Sunday, July 30, 2006


Ok I will be kicking myself up and down the training field for the next 2 weeks at least! Raven was superb today she did not put a foot wrong she went exactly everywhere I told her to!!! She kept every single bar up in FOUR runs and was as responsive and as focussed as she has ever been.Stupid, idiot, dumbass handler today screwed up both Masters runs – and lovely steward came up to me afterwards and told me Raven had the quickest time on both courses today ARGHHHH!!!!!. In Masters Agility I called “Tyre– turn” and then forgot to say “out” or “over” or even if I had just left my arm up she would have taken the jump instead she ran straight past it – ARGHHHH!!!!!! In Masters Jumping I said “Out” too late – she had already done what she needed to do to get round the 270 jumps and then when I said a completely superfluous Out she went out ARGHHHH!!!!!!! Fantastic dog though she was awesome today! One trial soon we shall hopefully get it happening together on the same day! Open Jumping she had a tricky distance challenge angle onto the broad jump – I didn’t get her in towards me enough before I sent her over the broad and she had no momentum and had to try and clear a broad jump jumping sideways from a standstill – she tried her little heart out but ended up paddling the broad to try and get over it. I actually felt sorry for her then – and briefly thought wow she needs a new handler for sure!! Then Open Agility – we were nailing the course, I moved off from a front cross a bit too soon and she ran past a jump – again!!!*sigh* at that point I really did start watching other handlers wondering if they’d like a go at running my dog cos darn sure nobody else could do a worse job than I did today! Cypher – well he was hard work today right up until the last run of the day when he actually ran really nicely for me I just wasn’t able to cue a tunnel entry properly and we had an off course. But the other runs well – Open Jumping he did that horrible angle broad ok but I probably didn’t keep pushing forward quick enough once he had cleared it and thus he missed the jump. Then he vagued out on me on the rest of the course – we did it but it wasn’t pretty. Excellent Jumping and Excellent Agility were much the same – we did manage to get round on both courses till about the third last obstacle and he just switched off – in jumping he went off and did a tyre that was miles away and in agility he was busy checking out his surroundings so much on the way out that he got a refusal on a jump….ARGHHH!!!!! I hate boy dogs!!! But I was happy with his last run of the day – he nailed all his weavers today and did not knock a bar and all his contacts bar one a frame were great. But now we have to wait another TWO weeks till the next trial! He was a bit distracted by my friend Robyn who came down and trialled today for the first time in ages – Robyn is known to Cy as the keeper of all the girls that he loves, he spied Saffi (his favourite red and white) at one point and temporarily lost his brain nerve synapses for several moments. Ok he’s 21 months old – he WILL get through this I’m sure! Not sure how long it will take though!

Monday, July 24, 2006

My Faith in Humanity

Yes, again with the "Scrubs" reference - I was browsing looking for Scrubs sites when I can across this little gem -
For all you poor lost souls out there who haven't a clue about whether or not "Scrubs" is suitable for viewing you can go there and read the rating (Caution, Usually Ok, Avoid). Here's a quote from one enlightened 15 year old
-- ...its impossible to watch the show for two minutes without being offended by sickening language and sex. I find it sad that we have become so desensitized. - Nicole Hoffman, 15" This was funny as there is no swearing in this show at all and very little in terms of nudity apart from people in their underwear from time to time. It was actually funny until I read the age of the person who wrote it - 15 years old for crying out loud!!So sad that one so young has been already well and truly brain washed by her so-called parents (if they even are her parents - we could be looking at some sort of cultish sect from Utah here). But seriously who could not find this funny? A quote from the ever verbally profuse Dr Cox on his 2 year old "Is that a cat being gutted by a fishing knife? No! That's my son. He's hungry and he's got a load in his pants so big that I'm actually considering hiring a stable boy." Or this one from the Janitor:"Some hooligan keeps disconnecting the alarm. I told Security to look into it. But no, no, they'd rather catch the guy who's stealing organs from the transplant ward. "
See what you're missing out on Miss Hoffman?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Philosophy

See from that blog heading up there you might be assuming that I am now going to get all whimsical on this post and impart my self-indulgent observations on all my avid readers (yes all two of you - I know who you are *insert knowing smile here*). 'Fraid not - the heading is actually a reference to what has to be my favourite show right now (which has overtaken the sublime House possibly due to House not being aired at the moment). SCRUBS!! In one word this show is 'quirky'. In my recent holiday period (drawing to a close tomorrow and just one of three reasons for my moderately melancholic attitude) I have finished watching for the 2nd time Seasons 1 through to 5 average 24 eps per season. I have come to the decision that should any medical treatment in a hospital be required by me that I shall only be treated by Dr "JD" Dorian or a cantankerous soft-centred worthy House opponent Dr Perry Cox. I have come to three conclusions about doctors after watching this (so you can see my conclusions are based on absolute fact and research into the matter). One is that they work in shifts that would make a Burswood croupier weep and that the hours they work should be looked into as it could be the cause of any medical errors made by Drs, two is that it's scary to know that at any point if you check into a teaching hospital you could be being treated by an Intern who could be failing out of Med School, and three is that the amount of time dedicated to patient/doctor relationships in hospitals is sadly lacking in any hospital I've ever been in.
Ahh Scrubs! How I do laugh at thee and thy silly physical humour and clever dialogue. I shall practice escaping inside my head like JD does throughout my workday. The 2nd and 3rd reasons for my somewhat melancholic state you might wonder? #2 - Didn't win 21 million dollars in the Lottery and #3 - Absolutely no agility fix this weekend.

Weekend trials and tribulations Part 2

Well after posting a couple of pictures below I guess I should elaborate on the weekend that *wasn't*. Long story short - Raven: 12 runs and 1 Clear (and no a First place does not make up for it!) Cypher: 10 runs and 4 clears (a 2nd and a 4th and 6th and something else). We had a bar knocking revival in Raven's camp and in Cypher's we had two very nice runs and two extremely painful tooth pulling experiences that were clear but were so much work I actually wondered if we'd made the standard course time. Quite shameful really when it is a Border Collie on the other end of the leash and you have to wonder if you made the time! So no more lingering on that - Cypher's bug bear at the moment in trials is not being able to focus enough to finish 12 weavers. And Raven has been working on her jumping this week - though I am resting her up since last Wednesday, felt she could do with a break from jumping and we'll just work her Obedience for a bit.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's the Little things in Life...

This weekend was an interesting one to say the least - the life of an agility competitor is seldom dull and often a bit like taking a chance on a new ride at the Royal Show. I cherish the anticipation (you can tell I'm feeling whimsical and...what is that word, it's like 'philosophical' but not so stuck up...nevermind I shall think of it) that I get when looking forward to an agility filled weekend. The anticipation consists of the key element in any psychological preparation for a sporting performance - visualisation. You picture yourself running with confidence and complete clarity on the course, giving directions on time, being absolutely crystal clear in communication with your team mate (what other sport relies so heavily on a clear understanding between two very different species?) and you visualise your team mate flying over jumps, turning on the spot, responsive to every signal you give, weaving like a dog possessed, and nailing the contacts without a doubt. Every skill and every nuance of your dance on course with your dog is clearly trained with great commitment and skill as is clearly observed and noted by ringside spectators. I like to visualise these types of runs. So you see a new ride at the Royal Show - you see it in action and you wonder exactly just how thrilling that new ride will be for you. So you start to anticpate how good this ride will be. Some ride will indeed live up to your expectation - there will be thrills and heart stopping moments and a great rush of adrenaline will pump through your body accompanied by a sense of complete exhilaration. At the end you will be glad you spent your 10 dollars on such an awesome experience. But some rides don't work out that way, you climb into the seat and find that some nice youth has left a moist looking, grey coloured, entirely chewed far beyond any molecules of flavour remaining piece of gum which promptly adheres to your clothes. Great now your clothes are messed up. Next the ride starts to move - however it's not moving in the direction you visualised it would and now you're starting to be concerned. There is a lurch and you find yourself questioning your sanity in choosing this ride. Before you know it (and while you are still waiting for the fun exciting part) the ride grinds to a halt and you are left there in your gum infested seat wondering what the hell your ten bucks got you, why you feel maligned and that you deserve a refund (or in agility-speak rerun). Yes Agility is like that sometimes - however at times the ride is so good that you end up living, breathing and working towards your next possible chance to try another ride.

Weekend Trials and Tribulations

Above are two photos of some rare moments from this weekend's runs. Raven clearing a bar and waiting on the seesaw. Let's see....12 runs for Raven this weekend and ONE clean run. Ok so that one clean run was a first place but seriously it does not make up for the rest of my pain this weekend LOL!! More on that later though...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cloverdale Trial

Today was our first trial for at least four weeks – it feels like it’s been months since the last one!! When it was in fact the Nationals in Sydney. Today we had a mixed bag of results. We were at Cloverdale Canine Companions club trial. Raven and I just couldn’t get in sync with each other today – we had the first two runs where my handling was fine and she was feral and then the last two runs when she had finally settled down and was listening/responding very well and I stuffed up. *sigh*. Oh well, least Cypher didn’t disgrace himself *vbg* Out of two runs he ended up with a 3rd place clear round in JDX – the Excellent Agility run we had a bit of bad handling by me (gave him no warning that the jump he was about to take was a spread rather than just a single) a bit of bad handling by him (he hit the weavers so fast his back end got caught up and he missed one). All in all I was pretty happy with him – he was keen and focused and ran on well. Raven’s first run was Masters Agility (which only had 1 qualifier) and we stopped at jump #8 as she took the bar down. Next was Open Agility and she was completely feral this time – she hit a bar (only the 2nd obstacle in!) and was half way up the dogwalk before I could stop her and she blew me off on her contact, I made her come back and do it properly – she got the seesaw nicely after that and then we had real issues with her layering out to a tyre. In the end I ran round the dogwalk and helped her out. Once we got to the distance line we were fine and she finished off nicely but she really wasn’t connected at all during that run. Then it was Masters Jumping and this was going really well until I moved too far down into a pocket that I should have held back on more and she took an off course jump. But other than that she listened really well and kept her bars up nicely. Then Open Jumping and idiot me completely forgot about the distance line ARGH!!! She did everything perfect and I of course stuffed it for her…never mind she still got lots of yummy treats afterwards. So today wasn’t a complete write off – we got a leg we needed and out of 6 runs we had four good ones.
Can’t wait till next weekend – three trials YAY!!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Addy - The Australian Sea Lion

I went to AQWA yesterday (Perth's only underground Aquarium housing many different species from the sea). At 1.30 there was a "Seal Show". AQWA has had some dramas in the past with keeping animals in activity - there was a mystery illness that killed a number of dolphins and there are other issues I believe that they are trying to overcome for the future containment of the animals. There is now currently only one seal there - a 9 year old Australian Sea Lion by the name of Adelaide who arrived there 9 months ago from the wild. Expecting the usual parlour tricks and cute little behaviours I was pleasantly surprised and quite pleased when I sat back and listened to the female presenter/trainer/carer of Adelaide explain exactly why "Addy will NOT be balancing a ball on her nose". She touched on that generally the public have these expectations when they come to a marine show of any sort of seeing the animals doing all sort of tricks. As far as this woman was concerned anyone can teach a seal to do that in five minutes but do you ever see them doing these "tricks" out in the wild? It was as she put it, silly human desires to see the cute animal do something funny that spurs that expectation and it left no room for the animal to retain it's dignity and learm something that may help save it's life. Addy, as you can imagine coming straight out of the wild, was no very predisposed to her handlers or carers and she chose to bite people many times so her trainer decided she needed to work on getting her more used to accepting the care she needed to have to ensure her health and physical well being. SO after explaining how we wouldn't be seeing tricks of any kind the trainer tolds us that she would be asking Addy to move around onto a rock where she could be examined, to open her mouth so that she could touch her teeth, to lie down so she could check her body for any lumps or bumps, holding her hind flippers etc etc. Through all this Addy would be complying due to the reinforcment of food, Addy had been taught that if she allowed or demonstrated a behaviour that she would be fed. There was a high pitched whistle, dog whistle of some sort that the trainer used like a clicker really to mark the correct behaviour. I was absolutely enthralled and whilst those around me found that getting a sea lion to lie down was quite ho hum I clapped enthsuiastically wondering if many of the audience had any sort of inkling about how challenging and unnatural it was for a wild animal to lie down in such a submissive position. I doubted that such progress could be made if we were for example trying to care for a completely wild dingo or fox or wolf for that matter (not that there are wolves in Australia of course, apart from the Zoos). The handlers/carers of Addy had observed that she liked to jump and that she was very agile and had a very high jump (this was after a few patrons had their cameras taken off them) and so extra netting and wire fencing was employed. So one of the things Addy had to do was to jump out of the water to take the fish from the trainer's hand and this she did twice with extreme accurate jumps. So after showing all the animal husbandry techniques to be used on Addy the trainer got her to hold a flipper up and out to bid us goodbye. It was the first time such a show had not had the "wild" animals doing entertaining tricks for all the crowd to wow at and it was a refreshing change and certainly gave Addy alot more respect and dignity. They hope to get her a male mate soon. Can you imagine if this was the approach of all such animal shows around the world? What a much more pleasant world it would be for those animals.