Thursday, 28 January 2016

Be more Pikachu

Well Pikachu is nearly 6 months now and it seems like she has been with us forever.

She is always happy and always ready to get into mischief. Of course she doesn't know that climbing on the table is mischief, she doesn't know that getting under the gate is mischief, she doesn't know that climbing on agility equipment she hasn't been taught to do is mischief OR does she?

I often admire her positive and can do attitude and being so excited about the smallest things. Then I realised that these are traits I do luckily share.

My positive,if a little naive thoughts, about the changes the KC are making.

When something has to be done then I do usually find a way to get it done.

I even still get excited about many things like Rhyme's first Champ class coming up this weekend, doing the judges course, competing at Crufts, training in a new environment with Rhyme, having new customers etc etc. Yes when it comes down to it I am more Pikachu than I first thought :) 

Here's a few clips of how she is doing with some little training sessions we did this afternoon.

Friday, 22 January 2016


By coincidence the song Jump was playing on the radio as I start writing todays blog.

Like everyone in the agility community my head is spinning with the press release about jump heights.

I personally think it is a great step forward and a great way to get data for research to understand the impact of jump heights without completely changing things in a way there would be no way of going back from. Rather than the research being confined to a few scientists, everyone in the agility community will get first hand experiences - judges, competitors, and show organisers 

Judges - in some organisation elsewhere in the world of agility judges are key in making the rules. They are the people who watch agility more critically than most. To judge a class of dogs of the same measured height category competing for the same prize over the same course at different jumps heights will really help identify how lower jumps changes a courses dynamics. There will be some that understand these things that may even feel a challenge to produce a course that evens out the jump height in some way. I'm not an experience judge yet so it won't be me ;) There is a worry that lower jumps creating more speed would mean the dogs are hitting other obstacles quicker too and could cause more risk of injury. Judging the different options would illustrate if that is in fact the case and give opportunity to consider how course design might need to change if lower jumps become the norm. 

Show organisers - wow, good luck is all I can say except that we may be underestimating these smart people who took going to 7 grades in their stride, organise changes to venues to cope with weather at the drop of the hat etc etc and really are the unsung heroes of agility. Without you there would be no agility competition so whilst quietly confident that you will make the best of this I also hope it isn't too challenging.

Competitors - What fun this is going to be in looking at shows to enter, what classes to enter - so much choice. What a gamble if looking for wins to move up. If you know the class is split do you do lower height as you can go faster or the standard height as there may not be so many dogs to compete against. A minefield - game of minesweepers anyone? Strategy is going to be a key mental skill or maybe lady luck will just be busier. 

There will be a call for people to be honest and as many have mentioned there may not be "fairness". IMO agility can never be looked at as all things being equal - dogs and people are all of different shape and personality. Not to mention age and sex, so no matter what rules changes there are, in a competition there will always be winners and losers. If you can not accept that then agility is never going to be a happy place for you to compete in. The top dogs and handlers will still get to the top.

Dogs - Really this is the most important category. This is really GREAT news for our dogs and their long term competitiveness. Not to mention their length of time being able to compete.

Moog is going to have a great start to agility being able to gain confidence at shows first at any size, then at the lower height and then move up to standard height as he progresses. 

Even though our dogs are allowed to compete at 18 months many dogs get fitter and stronger as they mature and reach peak at 4 to 7 years old. So it makes sense to allow them the easier task of jumping lower until they move up the grades. It is a formula followed in the horse world where higher jumps and more complex hurdles are only introduced as the horse wins up through their 'grades'.

Pikachu was tiny as a pup but has grown into her large personality to the extent that she might even end up as medium. A medium dog with Jack Russell legs and a Pug body would possibly have a short competition time as weight to height would worry me. We did not get her as an agility dog but she has her own agenda! With this new looking schedule then we will be able compete at  the lower height. We are competitive people deep down so just running at Anysize may not have given us the motivation to train her the same etc. This is all a lot of ifs as she is only 6 months but illustrates to me the differences this rule could make to her. 

I am sure there are a lot of handlers with dogs like her that are now going to be able to enjoy competing more with dogs that weren't a perfect fit height wise before.

So as Van Halen says - Jump

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Getting Things Done

Well hello again :)

So much to be able to blog about too. Just need to remember to do it.

We decided our webpage wasn't the window we wanted it to be and there was no joy in trying to keep it up dated, with Twitter and Facebook being so handy and quick for keeping things current.

I used to get a lot from blogging and looking back it create a good place for me to take stock of things around me, to fine tune my thoughts along with my training and sometimes just to have a good old boast.

Todays blog is the latter I'm afraid. It is also a little cryptic which I personally hate in a blog but sometimes that is just the way things are best to be.

My boast is that I am very proud of my husband.

Now many of you know that anyway, it's not news and most people are pleased with their partners. It doesn't hurt though to value the good things in your life.

He is not generally known for his patience. He is however well known for always looking for improvements (and I can confirm he is ALWAYS looking for improvement in everything).

Occasionally in order to make an improvement patience and perseverance and continually assessing things are the only way forward.

So yes, sometimes it is difficult when one of his projects takes up our weekend, interrupts our holiday and giving up seems the easy path. Then something happens that makes it all worthwhile and in a way that will probably just pass by without a stir and only we know how long it's taken. And thats a good thing.

Hopefully this improvement will move things forward and will not need further time and patience. 

I know there will be other projects that will spill over to our time in order to be done the best way and it makes me proud.