Welcome to the Blog of Rosie Ison & her Scruffy Hairy Mutts.

I do hope you enjoy reading about all the various exploits of the Hairy Gang !

Sunday, December 29, 2013

End of Year Catch Up.

2013 is coming to an end , so I thought this was a good time to catch up with my news.

My last post was about Boo's first TV job for Tesco. Unfortunately they cut her bit out of their ad so no one ever got to see how lovely she was, however 3 weeks ago she did her second job .

It was for a pilot comedy programme called " The Walshes" to be shown in February. She is the family dog called "useless"  Poor Boo :-(

I hadn't a clue what she had to do when we arrived. So I was very nervous about it all, and how she'd be. Well I needn't have worried..she was totally AMAZING :-)

She had several scenes to do and she was paw perfect. They even asked for her to do something I hadn't taught her. In 5 minutes I got her to go on command to the other end of the room and then go and lay in a bed. The cast and crew loved her and more importantly the producer and director were raving about her. I got lovely feedback from my agent that they sent her afterwards.

I wont have any worries about any future work that she may asked to do.

Fozzie also did his first TV Job I previously posted about. This was actually for the new Direct Line advert. Once again a dogs first job is always a worry. You can never be sure whether they will freak at the cameras, crew, noises etc.

Once again I couldn't fault Fozzie. He had to be alongside small children inside a cramped car for a considerable amount of time and he was brilliant. He was chilled and happy throughout.

I don't know how much will end up on the cutting room floor, but hopefully he will be seen at some point :-) Here are some pics of him filming.

At the beginning of December Boo was eventually spayed :-( She has suffered badly with her hormones and I just couldn't bear her low mood and lack of any sort of work ethic. It was making me depressed, and I had made the decision that if she was to remain intact then her agility would go out of the window as I felt like I was flogging a dead horse.

However the decision was taken away from me, because we booked a fantastic holiday at the end of March to the US. My sister in law is house/dog sitting and unfortunately it would have been just when Boo would be in season again. After the " accident " with Woody last time, coupled with the fact it would be a huge responsibility having an in season dog to look after , I decided the only option was to get her spayed.

She was awful when we got her home after her op. She acted like someone was using her as a pin cushion. She jumped in the air for no reason, she scratched constantly , couldn't settle and was extremely stressed. I had to put a babies bodysuit on her to prevent her damaging herself with constant scratching. It took a full 7 days for her to behave normally, and then thank goodness she was ok because 10 days later she was doing her film job. However the real problems came a week later, when she felt fine again because I couldn't keep her quiet , still or keep all 4 of her feet in the floor. She was bouncing like Tigger :-( Jumping on and off furniture and it was a nightmare !

Here we are 4.5 weeks later and she is behaving like a total loon. She has reverted to puppy hood and is a menace and being very naughty again . I am hoping this will bode well for her agility.  We have a Natastha Wise training day today and I am going to start her back gently with poles on the floor. No A Frame or Seesaw and only end contacts on the Dog Walk. Next week I will introduce small jumps and then hopefully by mid January she can resume properly albeit at small height till February.

She is off lead on her walks now.

Boo sporting her bodysuit :-) Looking very fed up :-(

I wrote back at the beginning of October that I was thinking of giving up agility shows. As I said then this decision was based on some negative things that had happened coupled with Boos lack of motivation, Chips advancing age and Fozzies injury problems.

I have since decided that I will be continuing :-) HOORAY. But maybe not doing so many shows and maybe doing some different shows that I don't normally do. I am also going to do some Obedience shows with Boo.

Chip still has at least another agility season, even if he's no longer competitive. Fozzie has upped his game and is actually amazing at the moment. I need to get some intense training in before Crufts though. I need to find an AstroTurf arena to practice on, so he understands the surface.

And fingers tightly crossed that Boo will now go from strength to strength.

Lastly in this round up I can't forget lovely Disney.
He is doing amazingly well. Its so hard to believe he almost wasn't with us 3 months ago. He is extremely senile and sometimes very frustrating, but he is my special boy and I treasure every extra day I have with him.
I am extremely worried about my holiday in March . But I am leaving him in very safe hands and trust Carol ,my sister in law, to make any decisions which may have to be made as regards his health. I originally wasn't going to go away as I couldn't bear to leave him, but this opportunity came up and it wouldn't be there another time. I am sure he will be 100% ok whilst I am away, although I am sure I will be phoning/ messaging home almost every day.
That is the joy of Skype and internet. Its so easy to keep in touch wherever you are in the world.

In 2014 I am going to try and do a quick round up at the end of every show I go to on my blog. I can now do it via my phone, so should be easy enough to do actually on site. I can save a draft and just publish it on my return home.

Here are a couple of lovely photos to end this year. Its of some of my lovely Hairygang at Xmas

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baby Boo's first proper TV Job

Last week Boo had her first proper TV Job. She did a still shoot when she was about 12 weeks old, but since then I haven't put her forward for anything as I felt she was too immature.

Well I needn't have worried...she was totally FANTASTIC. She wasn't fazed by a thing and was extremely confident
Her first scene was to be tearing up Xmas wrapping paper. I knew about the job 2 weeks ago and I taught her to tear on command. I was very confident until they told me 5 minutes before they'd like her to tear the paper on a parcel, which I hadn't taught. The AD went off to talk to the director and they decided to go back to plan a) as thats what I was told to teach her.
She was very excited and ready to go. They said action and I gave her her cue.... disaster. The scene before had food in it and there were crumbs everywhere and all she did was go off and sniff :-(
I wanted to die, I had been so confident she would do it. Anyway they got set up again. I played with a piece of the wrapping paper with Boo and hey presto she was away. They made her do it about 7 times, she then had to play with a cuddly toy amongst the paper and then had to do various cute poses with paper in her mouth. I have just been teaching Boo to beg and my hand signal is verbal with a hand up. They wanted her to look up into camera, so I go a piece of sausage out and held it up above the camera , Bless her..she immediately went up into a beg :-) The Ooo's & Arrrs from everyone was lovely :-)

Next scene 2 days later involved her running around a snow covered garden whilst a family played football and had a snow ball fight. Not much preparation for that, she was great and wasnt worried about all these people running around her at all.

It was for the Tesco Xmas Commercial, which should start to be screened approx mid November. They may of course cut all her bits :-( or it could be a blink and miss it.
Here are a couple of pics of her in the artificial snow.

With her on screen family

Chips appearance in BBC 1 " The Escape Artist"  A 3 part criminal series should be airing very soon. It stars David Tennant. Chip was just the family dog and only appears briefly in a few scenes.

Then theres Woody. He appears in 5 episodes of the childrens programme Gigglebiz with Justin Fletcher on CBeebies. This is airing now.

And lastly...Fozzie is doing his first job soon. I am slightly worried about this as he hasn't been behind a TV camera at all yet. I don't know what its for yet. At first they just wanted a dog to sit in the back of a car. That shouldn't be hard, but I've since been told he will have to do something else too..once again I haven't a clue what that is or what the job is for !!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

After a series of negative events over the past few weeks/months that have made me quite depressed , I have made the decision to give up Agility, well certainly competing anyway.

I haven't made any decisions yet about training, but I think certainly for this winter I will continue to train my dogs in a small way.

I was struggling anyway to find training for both my big boys during winter , so this was also getting me down. Although I have my own field and equipment, I lack motivation to go out and train on my own. I'm happy to go out and practice contacts, weaves and the odd exercise, but anything other than that I just cant do. I also need someone to tell me where I went wrong, where I could have tightened a turn or just set me an exercise.

However I have some monthly training days at my field organised with Natasha Wise which I will honour, because all my regular friends enjoy it so. So I will train the boys once a month and I will do grids work and single jump exercises etc with them in the field to keep them jump fit.
Boo has got regular training during winter, so for a while I will continue to train her. Sadly she hasn't really turned out quite how I hoped. She is nice and neat, but lacks the drive and want that I love in my boys. I have to use so much energy playing, cajoling, encouraging that I am mentally and physically exhausted at the end of each exercise/run. I had to do this with my Standard Poodles many years ago, but since having my 4 boys I hadn't realised how hard this can be and I'm a lot older now too :-(
I realise Boo is still very young and lacks confidence, and also at the moment she is still a bit hormonal after her season 7 weeks ago, so she could pick up.

I had even started to look around for a puppy again, and had found a perfect litter, but I'm not sure that this is the answer , although typically this is the first time hubby Steve has actually encouraged me to go and look at a puppy !!!
Also 6 dogs really is too much, and Disney is now doing so well( more on him in a minute) that I don't see a space occurring for quite a while..thank goodness.

So at this moment in time my decision sticks. I may go back to Obedience shows next year, to give me a break and then take stock after a few months.
Here is a little video of Boo at maybe her last show. I know we should never say never, so I wont say she will never compete again....time will tell


Disney is doing incredibly well :-) In fact better than I could have imagined :-) He's been signed off from the vets. He no longer has to wear his collar, his incision is completely healed and he can resume normal life. He's also back enjoying his normal walks. He still gets a bit puffy when he's out for any length of time especially if its warm, but he managed an hours walk 2 days ago with ease and was still running at the end :-) Disney has never been one that charges around on a walk even as a puppy, so he doesn't overexert himself. I can't help smiling all the time when I look at him.
Generally his whole attitude and demeanour has improved immensely at home and he is so much more chilled. I now wonder just how much discomfort he has been in for the past few months :-(
I still get a chill when I think how close we were to having him put to sleep. If my vet had been on duty on that Friday after his specialist appointment, Disney would not be here today. It was only because we had to wait till Saturday for her to be on duty that everything changed. It was the Friday evening that Disney picked up and I realised that maybe he should have chance. It was definitely meant to be :-)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Best News Ever

The results are back and it was the best news possible. The lump wasn't a malignant or benign tumour, it was a fatty lymphoma .
So now we can relax and enjoy what time we have left with Disney.
I took this this evening. Hard to believe its only been 10 days since his Op :-)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Disney Update

It has now been a week since Disney's operation. He is doing remarkably well. He's wanting to run, play and seems so much happier, even though he has to wear a special collar to stop him getting at his stitches. These ones are inflatable and so much nicer than the horrible hard plastic cone type. When he came home, thats all I had and he hated it and was so miserable. Worse still he got stuck under the table between the seat legs. Fortunately someone lent me this inflatable one and its been a godsend. It would be no good on a dog with a leg injury as they can still reach their legs, but on abdomen wounds its perfect :-) Disney uses his as a pillow :-)

Hopefully the results of the biopsy will be back this week.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Disney is Home

Disney is home :-) The operation was a success and hopefully we will have a few more months if not years with my special boy. he is over the worse, but obviously he has a few weeks of recovery before he's right back to normal.
The lump was enormous, bigger than ever imagined and was pushing his bladder right into his pelvis and his other organs towards his lungs.
It has gone off for a biopsy, so should know in about 7-10 days what exactly it was.
Disney is an amazing dog, and has come home with a spring in his step and you certainly wouldn't know he had just had a serious operation.
If you're squeamish don't look at the next picture, but this was the mass they removed !!!

I just wanted to add this little video taken of Disney the day before the op. How could I have not given him the chance !

Monday, September 09, 2013

My Special Boy

Life can be so cruel sometimes :-(

Last week Disney suddenly had a very bad attack where he needed to keep peeing and was passing blood, and he was very very upset.
I took him to the emergency vet at 10.30pm who administered an antibiotic jab, an anti inflammatory and a morphine jab. He said he could feel a mass and wanted him to be seen asap by a specialist.

The next day I was down at Godstone at the North Downs referral centre.
They kept him in and did an ultrasound and told me the news I didn't want to hear, and that was he had a huge mass in his abdomen that was pushing on his bladder.
However the biopsy showed that possibly it wasn't a tumour, however the only way to be certain was to open him up. When they did the biopsy some pus came out and tests showed necrosis .

Originally Steve and myself said that we didn't want him to undergo surgery, and we thought the kindest thing would be to have Disney put to sleep. However although 15.5 yrs old, his blood tests were amazing for his age. His quality of life is still good, he has no arthritis , and although deaf and has a heart murmur, he doesn't look or act his age.

We spoke with the specialist and Emily ( my fantastic vet)  and it was decided to give Disney a chance with Surgery. We have all agreed that once she has opened him up, if the operation is going to be straightforward with a good recovery, she will go ahead. However if , when she opens him, she finds a real mess in there, or the mass have infiltrated other organs etc she will call us and we will go down and say our goodbyes to him on the operating table and he wont be bought round.

I know there is a big chance we will be saying our goodbyes tomorrow, but we felt if there was any chance the op could be successful we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if we have just a few more quality months with Disney it will be worth it.

So fingers and toes and anything else tightly crossed for my extra special boy.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Boo at Letchworth

Generally Boo was more upbeat and happy this weekend at Letchworth Show. She seemed to have a smile on her face.
However on the Sunday all her runs were later in the day and she had definitely gone down a notch. Both her runs on the Sunday seemed slow, and I once again felt a little down .

I know its probably hormone related, so I have 75% decided to get her spayed now. I will see how she is over the next few shows. The weekend shows have finished , so I just have a handful of day shows to do this month and next.

I will make the decision in November. By this time she should be over any phantoms and her hormones should be back to normal. If she comes back with gusto I will spay her, if there is no difference then I don't know which way I will swing.

Here is a little video with snippets from her runs

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Great 2 weeks of Agility

Well I am home now and am just catching up with editing my videos etc.
As I wrote in my last post Fozzie has qualified for Crufts 2014. Here is a video of his run, I am amazed he took the last jump. It was one hell of a run from the jumps after the A Frame to the finish, and it caught a few very good dogs out, that either ran past the last jump or turned to see where there handler was, and then consequently ran past or knocked the jump.

Little Boo had her first show at D.I.N. She was brilliant considering !!! ( more of that in a mo ) She even got a 5th place in Grade 3 Agility. Not bad for her first show, and she definitely wasn't running at her usual speed
Boo with her 5th Place rosette.

Here is a little video with highlights from all her runs.

Lastly as regards my Agility success over the fortnight was that Chip qualified for the D.I.N final with 2 x 5th places in Grade 6.
The Finals Judge was from abroad, and as such put up a very hard testing course. I got eliminated by the tunnel under A frame combination, and I believe he only actually got 2 clear rounds in the Grade 6. I know 4th place had 15 faults :-( and everyone else was eliminated !
The ground conditions were extremely slippery, and I think it was sad that the course wasn't showing the dogs off at their best :-(

Now onto why I am so amazed Boo worked as well as she did.
Her next Season was actually due mid July, so I had been checking her fairly regularly and she was showing no signs.
Last time she bled like a pig, my dogs were constantly sniffing her, and Disney is the master at telling when a bitch is coming into season. I had none of these signs. Maybe with hindsight she was peeing more and she was slightly swollen, however no bleeding or anything. On the Sunday of DIN I was packing up my caravan and Disney and Chip had a bit of a scrap. I put Chip away and at that time Boo was in the caravan with me. She was getting under my feet so I put her outside in the caravan garden with the boys and continued my clear up. About 5 minutes later I heard some squeaking noises and I assumed Boo had been raiding my van of squeaky toys. I went out to stop her and I was horror struck by what I saw. Woody was mating her. I went to grab him off, but realised he had finished and was tied to her :-(
I was in a state of complete shock,  I called Laura over to help me by phoning my friend who breeds dogs to get advice. She explained re length of time for the tie and what to expect afterwards. Poor Boo just wanted to lay down and Woody looked perplexed by his actions. Fortunately 10 minutes later they untied.

I spoke with my vet on my return. She had never heard of a dog that had been neutered 9 years before actually mating a bitch , however she had heard of bitches who had 'silent" seasons and had been caught unexpectedly whilst out on walks and so had to have the mis mate Jab.

I sort of half wished that Woody had of been entire, I would have loved one of his babies, he is the most wonderful, if not randy, dogs I know with a temperament to die for.
So fortunately no harm done, apart to my stress levels, and I bought home a little bitch who was by now flirting with every dog in the house.
At the time of me writing this I think she is coming to the end of her fertile time. Although she is still a bit flirty with Chip, she almost bit Fozzies head of when he became slightly amorous earlier. I can assure you she is not being left unattended for a second with any of my boys now.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fozzie's going to Crufts

Unbelievably Fozzie has qualified for Crufts 2014 in the Novice Cup :-)
He got through to the finals by gaining a 3rd in the qualifying rounds.
When I saw the course for the final I wasn't at all sure I would get him round it. It was a lovely very appropriate course, set by Jackie Gardener , but it had several traps that caught a lot of dogs out, and some quite tight pacing on a couple of jumps.
Fozzie had always had a funny jump style and close jumps can often catch him out.
However I played it safer and took him wider and it helped him to keep his legs up. He was a really good boy and I'm very proud of him, especially as 4 months ago I was uncertain if I would be running him again.
I ran 4th and had the first clear round, but then had the fingernail biting time waiting whilst the other 26 dogs ran. I will upload the video when I get home :-)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fozzie and Chip at Agility Club Show.

Last Weekend I went to the AgilityClub at Ardingly. I don't tend to record many of my older dogs runs nowadays, as its always so difficult finding someone willing to hang around whilst I queue etc to run my dogs. However this weekend on the Sunday Laura was there with her friend. He was happy to record some of the runs if he was around. Luckily he got these 2 rounds from Chip and Fozzie. It was a Grade 5-6 Agility class,  I had always wondered how the boys compared speed wise as they have such different jumping styles. If they have ever been in the same class, which is rare, one or other gets eliminated , so to get video and times where they both went clear is amazing. I was absolutely astonished to find that they did in fact have exactly the same times !!!! Both did it in 35.41 seconds !!! However Chip was 35.418 and Fozzie 35.413, a fraction of a second faster.
Chip was just out of the places in Grade 6 , whereas Fozzie came 6th in Grade 5 :-)

Next week we are off to the KC Festival and then on to D.I.N. Where all being well Boo makes her debut :-)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Boo at Nancy Hudson Training July '13

We had a training afternoon today with Nancy Hudson. I was a little concerned about doing 3 hrs with Boo, especially with the very warm weather, and with her not being quite so "up" for it. It actually turned out slightly cooler, but was still warm.

Nancy is a fabulous trainer and very observant as to what we do right and wrong. Sometimes at these training days I feel like a real beginner :-( You would have thought after nearly 20 years of doing agility with 6 previous dogs, I'd know what I was doing now, but every dog is different and handling skills change over the years. However some habits are soooo hard to get rid of. The constant words coming out of my mouth, One tunnel command would be ok, as would a single go on, but I just cant help myself..lol

Boo was actually quite good. I keep thinking she is slow, but maybe as this is the first time I've had a small dog, maybe thats why she feels so different.

I was pleased with how she coped in a strange field on strange equipment especially the weaves. I knew she would hesitate on the Dogwalk. So far every different dog walk she has seen, she does the same. I was actually amazed she actually went straight up it. She did however go under jumps on a couple of occasions :-(

After the last run you see, I put her away and got Chip out. I wanted to end on a high and when she was being a good girl.

Maybe her first show in August wont be such a disaster after all.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chips Tail

Fantastic recovery from Chip. His tail has completely healed, scabs have gone and I just have to be patient now for his fur to grow. I realise this is probably going to take a year to be back to anything like it was, but hey ho .
At this moment in time I would just like it to get to a length that isn't prickly for him. This is the thing thats causing him most upset at the moment :-( Reluctantly I cut a bit more coat off so it wasn't catching so much,but he's still walking sideways occasionally. I have been massaging coconut oil into his tail twice a day. For 2 reasons, one being the massage stimulates the hair follicles and so will help a little with hair growth,and two the oil is keeping the skin/hair very soft and supple. He also enjoys me doing this now too.
Today has been the first day since the problem started thats he's not worn his "cone of shame"
I have given him a lovely bath in Episoothe and have let him be without his cone. I will probably still put it on at night or when I go out until the hair stops worrying him, as it keeps drawing his attention to the area.
Here is a photo I took a couple of days ago , showing the remarkable healing.

Fantastic recovery :-)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Poor Chip and things

Last Thursday I decided to bath some of my dogs. So after a fabulous walk round Virginia Waters where they had spent the entire walk running in and out of the lake, I did just that.

Chip looked fantastic as he always does after a bath and thorough groom.

On the Friday Woody, Fozzie and Chip all had a chiropractor appointment . They all had to have minor things tweaked so no exercise for 48 hrs. This wasn't going to be much of a hardship considering the heatwave we are having.

Saturday morning I just took them all out on leads into the field for a short walk and toilet break and everything was fine with Chip( or so I thought) I then went out for lunch with a friend, and when I returned at about 3.30 I popped just Boo and Disney in the car and went off to meet my daughter Laura for a short walk and let the 2 dogs who were allowed exercise have a nice cool swim.

Whilst I was there Steve phoned to say he thought Chip had a dirty rear end, so when I got in at about 6.30 I duly took him into the grooming room to give him a clean up.
I was horror struck when I felt his tail. It was like a brillo pad , completely matted solid and I knew there was no way I could detangle it. Steve came out to help me as Chip was in distress and crying.
With tears in my eyes I got the scissors and cut the huge mat off, which then revealed a terrible open weeping sore. I bathed it the best I could ,because by this stage Chip was growling ( very unusual) and getting very worked up.
He seemed happier once inside, so I didn't worry unduly ( I wish I had) I didn't know what he had done. I wondered if he had burnt it somehow( dont know how) or got something caustic on it ?? I just didn't know never having seen this type of thing before.

The next morning when I came downstairs a horrible smell greeted me. It was coming from Chips tail and when I looked I could see the pus. Chip would not let me anywhere near him to have a proper look, but I knew something just wasn't right.

I contacted my Vet but she was on holiday, but she adviced urgent treatment from what I had described,so I phoned the emergency vet who told me to come down in half hr.

Even with me holding Chip like a vice, he would not let my Vet look at it, let alone clip the area.
There was no choice but to have him put completely out :-(
It was then clipped and the extent of the damage could be seen (as you will see on the photo)

I was horrified and terribly upset, especially when the Vet said if I had waited till the morning ( like I had originally planned) Chip could have possibly lost his tail !! It was still very touch and go because of the extent of the damage.
It turned out to be a hotspot gone mad. Apparently hotspots, or wet Eczema or Dermatitis can go from almost nothing to a huge area in a few hours if left untreated.
Chip had a steroid jab and left with Fuciderm cream and antibiotics.

Here we are 4 days later and it has started to dry up. No more redness, just lots of scabs. He is almost impossible to treat as he is a real bucking bronco when I try to apply the cream and clean the area. I sit him in a bath of salt water in the morning and let that soak for 5 minutes, but because it makes so much of the area wet and damp, which is to be avoided at all costs, I then have to be extra careful to dry him thoroughly .. another task in itself !! So once a day is all that I'm doing this regime for, and the rest of the time I am trying to hibiscrub as best I can.

The biggest problem for Chip is the shaved hair. The stubble bits are catching the longer strands of hair that are left and pulling. He's always been an absolute whuz whens he's had anything clipped. He wouldn't walk properly for about a week after he was castrated :-(
So I think this has put paid to his media career for quite some time, unless its front views of him. Once his coat starts to grow back, and fingers crossed it does on the scars, I will trim the rest of his tail ( whats left) down..
His lovely tail coat  :-(

Taken on the vets table :-(

However on a brighter note is Boo's training. The past 2 weeks have seen a bit of a turn around and she has worked really well despite the heat. No sign of her season and its been exactly 6 months to the day now since her first one.
She's on the Evening Primrose Oil so maybe that is helping, hoping to get some video of her soon :-)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mixed Feelings

After my last very up beat post, things have started to spiral downwards.

Boo started to switch off, go slowly, be distracted and her dogwalk speed declined,  and she also refused to do the seesaw. I have no idea why and how all this started ,but after one training session I came in feeling very demoralised :-(
I assumed it could be because her second season was looming,  but coupled with the fact that Fozzie was hurt and Chips wrist was an uncertainty, I honestly felt just like packing agility up. I had definitely lost my mojo and couldn't see how to get it back under the circumstances.

Facebook can be a wonderful thing, and after writing a post saying how down I felt ,I got a huge amount of support from people. Most suggested I had some time off. Well as it happened fate paid a hand and I did.
I decided I wasn't going to work the boys until they had been well rested, had seen the Physio who did the thermal imaging, and had been seen by my lovely Chiropractor.  The first 2 have been achieved  but they dont see the Chiro till this Friday.

I then had a week of filming with Woody for another series of Gigglebiz on CBeebies, which meant no training and no Lansdown show, and then I had a glorious week away in Devon. So all in all they( and me) have all had about 4 weeks off from training.

However just before I went to Devon, I did do some little bits in the field with Boo on her Dogwalk and Seesaw. After a conversation with a lovely friend/trainer I have decided to definitely try teaching Boo a running Dogwalk during winter. I think Boo is too much of a thinker and worrier, and possibly the stopping on the contacts is causing her to maybe worry too much, hence the slow down plank. I really do think I am a really crap contact trainer ,as all my dogs have had issues with the down plank on the Dogwalk :-(
Chips is fantastic now, but its taken 5-6 years to get it that good.

I do not intend to change her Dogwalk contact criteria this side of September, as she is due to start competing in August( seasons allowing) so I am just continuing with the stop. So I got the manners minder out again and tried using this. She was great whilst I was on my own practicing, but I asked my trainer to give me a 10 minute 1 to 1 in my field, and when we put the Manners Minder into a sequence she went all slow and ploddy again !!! Dont ask me why ??
I am LOVING doing the running Aframe. She is loving it and I am loving the no stress of worrying about her contact position. Her success rate is really good and she is now coming slightly lower into the contact area. Here is her Dogwalk just over a week ago.

So tonight was Boo's first full lesson back for 4 weeks. I was really pleased with her. Her dogwalk was OK. In actual fact one was bloody brilliant, but she almost lost her footing going over and I thought she was going to come off, but she regained her balance, flew to the end, grabbed her placed ball ( after doing a lovely ( unplanned running down plank..lol) and proceeded to do a jubilant circle of the field with her ball in her mouth. I just had to laugh...she's so damned cute.
She refused the seesaw, so I had to stand at the end and pursued her up with food, but everything else was really nice and I was a happy bunny again :-) I started her on Evening Primrose oil 2 weeks ago, and apparently its brilliant for sorting hormones out, so maybe this is why she feels better ??

All being well at the end of this week I am going to my first show for 4 weeks as well at Cranleigh showground.
Chip only has one run and Fozzie has 3. However the weather has been scorching and we have more really hot temperatures due this weekend. All their runs are mid to late afternoon, and I wont run my dogs if its too hot. Also they may not be able to anyway if they have to have treatment from Marisa ( my Chiro)

I went my best friend Janes in Devon last week. I had a fabulous time and we did some lovely walks. I also took my camera and white background to take some photos of her dogs to update a previous picture. Jane suggested I bath Boo whilst there so she could help me get an updated Boo portrait as her last one was when she was 8 months old. I am thrilled with the result, although these are before I've done any editing and brightened the background etc.
Lovely Boo

What a difference 8 months makes

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June update

Well Boo is now 16 mths old and her first show is entered....gulp !
However she may not be able to actually do it because her first season is due at the end of July :-(
She has only had one season so it will depend on her cycle. I am praying she holds off for a couple of months, but my friend has told me smaller dogs can sometimes have shorter cycles . If this happens although she will have finished by her first show, going on last time, she will probably go right off the boil because of her hormones. What will be will be .

She has now been measured and she is officially medium. She literally was less than 1/2" over the small height. I am disappointed for her as she will now have to be running against the speedy collies. However I have just started to put her over medium jumps and at least she doesn't seem to struggle.

She continues to amaze me , we're putting together sequences now, and she is doing stuff I didn't think she could. I really must get someone to video her at training. I possibly wont be a club for a couple of weeks now as next week Woody is filming "Gigglebiz" again and the following week I am down at my friends in Devon, so when we come back I will ask someone to video again.

I put together a little trailer of Boo tonight, It makes me grin watching it.

Chip had an Xray last week. He's been licking his left front wrist on and off for over a year now. He's also had just a couple of incidents of lameness. I know he has weak pasterns and because of this I have been putting wrist supports on for training and competition.
However last week I discussed it with my vet and we decided that we should maybe xray in case we are missing something. The good news is he doesn't have much arthritis in his wrists or feet, but he does have some changes going on which is called " a periosteal reaction "
Fortunately Chip has the solid form mentioned, so they think its been caused by an infection or injury as apposed to a tumour, possibly the result of his very first lameness ?

Next week we are going to have thermal imaging done to see if it can show more. Apparently thermal imaging is a fantastic diagnostic tool and can often show muscle tears, ligament injuries etc.
Here is another link explaining about Thermal imaging 

Whilst there we are going to also look at Fozzie. I want to have his rear leg looked at to either help me relax a little more about him or worse case scenario make me worry like heck !!
He had a very funny incidence last week at training. He was on fire. he was going so well he forgot himself on the seesaw and kept self releasing. On the second occasion I called him back to put him back over it and he acted really strange. he was really quiet, walked to me slowly and then kept laying down as if he was uncomfortable , he was licking his lips and wasn't showing any interest in the other dogs working . If you know Fozzie then you would know that this is totally uncharacteristic  However he wasn't limping at all. I sat down with him and someone though his neck was tight, so we massaged him and within 5-10 minutes he had perked right up and stated to bark and go mad at whoever was working. Obviously I didn't work him again and haven't since. So I will get Helen to look at him too.

So after next Tuesday I may have some answers. I am hoping it is good news for them both, however I am nervous that it may be the end of both their agility careers if something awful is found. Part of me wants to bury my head in the sand and not look for problems and part of me wants to sure my dogs are well and sound and can continue jumping for quite a while longer.
Helen is a physio as well, so if she finds anything at least she can advice on proper management.

I will update this blog with photos from her and her results.

To finish off here are some lovely pics I took this week of my extra special boys :-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

HOORAY..Boo is weaving

I wrote back on the 30th April that I had started to train Boo's weaves in earnest, and I planned to have her weaving by the end of May. I thought I was being very optimistic to be truthful. Well I am overjoyed to say she is in fact upright weaving a week sooner than I had ever hoped for :-)
She has been the easiest dog of mine to teach the weaves. We hardly had any hiccups along the way, apart from having to use the manners minder for a couple of sessions to get her to focus forward. Well that wasn't really a hiccup as such either.

I think what has helped is the fact I have been able to get out and train her for at least 5 minutes every day since I started. I moved the weaves in methodically and fairly quickly so she didn't get used to them being angled out for too long. This is where I went wrong with Fozzie last time.

Her running Aframe is coming on really nicely too. I think I am getting a 90% success rate at the moment when she does it on its own. However when it is put into a sequence the success rate drops down a little. However as everyone has said , its such fun teaching it.

Here are a couple of videos. One of the completed weaves and one of her running Aframe

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy 15th Birthday Disney

My special boy is 15 today, Where has the time gone ?
Happy Boy

Having a roll in the freshly mown grass

Whats that ?

He's off

4 Straight weaves.....Almost there :-)

I have increased the training to 2 small 5 minute sessions a day now as we are getting very near to straight line weaves .
Over the last 2 days I have moved the angled weaves in very carefully and have now started to straighten the middle ones, one by one. I have now got the middle 4 straight.
She does skip out sometimes and is worse on my left.. strangely ??
However I am very very happy with her progress and hopefully she will be weaving a complete 12 weave set straight line within the week :-)

I thought I would post a slightly different movie this time. This made me smile :-)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing V weaves

Well the channel is down to 1" with the entry and exit poles slightly wider.
She has slowed down a lot as she has to concentrate more. This was to be expected, and I'm not at all worried because I know her speed will increase again as soon as she is sure what she has to do :-)
She has the jump action through the weaves which I find strange. However being a small dog I think it highly improbable that she would use the swim action. I have looks at several videos on YouTube of small dogs doing the weaves and I would say all, if not most, have the jump action through the weaves.

I've decided to introduce the V weaves now as well. I thought it time that Boo got used to having the metal work .
My channel weaves are stick in the ground ones so there is nothing for the dogs to feel with their feet.

As I expected Boo didn't like this and also didn't recognise a different set of weaves.
So I angled to weaves out more than I had planned to so as to make it easier for her whilst she got accustomed to them.

It took a few slow attempts before she understood and would go through happily.

I only did a couple of repetitions once she got it right and we finished on a high.

The weather looks grim for the next few days so unfortunately I'm not sure how much weave practice I'll get in :-(

Now she is on the V weaves I don't want to leave it too long till I angle them up gradually. This is a big mistake that I have made and I know others have made as well.
They get left as fairly wide weaves for a good while and then
the dogs find it harder to do uprights.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Getting there :-)

The weaves are now only about 1.5" apart .
Boo didn't really have any problems with me moving them in gradually and she hardly noticed. I start each session on the previous width that she was successful at, and after a couple of repeats I move them in half an inch.
However once we got to this stage she did start to skip weaves and come out early at the end :-(
If I threw the toy she wouldn't concentrate and just came out early to get her toy and self rewarded. Obviously I didn't want this to happen too many times, so I tried to hold off the throw till she was at the end, this also didn't work because she then looked at me at about the 8th weave waiting for me to throw, and then consequently also coming out.

So out came my trusty Manners Minder which I used initially for her contact training.

Bingo !

At first she was much slower and more thoughtful but I wasn't worried about this as long as she completed the weaves successfully.
Using the Manners Minder I was able to just reward the correct weaves with me being no where near her. If she came out early I just didn't release the food.
She wasn't worried about the non reward, it just made her try harder next time, as you will see on the video.
I will re introduce the toy when she is confident on her job :-)

I think by the end of next week I may have to bring in the V weaves for the final transition to straight line. Now Boo is actually moving her body she is moving the weaves each time she goes in and they become a bit wobbly. The ground is hard so just once through and she's made the weaves loose. I havent been worried about this as I feel its probably helped her a little, but by the time the weaves are just half an inch apart I think she can manage the rigid V weaves.......we shall see !!

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Weaves 6 days later :-)

I'm sorry to bore everyone re Boo's weave training, but this is mainly for my records to look back on.
As I said previously I am being methodical( almost anal) about her weave training.

I am now taking a measure with me and when I reduce the distance, its not guesswork its exact.
Today we went done to 3.5" and Boo is coping well. She has started to just wiggle a bit in the weaves.
The next stages are the most difficult. I am sure we will have some hiccups along the way.

I have now added tunnels/jumps before and after the weaves sometimes so she has to really think about her entries :-)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Real Progress :-)

I wrote a couple of days ago about Boo's weave training ,and I just wanted to continue with a snippet about her other progress.

All of a sudden everything seems to be coming together and I am so pleased with her.
Yesterday she totally surprised me by going on over several jumps into a curved tunnel without even once glancing at me. I am a little hampered at the moment with a sore leg, so I am so pleased she could :-)

All in all I am a very happy person :-)
Heres a little vid of yesterday performance. Thank you Peter for videoing.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Weave training

Well the weather is great, I have given my field its first cut and my weave training is going to start in earnest now.

This time once I get started I want to do a little every day for about 5 minutes, keeping it fun and motivated.

Having classes and the field being used for 2 consecutive days means I can't do this easily, as I have to move the channel weaves out of the way :-(

I hope by the end of May( if not before ) to have Boo weaving properly. I then have approx 2 months to get her reasonably competent before I compete....GULP.

There is a small video at the end of this which I did on Sunday evening. The weaves are approx 6.5 " apart in the video and the following day I narrowed them to 6"

Each day I do them I keep them at the previous days width for a couple of repetitions and then narrow then my 0.5" . I then repeat all the exercises ( as in the video) on the new width. If she has a problem I just simplify it a bit until she is confident again.

 I dont want to make the same mistake I made with Fozzie and that was keeping the weaves at too wide a space for too long.
All my other dogs before Fozzie I did what I plan to do with Boo, and that is do it daily and get the weaves in methodically.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Boo is now well and truly over her phantom and is more or less back to normal.
Her work has improved and I am really pleased.
Everything I do with her is short and sweet. If I go into the field to practise anything, I am very very strict with my time. I always stop on a good note, when she is up beat and only repeat things a few times.
Classes are different because there are 4-5 other dogs, so all in all in an hour I guess she only ever does about 8-10 minutes of actual work.

The weather has been horrendous, really cold, wet, snowy and windy so my weave training has been put on the back burner. I want to start and finish within a month, not stop and start like I did with Fozzie.
At the end of Febuary we had a nice spell of weather and I got all enthusiastic and thought I'd get cracking, but within 2 days the horrid weather appeared again and I stopped.

In the last week I have put Boo over the full height dog walk. I wasn't happy with her drive over the equipment and I didn't want her to learn to go slowly over it, so I was in a quandary as to what to do.

I really really wanted to do a running dog walk, I love to see the dogs do them, they are so fast and exciting and must save 2-3 seconds of time by doing them, but I just am not fast enough:-( Also to do them successfully you have to put A LOT of time into them , at least 4-5 times a week of repetition (if not more) I just don't have this time with my work. I have the availability of equipment, but I am either working or teaching or training elsewhere. So it will have to remain a 2 on and 2 off dog walk, but I really want her to be as fast as she can . I was using the manners minder and that was great because it taught her her position independently with no lure, however it made her "think" too much and so she lost speed. She isn't very happy to play tuggy on the end of the equipment( although I do keep trying)  which is what Natasha wanted me to do, so I have started to do what I did with Chip, but unfortunately couldn't do with Fozzie, and that is put a small titbit actually on the grass for her to drive to. Its barely visible so its not a huge lure. She is happy to eat this quickly, I can then reward with another piece if I think it was a brilliant contact and then release her to her toy, as Chip did.  Fozzie was terrible. He was high drive to the food but then wouldn't leave the end and would just keep hunting for crumbs that may have been left, so lost all momentum.
Anyway its early days but so far so good :-)

I am however going to persevere with a running A Frame. I have to agree with everyone, they are so much fun to teach. I started using the stride regulators, but I just couldn't get them in the right place for Boo, so after watching several videos of other people teaching running contacts I decided to try using nothing.
Boo gets a verbal 'good girl' and a mediocre reward for a so so contact. She gets an Uh Uh ( no ) if she misses and NO reward, but if she gets the contact perfectly by running down through it, she gets a HUGE reward. She isn't demoralised or upset by having a no reward and just goes round and tries again. So far every time she has missed and gets no reward she tries harder next time and does a great one.
So fingers crossed it works.
If it fails I will teach a stop at the end but I am going to give it my best shot :-)

So here are the obligatory videos to add to this update
First is her contacts from yesterday

Here are her weaves I started at the end of Febuary

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Boo update

Boo is now 13 mths.
She had her first season in January and up till then her training was going really well. However by the middle/end of February she had started to have a phantom pregnancy and went really down and quiet. I got quite deflated about it all, as it affected her work
However we have now got to 9 wks post season and she is just starting to come back up. I feel there is still more to come back, but over the last 3 days she has started to really perk up.
Bearing this in mind I now think its looking unlikely I will breed from her, but I will see how she is after her next season.
I started her on Evening primrose oil and Raspberry leaf tablets about 4 wks after she had finished her season and I have been told that was a little too late. I was also advised to give her homeopathic Pulsitilla , but once again I got it too late. Next time I will start these things immediately she comes into season and see if it makes a difference.
Here is a little video that was taken on Thursday and Friday of her obedience and agility.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


I know several people were a bit upset by a media job I did with Woody last year.
I didn't know till I got there that I was in fact doing a promo for Caesar Milans new TV show.
There is very strong opinion out there regarding Caesars training methods and feelings run high. I also have strong feelings about some of his training methods , however I do think he does great work for rescue dogs in the US.
I can only speak as I find , and he was lovely with both Woody and Chip , who I had also taken with me.
He was gentle and affectionate with them, both on and off screen.
Here is the finished result I think Woody looks lovely, I am so proud of him :-)
Cesar Millan's Leader Of The Pack promo for Nat Geo Wild from Amy Cook on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Boo Agility training update

Boo has now started proper Agility Classes. She has done a fair mount of foundation work and now the real work starts :-)

She has also had her first season. This was at the end of January and it wasn't quite such a trial as I had imagined, although it wasn't a bed of roses either.
I have noticed in the last week or so, she has become a little quieter and not quite so enthusiastic so I hope she's not going to phantom. The one bad thing is she has become even more possessive over things and has become a little bit stroppy with other dogs. I am praying its because her hormones are all over the place. It seems to be more so when I have her on the lead and she is either playing with me or I have food, and if another dog approaches she is not amused !!!
Off lead she is absolutely fine unless they pester her by sticking their noses up her bottom , then she lets them know that she isn't amused...fair enough :-)

Here are some videos taken over the last 2 weeks of her agility.