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.