Welcome to The OBay Shelties blog! Our blog is an honest diary of our life with our dogs along with news from Obay shelties around the world.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Yay's first agility competition and Puppies 2013

My previous litter (the Boyz litter) was in 2011. So now my long planned Zaz litter is born and ta-da....ONE puppy......Geez...I guess the only positive note is that I won't be called a puppy farm. More about Mr. "Storm" in another post. He is gorgeous, happy and healthy and how can I be disappointed in this.


I have been neglectful about documenting Yay's  progress. She is still such a fun "puppy" to train but not really a puppy anymore! She is now 18 months and I entered her in her first competition. I am certainly not rushing Yay but this is more from sheer laziness rather than any planned schedule. I would normally have had her ready long before now but hopefully we will make up lost time during lots of winter training.

Yay and Giz-mo are such a pair. My little Yin-Yang of sheltie cuteness.



 I only entered Yay in a jumping class at Rugby as her running contacts are not finished. Dog walk is just up to full height and she hasn't started her A-frame yet. Funnily enough I worry more about the Aframe than the dog walk; I am stressing about how to start the Aframe as I have had mixed results with the buy-one-get-one free method.

  The video was edited because we stood on the start line for over a minute. I loved the chance to see her deal with the delay and hold her start line as self-control can be difficult for Yay.  It is a busy indoor show and it was great chance for me to see how Yay dealt with distractions. I would guess that most agility rings do not have judges dressed like snowmen, Christmas puddings, tigers and, my own favourite, St. Lucia.  So one run and it was all over too quickly! I knew I enjoyed it because I just wanted to do more! We were eliminated and it was totally my fault. I went into slight panic mode wondering if she could do certain moves (could she do an acute rear cross?  Could she send around a 180 degree jump sequence?). Silly really as I just should have done them as it didn't matter if we won or not but I am only human!

So here she is in all her gorgeous Yay-ness!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chicken-topia 2013



This post is for another blogger who is thinking of changing her chicken enclosure.  Just for those who worry; my dogs are all doing great! I haven't given up the shelties for the chickens just yet.



Our chickens have just become part of our family. They are just as naughty as my dogs and regularly escape and mix among the shelties.  I have done  many a running dog-walk session with Yay with chickens pecking around under the dog-walk.



The design of chicken-topia has fluidly changed as we add more chickens and learn more about how to keep  them (and us) happy. I am sure there will be more changes as we go on but we are happy with the set up now. It is easy to collect the eggs and to keep clean. The chickens have a very safe enclosure for at night and for when we go away for a day or a night. What I like about this space is that it is fully covered so it does not get so muddy and wet. If we go away the chickens are safe for a day or two as they have access to food, water and can get in and out of their coop.  When we are home they have a larger enclosed area to scratch around, find bugs and make dust baths. Lately the naughty hens are escaping into the main garden.  I don't  mind this but, of course, this is when they are most vulnerable to predators.

This is the entire chicken "paddock" with the secure  enclosure in the back.


This is the chicken enclosure. It is approx. 5m x 3m and houses their plastic coop and plastic nesting boxes. It has both sun and shade and we also planted two shrubs in the corners.


During the day when we are home they have access to this large paddock. We also leave the greenhouse open in the winter so they rummage around in there when it is really wet out.


The interior of their safe run. Everything is plastic as I worry about mites. I wanted to buy one of the fancy plastic coops but they were so expensive! Instead we converted this garden box and it has worked really well. The chickens sleep in the converted garden shed and they lay their eggs in the 3 plastic nesting boxes outside. I need to add another nesting box as they sometimes queue up to get in and start loudly complaining if one chicken takes too long! They are so funny.

 
 
The enclosed run is made with very heavy duty (expensive!) wire. The original chicken wire was not as strong but was dug into the ground, so we left it and added the stronger wire fencing in front of it. The new wire fencing is bent out at the bottom like an apron for about 6 inches. This prevents the fox from digging under it. The fence is very high but to be extra secure we added a roof. Theoretically the enclosed run is 100% fox proof but it is still a worry.
 
 
 
When we did the extension on our house we had a trench dug to bring water and electric out to the chicken paddock. This makes taking care of the chickens so much easier  and gives us lights when checking on the chickens at night.
 
So we do our best for our girls and they reward us with gorgeous eggs and lots of laughs. I still cannot believe how much fun they are even with all the work involved.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kennel Club International Agility Festival 2013

I have so much to blog about but have been trying to stay off the computer.  Instead of trying to cover everything (European Open, Fionia Cup) I thought I would start with the KC Festival.

The Kennel Club International Agility Festival is the marathon of agility! Almost 20 rings, 2000 plus dogs and 3 days of agility. I have a love/hate relationship with the Festival but I decided to go back this year since it was at a new venue and I had a chance to compete at the Novice Cup with Giz-mo.

The venue this year was much nicer but the walk to the rings was still crazy. Especially for those who had to day park the walk was so far; I would hesitate to go again if I am not camping. I think the only reason I would go again would be to compete with a novice/young dog for the Novice cup. I guess next year will depend on how ready Yay is looking! (yes hard to believe but Yay will be competing next year!)

I enjoyed the show because we had a decent hotel near the venue and had the chance to spend sometime with nice people. We even celebrated Dennis' 50th Birthday!



I had my goals set and focused on the important runs. I wanted to use the graded runs to get Giz-mo his 3 wins necessary to move up to Grade 6 and qualify both Giz and  Zaz for Crufts 2014.  I expected to miss a lot of my runs just due to the fact that the walk to the rings is crazy and I wanted to be focused for the finals (Novice, British Open and Nations Cup).

Well to make a long story short: all goals were met!  Here is the obligatory photo of Giz and Zaz with their Festival wins.


Here are Giz and his litter brother, Fuze, looking darn cute with their medals and rosettes.


Giz-mo had a great KCI. He got his 3 wins necessary to move up to Grade 6, qualified for the Novice Semi final and then won  the semi-final and qualified us for Crufts 2014! Giz is going to Crufts! By the way, is he not just the cutest sheltie boy in the world?

 
 His win was made extra special when I saw the Kennel Club trophy and the engraved plate. This is the memorial trophy that we do not get to keep; it is kept at the Kennel Club offices. The novice cup is becoming a family tradition! In 2005 Giz-mo's mother Zen competed in and won the very first Kennel Club Novice Cup. I was away at a family wedding so she ran for a friend and still won. That's my special girlie Zen; she could run for anyone and still gave it her all.  Later, in 2010 the Novice cup was won by Zen's brother Bailey (OBay Truly Daniel's Dream). Now in 2013 it was won by her son Giz-mo.  I am going to take a moment and be a proud breeder over that!


Giz-mo's novice Cup run. I am really starting to enjoy running this little guy; he is getting stronger and stronger at each competition. It is hard to believe that he has only been competing since April.



Finally my little Zaz-star won the British Open!  She is also following in her momma's pawprints as Zen has won the British Open twice at Crufts. 


Zaz's British Open semi Final run.  I was a bit surprised to win this final and even more surprised to find out that Zaz's times were faster than all heights!



I really enjoyed running Zaz at the KCI; as always, she gave it her all and I felt as if we were one for every run. I cannot feel anything but gratitude for this girl.

So I cannot promise another post but hopefully I will remember what we did in July and be able to get it into a post sometime soon! 

 
PS isn't this a fun app? It took my blog and made it into a word star!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

An International Summer

The next two months have a distinct international flavour to them.

We leave  at 3 am on Friday morning for our trip to Denmark. We are off to the week long Fionia Agility Cup in Denmark. I am looking forward to the challenges of the European courses in helping me prepare for the European Open at the end of July.  I will be running Zaz and Giz-mo and bringing Yay along for the trip. It is always a great week of agility with so much to learn. The trip had a little hiccup when we found out a few days ago that our overnight ferry (England to Denmark) was cancelled. It seems they had an accident when docking and the ferry hit the docks at the end of a trip. A  hole in the side of the ship caused the ship to start taking on water! I am very very grateful we were not on that crossing! The ship is still out of service (not that I would have been keen to get on it!) and now we have to do the trip via the Eurotunnel and drive 9 hours from France through Belgium,Netherlands and Germany to Denmark.  A long drive rather than a relaxing overnight cruise but at least we can still get there in time.

Giz is coming on nicely; what a cool dog he is. He will be running in Class 2 in Denmark and I think he will be up for the challenge. When I originally entered the competition back in January he was not even competing yet and did not weave or do full contacts! So sadly I only entered him in the lower classes and did not enter him in the "open" classes which are the classes needed to get into the finals at the end of the week.  Silly on my part! I should have had more faith in my little guy! Even so he has 2 runs per day so hopefully we will make them count! Here is Giz at Lansdown running his last Grade 4 agility class as he moves up to Grade 5 at his next shows.




After our week in Denmark we head  back to England just in time to turn around and go back to Belgium for the European Agilty Open!  Zaz and I will be well and truly European.

I am really looking forward to the European Open. As the World Agility Championships will be in South Africa this  year I had no intention of trying out for the World Team. The European Open was the competition I wanted to focus on . Happily Zaz made the team and we are one of 4 British small dogs competing.  And to make things even more exciting the 2013  European Open will be indoors!  It is taking place at the same venue we competed at for the WAO 2012. How nice to feel relaxed and not to have to worry about the rain, mud or extreme heat!   It is also feels comfortable knowing what to expect at the venue; this takes away much of worry and stress of travel.  The only thing I am not looking forward to is having to travel there on a coach. I would feel much better driving in a car where my dog can relax and I don't have to stress about packing! Unfortunately I don't have a choice in this matter so we will just have to get on with it.  Dennis is not thrilled to be joining me on the coach as he knows all the horror stories of past Team GB coach  trips. The last time we both went on a coach together was about 10 years ago on a trip to Austria. We both swore we would NEVER do a coach trip again....uh-oh.

Anyway the EO should be an amazing competition this year.  Zaz and I are ready!

Zaz won her 8th Championship ticket this month at Thames Agility show. Not a bad  record for a dog that I do not compete with that often!



After the EO we return to England to compete at the KC International Agility Festival.  I didn't go to the Festival last year as I did not enjoy it two years ago. The ground was too rough and the day parking was too far away. This combined with the  death of a well loved competitor during the show and a horrible dog on person attack just  gave me a bad feeling about the venue. This year the show is a new location and I am going to give it another try.  I now have Giz to compete with in the Novice cup and a reservation in a nearby posh  hotel so I am actually looking forward to it! I have heard  that there will actually be American competitors coming this year along with competitors from more European countries. It should should be very exciting!

After all that European Agility it will be time for a non-doggy adventure! Dennis and I will be off to Italy for a holiday. I am really looking forward to that and working hard on my diet so that I can splurge on amazing Italian food and gelato!

So an exciting and busy July and August. We will be finishing up our International summer with a long awaited visit by some friends from New York! 

Old memories!



Now fingers crossed that Zaz holds off coming in season until late September and  then maybe we can add in another European trip for her.....

The only problem with all this travel is that I will miss my chickens!





Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Giz-mo the dude

Giz-mo has not gotten much attention on the blog but, rest assured, he is still here!  My little dude is just the cutest boy in the world; not that I am biased or anything.


Giz started his agility career in April and won his first class at his first show. I think he will take a little while to mature but that is OK with me.  I do find the girls easier to train and compete with but Giz is so darn cute that anything he does is fine with me! He now has about 5 weekends of competition under his belt and I am enjoying him so much.

Here is Giz in his first ever competition run.



And here he was two weeks later at his second show. Already we are both looking more sure of each other!



My goal for Giz this year is to move up to Grade 5 before the KC International Festival, get into the Novice final and qualify for Crufts. 

Two weeks ago I brought Giz and Zaz over to Jersey (Channel Islands) to compete. I was excited to have 3 days of competitions with Giz to start feeling more like a team with him. Unfortunately I was disappointed to find out that they would only have wood/sand contacts at their show. Giz has really only been trained on rubber contacts so I decided to only compete in the jumping classes rather than confuse him.

Luckily the team and pairs competitions were jumping only. I think Giz will be a great team dog as I can actually control him on the start!   Giz ran clean in both his team runs and in his pairs. His pairing with his brother Fuze came 2nd only to Zaz and her partner Smudge! Unfortunately no video of the pairs just a photo of four gorgeous shelties: Fuze, Smudge, Zaz and Giz-mo.



Giz-mo and I ran for the "Rest of the World" team as there were not enough small/medium English dogs to make up a second England team.  Giz and I were paired with two French competitors. Both girls were worried and kept telling me not to expect anything. I just smiled as they didn't realize how inexperienced Giz really was and how relaxed I am about teams.  Giz surprised me and was a little star who ran fast and clear in both the semi and the final. We were lucky that even with many faults in the semi-final our team scraped through to make it to the final on the last day. Then in the final our team ran 3 clears to WIN the final! Giz has now won his first Jersey Festival Teddy Bear!

The "Rest of The World" small/medium team Final run.



Happy team!