Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fire, rain and agility

As part of preparing for next summers fire season we set fire to a good two thirds of our property recently. Living in an area that is predominately bush we have been rather nervous during the couple of summer periods since being here. The bush on the block was really thick and looked like it hadn't been burnt in at least 20 years. The controlled burn was carried out by a group of local volunteer fire brigade personnel of whom I have a very large respect for. These guys spent over five hours getting the job done on a Friday night in their own time. They also made sure to rescue any wildlife in the way and transfer them to area that wasn't being burnt. I didn't do anything particularly constructive other than wander round with my camera oohing and aahing as things went up in flames. I did take some very cool photos...

The downside is that the landscape is now rather charcoaled and the rabbits hate us but hopefully with the winter rains upon us we should see new life sprouting very soon.

We've also joined the solar power revolution and had solar panels installed before the government stops handing out rebates. It's actually spent more time raining than sunny since it was done though so it will be a little while before we really start to see the benefits. I'm definitely looking forward to much lower power bills over summer when the air conditioner is in full swing. It's kind of nice to be living in a more environmentally friendly way. With all the rain I'm happy to say that our water tank is finally full again.

We are smack bang in the middle of agility double header madness. There are enough trials for the next month or two to render even the most ardent agility enthusiast with exhaustion. There's a part of me that loves it and another part that is finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with everything so I'm going to start limiting the trials to fortnightly once I've made my way through the trials I've already entered. I've always felt that our agility competition year is too long and I think that we can over trial & train our dogs. I know of few other sports that run for an entire year. Most are seasonal allowing sports people time off to wind down and relax. Sonic loves his agility, don't get me wrong but to have any animal in peak condition for a whole year is an awfully big ask.

Trialling is going OK. We finally managed a quallie in Masters Agility at the Gosnells trial last weekend after a long drought. The courses recently have for the most part been really quite challenging with tight turns and off courses everywhere you look. Sonic is definitely reading my body better but I still see him asking questions and every time that happens we loose speed on course. I am still working on getting him to dig in and drive harder over small grids and sequences. Here is some of our recent weekend runs.

Gosnells Obedience Dog Club - Agility Trial 18/06/2011

Agility Club of WA - Agility Trial 12/06/2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Celebrate Good Times!

Two big reasons to celebrate this week. Firstly birthday time is upon us again with the Murphster turning fourteen years old.

Its ma burfday again!

He's doing really well for a grumpy old bugger. Although a bit unsteady on the old pins he still trots around the property with us each night and runs around playing chasey with Riot and Sonic in the backyard. If he wants something he barks at us until he gets it and he hates getting up early in the morning. I'm pretty sure he's having a pretty good time during this his twilight years.

The other reason for celebration was Sonic's win in Masters Jumping at the Northern Suburbs agility trial last weekend. We started the day with a really nice run in Masters Agility but he pulled out of the last weaver when I moved away (very uncharacteristic I must say...). Then we had a fantastic run to go clear in Masters Jumping. I was happy enough to have a run that felt so great and winning the class just made it that little bit sweeter.

With all the work we've been doing on recalls and Sonic's response to my verbal and physical cues I'm very happy to say that the fruits of my labours are starting to pay off. Training has seen him coming away from off course obstacles that he would otherwise have taken as soon as I've called him which is what I've been aiming for. Then his response to my handling over the weekend and some pretty tricky courses was well above what it's been for quite some time. We've got another couple of weekends of double headers coming up so lets see if we can keep the good times rolling!!