Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Where did the Time Go?

OK, so it's been quite some time.   Let's see how many words I can sum up the last few months in without it becoming too boring.  First there was nothing but rain, rain and more rain.  Agility training became almost non-existant for a few weeks and walking and running around for the kelpies was a bit minimal too, much to their disgust.   We spent quite a few weekends driving to Bendigo, around an hour or so north, on Sundays where it actually wasn't raining so much and the dogs could have a good walk around the lake without getting wet, poor precious Atilla.  Do I have the only working dog in the world who doosn't  like wet feet ?   (The jam donut van parked there on weekends was a bit of an attraction too, OK I admit it!  I'm not a donut fan in general but I do like a good hot jam one, anyway, I digress and get boring again.)
When will this rain ever end ?  What if the driveway floods and we can't go to agility trainng or Mum can't get out to go to work - yay !

Our yard was wet, slippery and muddy after all the rain.  Atilla wasn't  too keen on this and prefered to stay on the grassy strip near the fence where he could watch the sheep without getting dirty.

And after the rain finally stopped, he still hadn't moved.

Cruz, on the other hand, seemed to delight in the mud and the dirtier he got the happier he seemed to be about it.  50 shades of brown was a pretty apt description.

Mmmmmm - tastes good !
Cruz's favourite Winter area of the yard .......

But now all that rain is a distant memory and we are really hanging out for it to come back.  Summer hasn't been here that long and we've already had to buy one load of water.  When the dogs run around the yard together it's hard to see them for the dust.  My agility area is hard and dry and I'm not keen on doing too much jumping on it at the moment - especially with Atilla. 
At least I have clean dogs again.

Agility has finished up for the season.  Atilla had a great year with quite a number of Masters Q's and a handful of placings to boot.  After Portland, I made the decision to retire him from Masters runs.  He's still going around fine but I can see that he isn't quite as fast as he used to be - not that I care about that, but I would really like to be able to bring him out for a run every now and then and I think that  pushing him over 24 obstacles on tight, twisty courses will bring about the end of his career much quicker.  So I will still enter him in Open and Games occasionally but for Masters it's all over. 

I felt happy at the time that I was making the decision and in control, rather than have the decision forced on me, but I wasn't prepared for how emotional I actually felt on that last run .... and there were tears afterwards which surprised me.    Mainly because I can't believe how quickly it all seemed to be over.  I remember his first trial. and how I felt lining up and even little details like what I was wearing and the judges comments at the end after he blitzed the course and it really doesn't seem that long ago - and now all of a sudden I'm semi retiring him.  My lovely consistent boy who has given so much on agility courses and feels so comfortable to run and has defintely been my heart dog for the whole of this agility journey ...... what a basket case I will be when I have to stop running him entirely, this is bad enough.

Cruz has missed out on a lot of trialling last year - hopefully I can rectify that situation this year, especially now that I have made the decision to cut back with Atilla.  Cruz always seems so happy just coming out for a run with me or a walk or even a drive and doesn't go and stand at the gate to the agility area like Atilla and Ivy do, so when time is tight for training (and it has been a lot lately) he is the one who always misses out.  In fact I have hardly trained him at all over the last 12 months and it is surprising that he does as well as he does - use it or lose it is very true as he now has no start line or running A Frame contact whatsoever. Shameful on my part.  I have started working start line stays with him again and there does seem to be some distant memory in that fuzzy little brain so once I am happier with those, we will revisit his A Frame performance.  Because he sometimes tends to stress in a trial situation I have let him pretty much do whatever he wants over the past year - not a good move that's for sure.  And if I am honest about it, he really isn't any more stressed by me leading out a couple of jumps at a trial compared to running off the start line with him, I know it makes a difference to some dogs but I don't think it does to him.  So he's going to have to suck it up and put his big boy pants on and do things my way a bit more now - or at least reach a compromise with me anyway.  Taking off when he feels like it and using A Frames as diving boards just won't cut it any more.

My highlight of the past few months ?  Finally getting that little caravan that we have been thinking about for a bit - more country trials here we come.  We 'christened' it at Warrnambool and it slept 2 people and 3 dogs just fine.

Atilla's highlight of the past few months ?  Getting a bit of active service when the neighbour's sheep escaped and headed over to the next street - he enjoyed helping to bring them back a great deal.

Cruz's highlight of the past few months ?  The whole '50 shades of brown' period really did it for him.  Having a whole bed to himself in the caravan while the rest of us squashed onto the double bed would probably come close too.   Running very fast around the yard in big circles (in an obsessive Cruz kinda way) and stealing bones from the BC rank closely behind that.  So let's see if we can move agility a little bit higher up his obsession ladder this year.  Challenge on !

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Retirement ? Not Us !

Since Atilla turned 9 late last year I have occasionally been thinking about how much longer we will have in the ring together before it comes time to retire him from competition.  Even though I hope that day is a long way off, I have to be realistic considering his major injury as a youngster and the fact that he runs agility with minimal flexion in one wrist.
This can't have been 9 years ago - it seems like yesterday.
At least the ears finally sorted themseles out !

After having most of last year off from trialling due to several unrelated injuries that just seemed to keep on flaring up (we had the huge amount of 3 runs - not trials - for the entire year) I decided to try and equal that in his first trial back for the year a couple of weeks back and entered him in 3 runs.

I honestly had visions of pulling him out after his first run for some reason.  He has been fine for months now and is actually looking fitter than ever, but ever since we resumed training late last year I haven't felt the same connection that we had before.  He runs just fine and usually goes around most courses pretty well, but it has felt like we were just going through the motions together... even the last run of the year where he qualified felt like that.   So I lined up at the start line for Masters agility first run - after some very lukewarm tugging and focus outside the ring - and thought that I would most likely get a pretty lukewarm run to match ...... Boy, did he prove me wrong !

Good focus right off the start line, with a fairly technical lead out that he hasn't seen in over a year and then a nice consistent qualifying run to boot.  The next Masters agility course was a lot more difficult, with a killer weave entry that many dogs missed and a lot more potential off courses as well.  This time he ran even faster, nailed the weave entry, went clear again,   and was so pumped up when he came out of the ring that he wouldn't let go of the tug toy - which of course I have no problem with.   His results were : 4th place on the first run, behind 3 of the fastest dogs in the state and .....  I can't believe it.......... 2nd place on the next run (1st place 500).  Go my funny little red and tan boy !  He even fired up for Masters Gamblers which was the last event of the day and he had been sitting around for a long time as I didn't enter him in jumping.  Very difficult gamble that most dogs didn't get but Atilla did - albeit with a lot of threadle arms and changes of direction to try and stay true to my handling system and not handle it with the biggest motherflickers of all time.  Unfortunately we just ran out of time on the gamble (probably due to the aforementioned arm changes and pulling back and forwards over the line) but I was rapt with his efforts nonetheless.

And last weekend, just to prove that the first 2 agility runs were not a fluke, he also qualified once more in Masters agility on one of the most technically difficult runs I have had in a long, long time.  4th place again (3rd place 500) out of 8 quallies overall.   So I am very proud of his efforts and may have to rethink the retirement thing for a bit after all. 

We even made a comeback to Masters Jumping after 18 months away from that event, and although we had an offcourse due to me not getting where I needed to be in time, it is the runs like this where he actually puts on a turn of speed that I love.

Go Tilz - luv ya !
Cruz also had a couple of runs, a nice run in Excellent agility with a missed weave entry the only bobble (same killer weave entry that Atilla copped in Masters) and last week a Masters Jumping run with an off course - not in the same place as Atilla though, LOL, but also caused by him speeding up and getting away from me on a section of the course where I needed to be there for him. 
I have decided that one run is enough for Cruz - he is usually a lot more confident and motivated when he first comes out and then for some reason loses it a bit as the day goes on.  Fine by me - I would rather have one good run, where qualifying is not the goal but just icing on the cake if it happens - than put him out for 3 or 4 mediocre runs that are not doing much to convince him that this game is fun anyway.

I can't say that I have missed Masters jumping though.  I had forgotten just how crowded the course walking is, just how rude some people are when they stand around talking on the tight bits of the course where you really need to pay attention to how you want to handle but can't get through the crowds who are too busy analysing how they want to handle that section and telling everyone else what they should be doing.  And just how competitive some people are when they hang around and watch anyone they consider to be a threat to them and are all listening intently to those times, but then turn their backs and walk off when all those who arent' considered a threat to them run...... only to all come running back if the next dog happens to be a speedy one. 

I'm also way over hearing about 'top dog points',(ridiculous elitist competition here where only the top 10 qualify, and there are certainly more than 10 awesome dogs competing at the moment)  'agility champion points' and people getting pissed if they don't come 1st or at least 2nd - not to mention if they happen to get beaten by a dog they think is not 'worthy' ... Go the brilliant 300 poodle running here who beat all comers last week to win Masters Jumping overall - and would totally kick the kelpie's butt any day. (Sorry Atilla, LOL)   Not to mention being totally over listening to people bagging everyone else who isn't part of their social set ( and most likely those who are behind their backs)  And as for those who make fun of Novice competitors, I'm not even going to go there - shame !  Too many people competing here who have forgotten why they got into this sport in the first place and don't think about what a privilege it is to be able to step up to the line with a dog that is willing to give their all week after week.  For some strange reason (strange to me as I prefer agility) jumping seems to have become the premiere event here that brings out the worst in people time after time.  18 months away from that environment was good and I won't be in too much of a hurry to repeat the experience, well not until next month at least, LOL. Learning to ignore the distractions is a good mental exercise anyway and something that I obviously need more work with.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Guess Who's Back ?

After a very long break from trialling, Atilla finally hit the ring again in October.
I entered him in one Masters Agility run at Sale and one at Warrnambool, just to see how he pulled up - and he has pulled up just fine, so hopefully  next year will be a much better one injury wise.  At 9 years of age, it will most likely be his last full year at Masters level which makes me sad to think about - where did the time go?
It only seems like yesterday that we lined up for our first ever trial run (Knox 2004 and he qualified in Novice Agility and won the ring)
Novice Agility October 2004 - Our very first trial.
Clear run and 1st Place - still remember how proud I was !

He was very happy to be out trialling again - so happy at Sale that he left the ring to jump on L. after I released him at the start line (naughty pants!) and then ran past a jump half way through to visit the judge (his favourite!) After that he decided that it was all business and finished the last half of the course like he had never been away from trialling at all.  Luckily Warrnambool was back to being all business for him and he even managed to qualify ...... so we took away one pass for the year !
I no longer care about whether he qualifies or not to tell the truth - all I want is that he is still happy running - but I could do without the' visiting judges' part- as a Masters level dog he should show a bit of decorum, LOL.

Cruz had a couple of good runs at Warrnambool - we got an offcourse tunnel part way through one (which I was actually happy about as he was confidently and consistently running ahead of me which is something I have been working on with him for quite some time) and a refusal at the dogwalk on another (which had a straight tunnel sticking right out under it and is not something that is generally seen at Excellent level and is also something that I haven't trained with him, my bad !)
And since I'm indulging myself with nostalgia on this post, here is Cruz following his very first trial - December 2008.
Clear run and 1st Place in Novice Jumping, just to prove anything Atilla can do he can as well !

My goal is to get to run with them more than I did in 2011 - and as I can count their runs on the fingers of one hand, hopefully that shouldn't be too hard.  Clear runs and ribbons and trophies are all very nice but are nowhere near as good as being able to run the course with your dog in good health and I know which I would prefer. 
Atilla has been a wonderful agility partner for me over the last few years and I think he deserves a year where he can goof off a little if he wants and just have fun.  Cruz is Cruz and we will take whatever his little brain decides to do at the time, LOL.  Never a dull moment with Cruz.

Not much training at the moment as it's so damn hot - I hate Summer with a passion and am hanging out for the cooler weather to come. We are getting in a quick 5 mins or so in the evenings after it has cooled down and during the day (if I am home) we have been having fun with our new egg fitness ball.  Cruz is an absolute star on it - I'm sure he thinks he is backing sheep.

Not sure when their first trial for the year will be - but for Atilla it will most likely be the Strategic Pairs trial in March where he will make his big 'comeback' with his best buddy Jack.  Due to one or the other of them being injured (and of course they can't get it in sync. ) we only have one pass at Masters level so it would be nice to finish off that title before they both retire .......... and at least they always have fun trying !

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hiking at Mt Macedon

I started this post a few months ago and never got around to finishing it, so rather than deleting and starting again, here is a now out of date post - bit like computer technology, buy it and it's already becoming obsolete. 
End of Autumn, beginning of Winter is my favourite time of the year at Mt Macedon.  As agility trialling has been very quiet for the kelpies, we have been doing some walks with them on Sundays, usually alternating between Mt Macedon, Kyneton and Anglesea.  Hopefully it's getting them back in condition for eventually returning to agility.  So here are some photos from our last Mt Macedon hike.

View from the trail

The hydrangeas are amazing this time of year - pity I can't spell them though

The gardens are magnificent, with lots of interesting stone pots and sculptures
And I'm always a sucker for holly

The Autumn leaves are pretty awesome too

We came back through Woodend and had another walk around the town, much to the dog's delight - as there were plenty of good interesting smells for kelpies on the oval obviously.

And they were even tired enough to sit and pose for the camera for a brief moment, so a good time must have been had by all.  The Border Collie is still rearing to go though ! Although they are all happy enough to walk all day, the kelpies have at least had the good grace to discover 'couch potato-ism' when the mood suits, a concept that we are still having a lot of trouble selling to Ivy.

And now back to agility.  Atilla is about to make comeback number 3 for the year, so lets's hope that third time's a charm. After recovering from the back problem and the sprained toe, he then collided with Cruz running around in the yard and came up limping again, this time with a pulled thigh muscle.  So back to trick training and not much else.
We've been doing a little bit of agility at home over the past few weeks, and I took him to training last night for the first time in over a month.  Ran 2 jumping rounds on lower height jumps than usual, but he ran 2 clears and was keen to do more although I wouldn't let him.  I have him entered next weekend in one Masters agility and one Masters Gamblers run only, so we will see how he pulls up.

Cruz has had a couple of runs at the last 2 trials and seems to be fine.  No passes, but a lovely agility run where the wrong end of a tunnel discrimination caught me unexpectedly when he decided to speed up and left me behind and a couple of Masters Jumping runs that weren't too bad either.  He has been doing some nice work at training and I am happy with his progress considering he has also spent most of the year on the sidelines with Atilla. 

I have come to accept that a couple of runs is really enough for Cruz at a trial - after this he tends to switch off and lose a bit of focus, so I am going to enter him sparingly so that he remains motivated.  I don't have a problem with doing this, especially now that I am trying to get Ivy up and going.  Running too many dogs does my head in, especially as all 3 of them are so different to run and I feel like I am switching from one handling persona to another. 

I also feel as if I have lost a bit of spark with Atilla because we haven't been able to run together for most of the year - last night at training he did everything perfectly but there wasn't the connection that we normally have and I just felt like he was going through the motions in a point and shoot kind of way.  I don't want to feel like this when we run so I think a new training project might be on the cards where we work on a new way of doing something.  I am leaning toward trying to train a running dogwalk with him at the moment - I feel as if I have nothing to lose if he starts missing a few contacts and I would really like to speed his contacts up a bit more too.  So we will see if we can teach an old dog a new trick.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

So What's New?

Not much on the agility front, that's for sure.  Agility bites - or lack of agility does anyway. After missing the last part of the trialling season last year I have been looking forward to getting back out there but so far it's been almost a non-event.

First Cruz developed a limp which turned out to be a strained shoulder and took a long time to heal.  So far this year he has had a run in Gamblers and one in Agility and that's it.  The good thing is that he pulled up well after his last run, has been fast and enthusiastic at training and appears to be ready to give it another go - now I just have to transfer his speed and enthusiasm to trialling and we'll be right.

I will guard my Kong against marauding agility dogs!

Atilla decided not to be outdone and developed a limp around the same time as Cruz.  This turned out to be a toe injury and also took some time to heal.  He has also only had a run in gamblers - lovely Masters gamblers run with plenty of points in the opening, but a 'thread the needle' type entry to the gamble, needing to send between the gap between 2 jumps and we just couldn't get it, which was a pity as the rest of the gamble was very doable. Think time is going to run out for us in regard to finishing this title, as most clubs don't schedule it any more, and we've missed 2 opportunites now thanks to injury.  Oh well, it's fun trying anyway, gamblers is definitely my favourite event.

I had Atilla entered a couple of weeks back as he appeared to be fine at training, but the day before the trial he collided with Cruz playing in the yard and of course came up limping again.
He appeared to be fine once again, came to training on Friday evening, had a couple of runs over a fairly straightforward course which gave him no problems - and on Saturday morning came up limping again.
And of course I have him entered in his 'comeback' trial this Saturday, which now may not eventuate. 
At least it has given me plenty of time to get Ivy out there to develop our teamwork - totally different to running the kelpies - but I miss running my boys.

We finally got the swimming pool up to exercise the dogs - then discovered that the outdoor powerpoint had a switch missing and was generally very unsafe looking.  It's getting replaced shortly but we've had to wait because a friend is doing it, and now the cold weather is well and truly here, I don't want their first pool experience to be in the depths of Winter - so the pool came down again and will be boxed up for a few more months.

Just to prove that it did go up ..... briefly anyway.
 The drought appears to be well and truly on the way out here, great in regard to water levels but not so great for training or trialling, with trials being cancelled all over the place.  Looks like shaping up to be a repeat of last year in that respect.  For the first time ever, our training area didn't brown off over Summer, this is what it looked like in the middle of February.

Usually at this time of the year I am running on dead weeds and dirt.  It looks even better at the moment, all nice and lush and green, but is really muddy underneath so not great for training.  Hanging out for a couple of sunny days to dry it off before the next downfall.
Training for the kelpies has been different over the past few months, both from their injuries and because they appear to be really enjoying a different approach to it.  I signed up for both Susan Garrett's Recallers online plus Silvia Trkman's Puppy training online which turned out to be a great idea when they were both injured as I had more time to devote to things like games and shaping. 

I'll teach you a game Cruz - it's called 101 things to do with Mum's knickers.
Who says Susan Garrett is the only one who knows good games ? 
Look how easy they rip when we get a bit of opposition reflex going - fun !

Atilla was a big surprise packet here.  He hasn't been exposed to the amount of shaping that Ivy and Cruz have been and has such a 'serious' personality that he doesn't usually get into playing games either so I didn't expect that much success from him, but was I wrong or what !  Almost overnight he seems to have turned into a dog that wouldn't offer much in the way of behaviours to one that embraces shaping wholeheartedly.  I was using Ivy as the demo dog for my Foundation and Intermediate classes that I teach but have now started taking Atilla and using him and he is loving it.  He pulls toward the building as soon as he gets out of the car and totally cracks it if I take one of the others out instead.  I have also discovered that he has a lot more value for me than I actually thought he did, so hopefully I can channel all this into his agility training as well.

Cruz has also been a surprise packet but not for the same reasons.  Because I trained him with a lot more shaping and what I would consider more 'up to date' methods I just thought that he would be a lot better than what I have found.  His shaping work is pretty good, but he doesn't appear to 'get' playing games and also appears to have very little value for being next to me - something that I intend to rectify.  And this is the snugglepot that tries to sit on my knee every evening and cuddles up next to me in bed at night.  No wonder our agilty results are so inconsistent when we don't even have the basics right.  So hopefully the new improved Cruz is coming this way soon ....... LOL.

Who says I need improving ?
I'm speshul just the way I am.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Beau - Pet Detective

Our neighbour has put 50 sheep on our property as we have way more grass in our top paddocks.  Atilla thinks all his Christmases have come at once and spends most of the day watching them and moving them off the fence line if they dare to come too close to the house paddock.

Currently there are a number of lambs in the flock - including 3 tiny ones born just a few days ago. 

How's that for cute, cute, cute ......... I swear I am going to rethink eating meat or at least may never eat lamb again cos I will keep seeing these babies in my head.

Look - even their wiggly little butts are cute

And who could resist this face ?
 We lock the sheep into a smaller paddock at night to keep them together and maximise their chances against any roaming foxes.  Then we let them out during the day to do what they do best - eat !
Last night when we brought them in, one of the tiny lambs was missing - L's favourite and the one he regards as his special charge.


A bit of a background story on this one first :
On the morning that this little one arrived, L was letting them out of the night paddock when he noticed it on the ground, not moving, and the mother taking off with the other sheep at a rush to get out the gate. He picked it up and found it was alive but very weak - I'm a sucker and would happily have taken it and bottle fed it, but L. decided that the mother was going to attend to her duties so started yelling up the paddock - get back here and feed your baby, NOW.  Of course this worked a charm, not !  So then he starts chasing them, in his work clothes complete with fancy shoes, and yelling in his best impression of a school teacher (thankfully he is not!) 'I mean it, if you don't come back now then I will chase you all down and lock you all back in the paddock again and none of you will get out until you start looking after this baby you bad mother.'  That's the way to do it, punish everyone until someone confesses.
And so that's just what he did.

At this point it begs for a video to be inserted of L in his work clothes running around the paddock rounding up the sheep - if dogs could cry laughing Atilla was doing it - but I was too busy laughing myself to think of videoing it, dammit.   Anyway his plan for sheep domination worked, the sheep were locked back in the paddock, mother finally started feeding lamb, lamb was able to stand up and we both went 'awwwwwwww.'
(Not sure what L's clients thought about the sheep poo all over his shoes as he was too late to change them.)
Anyway, a happy ending, until this little fella went missing.

The life of a modern day sheep man is indeed lonely !

Did someone mention sheep man ?

Oooh .... it's sheep man !

We searched the paddocks with our neighbour for ages, but couldn't find any trace of him.  At this point we were thinking maybe a rogue fox out in the daytime grabbing the opportunity of an easy snatch - although it seemed strange when Atilla had literally been at the fence watching them for most of the day and hadn't barked at all.  We chalked it up to happening on one of the occasions when he went off duty to eat or hang about with me.  Even though Cruz took over his shift at these times, Cruz is not a barker and isn't as hard wired and obsessive over the sheep as Atilla either.
Both the kelpies were crying for a bit of active service in the paddock to help look for the lamb (ACD and BC would happily have been in that too !) but there are too many hazards in the long grass at the moment, not just the fear of snakes but there is an old gully that runs down the middle of one paddock with a partly underground water course that goes into our dam.  There are holes opening up everywhere after all the rain and I don't want to risk the dogs running into one of the holes and injuring themselves, especially as once there are sheep in the equation, all care and self preservation goes out the window. 
It worries me enough having my horse roaming around up there as it is.  Speaking of which ..........

Enter Beau - my old horse and fellow paddock dweller along with the sheep.
Once he saw me in the paddock he came over for a rub and the chance that there might be food involved.
On many occasions I swear this horse understands exactly what I say to him - or maybe that's my rationale for carrying on conversations with him and not feeling like a crazy woman.  So I've explained the situation to him and promised him several carrots if he joins in the search and comes up with the goods.  And he did on both counts!

About 20 minutes later when L. was helping me move some agility equipment (Sheep Man also doubles as Agility Ken ) we heard Beau making a fuss up the top paddock and looked up to see him pawing (hoofing?) the grass.  Up popped a tiny white head - so sheep man headed up there post haste to rescue him.
And Beau was very pleased with his carrots as a reward.  And now expects one every evening without fail as payment for his services.

Agility training has been a little slow lately, can you tell ?

After having 2 and a half months off thanks to my accident, the kelpies are in desperate need to get back to normal training again.  All this lying around the house is making them soft.......

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Still More Rain - and a Totally Crappy Trial as well

Spring came for a few days and tricked us all into thinking that Winter was finally over.  I even got excited enough to take a few photos around the place as it looks nice when everything's green .... but then by the time Summer finally comes and it all browns off  I totally hate it and start to wish I lived somewhere else.
Luckily I only feel like that for one season a year as I so love it here the rest of the time.

Look - I even have a raised out of reach of dog pee vegie garden that's actually growing thanks to the rain.

It's nice to be able to play ball on grass instead of on bare dirt with clouds of dust flying up everywhere - the only challenge at the moment is avoiding the muddy bits.

Everywhere is green - apart from Cruz's self exercising track around the house paddock that is.
On the trialling front the year is nearly over and due to all the trials that were cancelled this Winter I hardly feel as if I have run at all.  Went to Sale for one day, bloody long drive and I was almost too tired to run by the time I arrived.  Getting up before 4am should be banned and if all the cancelled trials had taken place then there is no way I would have bothered, especially as I really don't like the ground there.

Cruz obviously agreed with me and his runs were less than spectacular.  Atilla on the other hand was at his leg humping pumped up best for most of the day because L. came to watch, which I really should ban as it sends Atilla off his tree. (And shuts Cruz down, LOL)  We managed a Q in Masters Agility and even came in 3rd which was nice, but it felt like a totally mechanical run to me as Atilla had one eye on L. and another on the judge, which just happened to be a judge that he knows and has a spectatcular crush on - having to stay with me and not being allowed to run up and jump on him must have really messed with his mind.  There was no real connection between us and it felt like he just went through the motions because he is a well trained dog.

The next Masters Agility run was one of those lovely runs where everything comes together - until the 2nd last obstacle that is, when someone outside the ring standing near L. called out, Atilla thought it was L. so he left the ring and started to go to him.  Sooooooo disappointed as it was a way better run than our first one, but that's agility.  Some more distraction work coming up I feel !  Yep- my bad that he's not proofed enough to totally ignore what's going on around him, stickybeak kelpie.

Last weekend we went to another trial that I won't name and shame, which turned out to be not one of my better ideas.  I usually enjoy this trial but after the weekend I don't think I will ever bother to enter there again. Total mess from start to end with catalogue errors, then an assembly steward taking it upon themselves to ditch catalogue order and move all their own club members up the line, despite the fact we were meant to be 5th dog in and had already warmed up and lined up.  Why not put them further up the catalogue then to begin with and avoid the chaos that ensued?   Disgustingly muddy ground meant I had one run with Atilla - who jumped out the weaves when I splashed him in the face as I ran beside him, sooky la-la kelpie- then I deemed it unsafe so pulled the pin and went home.  Their dogwalk also fell apart as the first dog in came off it which didn't exactly instil me with confidence - luckily it was a pretty bombproof dog and wasn't hurt or frightened.

I don't usually crack it like that but it really annoys me when clubs put the dollar before safety - although it's been a disappointing season with so many trials cancelled, I fully applaud those clubs that pulled the pin. 
What I don't get is the number of people that will still run their dogs in appalling conditions and continue to push hard the whole way round.  A friend who runs one of the fastest dogs going at the moment also pulled the pin and went home after walking the Masters ring but we were definitely the exceptions and I'm sure there were lots of 'sook' comments floating around.  Do people compromise their dog's safety for an agility run or are we just over cautious when it comes to our dogs ?  Guess that's a whole other topic in itself.