Long time no update!

It’s been so long since I’ve updated real life just simply does not cut it for me these days! That’s not to say no news is bad news it’s just to say that things like work and club and committees and house and stuff is just taking over right now!

Raven had a good evening at the Perth Trial the other night. She won both Open Agility and Open Jumping with a couple of really nice, smooth connected runs. In Masters Jumping I withdrew when she knocked a bar. I kept going in Masters Agility when she knocked a bar simply because she was having a ball and I wanted to make sure she did good contacts. She nailed all contacts with great running and didn’t drop any other bars. It was a tricky course and I was pleased at how well she was listening and the way she was controlled. I really just felt very connected to her and that was great. So a good night in all really, which was nice after 0 from 4 at the last trial.
Cypher had a different story each run it seemed. He did a cracking good Masters Agility round making it through all the hard parts with just one bar down. Yay for Jumping workshop next month maybe we can figure out what’s going on with this one bar thing that’s nothing like Raven’s or Spryte’s jumping style but yet is becoming a consistently annoying habit! In Masters Jumping I didn’t push in on his line enough and my voice kinda gave out and he went in a wrong course tunnel entry. Open Agility we had a bad approach to the distance challenge which led to all sorts of confusion for the poor boy so I helped him out eventually but kept all bars up and did wait on contacts. Finally last run of the evening Open Jumping and he runs clear with no help from me yelling ‘Out’ at just the wrong moment. Luckily he saved my butt and came in to the right jump just splicing it. Good dog Cy! Also had success running Janice’s Dexter – Excellent Jumping we finally finished off his last leg with a 4th place so she was very happy with that, think I’m happier because now I can stick to memorising two course instead of three at once since he now moves into the Masters Jumping class. That’ll keep me busy – running three in 500 MJ. We’ll see if I ever get to qualify all three on the same course *vbg*

So all in all not a bad night and I did a bit of work with Spryte on the side. She has a tendency to get really revved and not just a little feral when she sees fast dogs running agility so that’s something we’re keeping a close eye on. She still immediately gives me her attention when I ask for it even if she is bouncing around on her hind legs like some African meerkat at the end of her lead straining to join the dog in the ring. So I figure it’s a good opportunity to train for attention. She’s rather hilarious though when she’s hopping around on her two back legs using her collar to counter balance her ability to stay up like that really tall for extended moments. Hmmm maybe she has small dog syndrome heh.

Went to training the following Tuesday and all was good. Did quite a bit of work with all three for a change. Let Spryte out at the end of the night to run off some steam with Cypher and it was like bug central at our training grounds. Some nights the lights are literally impossible to see for all the moths and flying type insects around – it’s an etymologists heaven. This was one of those nights. Anyway let Spryte out and she does her usual thing goes chasing after Cypher who has his Frisbee in his mouth and she latches onto the side of his big white ruff and tries with all her 13 kilo might to bring him down. Cypher comes back shaking his head with his right ear a bit flat. I check him over immediately making sure she hasn’t grabbed him too hard or that he’s picked up a grass seed. Nothing there. So I figure it’s probably temporary see if he sorts it out himself. By Thursday arvo I wasn’t happy. He’d trained a bit Wednesday night and done demos all day at my school on Thursday happily doing the same course several times over during the day not missing a beat – keeping all his bars up. I’d flushed the ear with some epiotic and massaged it a bit, shone a torch down it and even smelt it and it all looked fine, no muck, no smell and no redness. He wasn’t whining when I touched it or anything. Yet still by Thursday he was still having it a bit flat and shaking his head still. So I bit the bullet and rang the vet and got an appointment that afternoon – mostly for my peace of my mind. We had a four hour drive to the trial that weekend and I didn’t want anything to get worse. So took him in round 5.15 and she had a look down there. She noticed it was all red, inflammed and swollen looking much farther down but really couldn’t see anything except for a bit brown wax. She flushed it through with Epiotic to try and loosen it and had another look. This time it did look like something was stuck down there. So I held him firmly and she put the forceps down there and managed to pull out the body of some sort of bug at least 3cm long! Urgh! I nearly gagged at the thought of that stuck in there. But then there was more….she pulled out a large wing, then another wing and then she found the other half of it’s body. She flushed it again and then managed to pull out about 6 black legs! It was quite frankly disgusting!!! And all the while he just lay there and let me hold him yet those forceps were going in such a long way it must have been painful. He whined and struggled a bit to begin with but then just must have figured we were trying to do something to make him feel better because he just let her do whatever she needed to. The vet was stunned, 11 years working and she’d never pulled anything quite like this bug out of a dog’s ear. She kept it to show the other vet! She was also impressed with his good nature to let that happen, she said 95% of dogs would have needed at least sedation to get all that out. I was so impressed with him he was very spoilt that night. I can’t believe it was in there for that long and he didn’t even whimper or carry on at all. I think I would have been screaming blue bloody murder if I’d had something like that in my ear canal! I certainly appreciated his absolutely trusting nature at that point, he’s certainly a one in a million Border Collie.

So we went away for the weekend to Albany – had Spryte in her first show since Minor puppy I think and Cypher in his first show since 2005 Royal if I recall right. Also entered the Obedience trial. We did absolutely no good in the show (man that’s a lot of palaver really for what at the end of the day is a totally subjective opinion…perhaps this is why I am not as enamoured with the show ring as I am with agility. All that prep work on the day and pfft! No pay off if the judge doesn’t happen to like your type). However at about 6pm when there were close to cyclone like winds (at least that’s what it felt like) Cy went into CCD and picked up his second leg with a ho hum score of 88. His first pass was 94. Raven started UD well. Finished the seek back nice, I gave a bit of weakish command for the first directed jumping box especially considering the wind and she took the jump out on the way to the box. She did fine on the second part. I began to wonder if she’d be blown out of the ring the wind was that strong. I had doubts about doing the scent discrimination in this wind yet there was no hesitation on her part – went straight in a picked up the right one each time bringing it back. The last article – leather, was so light though it blew out of her mouth and she had to go and grab it and bring it in to me. Not bad signals exercise and we made it through to the sit command this time. She missed the drop at her last trial but this time she did the drop promptly and forgot what the sit up signal was. Did a really nice directed retrieve no problem. So bits of it were nice, they’d probably be nicer if I cared more and put more time into her training but I’m just not that motivated. I was having kittens in Cy’s CCD stays as several dogs were in there who hadn’t passed and one that lurched up just as we were about to leave. Luckily he made it through unscathed but I thought to myself – why do I do this? I am certainly not enjoying it, in fact I felt rather worried. So far in his short trialling life he’s had a GSD charge at him as he was in the middle of weave poles from another ring, a GSD stand over him in his first ever trial stays, an Aussie charge at him whilst he was playing tug with me at training and he is getting a little concerned about dogs that appear to be moving towards him at speed. He didn’t start off reactive and whilst I have faith that he won’t do anything it’s not a situation I would like to place him in where it could possibly happen. So far he is all noise (or all piss and wind as I like to say) and not really inclined to follow through on it as he responds the second I tell him to down. So I don’t know that we will go much further than CCD in Obedience the way I feel about the sport now. I can see why Agility is definitely drawing people away from Obedience, it actually makes complete sense to me. That’s not to say I don’t see any merits in training Obedience. On the contrary I think it is an excellent idea. But the way trialling is set up these days – it’s a tough call to ask experienced handlers put their green dogs in the ring when they could quite potentially ruin their dogs for stays by simply doing the stays as they are on a pass next to dogs who really should not be there, I do like the idea of stays for dogs who have passed and stays for those who haven’t. It has definite merits. I am not saying that experienced handlers/trainers always have perfect stays on their dogs. What I am saying is that usually experienced handlers will not put their dogs in stays unless they have passed (usually that decision is made so that there is no risk being run of their non-passing dog putting a passing dog off in the stays) and they will not put their dogs in stays until they are absolutely ready. If most experienced handlers feel there may be a risk of their dog being too interested in the dogs near them they won’t enter until that is fixed. I don’t know why I’m continuing my diatribe on this as I did say Obedience holds very little appeal right now however little things like that are probably not difficult to rectify. Anyway onto the fun stuff.

The agility trial was held early Sunday morning. Masters Agility was one of those courses where you had to work every single obstacle and you could not let up for a single second. Challenging yet doable. Cypher vagued on me after going over a jump and missed the weave entry – well actually technically he got the entry but came straight through it without actually doing any weaving. He was quite simply a tosser….I kept going till he dropped a bar and then withdrew. Raven was a star, listening really well, she actually held her seesaw for the first time in ages, ran clear and won the class. I did quickly check her lymph nodes after our run…just wondering at that held seesaw, but no worry required she was all good! Made the whole trip worth while really! I do wish judges wouldn’t try to be too encouraging whilst on course though – I’m totally grateful if they give me a hint when I’m lost but telling me to just Go go go go! when we are on the home stretch down a curly line of jumps fairly close together is not encouragement I’m going to heed with a CBK like Raven! CBK? Chronic Bar Knocker….hopefully in remission…heh!

Cypher redeemed himself with clear runs in Open Jumping and Open Agility. Raven was saving the CBK version for the rest of her runs so no more clears from her. But hey…first in Masters is plenty good enough for me! Cy dropped a bar in MJ frustratingly but only a few more days till our jumping workshop now!

So we get home Sunday night and Spryte has decided to come in season. Must admit Cypher had been showing a renewed interest in her nether regions since Thursday but no signs till Sunday night. At least I know she’s a regular 6 monther then. Suits me well for the major events of the year. She probably won’t be mated until well into 2009 after the next Border Collie Nationals. Cy did good on the weekend considering how good she probably smelt!

SO that is about it on the trialling/training front. Lots of seminars coming up, all close together too, which is a shame but can’t be helped. We have a Cathy Slot Jumping one in a couple of weeks, then in the beginning of January Stacy Peardot, at the end of January Greg and Laura Derrett. Good things to tide us over in the trialling hiatus. Last trial is on the December 15 this year – first one back is on the 19th of January. A little over a month.

Work has been full on, with reporting time and various assessments, lots of marking and trying to make sure the kids stay manageable till the holidays. ACWA is gearing up for it’s big Christmas wind up night, we’re having some courses up and some presentations of awards, a big raffle and even a very simple jumping course for our non triallers soon to be trialling hopefully. It has been really rewarding to see a number of the handlers in my class progress so well. Also to have some younger handlers start their trialling careers this year very successfully too was pleasing to see. I love it when I see other people who started off with ACWA get the trialling bug. Looks like Cypher’s got another son too coming down to ACWA, a boy by the name of Taj. You can see photos of him here http://www.flickr.com/photos/artbymichelle
Here’s a portrait shot of him from the above website:
He’s a handsome lad and is joining half brother Chase in the baby puppy class.

Wow huge blog entry really….that’s what I get for leaving it so long. Latest obsessions? Facebook, love that idea. Still Smallville (now on my IPOD which is soooooo cool). ITunes, Reading various graphic novels and comics such as Watchmen by Alan Moore, Midnight Nation by Straczynski, Smallville Season companions, Visual guide, still trying to do my tax and yes I have to vote in our Federal election tomorrow…hmmm wow, so not bowled over by the plenitude of choices there. Can I vote for Al Gore? I saw him on Inconvenient Truth, I like him, or Robin Williams from Man Of The Year. Or perhaps Kevin Smith?
Politician and breath of fresh air.
Will those two terms ever meet?

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