A Fine Final Run of the Season

Back in August I managed to pull off my achievement of the season, I qualified for the Kennel Club Starters Cup Final! This weekend it happened:

Friday November 7:

Mum and I had a bit of a lay in before going out for a run around the fields, I had a hearty breakfast and then went to a local agility field for some last minute training,

Mmm Fish Kibble again!!!
Mmm Fish Kibble again!!!
wait
wait
Contacts
Contacts
Ready to go!
Ready to go!

I thought this was a great idea – until I got home!!! apparently dirty dogs don’t go to Earl’s Court 😦

What's the Problem???
What’s the Problem???
NOOOOO!!!!!!
NOOOOO!!!!!!

So in the evening as with most competitions we drove off to Aunty Paulines where the usual ‘pre match’ preparations occurred, I played with Flic and Vinnie whilst Bandit and Buddy grumped at me and Mum and Pauline drank wine. Mum set the alarm for the early start and we settled down as best we could for the night (there were a few fireworks going off so I may have squeezed into bed with mum at some point during the night :-s)

Mum was very organised
Mum was very organised
Early Start, does she not know it's the weekend!!!
Early Start, does she not know it’s the weekend!!!
I stayed here all night, honest!!!
I stayed here all night, honest!!!

Saturday November 8: So the alarm went off and Mum looked a very strange shade of green/grey/white. She’s not usually like this for competitions – all us dogs got ready with breakfast and a quick wee in the garden with strict instructions not to roll in anything; given the colour of Mum I felt it best to obey this order on this occasion!!! Then it was off out the door. Much to the confusion of all of us it became obvious I was the only one on 4 legs attending this competition – as the beginner of the pack this was not the expected outcome. I shared my back seat with a 2 legged supporter Jenny from Crouch Valley – she was also without her dog!

The drive through London was pretty smooth and uneventful, however as we drove into an indoor car park I realised today was going to be a bit different. I had to sit in a crate on a ‘bench’ and pee in a little sawdust area (all of which was highly humiliating). Mum took me for a warm up over a jump in the ring. Oh my there were lots of seats, and the surface was a bit slippy compared to the surface I practised on. I started understanding why mum looked that funny colour! We went back to the bench and settled in for the morning. This was bigger than I thought; Crouch Valley were there in force, along with Jenny were Simon, Melissa, Peter, Jenny, George, and Daisy, and apparently some more (Kay and Justin) were in the stands. Nan and Gramps Quinn even showed up, none of them had Dogs, for today I was their dog!!!

Arrival
Arrival
My Crate and Bench
My Crate and Bench
Limbering Up
Limbering Up

We spent the morning chatting to some of our friends and Mum seemed to chill a little bit, then came the briefing and delivery of the course plan, under strict instructions that Mum would only have 3 minutes to walk it, she studied hard. As we were 2nd in we weren’t going to be able to watch! That grey colour from the morning returned!!!

Keeping Mum Calm
Keeping Mum Calm
Jumping
Jumping
We sat near some friends
We sat near some friends
Walking the Course
Walking the Course

With the course walked, it was showtime. The seats were filling up and the commentators were studying their notes (not closely enough as they got my name wrong again!!!) I did as a was told and waited – on the ok command we were off. Now I think it’d be fair to say I was a little excited and there were a few things to look at on the way round, Mum’s handling was also far from her best, but I did everything Mum asked and as the crowd cheered and clapped I knew I’d done good – It wasn’t fast, flowing or pretty but it was a Clear Round!!!

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Very Excited!!!
Very Excited!!!
Must concentrate on Mum!!!!
Must concentrate on Mum!!!!
Clear and 5th
Clear and 5th

Following our lap of honour having come 5th it was back to the crate. Mum looked a better colour though seemed to have quite wobbly legs and lots of people came to visit us all beaming at our success. What ever happened next we’d already had a great finish to the season. We had a spot of lunch and everyone seemed quite relaxed, then the agility course went up and it was back to studying! As we were placed 5th in the morning we would go 5th from the end.

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Placings
Placings

The morning had been great but as we entered the ring there was something different! There were so many more people and the arena was buzzing, this was our final run of the season!!! I couldn’t contain myself. I broke my wait, but Mum coped well, over the A Frame – I heard the words ‘touch and wait’ screamed by Mum, but I was flying and she had more chance of stopping a 10 tonne truck with her bare hands. Luckily I caught the contact with my heels, then…. Mum’s forgotten the course, Mum Mum, Mum!!! ‘Through’ she screamed in the nick of time – Right ‘time to work together’ I thought – and we did! Again the crowd roared with approval and Mum made such a fuss I knew I’d pulled it out the bag!!!

Wait? No chance!!!
Wait? No chance!!!
All the weaves, All the weaves!
All the weaves, All the weaves!
Must touch!
Must touch!
We're in this together mum!
We’re in this together mum!
It's the home straight
It’s the home straight

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Yes!!!
Yes!!!

We walked out the ring and Aunty Pauline was grinning ear to ear (think there may have been a tear but shhh!). All that was left to do was wait – something I’m not great at :-s. We were moved into Agility placing order 4th, I’d come 4th with another (All be it by the seat of our pants) clear! Into the ring we went while they announced the Final results. Overall we were 3rd! Can you believe it!! 3rd in the Kennel Club Starters Cup Final in our first season! Our Name was read out and will be in the record books for ever!! Another Lap of honour where I couldn’t help but have a fuss from a few kids in the crowd, (and a bit of their sandwich, shhh again!!!) Every one came back to the benches to congratulate us and Mum couldn’t quite find the words to thank everyone for their help and support.

Waiting for the results!
Waiting for the results!
Proud Mum and Trainer Aunty Pauline
Proud Mum and Trainer Aunty Pauline
Mum and Me admiring our prizes
Mum and Me admiring our prizes

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It was a long drive home through the rain and fireworks but Mum managed it. If I’m honest I think i fell asleep as we left the car park! We stopped back at Aunty Paulines for some dinner and then did the final drive back to Ipswich where I settled down with my new santa toy (thanks Nan and Gramps!) and Mum had a little treat of her own.

Zonked, dreaming of crufts!
Zonked, dreaming of crufts!
Celebration Treat
Celebration Treat

A few days on: It’s taken a few days for things to sink in, life is back to normal and I’ve been informed I’m having a couple of weeks rest from agility. I’m sure Mum is already planning our route to success for next season in terms of qualifiers and weekends away. However, I will be regularly reminding her that she needs be to be enjoying it and singing from the same song sheet! For now I’m catching up on some fling and fetch time!!!

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Hints and Tips

This week Mum has been insistent on me learning things. We’ve practised waits on walks and she’s been trying to teach me right and left (I feel this would be more successful if she knew her right from left!).
This was all working up to Sunday where I’d been told I was on best agility behaviour – we were off for a workshop with Jon Winney (apparently he’s a bit good!). In order to help Mum out I felt it best to get some hints and tips from the cousins.

Vinnie said all top agility dogs sleep upside down.

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Flick insisted the power of the mind is enhanced by sleeping in your mums bed.

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So on Saturday evening I dutifully prepared by attempting both!

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Bandit did point out I should probably take a long hard look at the mug’s I take advice from after they fell foul of a valentines prank!

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So Sunday arrived and I could not contain my excitement, we went to five rivers and some of my favourite friends were there Hope, Noua, Tig and I’m trying to make friends with Zeus (though he’s a bit of a grump).
During my first run of the course I spotted loads of horse poo so felt it important to clear this up for the next runners (mum was not impressed!), so following on from this it was time to buck my ideas up.
1st we worked on contacts so I was able to show what I can do here and what was even better it was mum that was given the hints, tips and homework, though practising contacts before meals was suggested and I’m not quite sure how I feel about having to work for my dinner :-s
Next we worked on a bit of jump handling. I liked this because I got to work with Jon; me, little Cato, working with a champ! Unfortunately everyone prepped him not to throw the toy which I was a little gutted about. So again it turned out I could do it and it was mum that has the homework!
Jon then went on to show us where else the new turning technique could be used in the course, mum was starting to get the hang of it so I dutifully obliged in carrying out the manoeuvre with gusto and finesse, these hints and tips were really working.
Then for the exciting bit: putting the course back together. Mum looked confident and as for me , well I’m always bloody amazing (in my own way!)
So – good wait, rewarded with a treat, and we’re off: through the tyre, up the dog walk, solid contact, snake jumps, tricky handling, A frame, solid contact, tricky handling, see saw, solid contact, 2 jumps and the weaves to go and we were flying, then:

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Yup, what a plonker, I tried to help her out by just going for it but it was no use, she’d ruined my shining run in front of Jon Winney, Jon very kindly talked mum through the last 3 obstacles and we made it to the end. He did say that up to then the run had been very good and I was given a good load of reward from both of them. I grumbled at mum all the way off the course.

So lessons learnt from today, where I sleep, how many times I practice things and all the hints and tips in the world I get are all insignificant. It’s mum that needs to learn, remember and guide me. Otherwise I’m stuffed!!!

Big thank you to the five rivers committee for organising my exciting day and I promise to train my handler better for the next one!

New Year

Yes I know it’s February but as I dog it is my prerogative to do things in my own time. No point stressing!

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As expected the beginning of the year has kicked off with Mum attempting some kind of health kick, the upside to this is I’m getting to go running a lot, sometimes on a CaniX harness

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Sometimes just free running.
The down side to this is the weather is awful at the moment and therefore I have fallen victim on several occasions to ‘The Hose!’. This piece of apparatus is nearly as distressing as the hoover and does not impress me one bit.

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As mentioned in a previous post, I am learning agility and have had a few successes in my short career. If mother could sort her arms out I’m sure we’d get along much better. This weekend we went to our first show of the season, Louandi’s. The venue was great! Nice country park to walk in between classes and a really friendly atmosphere. We went with Aunty Pauline, the for mentioned Bandit, and a few other Crouch valley friends. This was a good chance for Bandit and I to have some get to know you time. I even got a snuggle out of him though I’m not convinced he realised it was me he nestled into.
I had 4 runs, 2 of them Mum insisted on training in the ring (BORING!) then the 2 jumping rounds we ran. My current issue is weaves, quite frankly they are pointless! They slow you down! Surely the point of racing is to go fast! So jumping run 1 didn’t go as smoothly as we’d have liked – basically I tried to run past the weaves and Mum insisted I weave through them. Unfortunately the judge (lovely man) spotted this and I was given 5 faults, now I’ve always been taught ‘if you do something, you should do it properly’ so I promptly jumped the wrong way through a jump and got eliminated!
Now I am yet to leave a show without a rosette and as they say you should save the best til last. It also helps when the final run had no weaves in it. Clear round achieved but not without the embarrassment of falling over in the tunnel-as I said I like to go fast!
All our Crouch Valley friends came away with a rosette and a lot of fun was had.

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After all the excitement of the day, it would’ve been rude not to partake in one of my favourite pastimes. Zzzzzzz!

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Catching Up

So it would appear I’ve been neglecting my reporting duties so I’ll give you a swift blow by blow account of the last 6 months.
I went on holiday to Cornwall.

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I have carried on my agility classes with Suffolk 5 Rivers

http://www.suffolkfiveriversagilityclub.com

and Aunty Pauline (now known as Crouch Valley Agility)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/c.v.agility/

I had Christmas in Wisbech and Wales with lots of cuddles and new toys.

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The least they could provide for putting up with this lot and the ritual Christmas humiliating hat!

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Mum and Dad left me in Wales while they went to visit friends but it wasn’t too bad I got lots of walks and cuddles with the Gramps!

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In September I competed in my 1st agility show with Suffolk 5 Rivers and got 2 clear rounds in courses with no weaves or seesaw. I’ve competed in a few other shows since the and got a rosette at every one. I even got placed at a few independent shows so all in all my agility career has got off to a good start. Though I feel I may be doing slightly better if Mum could remember the course!

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In short there’s not much more to report other than I still love sleeping

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Walks

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and rolling in poo!

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Summer break

So we’re now into the summer holidays, as all of my humans work in schools this means its been very busy. Nelson visited for a second weekend where I introduced him to a few of the locals.

20130805-154718.jpg it would appear he’s a little worried by other dogs so I did the dutiful thing of leading the way or staying close by his side!

20130805-154839.jpg the weekend of Nelson’s visit was very hot so lots of time was spent with our tongues out and cooling down in the brook.

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Following Nelson’s departure things did not slow down I’ve been treated to running with mum 3-4 times a week rather than twice, and we even sneaked in an early morning walk along the river orwell.

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However the most exciting news is that mum has sent off my forms to start competing in agility!

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20130805-155539.jpg after a lot of swearing I’m hopeful mum filled them in right; they’ve taken the money which we felt was a good sign! So to celebrate this we thought we’d be brave and take part in the club demo at the local fete. Bearing in mind we’ve not long finished a beginners course and this was our first public performance it could’ve been worse. I resisted the small children waving ice creams around the arena, and didn’t trip mum up which is always a good trick! My only near moment of calamity was the calling of “here doggy” from a small girl stood at the end of a jump, fortunately the tone of mums voice screaming ‘Catooooo!!!’ Suggested I may be better off following the rules and staying in the ring, and for that I was rewarded with a good game of tug and some liver cake. Dad even managed to catch us on camera.

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I was one of 4 beginner dogs and we performed admirably,
Nuya

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Tig

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Boots

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now if mum can sort out where to wave her arms and remember her way round a course then we’ll be catching the old pros up in no time.

Weekends

So most weekends are great I get a lot of company and if I’m lucky we go out somewhere. Last weekend it was off to Wales to see Mums parents. I’m hopeful my loud panting has acted as a reminder to Mum to fix the car air conditioning! 4 hours in a car when it’s 30c outside and you’re wearing a thick coat is no where near cool!
I like it in Wales, more people to make a fuss of me and its generally quite stress free! So Friday night involved sitting in the garden chasing birds

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and generally reacquainting myself with the surroundings

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whilst Mum sat with her parents drinking wine and chatting, then to my surprise I was allowed upstairs to sleep – usually I’m in a crate at the bottom of the stairs! I must find out what wine they drank and fuel them with more in order to make these most sensible decisions!!!
Saturday was also ok. We went for a long walk in the woods where I found the scariest tree trunk of all time. Embarrassingly Mum had to carry me past it. Then Mum went out in the afternoon to some party, predictably I whined as she left in order to make her feel guilty then progressed to have great fun in the garden and going out to work with Mum’s Dad fixing a radiator in someone’s bedroom – again more people to fuss over me! Mum returned and another evening as above proceeded, I was on a roll – sleeping in with the humans two nights running. My guess is they were buttering me up for Sunday!
So got up, nothing different, sat in garden, nothing different,

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taken out for walk, nothing different. Fed lamb from the table at dinner time- different but delicious, all good so far and then…
Tricked into going in the crate at the bottom of the stairs and all humans left the house! I was left a chew bone as a pacifier but it was not going to work! They came home to this.

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On release from the crate I picked up the chew bone and demolished it in the lounge whilst they had a night cap and some bread and cheese.

This weekend was very interesting. We went to see Pauline’s pack which is a regular Friday occurrence. Buddy is boss,

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Bandit thinks he’s boss – both are usually quite grumpy with me,

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Vinny I’m desperately trying to make friends with as I think there’s some real mischief to be had

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And Flic is the baby, and I love her!

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Much to my surprise we were joined by Nelson too,

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even more surprisingly Nelson came home with us, needless to say I’ve had a great time but I think Mum’s shouted herself hoarse!
What you need to know is that Nelson is a lovely boy but somewhat lacking in intelligence, manners, and general doggy etiquette!

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So Friday consisted of a long walk after Nelson managing to knock over Dad’s freshly opened cider-not the best opening move!
Saturday much to my disgust Mum took Nelson out running without me but I was later rewarded with a walk with Adam the housemate, Nelson and the newest part time member of the household Adams girlfriend Emma – though I’m treading carefully with her as she works at a vets! We then went off to watch Bandit and Vinny compete at Colchester agility show. Very impressive and I’m hopeful I’ll be there with them next year. Nelson however won’t be! Just watching seemed to exhaust him, though I must confess to being a tad tired last night too

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When I mentioned Nelson’s ‘difficulties’ earlier I was probably a bit polite – this dog wants to do nothing but play, is scared of his own shadow, understands no vocal commands and this morning managed to barge me into the side of a tunnel resulting in me taking a good sized bit of flesh off the side of my nose. Needless to say I was not impressed and I have spent the rest of the day attempting to educate him in doggy manners. Partly through play

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and partly by biting his ears,

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this will stand him in good stead for the rest of the week as he’s off to stay with Pauline. This meant I was really lucky to get a visit this evening from Flic, I am now one happy dog!

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The Boots Are Off

So the dreaded booties are off and this means I need to make up for lost time! My rap sheet so far includes: Rolling in dead crow, Rolling in Fox poo, disappearing into the trees with a black Labrador after a rabbit initiating 10 minutes of mum shouting my name wondering if I’d found my way onto the A14 before I decided to put her out of her misery hehe! A wise man once said “once you’re in trouble, you may as well make the most of it!” I’m with him all the way!!!

The Fashion Parade

So you join me at an interesting time of my so far short life. I couple of weeks ago I noticed a bit of a throbbing in one of my front paws, then Dad threw a ball so I forgot all about it. By the time I got home it was bleeding but I wasn’t bothered, I had the ball! Over the next few days this became a pattern so mum dutifully took me off to the vets http://www.highcliffvets.com.

I do love the vets; so many other dogs and animals to make friends with, if only I could escape the short lead Mum attaches I could have a whale of a time, I’ve attempted to take out the toy and product stand on more than one occasion – this is an accomplishment I am yet to achieve.
Anyway after about 5 minutes of being poked and pulled around, and mum chatting to the vet I was given a biscuit and told I could leave. Out in reception I was given another biscuit (as I said, I love the vets!) and in return Mum handed over her plastic card – Mum never seems happy about this part of the trip!

For the next few days I was fed the odd tablet but otherwise it was the usual daily routine. Then it happened. I went to a different vets – I vaguely remember this place, last time I visited I returned two balls less of a man! So I hatched a plan, best behaviour! It didn’t work-she left me! On Mum’s return once again I was missing two items – both my dew claws, I had however gained two items I was less than impressed about – booties!

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So here comes my list of how to escape the dreaded ‘bootie’ situation! The pair above I initially tried to chew them off but got caught-a quick fix up job my Mum and they were securely back in place. Time to get creative; I’m not keen on water but when needs must! So into the pond I went-Mum looked less than impressed as I went squelching into the vets, but the nurse thought it was hilarious! In fact I was called very clever! My reward-Red booties!

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Challenge accepted! Mum had got quite wise to my attempts at boot removal, Dad however – easy target! After a walk where I’d had the added embarrassment of wearing sandwich bags on my feet because the grass was wet, I dutifully presented Dad with my paw to take the bag off and once he had hold, pulled it away really quickly. Off it came and I could blame it all on Dad haha!

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Unfortunately Mum had talked the vet into giving her some extra bandage, maybe in anticipation of such an event? I think there may be some trust issues here, so as I’m always eager to please I decided to prove her right!

Our house has laminate flooring so any kind of traction is difficult, however we do have a brush doormat. Consequently this gave me enough friction that if I scratched at it whilst the family were at work I could get the bandage off from the bottom up! Mission accomplished!

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So Friday I went for the stitches out; “no can do” said the vet. It would appear I’ve been a little too lively and it’s not quite fixed. To speed it up he put some honey ointment on it which smelt like I should eat it and dressed me up again. Now I’m trying to stay calm with the vet but think he may be taking the mick out of me!

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Enough was enough, I will be rid of this ridiculous fashion accessory. I picked my moment – I had a friend over to play and Mum was out, leaving Dad in charge. So we harassed him to take us for walkies – and forgetting the grass was wet, he obliged! On return it was apparent I could not be left in the soggy bandages so he had to remove them. Once again I could claim no responsibility for the destruction of the bandages, yippee! However imagine my horror when Mum returned with a tesco bag full of first aid equipment. The result, blue leg warmers:

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I continue to plan!!!