border Collies. He was a very good boy and not fazed at all by the bright lights and big crowds, in fact I don't think he missed me at all - little traitor! *g*
Raven had a great time over in the Agility and we had two sad luck stories with 1 bar down in both Master Agility and Master Jumping - it was a shame because her runs are always blitzing! We held it together for a win in Open Agility - so we got a nice trophy, sash and bags of biccies. She held her own in the Obedience Ring too after winning a spot in the Novice Invitational Challenge - she qualified and came 5th overall after doing the longest amount of slow pace heelwork we'd ever seen! We sure didn't train for that heel routine.
All in all a good weekend was had by all - and our team Threes A Crowd didn't do too badly either in the teams events.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sting, Margaret River and Dogs

We took off down South early on Thursday morning, we being Tim, myself, Raven and Cypher. Took the road down to Margaret River Leeuwin Wine Estate and camped outside from about 11am onwards - we had scored the opportunity to see Sting live in Concert in a small, outdoor private arena. I was in heaven! The dogs were too...whilst we spent the day in the queue to drive in, I took them out on jaunts through the vineyards. They were made much fuss of by other concert goers who were impressed that Border Collies had such good taste in Music. They snoozed and napped their way through the afternoon in between our vineyard jaunts and I tried to keep Cypher's whites semi white since he was off to a show in Albany in the next couple of days. STING was awesome!!! I loved every second of it and was sad when it ended - the sound was great and the band was excellent and he played every single song I had wanted to hear. I'm sure even the dogs enjoyed it from the car.

Albany - Cypher is awarded Baby of Breed over the girl by SA judge Mrs R Tassie at Albany All Breeds Champ Show - despite not realising the collar is NOT a sled dog harness...hmmm perhaps sled dog racing is on the cards! Next day he is awarded Baby in Group in both the Open Show and the Championship Show - what a good boy!
Trial #3 for Raven: Albany All Breeds Dog Club - she didn't do so great in Masters Class this weekend - a dropped bar and a pull out on the weaves, still she managed 1st Place Open Agility. All in all a very pleasant four days away and indeed a concert I will never forget.

Monday, February 07, 2005

4 Hour Drive...125 seconds of Action!

Yes yes, I did indeed drive 4 and a half hours or so to Geraldton to run Raven around an agility course for 48 seconds (least she got to run round 4 times!) and yes to those of you unfamiliar with the agility addiction this would seem to be grounds for an asylum committment - but trust me - it's all worth it in the end. But more on that later!
Trial #2: Geraldton & Districts Dog Club Obedience, Agility and Jumping Trial February 5th and 6th, we have been working on the bar issue all week which left little time for Obedience training - was pleasantly surprised when she worked quite well and scored 181 and 2nd place in the Open class. The Agility and Jumping Trial was even better though - Masters Agility Class - 1st Place and her 1st leg YAY!! not only that she won 1st Place in Open Jumping, fantastic!!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The 2005 Agility Season Starts!

WHY Blog? Well why not? It seems to be a fine way of keeping a journal and lordy knows I need to keep track of Raven and Cypher's successes - they're like the little peanut bags they give you on those plane flights - can't savour them all at once cos then they'll all be gone and then forgotten and there I'll be sitting back wondering to myself - and I train my dogs so much for what was it again? This will be less of an introspective lets examine our deepest and most meaningful innards blog and more of the how does one train 2 Border Collies who seem infinitely more smarter than I ever give them credit Meet Raven. That's her on the right --->
She was born on the 7th of March 2000 - just down the road from me. She has a very fancy pedigree name too - it's Australian Champion Rhonabwy (pronounced Ron-R-Be) Raven Ov Bear CDX ADX JDX ET. That Australian Champion bit means that she was awarded 100 points from lots of different judges who said she looks like a well put together Border Collie (if only they'd read her mind - good thing she didn't have to pass a Psych Evaluation don't think she would've made it!). She is sterilised now (which is easier for everyone concerned!) - the other initials on the end? well I'll save those for another post.

Trial #1: West Coast Rottie Club Agility and Jumping Trial January 28th -
Well first trial of the year and the break from training has not done us a world of good unfortunately! No clear runs and the bar knocking issue is raising it's ugly head again!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Meet the Cypher.

Well this blog has his name in it and I haven't even introduced him - poor boy he's so deprived. Meet Cypher (pronounced Sigh-fur...which is what I will do when he grows a full coat and I have to vacuum everyday *chuckle - yeah like that will ever happen*). Here he is:
He's awfully cute isn't he? (There obligatory "awww cute" comment inserted) - he was born on the 6th of October 2004 which makes him a Libran so hopefully he'll be well balanced. He is NOT a West Australian! *Shock horror* He was born in New South Wales and came to Perth on the 9th of December. Of course such a boy of travel worldliness would have a fancy name as well - his is Nahrof Quick Change. Why did I give him such an unusual name you ask? (If you didn't too bad - don't you know that is exactly why people choose unusual names for their dogs and children - just so the conversation revolves around them??) Anyhoo - Cypher - I heard it first in the first Matrix movie - a rather evil wicked guy who betrayed Neo and Trinity to Agent Smith (wasn't Hugo Weaving superb in that film? "Human beings are a disease.."Best line EVER!) and I liked the sound of it. Then I found out later (through watching Stargate of course) that it evolves from the arabic word Si-fur meaning Zero....this left me slightly worried and hoping that there was going to be more than Zero in his head. Luckily for us all his head seems to be full of the infinite! Cypher came to become the new boy member of our family (Raven's Dad Bear had passed away nearly 2 years ago) - my new show,agility, obedience and generally goodlooking Border Collie. I asked the breeder Lauren Somers of Nahrof Border Collies for a well put together boy who had the attitude needed to be a zippy little agility dog. He certainly has the 'tude! But more on his progress later.