Wednesday, 28 December 2016

More than a Year!

Agility took something of a backseat for me in 2015 as my health stumbled and the exertion of agility became too much.  So it has been over a year since I last posted here.

In 2016 however, thanks to an off label drug, my health somewhat improved.  In fact, I've even stopped using the mobility scooter, and am once again walking in the ring, and "distance handling" with Finn.

I think he understands me better now too, as we are gradually collecting a few ribbons.

This was our first ever KC clear round - a Jumping round back in June at The Patch.

And at the Lisburn Show in August, we got two clear rounds in agility.  This one in G1-7:

And this one in G1-3 where we picked up second place, beaten by only 1/100th of a second!

Then in September at the Belfast DDTC show we finally managed to win our first KC Agility class!  I was so proud that he worked out what I wanted in this round - because sending him off, all on his own to those 6 weaves, was a bit of an "all or nothing" gamble. :) 

Of course, we don't always get things right, so for the sake of honesty, here's a round that is perhaps more typical with things going a bit pear-shaped!

I labelled this round Ooops!

As for training, I am still following Susan Garrett on H360, and I hope that in 2017 my co-ordination will improve some, and that we can gradually become more consistent in the ring.

Here's to 2017!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Starting KC Competitions with Finn

This is Finn & my first year competing in Kennel Club competitions.

We've a lot to work on still, but Finn and I have attempted two KC rounds so far:

Castle Ward 9th May Agility Grade 1-3

I was really pleased with this round despite the elimination at the weaves, because for the first time he didn't dash onwards and take obstacles without being sent to them.

He did a couple of spins back to me when uncertain where to go next - so I need to work on getting my directions to him more quickly and clearly.

Ballyrawer 30th May Agility Grade 1-3

Still not getting the weaves right, but his contacts were great, and apart from one small spin before the last jump he seemed totally clear about where to go... :)

I was also delighted with how he took the long jump - I think this is the first one he has ever encountered!

Flash Back...  June 2014 Finn's first attempt at a Jumping round at a Cooperhill Fun Day

This video shows just how far he has come in a year....  Obviously an elimination, because he doesn't follow directional cues much at all here, but I think this shows a certain raw enthusiasm.  He was very pleased with himself!

As far as Training goes:

We continue to attend club training, and I have been given fantastic support and encouragement from Castlereagh & District Dog Training Club.  Of course the fact that they have now moved their training grounds to our paddock makes it much easier for me to get out for training sessions.  No need to load the scooter into the van and travel now!

I have also joined Susan Garrett's online H360 course, and we are working our way through various exercises so that I can call clear instructions to Finn... Thing's like "Na na na" meaning to take the back of a jump and so on.  We haven't put many of these into practice in competition yet, but his skills are expanding and soon I hope to do most of his handling at a distance and using a combination of Susan's verbals, and our own quirky communication signals!

At the moment my health limits me to attempting only one competitive round a weekend, which is frustrating, but just part of having an illness like ME.  Actually, I am very grateful that my health is sufficient to allow me to do this, as many ME folk suffer to a much greater extent.
This helps explain my dilemma with doing agility: Well enough to drink coffee?

Oh and here's to my happy, willing dog who does his very best to work out what I am trying to tell him. I had no idea when I gave him his Kennel Club name, just how true it would turn out to be! xx

Some Finn Extra Special 

Monday, 30 March 2015

Photo Flashback!

Finn's breeder sent me some photos of when Finn was a tiny pup.  I forgot about them until recently, but they are so cute and worth sharing:

In the photo above, that's my boy on the left climbing down the step.

Oh and here he is again in the foreground. 

Injection time!  

And finally lining up with some of his litter mates for a photo.  He's the little pup on the left.  Awww!

For more puppy pics check out this post from 2013: Introducing Finn My Collie Pup

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Fun Day at CRUFTS

 So YKC Team Agility at 8.30am so all up early and into the show...

Standard seemed very high this year, with lots of clear rounds in super fast time.  Our team did great:

Clare and Taz in full flight:

Becky and Miley took to the limelight in great style:

And yet another little black dog - Patsy with Shona:

I did a little shopping...  new handbag, a slip lead for Finn, a mini bumbag thing and a Crazy Dog Lady hoodie!  :D

All in all a good outing....

... and if the hoodie fits, wear it!  LOL

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Leaving for CRUFTS this evening!

So we'll be on the overnight ferry to Liverpool this evening, and true to form everything is getting left to the last minute...

Including Patsy's haircut! So one pile of cheese treats later, and finally the little black sheep has got sheared ready for indoor competition:

The Woolly Sheep Effect - "Before"

Stream-lined and ready for Action - "After"

Keeping Warm...

Watch out Crufts we are on our way!!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

CRUFTS - Our photo competition winner

I am delighted to announce that Linda of Cheshire has won the Ability for Agility photo competition.

She wins two complementary tickets, and tells me that she hasn't been to Crufts before - she sounded incredibly excited to attend!

Which makes this all the more fun for me! Anyway, I'm sure you'll have a fantastic day Linda!  And Congratulations!

So here is the winning photograph:

Tim - my husband, who judged the photos - said that he was torn between many excellent entries, but that the title "DOG'S DAY OUT" made him think that it was important that the image showed the dogs doing something very dog orientated.

So this photo where the two terriers are completely oblivious to the camera, and obviously having a great day out, he felt best demonstrated the chosen theme.

Linda's two Jack Russells are brothers called Radley and Rascal, and she says, "This is our first time as JRT owners and they have completely melted our hearts!  Characters doesn't cover it really does it!"  I couldn't agree more!

So not long until CRUFTS now, and much still to do here to prepare.  Our wee Patsy still needs her hair cut, but with the current weather I've been putting it off.  Must take before and after photos to share.  Frankly, right now she looks like a little black sheep not a dog!  Watch this space.

Further info: 

 Crufts runs between 5th & 8th March at The NEC, Birmingham and is always a fantastic day out for dog enthusiasts.  Whatever your specialism there will be dogs, stands and competitions worth exploring at the show.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Photo Competition for CRUFTS tickets!

I have another pair of
free tickets 
to offer to readers of my blog!!

This time I'm running a PHOTO COMPETITION ! Check below for details.

Crufts runs between 5th & 8th March at The NEC, Birmingham and is always a fantastic day out for dog enthusiasts.  Whatever your specialism there will be dogs, stands and competitions worth exploring at the show.

Ability for Agility Crufts Tickets Photo Competition! 

Theme:  "DOGS DAY OUT"

To be eligible to win ONE pair of DAY PASSES, just enter your favourite photo of your dog, out somewhere and obviously having fun!
  1. Email your photo to with your name, your dog's name and a brief description of the photo. (Up to 3 entries per person.)
  2. Entry in this competition gives me permission to use your photo and the accompanying caption on this blog - with appropriate attribution of course.  
 Entries close on Wednesday 25th February at midnight. 

My husband has kindly  agreed to judge the photos.  Dogs that are known to him are obviously not going to be eligible!!

Should you win, you will be contacted by email on or before Saturday 28th, and asked for your address so that I can post the pair of tickets to you.  

Should you not reply within 48 hours of being emailed about your win, another winner will be selected.

My Crufts posts from last year:
Getting Excited about Crufts  
CRUFTS "Friends for Life" - Lucy and Molly

Tickets for Crufts can be purchased at this link.

Our ferry tickets and hotel spaces are booked already.

Roll on Crufts 2015!

PS  Tickets for Crufts from the Prize Draw in my previous post, were won by Cari of Southampton.  Hope you and your partner have a great day Cari!