Saturday, December 02, 2006

Remember, Remember the 2nd of December.

Well here I am at the end of my 2006 trialling season which began for me on the 3rd of February this year at a local trial run by the West Coast Rottweiler club and concluded here tonight at Southern River’s trial. It has been a topsy turvy year success wise with some fantastic highs and of course lots of lows, although even if I try hard I can’t recall with much detail the lows (with the exception of our stuff ups at very big events) however every success has fond vividly recollected memories. Cypher tonight was a little erratic and I must admit my handling left much to be desired on a couple of courses. We did manage a clear rather nervously run round in Masters Jumping for his sixth pass in that class. We’re hoping Aunty Robyn of Winpara, where he’ll be staying will be able to get him that final leg of JDM. We had a go at Masters Agility and after a couple of agonising moments (that felt like forever) it looked as though we were on the home stretch to qualifying when once again Cypher veered off at the last second as he took the broad jump, coming off the broad incorrectly, I didn’t even realise he’d done this till we finished and I discovered (much to my frustration) that we hadn’t qualified. Open Jumping he dropped a bar and after the amount of runs I had done by this stage I decided to stop him, reset the bar and withdraw. Open Agility I probably didn’t call hard enough or make my body cue obvious enough and he took his own course for several obstacles. Say la vee as they say. I ran Andrea’s sheltie Rumour and we made up for it with three out of four quallies so that was good, I also had an absolute blast running Emmy, a GSP. This dog is a real treat to run and I love running her, I run her in Strategic Pairs for Lisa. We were nailing the course when she just got a little too much speed on a corner and took the bar down but it sure felt like a lovely run.

Raven looks to have recovered completely from her toe injuries and by the time she trials again next year she will have been out of agility for a solid 8 weeks. Whilst that fact in itself brings apprehension about what sort of teamwork we’ll have when we commence 2007’s trialling season it also brings reassurance and confidence that whatever remaining healing she has left to do will be well and truly done by then. I am looking forward to easing her back into training when we get back. Cypher’s work will no doubt involve identifying what those four orange flagpoles on the corners of broad jumps mean! I shall have lots of goals and many things to train for next year, I am going to be very busy, Spryte needs to start having a lot more training fun, Cypher’s Obedience needs to be worked consistently instead of in the haphazard fashion of late and Raven will again go back to basic jumps drills in between us working hard to get our UD rounds together. Hmmm I think I am going to have to create a timetable with the training goals clearly set and a time frame we can work to.

There is much to look forward to next year – Nationals in Adelaide where we will spend 10 days competing and getting some sight seeing in hopefully, Greg Derrett coming to Perth to which I have working spots for, our usual Western Classic, State Titles and Royal Show, and I plan on getting some country shows and trials in. They may be a little too far flung at this stage but my goals will be for Raven to get her UD and Excellent Games titles as well as make a big dent towards her agility Champion title – she still has around 26 cards to go which seems like miles away! For Cypher – well obviously getting his Masters Titles, his ET, his CD and SD and some excellent games legs – obviously to win in either ADM or JDM would be a great achievement for such a youngster. Spryte? Well as she is just a bub – it would be nice to pick up some points for her Show Champ title, and I’d like to spend the year making sure she is more than ready to compete in 2008. Getting some basic obedience and some solid agility skills would be the best – I’d like to train a proper running contact with her on both A frame and dogwalk, have taught her to jump in the best possible way (after she’s 12 months) and just to have a dog who is manic about agility would be awesome. It’s not much to ask is it? Heheh – and so asks all agility obsessed freaks from around the world! Anyway that’s the plan and with such fantastic dogs as Raven, Cypher and Spryte I’m sure the plan will reach fruition one day!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cy - All Dressed Up

Cypher aged 2 years (Photos taken November 26th 2006)
His details:
Full Name: Nahrof Quick Change ADX JDX ADO JDO SPD GD
Date of Birth: 6th of October 2004
CEA/CH Test: Normal
CL Test: Clear (BRC1475)
Elbows: 0:0
Sire: Ch Maghera GhostinthMachine
Dam: Ch Nahrof Change of Pace

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November Goings Ons

Well it has been a while since I posted – I’ve been busy doing lots of stuff. For the last two weekends we’ve been working well together as a team (Raven and myself and Cypher and myself). Raven has gone clear twice in Masters Agility, last Saturday for a 2nd place after a run off as she tied with another dog for a 1st place time. Then last night she ran clear for 1st place. It looks like we are getting some consistency back finally! Monica Percival (Clean Run list) wanted to know about anyone with running contacts on the aframe who only trains aframes once a week. In other words people who don’t have a frames up in their backyard. I replied that Raven has them in trials. She wanted to know how fast so I got Tim to video her Masters Agility run last night and we put the footage on the computer to analyse how long her aframe takes. We took the time from the frame where her paws first hit it to the frame where all four paws have left it. Total time: 1.12 seconds. I was curious as to how that compares and dug up my December 05 issue Clean Run Mag where three well known US competitors (Kathy Keats, Nancy Gyes and Jane Simmons-Moake) have their say – all of them say that the highly competitive, fastest time to aim for is 1.30 seconds.

So I was more than happy with Raven’s time! I’m starting to take an interest in her mps (meters per second) times as well, last night the course was 195 meters long and she did it in 40.66 seconds. That puts her rate of travel at 4.79 mps. We had about 3 spots where we had a bobble and could have done a much tighter line. A “bobble” for the uninitiated is a deviation of your dog (99.9% of the time due to handler error) from the tightest line around the course. I would say if we’d done it without the bobbly bits we’d have shaved at least 3 seconds off which would have put her mps at well over 5mps. Regardless it was an exhilarating run as it always is with the Raven! We’re slowly whittling away at that Agility Champion title.

Cypher has been an awesome young boy of late. Last weekend he managed a leg in Masters Agility and a 4th place behind 3 of the fastest dogs competing (Indie, Raven and Terra) and in front of several well titled experienced top dogs. However not only did he gain his first pass in Masters Agility he also managed to finish off his ADO (Agility Dog Open) title with a 5th place in Open Agility, that makes his 8th title in 7 months of trialling. This weekend (or rather last night) he went several better – gaining a clear round and 3rd place in Masters Agility behind Raven and Cash, then going clear in Masters Jumping despite his handler have a blank moment mid way round the course and wasting precious seconds trying to figure out where to go. Then to finish the night off he went clear in Open Agility again and came 5th. I’ve been really pleased with his Masters Agility runs, I still feel we’re not working anywhere near his maximum speed and the fact that he is making into the top 3 or 4 placings certainly confirms my suspicions that we are yet to see his full potential on course. He did especially well last night despite having treatment for an ulcer on his right eye earlier that day (probably thanks to some rough house play with the gregarious Spryte!) and no doubt experiencing some irritation and vision interference. We have two legs left to go for our JDM title and three trials left for this year (one of which Robyn is going to be handling him for). It would be more than amazing if he managed to finish his JDM title that quick, so I’m not going to expect it, we’ll just see what happens.

Spryte has been busy too, she has now entered the show ring a couple of times, the first time without competition hence she was awarded Best Baby of Breed and the 2nd time just yesterday where she had competition in her class and she won that one, however was knocked off my her big brother ‘Flyte’ who is a rather handsome young puppy (yes I know his name is more than similar, and its more a girl’s name….I did not name him though and Spryte had her name about 3 weeks before hand!). You can see his page at under the Boys link. He went on to win Best Baby in Show at the Collie and Shetland Sheepdog specialty. Spryte has certainly started to pick the idea up of the showring, she is certainly outgoing and friendly enough and has figured out that bouncing, hopping and/or skipping is *not* rewarded where as a nice steady gait around is. Re her training; well we’re not doing a whole lot at the moment (three to train is quite time consuming as I am trying to fix up some bits for Raven’s UD, working lots more skills in agility plus trying to get him ready for Novice Obedience with Cypher). So with Spryte I am working on the wait, the three positions (sit, drop and stand) and have just ventured into target work with her, all the while doing the spine flexing exercises Stacy Peardot recommended around the cone. I’ll get some photos done to show what we do.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Raven and Cyphers October Weekend

Well it’s been a couple of good weekends actually, especially for the Cypher. As I wrote last time he gained his ADX last weekend (21/10), and he had his first venture into Masters Agility yesterday. He did very well with only one knocked bar more than likely due to a poorly timed rear cross movement on my part. For his first go on the ‘big dogs’ course as we call it he did very well. He has now also gained three Masters Jumping legs on the trot finishing in the top 7 each time when there were well over 15 qualifiers. He has a total of 4 JDM legs now, three more to go. We are still chasing that one elusive leg of ADO, we’ve been unlucky a couple of times now and had mostly refusal faults called. He has been much more focused this weekend and I am putting it down to doing a lot of recall work on training sequences during the week where he is called off obstacles and has to come to me to play tug (which he loves so not really training for him!) and also doing short sequences where I work on tightening him up on his lines which have a tendency to run wide. I will need to refresh his contacts again this week – for the first time ever he did a fairly cautious dog walk today and I don’t want that to recur.

Raven eased back into trialling this weekend, and did some really good work, her handler letting her down in Masters Jumping causing a refusal and she dropped a bar in Masters Agility both days. She has run clear for 2nd places in both Open Agility and Open Jumping and those runs felt fantastic. She is once again undefeated in Snooker in WA, completing her 2nd leg of Excellent Snooker with a first place after again managing to do the ‘Suicide 7’ as they call it. She has pulled up well from her toe injury it would seem though I am still keeping a close eye on it as there is more than likely a related weakness there now. Below is a gorgeous photo Tim took today of her and Spryte after the trial. I shall entitle this photo “The Raven and her Protégé”

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cypher gains his ADX!

Cypher's dogwalk - Contact!
Cypher on the seesaw
(official name now; Nahrof Quick Change ADX JDX JDO SPD GD)

Yeah! Cypher did it today - we ran clear on the Excellent Agility course for our 5th and final leg that gets us into Masters. Of his 5 legs he gained 3 x 1sts and 2 x 2nds, not bad for a young lad who isn't always on the same wavelength as his handler! He also ran clear for 4th place in Open Agility - that gave him his 4th leg, one more to go. We got to JDM and had a miscommunication about a certain tunnel, we carried on regardless and he did some nice work in his turns. As they always say - there's always the next trial! Raven stayed home today(against her express wishes, expressed very assertively by her insistence in staying close to the door that leads to the garage that leads to the car) - her limp has practically disappeared and the skin around the toe nail is returning to a more normal unbruised pink colour. However given that she was scratched from today's trial (and tomorrows) we felt bringing her would simply aggravate her which would in turn aggravate said toe as she goes bananas in the back of the car while I run Cypher, so with a biscuity treat we left her home. She's sulking as I type this, what she doesn't know is this is all going to happen again tomorrow! I have resigned myself to the fact that when she does come back from this injury she is going to be absolutely feral and a complete nutcase. C'est La Vie as they's not like it's new to me! Not only that - I always appreciate (and are very grateful) of the fact that she is here and healthy and willing to play this game with me no matter what.

Satanic Border Collie?

This picture was taken today. When I cropped it down and resized it I was a little shocked to see what resembles two small horns protruding from Cypher's head - yes indeed he does have a certain 'devil inside' aura around him at times. Mostly when we're running a course....sometimes seemingly very different courses.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Some more letters...

Sunday was a very successful day for Raven and a good day for Cypher (not quite as great as Raven's day!). My agility club held their 2nd and final trial for the year and we had agility and jumping in the morning and games in the afternoon. My brain and my body was not engaged for the first run up in Masters Jumping and I was a pretty crap handler for my girl who tried her best despite me being a slacker, she didn't know she'd done it wrong she still got her jackpot for keeping her bars up. Cypher had a boy brain moment and took one jump off course (I had learnt my lesson re Raven's run and was handling better) but other than that he worked well. In Open Agility Raven and I were back in sync and we ran clear for a 1st place and also our ADO title (you need 5 passes in this). Cypher was doing really well until we got to the seesaw where he got to about the middle of it and was so busy looking at me his front and back legs on his right came off the plank and he fell off sideways....he looked surprised to find himself on the ground! We continued on without any hiccups...he's still needing 2 more legs for this title. In Open Jumping Raven was entered but I had asked Kriszty if she'd like to run her and Kriszty offered for me to run Terra her young tri-colour BC girl. So we swapped dogs had a blast and both ran clear....not sure if she'll offer again though *g* as Raven came 2nd and Terra came 4th! In Masters Agility Raven was going really well, I directed her into the flexi tunnel entry and she turned sharply but I thought I heard her yelp just as she went in but she came bombing out like nothing was wrong and we kept going...then we got up the back of the course and she took a bar down and I noticed she was limping. I had a look at her paw and tried to see what it was and there was something sticking out of her pad so I pulled it out and we withdrew. After a number of other dogs had run the judge asked if I would like a rerun which was a nice surprise. So we reran and we were going really well till we got to the end of the dogwalk which had two jumps either side of it and the dog had to find the weavers straight down the middle but further away. Well Raven did her usual running contact thing and took the off course jump. Not her fault at all but we kept going without dropping a bar and she got another jackpot. She was jumping really well today. Next up in the afternoon was Raven's first go at Snooker Excellent level, we went for the Super Seven or Suicide 7 as some call it and she did it without a hitch she was in the zone that girl! From there we went into Novice Gamblers to try and get her last leg (as well as Cypher's). I picked a course that allowed us to do most things twice, the only major points thing we didn't do twice was the dogwalk but she had timed it beautifully for when the whistle blew, we finished the gamble and went clear for 59 points, 1st place and her title WOOHOO!! Cy also ran it clear for 48 points and his title. Our last run for Raven was Strategic Pairs Excellent class, Sue and Nifty ran very smoothly to combine with Raven's nice run and we ran clear without any errors and into 1st Place again! Cypher's last run was in Novice Strategic Pairs with Sage and Nicola and we ran that clear as well for a 2nd place and our titles. So a very good day in all we accomplished lots! Cypher just missed out on his final ADX leg with a tiny error on the broad jump but still ended up with 3rd place Non qualifying. There's always next weeks trial! Trial Secretaries are going to hate Raven's name even more now as her full title is Ch Rhonabwy Raven Ov Bear CDX ADM JDM ADO JDO SPD SD GD ET....and Cypher's is Nahrof Quick Change AD JDX JDO SPD GD.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nikon digital...way cool!

Today we tested out the new camera for it's frame per second capacity... and it was really quite neat to capture Cypher's jump style from a sit start to a toy (just off the frame in the last picture below). This is a great way to look at jumping style (there are other ways as well...we're just dealing with this one right now)....I'll have to get Raven done next.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Spryte All Dressed Up

A Champ Relation?

I just found out that Spryte has the same Great Grandfather as the current Gold medal winner of the 2006 FCI World Championships - Simic along with her handler Sarah Lorentzen have won the Large dog class combining a 1st place in Jumping and a 2nd place in Agility to take the overall Gold! Check out Simic's page. Simic turned 4 years old in July and I am hanging out to see her runs on DVD!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FCI World Champs 2006

FCI World Championships in Agility is on right now in Basel, Switzerland. My friend Megan is over there watching the whole thing (lucky girl!) and I am sitting here watching my computer for updated results every 60 seconds. I won’t see the runs till the DVD comes out but just looking at those courses it’s going to be very interesting to see how it was all handled. Linda Mecklenberg and Stellar are over there competing as I write this - I’m wishing her all the luck I can send. Stellar and Linda are a great team and Linda would have to be one of the best handlers in the world not the least because of her high rate of spectacular consistency. People say agility is about two things – speed and accuracy, I actually think it is about three things – speed, accuracy *and* consistency. A really good team to me is one that finishes consistently in the first three spots for qualifying. Not just in the odd trial here and there but frequently, with a high clear round rate. I’d love to see more of the European runs on a DVD or video clips – there are quite obviously some fantastic handlers in places like Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary etc however in Australia we tend to not see too much of them except for the once a year FCI World Champs DVD.

So if you want to check out the courses and the results go to:

Spryte's Family

Friday, October 06, 2006

Cypher's Birthday Present

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CYPHER!! Cyboy is 2 years old today….and still a complete puppyhead. His birthday present came a little early. It is now official so I guess it’s ok to write about it here. Our family has increased by one! Two weeks ago we came home with a tiny little bundle of black and white fluff from my friend’s place (Winpara Border Collies) who was born on July 21st. We’ve decided that she has turned out to be Cypher’s most interactive toy ever and he absolutely adores playing with her. Her name is ‘Spryte’ which has always been on my list of possible girls names for my future use. Since she was the tiniest and the only girl in her litter of 7 Spryte is actually quite apt. The definition of Spryte in the Urban Online Dictionary is spookily accurate; 1.Spryte - This is a kind of mix between a sprite and a nymph, but it is very evil! Sprytes are naughty, mischievous, flirty, and cocky. They can be easily provoked to bite too. This type of fairy is usually found naked. Sprytes are almost always female in appearance, and they have wings and are able to fly at will. This sounds like exactly what I wished for and there have already been signs of this description being proved correct! She is certainly what one would call a Scrat (see Ice Age for prehistoric psycho sabre tooth squirrel) and yet has the attitude of one who has a much bigger physical presence. 6 much boofier, heavier brothers could not put her down on the ground, her feisty never-give-up nature ensured that she was always left with a victorious paw pressed firmly on the chest of her brother with said brother conceding defeat at the paws of a much slighter sibling. It took her 24 hours to break the ice with my other two – or perhaps it took 24 hours before they resigned themselves to the fact that she was not going back to where she came from! Either way she was rolling around the floor in a mock wrestling duel with both of them before she’d been here 48 hours.

So why another Border Collie I have been asked. Well firstly – why not? Secondly this was not in any way shape or form planned. I had visited this litter several times as they were growing up, saw them at a few days old, a couple of weeks old, 4 weeks old etc etc and other than noticing that it was a good sized litter with some boofy males in it and a tiny scrat of a girl I didn’t think anything of it. At 5 weeks I think I liked her attitude when I watched her with her littermates. She gave as good as she got and she was the quickest at figuring stuff out – like how to get out of the whelping box, how to anticipate where the food source was going to be emerging from next. How to tell her brothers in no uncertain terms that she was *not* a doormat. At 6 weeks I helped out with the 6 week old photo shoot. I got home and saw them uploaded to the website and absolutely saw an image of Raven at 6 weeks there. She had Raven’s same take no crap, bounce back temperament, she was built like her mum and moved like she meant business so she was obviously well constructed. However it was her facial expression in that 6 week old head shot that just plain bowled me over. It was so reminiscent of a puppy Raven that I started to think seriously about whether or not she would be available to me. The rest as they say is history. She is now 11 weeks old, and currently rolling around on the floor mock growling as she beats up Cypher who simply places a paws on her to flatten her which lasts a second before she’s up and going for his jugular again (good luck finding it in all that hair!).

She has an online gallery of photos you can check out…

Spryte's Gallery

In the meantime here is our most recent couple of pics of the unbathed and unbrushed scrat.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Perth Royal 2006

Cypher wins at Perth Royal 2006!

First EVER Royal Show Win! Cypher was a star! I’ve been competing at Royals in the Agility since Bear was in Novice way back in 1999. So this is our 8th year of competing at the Royal and the closest I’ve ever come to winning was a 2nd place way back in 1999! Last Monday Cypher fixed that! We won the Excellent Agility class and that was a real buzz! I had decided to scratch him from the teams event on the Saturday to give his toe injury just a couple more days rest. And although the team “Two’s Company” just missed out on qualifying in the top 6 (for the first time ever at a Royal Show) it was worth in the end on Monday when he won Excellent. Considering he’d had no training in nearly 2 weeks and had been crated for at least a week to rest his toe I wasn’t expecting much. I had the sneaking feeling he’d go absolutely feral on me and run around doing everything he could. I was very proud of his Royal Agility debut. :-)

Raven…well she was Raven *sigh* one fault in Masters Agility, a called contact in Open Agility (that a few said that she had got but there you go), by the time we got to the Jumping classes her speed had somehow increased which meant listening was not a high priority really and my handling wasn’t as exact as it should have been. Open Agility was our best round and really she did everything perfect in that course – just didn’t make the contact obvious enough.

Like I always say with her at the end of each Royal – there’s always next years! LOL! Hmmm she’ll be 7 by that one, wonder if it will be lucky 7! Cypher now has only one more leg to go for his ADX, fingers crossed at the ACWA trial October 15th.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Raven Rocks!!

Well it’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted, and there’s been a few trials since then. Raven has gained a couple of new titles in the meantime. Her official fancy name is now CH Rhonabwy (pronounced Ron Are Bee) Raven ov Bear CDX ADM JDM ET JDO SPD SD…phew I’m going to have to redo my entry forms to fit all that lot on! The JDO stands for Jumping Dog Open and the SPD stands for Strategic Pairs Dog and the SD stands for Snooker Dog. She again did a blitzing Snooker run for the maximum points and this time was the only dog successful at doing the “Suicide Seven”…it was more tricky to do this time so I thought her time would be way slower than the Midland run however she was only 2 seconds slower at 38.45 on a 63 seconds SCT. I stuffed Cypher up in this one…I thought he had missed a contact on the a frame (I was too far behind to see but the leap he did made me wonder) so I stopped dead and checked with judge Tom Weir – he got it apparently but by the time I turned back to him he’d gone off and done two weaves which it turned out non-qualified him. So Raven won that one easily.

In the Strategic Pairs Sue and I really got it together well – we ran a super fast course with no mistakes – one change over could have been slightly faster and it cost us about 0.25 of a second which meant we came 2nd instead. That was way cool though because our run was heaps better this time than last time. It won’t be long till we get a first place I believe. However another good thing about that run was that meant we both moved up into Excellent class and gained our SPD titles!
In Gamblers I walked the course memorising my route to take with Raven as I was running her first up in that class. I didn’t really bother thinking about how I’d run Cypher or the Sheltie Rumour that I run for friend Andrea. Raven decided my plan sucked and that dogwalks were for missing the contacts on – so in order to get our max points for the dogwalk performance and for me to instil in her the firm belief that contacts should be done we ended up doing the dogwalk about 6 times!! We got a few more points along the way but that dogwalk took up a lot of time!! Never the less she did qualify and we got our 2nd gamblers leg – one more to go for GD.

Cypher and Rumour were run near the end of the class – I kind of just stood around for a bit before hand and tried to memorise some sort of plan in my head about where we needed to go and what things I definitely wanted to do twice. So I ran the course with him we did our weavers twice, the dogwalk twice, the a frame twice, the spread jump a couple of times plus a couple of tunnels and tyres, the whistle blew and we headed off to the gamble which he also completed nicely for a pass and his 2nd leg. Then not long afterwards I ran Rumour who went really well for me just missing out on a couple of points on the 4 weave obstacle but we timed it nicely so that she virtually ran straight into the gamble when the whistle blew. She also got a pass. However when it came to presentation time there were about 22 passes. I was busy writing them all down because I keep the results for ACWA’s website and when they got to 8th they called Raven’s name out – I wasn’t surprised at all given the time we wasted doing 6 dogwalks! But then they got into the placings and neither Cypher’s nor Rumour’s had been called out. Turned out Rumour came 2nd and Cypher won Gamblers!!!! I was stunned and had to double check it was true when I went up…apparently he gained the most points in the opening sequence! Something like 38 points and Rumour got 36. I was amazed I have to say but still very proud that he could do that at not even 2 years of age!

Raven didn’t do any good in the morning’s regular classes but Cy was a good boy – he gained his 3rd leg of Excellent Agility with a 2nd place and he also (in only his 2nd turn in Masters Jumping) gained his 1st leg of JDM! He was 8th out of about 12 as we did have a slight wobble near the end but still for only his 2nd try I was very pleased.

Then we had this last Saturday double trial at Gosnells. I was hoping we’d have finished off at least one title on one of them as Raven needs 2 legs for her ADO as does Cypher, and he also needs two more for ADX. Well I don’t know what Cypher was thinking but he was most un-Cypher like today non qualifying in 6 out of 6 runs and knocking a bar in 3 of his runs! And a couple of runs he just seemed to think he knew where he was going and didn’t need me at all! Thankfully Raven saved the day – she quallied in the morning on the Masters Agility course, we didn’t exactly get a smooth line of jumps home and I had to micro handle that line a lot so we came 2nd by about 0.5 of a second. I was very happy for the clear! Then in the afternoon we went straight from the Masters Agility ring to the Open Agility ring and I think she sensed my frustration at her having knocked the very first bar in Masters Agility because she ran like a BC possessed in Open Agility, kept her bars up and we won that class easily giving her leg #4 for her ADO. 1 to go! She’s a funny girl this one – some dogs when you use your stern-I-mean-business voice would shut down – not her, she just runs faster and barks louder! SO now we wait….two more weeks and then it’s the Perth Royal. We never do any good there but we have fun trying! The crowds always enjoy her insanely manic runs, it’s be interesting to see what Cypher makes of the ringside spectators.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Raven wins Snooker Class

Today Western Australia held it's first ever Snooker trial event since the introduction of the new games rules on July 1st. We had judge Clive Makepeace over from Victoria and he had the honour of setting the first Novice course. In Snooker Novice the maximum points you can earn is 51 if you do what is known as "Suicide 7", in other words you try and do the set of 12 weavers three times before you do your closing sequence. You must attempt at least two red jumps (there were four out there today on the course you may only jump each red jump once) followed by a colour obstacle which garners a certain amount of points. Weavers are worth 7, dogwalk is 6, broad jump 2, tyre is 2 etc etc. A number of dogs attempted the "Suicide 7" and at least 4 did it successfully. So those 4 dogs who each had the maximum points then decide the placings via their time. I'm very proud to say that Raven got her 51 points and did the course in the quickest time of 36.39seconds (SCT was 55). I initially thought and still do really that Snooker would be the least enjoyable of the games simply because of the handling you have to do to get your dog to *avoid* doing obstacles that will immediately excuse you from the ring. It has the same stipulation as Gamblers - that the closing sequence must be completed without fault however that issue of only being able to do a red jump once and then running off to have to find another red jump after you've done a colour was always going to be a drawback for me! Especially if a red jump gets knocked down then you really have to make up a plan on the spot. With Cypher I didn't labour under any delusions of being competitive with him, so I just picked a simple course which gave us our minimum points and then prayed that he'd stick the weavers in the closing sequence. He was a good boy and did pass his first Snooker trial. Raven also had a win in Open Jumping to finish the day off and Cypher came 6th out of 12 in the same class as well. Despite not qualifying in either Masters class or Open Agility with Raven I was happy to see that out of 5 runs today she had only knocked one bar (Masters Jumping) which had been helped by me not handling her to plan. Cy was away with the fairies in two of his runs - Masters Jumping and Open Agility and in Excellent Agility we were going great guns till about the third obstacle from the end, when he was convinced we needed to do a tyre despite me standing next to the broad jump, pointing at it and saying quite firmly "Come!". He tried doing the tyre twice before he realised that we didn't seem to be going anywhere. He finished with a flourish though as is his tendency these days. Oh well there's always next weekend! See below for some great photos of the dogs in action today - for once Cypher looks like he's moving with a purpose rather than just posing for the camera!

Cypher & Raven Go Jump!

Cypher and Raven at today's trial in Midland. Whilst you see Raven and Cypher doing the same tyre just so you know Raven is the one looking the right way!

Great photos by Tim at Your Dog Photos

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A bit of Raven History

I've been meaning to write a blog entry for Raven's background for a while now. Raven came to us at the age of 8 weeks, born on the 7th of March in the year 2000.

Raven at the age of 3 weeks
Raven at the age of 5 weeks
Raven at the age of 9 weeks
Raven was born in Southern River at Rhonabwy Kennels bred by Chris Fernando. I didn't purchase Raven as Chris used my dog Bear on one of her bitches to produce the litter. I got to pick from the three girls in the litter of 5 puppies. Bear was 8 years old by the time he had his first and only mating yet he still managed to get the job done!
Bear is pictured above and below. He was one of the friendliest, most laid back Border Collies I have ever had the privilege of meeting and he was the one responsible for me striking up a conversation with my now 9 year strong partner Tim. Bear was also born in Southern River - in Llanwnen Kennels. His fancy show name was Llanwnen Jac B Nimble CD ADM JDX ET. Bear was born on the 10th of November 1992 and he passed away on the 29th of August 2003 suddenly and without any warning.
Bear lives on in his daughter, Raven. Raven's fancy show name is Australian Champion Rhonabwy Raven Ov Bear CDX ADM JDM JDO ET. We have completed her show champion title, her Endurance Test title, her obedience title Companion Dog Excellent and we are working on her Utility Dog title. She has finished her Masters Agility and Masters Jumping titles and she is in the progress of finishing her Open and Games titles. Raven has alot of traits like her Dad, yet she retains her own very unique and individual character, she is very much a people person rather than a dog person. She has a few select Canine friends but generally she considers herself above most of her canine peers. Raven is now 6 and a half years old and still a maniac on the agility course albeit with a bit more control these days (most trials that is, she is always capable of making sure you don't get too comfortable and reverting back to her fresh 2 year old absolute lunatic feral BC). Raven has taught me a massive amount about dog training and in particular about the importance of jumping. Below are some photos from various stages of her career so far.

Cypher weave...

Cypher in the weave poles

Cypher sitting on the startline

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cypher's Trialling record

Trialling started on the 8th of April 2006 when Cy was aged 18 months and 2 days, this table is updated to the weekend of August 27th 2006.


Clear Runs



Novice Agility


3 x 1st
1 x 3rd
1 x 5th

Werriwa 22/04, Southern River 30/04, Bunbury 14/05, Nationals 10/06, Nationals 11/06

Novice Jumping


4 x 1st
2 x 2nd

Cloverdale 08/04, Perth 15/04, Werriwa 22/04, BC Nationals 23/04, Southern River 30/04, Bunbury 14/05

Excellent Agility


2 x 1st

Bunbury 13/08, CAWA 26/08

Excellent Jumping


2 x 1st
1 x 3rd
1 x 4th
1 x 6th

Cloverdale 09/07, ACWA 15/07, ACWA 15/07, Bunbury 13/08, CAWA 26/08

Masters Agility

Masters Jumping

Open Agility


1 x 2nd

Werriwa 22/04, ACWA 15/07, CAWA 26/08

Open Jumping


2 x 1st

Cloverdale 08/04, Perth 15/04, ACWA 15/07, CAWA 26/08, CAWA 26/08




Nationals 10/06

Strategic Pairs Novice


Nationals 10/06

Snooker Novice

Intense weave focus!

Raven at the trials yesterday...insane weaving maniac!

CAWA Fundraisers Trials aka Cypher's Most Excellent Adventure!

Yesterday the Agility Committee put on a double header agility and jumping trial like they do every year to raise funds for our own Canine Association. It was well attended with nearly 500 runs throughout the day. I was there at gates opening - 7am as being on the committee I needed to help organise the equipment and set courses. It didn't help that on Thursday I came down with something and have felt pretty damn crook for the last 48 hours, maybe catching 3 hours sleep all night Friday night. So dosed up on Nurofen Plus (the one with the excellent somewhat weirdly effective Codeine in it) I arrived at the grounds with my brain in automatic pilot thinking only 1 step ahead. I had no idea how I would go today and really the way I was feeling at that point, running courses was the last thing on my mind.

So the morning trial rolled into a start and first cab off the ranks was Raven in Masters Agility. Given that I had no voice, and what vocal capacity I did have was saved for emergency calls on the course I'd decided that today they'd have to cue off my body just about the whole way. This didn't worry me as running silent with Raven is usually far more effective, I didn't know how it would go with Cypher but as I said one step at a time.
The Masters Agility course was really quite nice and flowing, unfortunately we didn't finish it as we left as soon as she dropped a bar. She dropped the one before the dogwalk. I stopped went back and replaced it and we left the ring. Illness really helps one stick to one's criteria like that!
Next up was Cypher in Excellent Jumping, again this was a really nice course that had some interesting handling challenges. Unfortunately I came to a complete halt in the middle of it, not because I got lost but because when I quickly glanced at a number to double check (whilst Cy was in a tunnel) it was facing the wrong way so I couldn't even see if it was the right number. We wasted a good 5 to 6 seconds there at least. In the end I just went with my instinct and it turned out to be the right way, then of course on the nice straight line home instead of just sticking to "Go on Go On" - idiot me yelled "Go on, go on, out go on" and what did he do? He went out of course like the good boy he is! Needless to say that course was not successful for us
but Cy was a good boy how got lots of play at the end of the course.
Soon the Open Jumping course was ready for running - there were a number of complaints about this course in terms of the distance control being virtually impossible to complete. I had a go with Raven and when I yelled out, she went out but still couldn't see the jump she had to go out to. They came through a fairly heavy collapsible tunnel then had to go out at quite an angle to jump a bar the was on quite an odd angle in relation to their position as they came out of the tunnel. Her speed and her moment taken to reorientate herself with the course meant that she whipped back to me and started barking wanting to know where to go. Needless to say we failed the distance challenge on this one :-)! Along with 53 other dogs so I didn't feel too bad. There was only one qualifier and after going up to the line with him still wondering how the hell I was going to get him through this distance challenge, Cypher was the only one that managed it. He managed it simply by NOT listening to me who had some sort of vague half assed plan that once he was in the tunnel I would call him back to the line bring him around my legs and shoot him out to the jump. When he came out the tunnel he had sudden deafness to my calls of Cypher Come, kind of trotted over towards the ring ropes (obviously thinking about Saffi - the red and white girl Robyn had brought down) and ended up right in front of the jump he was supposed to do. So I just gave up trying to get him to come and yelled "Out Over" and so he did it! The only one out of 55 dogs to do it. What a cack! Not even my experienced Masters dog who is a very
competent distance worker could do it. That was really his only major moment of 'boys brains' so to speak and probably the one time in his career where it will actually benefit him! So he achieved 1st Place Open Jumping!
Next on the agenda was Masters Jumping and judge Mel Rhoden put up another really smooth flowing yet challenging course. Raven again made it round half way before she knocked a bar. So again we stopped, replaced the bar and left the ring. Following Masters Jumping was Cypher in Excellent Agility. This course ran really well, it was smooth, flowing and we both ran it well, he was very responsive to me and working hard. There were only 2 qualifiers on this course and Cypher managed a good time to win 1st place by about 25 seconds from the 2nd qualifier. I was very happy with the way he was running despite the fact that I wasn't really energetic or vocal enough to show it!
Soon the Open Agility course was set and ready for running. The course really didn't need alot of distance handling on it and it would be likely to have lots of qualifiers. Raven again was going great guns until she knocked a bar at the start of the distance challenge, we stopped and left the ring again. Cypher was the last dog to run this course and again like in Excellent Agility we ran like clockwork, he was on the ball with every signal and command I gave and looked to be having such a good time he let out a bark at me at one stage - his very first on course bark. That made me smile as it was a bark through sheer excitement and enthusiasm for what we were playing at. He did a nice course and gained a clear round and came 9th out of 19 clear rounds so very happy with that. Only two more to go for his ADO title now.
Then it was lunchbreak and time to set the courses for the afternoon's trial. The first event we were to run in the afternoon was the Excellent Jumping course. Once again Cypher kept his form going and ran very smoothly for me, not only did we go clear and gain our JDX title we also won 1st place over 4 other clear runs. So for him he'd had 4 clear runs from 5 so far that day - I was starting to wonder when his fuse would overload! Next up was Masters Agility and Raven kept all her bars up this time, and ran clear. We only managed a 3rd place though because she decided to run the last four jumps according to her plan rather than mine which meant quite a bit of faffing about as I like to call it. It was good to go clear on a Masters Agility course for once though - the last time we did that was back in April!
Our next event was the Open Jumping course and I did a four jump lead out with Raven so that I could put her into a serpentine with me leading her from the front, she did this lead out really well and again we were going great guns till an odd angled bar was knocked about the 2nd obstacle into the distance challenge. We replaced the bar and left. The distance challenge whilst it didn't look all that difficult had dogs doing all sorts of faults - splicing the broad, extending over a jump so much it took them past the next jump and missing the weaver entry. Cypher I handled with a two jump lead out and he again ran as smooth as clockwork - he was really firing on all four cylinders today (in his case I think he's got 6!). There were no hiccups or wobbly bits for us and he ran clear for his JDO title today, not only that but he won 1st place again! Beating 4 other clear rounds, I was over the moon with him. I certainly didn't expect anything else from him that day.
After Open Jumping the Excellent Agility course was set and Cy must have had enough by then I think. He missed his A Frame contact and then vagued out on me going round a jump that was set near the side of the ring, I went to run off on him and he came with me straight away so I just got him to redo his A Frame contact and then we did a couple of jumps on the way out as we left the ring.
The last course of the day (and by this point I was definitely grateful for that!) was Open Agility. Now Raven still needed legs for this so I had thought of a couple of options of handling it. The best way to complete a three jump box was to front cross on the dog as it completed a 270 and came over the bar at you and typically this is something I always tend to shy away from because when just going for a clear I like to play it safe and give Raven as much room as possible to clear the bar. However I saw this successfully done with two much younger and just as fast dogs. So I decided what the hell I'll see if I can do it. And we did it! I was so impressed she kept the bar up but remembered not to stand around spectacting this wonderful event and we blitzed the rest of the course to win it. What a star she was! The 3 clear runs she had in the afternoon more than made up for the crappy morning trial we had. Cy again was the last dog to run and he was firing as well until I tried a "Raven" move on him that I haven't really practiced and he popped out the weavers as I did it. I took him back to redo the weavers and did a more gentle front cross on him closer to the weavers as he was doing them and he was fine, he stayed in them. But then as I yell "A Frame" he decided to just gallop across the up plank coming off sideways! I gave him an "oi!!" and he did it again properly, but I think I knew by then he was probably a bit switched off. We finished the course though because I'd brought his tuggy lead
and I'd wanted to finish really fast and play a stong game of tug with him. He did finish the course nicely and we did have a big game of tug afterwards. I didn't begrudge him this or any of his non-clear runs that day he'd performed well above my expectations that day - to say I was very proud of him would be an absolute understatement.
We have a trial next weekend (our first one with the games of Snooker and Strategic Pairs to be held in this State) and I've decided that until we've been trialling a bit longer I'll just put this weekend's trial to an amazing amount of luck. If he maintains his consistency next weekend on brand new trial grounds for him then I'll know we're getting somewhere.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Winter Wonderland

I've been scanning websites keenly lately in a bid to find our own personal ultimate dog sled holiday. Tim and I will be having a European Christmas this year and so far the best site that combines both the dog sled and the snowmobile fun in one tour is this one; Magic Lapland . It looks very picturesque and deliciously, whitely chilly. The very thought of being out there in the pristine, snowy wilderness with a pack of huskies running in front of you brings an excited sense of anticipation.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Stacy Peardot in Perth DAY TWO

Today Stacy indicated that she wanted us to work on various handling skills such as our shoulder movements, front crosses and rear crosses. First up though, she talked about an exercise that someone had enquired about the previous day to do with teaching dogs to flex from the middle of their spine leading to greater and more efficient turning capability over jumps and on the flat. We organised a witches hat or cone that was around knee height and we tried a couple of dogs on the exercise however Stacy needed a dog that wouldn’t care about where mum was and was a high toy drive, in particular willing to tug with her. I was asked to bring Cypher out (he apparently has a reputation for his somewhat insane addiction to playing tug, he’s not even 2 yet!) and although at the start he was watching me closely as soon as Stacy brought the tug out the game was on, she had him in the palm of her hand. Stacy would hold him by his collar (as an extra note here she spoke about making sure our dogs were completely unconcerned about being held by the collar, that we should be able to reach out and hold the dog by the collar without the dog feeling like it was being corrected or feeling uncomfortable). So she held him by his collar in her left hand, had the tug toy in her right hand (this was a half meter length ropey tug toy – I think this exercise would be better with a longer tuggy rather than a short one). She held Cy so that he was facing just to the left of the cone, then she brought her right hand and the tuggy round the other side of the cone (she herself was obviously positioned fairly close to the cone). When Cy could see the end of the toy on the left side of the cone and was raring to get at she let him go telling him to “Get it” in an urgent excited voice. As soon as he leapt for it she dragged it quickly round, nice and close to the cone, Cy chased it turning really tightly round the cone and he grabbed it and played when they were clear of the cone heading off at a 90 degree angle to the cone.

He turned so tight the cone got knocked over but Stacy repeatedly said that this did not matter at all, in fact it meant that he was turning as tightly as he could and so it was a good thing. I have tried to do a rough diagram in the image below to try and illustrate the dog’s path, it was important to remember to get that full turning body movement that you reward with the tug toy at the end of the dogs path here (indicated in red). Of course Stacy reminded us that we should be doing this both directions equally even though both we and our dogs will feel a lot more natural and smooth turning one way more than another.

Another aspect that Stacy really wanted us to become better observers of is identifying when a dog was bending or flexing and turning from the middle of his spine or was just trying to pull its body round the turn using its front. From watching when I did it with Cypher a few times myself the others were able to see the difference between the two. An obvious clue is how tight the turn was, every time he flexed from the middle of his spine the turn was tight, if he didn’t the turn was loose on the cone.

The next skill Stacy addressed was the See Saw performance (or teeter as it called in the US). The previous day she had mentioned that she was not inclined to be satisfied with the seesaw performances on the agility course and she felt that we could get them much better. So to get an idea of what approaches dogs were using she had us set up the adjustable seesaw so that it was on full height to begin with. Out of the 12 dogs I think she was satisfied that maybe one or two of them were doing them to the best of their ability. The rest were a mixture of either being very confident yet not understanding the bottom behaviour therefore were prone to fly offs and those that were still slowing down to look for that point at which the seesaw pivots and then moving off. So because the majority were of the latter type we adjusted the seesaw to it’s lowest height (about 10 inches off the ground at the end) and all we did to start with was just run our dogs across the plank encouraging them to just keep running instead of thinking about what they had to do. We did this a few times until the dogs were quite relaxed and running across the plank happily.

She then asked us to give our verbal cue to the dog that we used for the seesaw end behaviour, and if we needed to we were to quick release them with whatever our release word was. This is where Cy and I exposed our big gaps in our seesaw training. (I knew we would, I haven’t been happy with his seesaw training much at all, it relies very heavily on me saying down at just the right moment and it is something that is almost impossible to be consistently on the ball with due to the massive variation we have in our seesaws in this state when it comes to how fast they drop, I’ve been trying to nut out what to do with his seesaw for ages!). We ran at it again and I said “Down” just as he got to the end, he downed immediately however one side of his rear end was not lined up with the plank and he kind of half fell off it sideways as the plank hit the ground, then corrected himself and lay there on the end of the plank waiting for his release of “ok”. It looked awkward, ugly and dangerous, all the things that Stacy observed out loud and I agreed with.

The issue with him is not about flyoffs, he doesn’t really like doing fly offs at all, the issue is that I’m not sure about what exactly I want him to do on the seesaw. I’ve never had to actually think about the process or behaviour before. With Raven I just yell “Wait” she applies the brakes and then self releases as soon as the board hits the ground. Sometimes she slides it into the ground other times she rides it and as soon as it hits she’s gone. She has an absolutely fearless approach to the obstacle and it’s always done us ok in trials so I’ve never thought to refine it or demand anything more formal. I think she has picked up the idea somehow that she has to wait till it hits the ground before she leaves but I’m not sure how. We’ve had a few calls this year for seesaws but again they are rare enough that I’ve never been motivated enough to perfect her seesaw behaviour.

I know I want him to run straight up it, get near the end (not right on the edge or anything like that – a good 30cm from the end) lie down and then release on my “ok”. So Stacy recommended that I take him back to the lower sized seesaw (in training each week) and work on getting that down in a better place and trying to fade that verbal cue out by getting so many repetitions on the low seesaw that he just starts to recognise for himself the behaviour he is running to do. I know it is going to be a work in progress for sometime to come and it is clear that the more different seesaws I get to train him on the better.

She recommended that for quite a few others, the more older dogs though who have been competing in Masters she suggested a bit of gaffer tape on the end of the seesaw with a bit squeeze cheese on it to encourage them to run to the end of the plank and ride it. From an early puppy stage though Stacy uses a very basic shaping with the clicker on the end of an extremely low seesaw (2 to 3 inches off the ground at the most) and she’ll straddle the board at the end facing the pivot point. Then she just shapes and clicks the puppies for getting all four paws on the board (starting off with a click treat for one paw, then two and so on) until pup is virtually throwing their bodies onto the board to get the treat. Stacy went into more detail about what are her next steps but I’m afraid I didn’t take those notes down! I’ll have to see if someone else remembers what she said. Next Stacy set us up the Jumping sequence for the day. She didn’t have any numbers up on it to begin with and simply showed us the first exercise. See the image below;

Stacy then asked us all to run it just being aware of what our shoulders were doing and without ANY verbals apart from whatever word we use for the jumps (Hup, Over etc), but no names or comes. Just about every single dog managed this exercise without any trouble, a few handlers got caught up running into the uprights of the box in the middle but other than that I think maybe one dog out of the whole group actually went into a tunnel. Stacy was impressed with how we managed this exercise particularly after several of us had all voiced our doubts about how we would get around this circle!

We then repeated the exercise in the other direction without too much difficulty. Some of us tried to make sure we stayed off the inner box, however we were still aware of what our shoulders were doing and by being conscious of where they were turning we were still able to keep a hold of our dog. All this without a single yell of a dog’s name or of “Come” or “Here”. I said nothing with Cypher, I just ran since I don’t tend to say anything for jumps. It was a really good shoulder awareness raising exercise!

The next exercise was more of a challenge, especially since the dogs had been patterned at least 6 times by now on the previous exercise.

This one was tough, we were still not allowed to say anything other than the jumps and now we could say the word “tunnel” or whatever word we used for the tunnel. We were not allowed to say the word “out” ARGH!!!! I got round to #5 at least three times and then Cy would cut me off each time to do #14 instead of the tunnel. This was the ultimate exercise in teaching shoulder/body cue importance. The only way I succeeded in the end was when Stacy told me that I needed to turn my shoulders more inwards on #1 to #4 so that when I straightened up and virtually pushed my right shoulder out towards the tunnel as he committed to #5 then he could see a much different picture about our direction. Several of us also struggled to not use our “off arm” to indicate the tunnel, when your shoulder is pushing out there it was incredibly hard to keep the arm from following it out there! This exercise was very valuable and one that I will need to keep working on. We didn’t even get a chance to run it the other way I don’t think, because so many of us found this one such a challenge enough already. All that thinking hard, being so self conscious about what your shoulders were doing whilst still maintaining connection with your dog was a challenge to say the least!

After lunch we then looked at tightening up our front crosses with the following sequence.

Stacy broke this one down for us after we had all had a turn on this (some of us did it well, others not so well). I felt like I was leaving Cy behind on the turns from the box jump to the outside jump, but then I was all too aware that these front crosses were definitely not our strong point.

Stacy wanted to see dogs collect themselves nicely for the front cross turns into the box jumps and she showed us how to encourage this by just demonstrating jump #1 and #2. The handler would stand in line with the inside upright of #2, leg on either side of the bar facing out. Handler holds left hand up to indicate the #2 jump leaving the dog in a wait at #1. Handler releases dog and as dog comes over #1 and as he commits to #2 our right hand come up we step back with our left foot and using our right hand to indicate the turn we ‘collect’ our dog up from the turn and direct them over #3. For a few dogs (including Cypher) it took a few goes before we started to see them showing some real collection in a bid to turn tightly towards us.

Another issue a few handlers had was the dogs bypassing #4, #7 and #10 due to the handlers being so concerned about getting into the right spot to show the front cross turn to their dogs that they stayed close in to the box jumps, just kind of pointed quickly to #4 and then ran off expecting the dogs to do the jumps by themselves. This was a problem as the dogs were on such an angle coming off the inside box jump that the jump was hard to see let alone to try and jump. After several handlers were made aware of this they supported their dogs more by coming off the inside box jump with them and shaping their line a bit better to the jumps. It was interesting when I did a comparison of this exercise with both my dogs, Cypher did fairly tight turns off the inside box and fairly wide turns on the outside circle, yet when I did this with Raven she quickly tightened up her turns on the outside circle however just could not collect herself nicely over the inside box turns, and frequently flung herself over the next box jump. It was almost like with her she’d worked really hard to turn nice and tight towards me on the outside circle and then when I’d caught her after that she thought she was in extension mode again immediately.

Cypher just has no comprehension at the moment of any collection over jumps that are generously spaced apart, irrespective of where my body is. This was something that Stacy noticed and suggested that I do a lot more cone work with him. Again this is an exercise that should be repeated as many times again in the other direction.

The last challenge of the day was rear crosses on this course. See the next image;

This was a great course to run and one that felt as smooth as silk when I ran it with Raven on another day. Cypher and I managed to get around it but he felt slow and was turning like a Mack truck again. He was still switched on to me though so I had a few goes at the course. He managed to read the rear crosses well at #5 to #6 and #9 to #10 and #15 to #16. I felt the line he took over these jumps though could have been much more improved. The dog should not be jumping over #6 at an angle that points him directly at the end of the tunnel. He should be more centred over the bar and should also be on his left lead leg rather than his right, so that he can have an efficient line to #7. A few dogs had issues with handlers not turning their shoulders just at the right moment to get the dog to cross. Too late and the dogs went in the tunnel too early and you pulled the dog off the jump, we even had a few dogs run between the jump and the tunnel. Stacy got up and showed them what line they themselves should be running and she occasionally blocked a tunnel for dogs that had patterned themselves incorrectly to take the tunnel. They took the jump once correctly and then they were fine. Again this is an exercise you can (and should!) do in reverse.

And that was the end of our day and thus our time with Stacy. I really hope she comes back again, as once again I found myself picking up lots of good tips and giving more direction to my training. My goal after this seminar is to have a crystal clear picture of what I want Cy’s seesaw to look like, to walk courses aiming to use front crosses when needed rather than just thinking that it’s always going to be a rear cross, to teach Cypher to flex from his middle all the time. To reinforce my contact behaviour with both dogs – maintain criteria!! Thanks to Deb Kelly of Blue Moon Border Collies who helped make this experience possible and final thanks to Stacy for making the trek out down under!