Thursday, 15 December 2011

Travelling Trials

Some interests fade, some are in the background and others turn into addictions.

When does something become an addiction? Or perhaps an obsession?

I think I am well on my way to being obsessed with agility, but I don't think I'm an addict. I can quit any time I want... I'm sure I can..

So to proved I'm really not that obsessed, the above photographs are from our most recent agility trial. Joc and I travelled around 400km south of Perth to a country trial in Albany.

There are about three country dog clubs that holds trials throughout the year, generally each of these clubs hold two trials per year. This was the second Albany trial. My excuse is to catch up with family, it is my home town after all!

It was a great trial, there was a very good turn out of competitors and it was lots of fun. Joc got two passes in agility excellent, and earned his ADX title in doing so. Gulp, playing with the big kids now.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Putting 'letters' behind a name

Earning the privilege to put letters behind our names is something that we often don't think about. I'm sure you know people with letters behind their name that aren't in that chosen field, like me! I spent a good portion of my life earning the right to put "B.Sc." after my name. Now I work as a Veterinary nurse and play with animals. To connect what I do now to what I studied those years ago is it of a stretch. Regardless, it is still something I am glad I achieved and no one can take that away from me.

Like at university, putting letters after a dogs name still takes dedication, patience and hard work. We study, we practice, we procrastinate... In spite of me, two of my dogs have titles. My old boy is now Blake TD and my young boy is currently Joc JDX AD SPD.

Last night we had our Trackwest dinner to celebrate the tracking season and to enjoy one another's company. As part of the presentations, dogs that have achieved a title in that season get awarded a sash. Most of the dogs that people have in the club are pedigree, but there was still a good number of mixed breeds that were represented. In fact, the 2011 Club Champion is a little terrier mix, called Patch. He beat all of the classical type tracking dogs, go Patch!

Obviously, yes, Blake got a title this year. So now we can work on or TDX and then Tracking championship! 
My handsome old boy, Blake TD
The great thing about tracking is there is few restrictions on who can participate. If and and your dog are fit enough, you can track. Ditzy dogs focus on the track and reactive dogs are calm. Often restrictions are placed on the dogs by the owners themselves. Don't fail your dog before you even give him or her a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised and in time might earn your own beautiful sash.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dogs and Cats

It is an interesting concept about cats and dogs living together and many people struggle intergrating the two different species. I really do think it comes down to the individual animals themselves. My boy dogs quite like cats and my girl is scared of cats. Gunny doesn't give a toss about dogs - he thinks small dogs are a new interactive play toy for him, while Hammerford is quite reserved around new dogs and takes a few days before she is brave enough to go back to her regular routine.

Essentially, I have found in my situation that you manage the dogs and let the cats do as they wish. Keep it low key, never drag out the cat and hold it in your arms for the dog to sniff. Unless you want some nice deep scratches up your arm and down your back.

The three dogs with a kitten that I babysat over a weekend a few years ago. It had been dumped a the vet clinic. I've often wondered where that cat is now...

I was doing a Kong TM demonstration last weekend with Gunny the Bengal and for the first time since I started doing these demonstrations, I was worried for his safety. An entire male staffy spotted him and I saw the change in the dogs demeanor. His body became tense and his hard stare never left Gunny. Now, Gunny is a pretty cool cat and he doesn't run from dogs, and running is the trigger for most dogs. However, I wasn't going to chance it with this one. In that instance putting a visual barrier between the two was the fastest and easiest thing to do. Thank goodness for shopping aisles.

Many dogs came through that day and another two in particular struck me. One was a fabulous smoochy Greyhound, who didn't give a fart about my cat - he was such a nice dog. Another dog gave his guardian a huge surprise.

A customer come in through the shop doors and spotted Gunny, "Oh no, he hates cats" she says. So, I give them some room and she shortens his leash and takes him into the store for some pet friendly shopping. I'm watching this dog, and this sweet Border Collie mix is delibrately noticing everything but Gunny. You can almost see him thinking "There is no cat here... yep, definately no cats..." This dog's body language gives me no concern.

A short while later she get to the checkout, and remembers she needs something else and hands the leash over to a staff member. Gunny spots the dog and he decides he wants to investigate. With his tail held high and confident he struts up to this big black fluffy dog. They sniff noses, then Gunny turns around  and the BC mix takes advantage of the sexy kitty butt for a sniff. You couldn't hope for a more perfect dog/cat greeting. As she was coming back the owner sees all of this and is gobsmacked.To see that your dog is not as bad as you thought, but this is one specific situation with a very special cat.

I take great stock in what the animals tell me, whether it is my animals or someone else's. I do know that my animals instincts are normally good. I love my critters and would never delibrately put them in a lose/lose situation.

On to the Saturday Pet Blog Hop (which is actually Sunday, but I wasn't able to complete it Saturday evening).
Happy Saturday, and welcome to another installment of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! You’ve found the right place to connect with other pet lovers. Whether you are a seasoned blogger, one who loves reading pet blogs, or if you’re just thinking about starting your own blog – there is definitely something here for you. Acquaint yourself and enjoy – this is your resource, so use it as you see fit! Of course, you have to follow the rules, so let’s get to that. Get those links in and have fun.
  • Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a community building exercise and not a promotional vehicle – please treat it as such.
  • Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button above and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
  • Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
  • Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like.
  • Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
  • Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
  • Make friends and grow.
This is a Blog Hop!

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Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Vote for Joshy!

A slight deviation today, a friend of mine who I admire very much as recently entered a photo competition.
Her photographs are just beautiful and definately deserve a mention.

Cancer Warrier Joshy
She has entered about four lovely photographs, but this one of Joshy's is my favourite.

Definately take a look through Hannah's blog, she is an amazing writer but take a box of tissues.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Perth Royal Show

What a weekend! Two full days at the Perth Royal Agricultural Show is quite exhausting. On Saturday morning we competed in agility and jumping teams event. Our team "Better in Colour" didn't do too badly and we came third place in both the agility and jumping events. In team events, each error accrues a point value, from 5 points for a refusal to a whopping 200 points for a DQ, so the team with the least amount of points wins.

We chose our name as bit of a joke, as in our team we had a Soft Coat Wheaten Terrier, an Airedale, a Whippet mix and a Corgi mix - not a black and white dog in sight!

Tottie was a superstar, she did very well for our team.

Saturday afternoon was then games, Snooker and Gamblers. Joc managed to come 2nd place in Novice Snooker. Our lovely judges were very lenient with us all on Saturday, possibly a little too forgiving on some of us.

Sunday was then the individual competitions, and Joc did OK. He actually stayed and played agility with me instead of checking out the very interesting crowd, but no quallies. He really only wanted to be the crowd favourite!

All in all, it was lots of fun. I regard it as a good way for the general public to see how much fun agility can be with your dog, regardless of who you might be. Lets hope some dogs and owners got out of the backyard due to us!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Film production

Well, today was very full as we now are in post-production for my short film Groove on the Couch. I wrote a script with 6 roles for dogs to fill. The handlers, dogs and myself then spent four weeks training and assigning the roles to the different dogs. There was a broad range in skill, size and breed, so it was definately a challenge getting the right role to the right dog.

The fifth 'lesson' was a rehearsal with our wonderful actor, thankfully Kingsley is a master at improv. Great for those unexpected things that the dogs sometimes threw at us.

Some of the cast and crew (L to R - Jason, Jonny and Kinglsey)
 Today was week 6 and graduation. It was quite fun and the dogs all tried so hard. We got most of the shots we set out to get and had to modify some others a little. Our very patient director is now doing the post production side of things, so we should get a hard copy of our lifetime memory of all of this effort fairly shortly.

It was certainly an ambitious endeavour, and we tried to keep everything as simple as we could. I don't think I have too many more grey hairs...

More of the crew (front to back - myself, Jonny and Jarrad)
So, if you'd like to see the doggies strutting their stuff, watch this space!