Sunday, September 4, 2011

One Year, New Toy and A Win

First and most important, a huge happy birthday to my little Sheltie man, Volt.  I actually cannot believe he is a year old already.  I am enjoying him so much, not JUST because of his differentness to the BC's.  He is really on hell of a character (luckily not a character from hell) and he is one bundle of pure potential.  I look forward to many, many,  many, many, many... etc (take the hint my boy, just live forever) years with him.  He has been so much fun and been the cause of more than one pulled stomach muscle, always good for a laugh.

On the note of Volt, a less positive one I am afraid, I am already starting to feel the 'height-ism' that so many small and medium dog handlers complain of.  There are a ton of young pups around the same age as Volt, being discussed and looked at and monitored and gossiped about.. but somehow he never comes into contention.  He is never even considered.  Of course this does not apply to all my agility buddies, but there is a definite trend.  Now quite frankly, in our province there has not been any small or medium dogs that can regularly compete with the large dogs's times (sorry peeps, you know that is the truth), so I even though I feel he has a lot more potential than the local small dogs, I have NO idea how he will fair compared to the speed and times of the large guys.  And quite frankly I don't care about either of the two things.  I honestly don't give a crap if other people give a crap about me and my dogs :) I know my dogs always were and forever will be of the super awesomeness.  End of story.  But it is just an interesting observation that small and medium dogs obviously do not get considered in the same league around here... Haha, who cares, I will just kick arse anyway!

So on to my new toy... I have bad news for you blog readers... I have a brand spanking new video camera, HD and the works, so I will probably be driving you insane with tons of videos for the next few days/weeks/months/years...  Unfortunately I have not figured out how I can convert the awesomeness of the HD quality to an actual usable format, but I am working on that part.

So now to today's show.  Nothing noteworthy to write about Quake, since he had a real Quake day, moments of speedy brilliance, followed by disinterest, followed by more brilliance... Oh my hat.  He had fun at least.

Chaos is being super.  One or two misunderstandings between me and him, but he is so responsive I cannot complain.  Today was an open show (for the UK readers, that basically means there was no champ class), so I went out with the thought in mind that I would hold my contacts... which I did, although my handling was LATE, LATE, LATE in his entire contact round, I am not too unhappy.  His non-contact he was The Super Spaz, even with me panicking, he got a nice clear to win the class.

I explained the sport of Dog Jumping in my previous post.  I did a very conservative round in the first round, to get my clear in order to go through to the jump-off.  This is not normally my style, I either go full-out or nothing, and this was not a conscious though today.  So I have no idea how it happened, it is only once I watched the video that I realised exactly HOW prudish I was in my handling... an honest WTF moment.  The course was a bit tighter (shorter distances) than it seems in the video, but honestly, none of us handled it very well and it was all over the place.  I have a love/hate relationship with Dog Jumping, because as you can see from the below video, there are four decent dogs, with semi-okay handlers, that manage to pull off mediocre (or less) rounds, because Dog Jumping encourages you to go 'just clear' in the first round and hell for leather in the Jump Off... Now in all fairness, three of the four handlers in the clip (myself included), do NOT normally do this, we are all or nothing type of people, so I have NO idea what was up with today...

So we all went through to the jump off and the handling got a lot better there.  First of all, good friend C, pointed out to me a few weeks ago, that Chaos has a bad tendency to knock when I am in front of him with my arm down (signalling a turn) and she was quite correct.  Now I  know a lot of people have the tendency to say 'yes, but he knocks cos you are talking on the jump/moving/turning/standing on your head and singing twinkle twinkle little star.  And for a lot of people that IS a problem, BUT as I have mentioned a million times before in this blog I consciously train these things, so I expect my dogs not to knock.  Of course I have to brush up on specific behaviours continuously (jumping into me, come command etc etc), which is why I was so glad C spotted the current problem. So in all honesty I am a slight spot disappointed with this knock, but it just gave me some training ideas for the week.

Now can you all please note the lekker (translated as good, awesome,  appetizing, amazing, comfortable... this all depending on the context of course... in this case I would go for awesome) start Chaos had up that first straight, good speed.  That is the kind of speed I would like to maintain throughout the course in the long term.  Funny  last year this time, I was crying into my pillow, wishing me and Chaos could mature, however now (that he has turned 5), I seem to have changed, chilled a bit and I am happy for him to grow at his own pace.  I am happy with where we are and quite happy to see where we are going. In the last year I have been force to learn to completely compartmentalize my life and I think THIS has made the difference.

Anyhow I shall leave the rest of the moaning, philosophising and VIDEOS for another day this week.

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