Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sonic's first Royal Show

It's been another crazy few weeks since my last post. We have now all settled into the new digs and my new internet connection is finally up and running. The dogs seem extremely happy and play endless catch me if you can games up and down our nice long rural driveway. Even Kenny the Karate Cat seems impressed with his new surroundings. I thought he'd be slinking around for weeks, hiding in dark corners, but by the first evening he was wandering around checking things out. Sonic is loving it. Every night he is curled up on his favourite lounge in front of the fire by 7pm. No more hyperactive puppy still trying to convince someone to play with him at 9pm at night!

Last weekend brought us to the 2009 Perth Royal Show. I was pretty undecided about entering this year. It can be such a pain with the yearly circus involved getting cars in and out, loading and unloading, not to mention the expense. On the plus side I always love the opportunity to watch all the other dogs competing and there is no way to replicate that type of environment. Its a small space that we have for the event, the ring ropes are always lined with masses of people with show bags, stuffed toys and it's very noisey. Bottom line is, if they can cope in that environment, they should be able to cope anywhere!

I entered Sonic in six runs over two days which kicked off with Teams Jumping, Teams Agility, then both Open Classes and both Masters Classes. We actually had quite a few agility bloopers between the two of us. Sonic managed to not hold a dog walk contact all weekend, fell off the side of the see saw, crept forward on more than one start line and missed one weaver entry. I managed to come up with some mediocre handle manouvres including a failed attempt at a serpentine that I thought I could make and didn't... However, even with all that STILL managed to get five clear rounds out of six!

My favourite class of the weekend was most definately the Masters Jumping class both to compete in and watch. The course was designed by Des Coyles from South Australia and was a nice change of pace from some of the very technical courses we have been seeing here of late. It was open and flowing but still plenty of things that could go wrong. One thing for certain was it was going to be FAST. The 600 height went first which meant seeing Domino run it. And run it he did. It was incredible to watch and I feel confident in saying that there wouldn't have been a dog in Australia that could have gotten around that course faster. It was truly jaw dropping to watch. The top 10 dogs were all within 2 seconds of each other. I am pleased to say that Sonic came in in seventh place behind Domino, Sage and Bryn, closely followed by Diva, Cuba and Smudge. All very fast dogs and I'm mighty pleased that Sonic at the tender age of 2 years old was up there with some of Perth's fastest dogs.

For the third year running, our team "The Masters & The Apprentices" took out the Jumping Teams competition. We also came second in the Agility Teams. The team this year was made up of Kriszty & Jess (who came out for a final run before "official" retirement), Simone & Cypher and me with Sonic and Riot. Terra was meant to be in the team but unfortunately has hurt her toe so Kriszty made the sensible decision to withdraw her. It meant a bit more stress for me because I had no idea how Riot was going to go. As it happened Riot did the most amazing Jumping run and although not quite as spiffy, I managed to get him round the agility run reasonabley unscathed.

I suppose I may enter again next year :-)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What is tired?

What do you get after a rather silly two year old border collie spends an afternoon on five acres of bush?

A very tired, silly border collie.

And what does that mean?

A VERY peaceful evening...

The "official" move-in day for me and the dogs (and Kenny) to Wellard is Monday. Everything is more or less packed up and ready to go. I did enter a trial tomorrow but with the double today at Gosnells and a lot still to get ready for Monday's move I've decided to give it a miss. Plus I really want to sleep in tomorrow cause I'm very tired!

Today's trial at Gosnells was interesting. All the Masters courses were quite tricky and I'm quite happy to admit, a bit too hard for Sonic at this stage. Even though he understands my body cues pretty well, there is so much choice available he isn't responding nearly as well as I'd like. As per normal our runs tended to get better as the day progressed. His first run is consistenty awful, but I think it's because he's so over excited that his brain and body are not working as one and he certainly isn't listening to me! Even though his Masters runs aren't particularly impressive at the moment he is having a blast and I think they are great experience for him. The day however did provide one saving grace with a really nice big flowing Open Agility class with a very doable distance challenge with no layering involved (hooray). With all the complicated handling required in the Masters classes it was a great opportunity to let Sonic stretch out and kick up his heels. He flew around the course full of confidence and presented me with our first win in open company beating a couple of our very competitive border collies. It was quite a surprise and a very pleasant one at that!

I've been giving a bit of thought on how to help get Sonic up to Masters standard. I don't believe that running him in Masters is doing him any harm because he's having a ball everytime he's out there. I don't think that running him back at Excellent level is going to achieve anything as doing easier courses won't help him develop stronger skills. I just need to help him not get so overwhelmed by all the choices on course and focus on where I'm telling him to go. So I think grids, grids and more grids will be on the training agenda. I'm going to copy down the courses from today so I can set bits of them up at training over the next few weeks. Now I just have to hope that spring decides to finally bless us with it's presence and this awful, crappy winter weather to go away!!