Saturday, May 22, 2010

Surprise! Blog Update!!!


It's been so long between updates I can't remember what I've done!
Hmm, where do I start?


Since my last post and before the rain came, Carrie and I took a trip to Ledge Point for a weekend ... it was great just to get away, have the dogs running free on the beach and enjoy doing absolutely nothing! Carrie had the time of her life ...


The Agility Nationals have been and gone ... Carrie (video below) flew the Dalmatian flag, qualifying in two Masters Jumping trials, also gaining her JDM2! I had the pleasure of also running Cassie, a friends BC from Adelaide ... who also qualified twice for me in Masters Jumping ... thanks LeeAnne and Gary, it was a blast!

video

Back in Queensland at Vanrusselhof Kennels, Party "Vanrusselhof Xanadu IID" (below) is proving herself in the showring, clocking up points towards her Champion Title with a recent Best Junior in Group award! What a star! Good Girl!

... and also thoroughly enjoying hew new lifestyle ... in her element with her very own dam and new-found Malinois friend "Minimee" (below)


Chilli and Carrie have been to a couple of ADAA trials over the past coule of months. We have really enjoyed them ... particularly the nice open courses allowing the dogs to really stretch out and run, and the relaxed atmosphere in the trial ring.

In those two trials Carrie also gained her AAD title (Australian Agility Dog).


In the meantime I've survived my 40th Birthday ... OMG!
Work is as busy as ever ... my role has changed a little, I have moved into a slightly different position, less hands on dog handling however many more challenges!

My current personal challenge:
I have entered the HBF 14km Fun Run tomorrow!!!
Will tell you later if it was FUN or not!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Things look different now ...


OMG! I cant believe I havent updated this blog since the beginning of the year ... that's nearly two months ago ... actually a friend kindly reminded me last week that it was about time I did so.

So ... what's been happening?

Since 4th January I've been full time detector dog training at work ... wow, what a wild ride of learning it's been. My technical knowledge of the why's and how's of dog psychology and behaviour has been stretched to the limits and my practical handling skills have grown tremendously. Just because you train dogs for 10 years doesn't mean you can pick up the lead running in a different field ... although I've given it my best shot and I am sure I fit the bill but there is still sooooo much to learn!

Yes, I am enjoying working as a dog handler ... although I can't say the same for the shift work and long days, however, having to sacrifice much of my freedom (and put my agility training on the back-burner), it has certainly made me step back and look at life from another angle ... things certainly do look different now ...


I'm not engulfed in my little world of dog training and agility trials, I don't plan all day what I'm going to train that night, I don't spend hours going over and over my last run or analysing my dogs performance issues! I don't even read my Clean Run magazines anymore (the last 4 months issues are still in their plastic on my bedside table!) ... It's not because I don't want to - I simply dont have the time! So, another one of lifes little challenges, priorities reshuffled and you wonder what the hell have you been doing for the last 10 years? I've been training dogs ... which has gotten me to where I am today ...

So I guess spare time to me is now what you would call gold. It's very prescious and the time I do have is mainly spent with Party and socialising her to the best I can ... I really want her to be the dog I can DO things with ... in the past my dogs have be primarily just trained ... little time spent on life skills, socialising and just learning to "be a dog" kind of stuff. I need to be able to take Party anywhere, anytime ... then maybe, just maybe, we might find time to fit some agility and obedience training in.

Recently Party and I visited the dog beach with a few other dog handlers ... here's some pic's of Party (thanks Ken Innes for the photo's) ...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Another year ...

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Another year, been and gone, and here we are again ... reminiscing over the past 12 months, chewing over the ups and downs, taking notes on our successes and finding the lessons in our not so successful experiences.
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Sometimes, just when you think you've got it all sorted out, someone throws you a curve-ball and your whole world is turned upside down!
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2009 delivered many challenges for me,
and many successes for Westurn ...
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... oooOOOooo ...
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Firstly, we had a new edition to the family. Something I've wanted for a long time and all I can say is "be careful what you wish for" ... "Party" (Belgian Malinois) joined us in August, threw our household into a whirlwind of chaos with her wild and crazy ways. Nothing has changed, she is still the wild child of the house and I've even heard a whisper that someone here would gladly have another dalmatian puppy instead of a "working-line malinois" puppy! now that's saying something!!! Party will continue to challenge and educate us as the new year evolves and I look forward to the journey with her as our relationship grows.
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Latest video of Party on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuaKY61BXGU

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... oooOOOooo ...

The Girls (Mum and Rene) had a really successful year in the show ring with their Papillons, earning numerous "in Group" awards in 2009 including ... Tiger (2 Minor in Groups), Genie (2 Puppy and 2 Minor In Groups), Satu (State Bred & Junior in Group) and Comet (State Bred & Intermediate In Group) also finishing his Championship Title!

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... oooOOOooo ...


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Krash (Belgian Malinois), or Mr Muscle as we call him, gained his Championship Title and continues to demonstrate his friendly personality to the judges that he has been lucky enough to meet.
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... oooOOOooo ...
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Agility has tapered down for me however we still managed a number of achievements ...
  • Ticket gained her Snooker and Gamblers titles (SD & GD)
  • Chilli gained her Gambler, Excellent Jumping and Agility Dog Titles (GD, JDX & AD) and also qualified in the finals at the State Trial for Agility and Excellent Jumping!
  • Summer gained her Agility, Excellent Jumping and Strategic Pairs Titles (AD, JDX & SPD) and also qualified in the finals at the State Trial for Excellent Jumping!
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... oooOOOooo ...

As you all know I also ventured into a new career last year, with thanks to my friends and family who encouraged, and are still supporting, me ... the detector dogs have arrived and I start full-time "dog training" from tomorrow!

This has brought many changes ... in my daily life and also in my own personal values. I've had to make some serious sacrifices, more so than I really anticipated, sometimes frustrating my human and furry family and sometimes at the expense of my own goals and expectations ... as they say, one door opens yet another door closes and occasionally we are forced to re-evaluate our goals, to move our goal posts to a more realistic place.

2009 has brought me many new friends, many unexpected new experiences and relationships. Some will bless me forever, some will be a memory to cherish.

Roll on 2010!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hectic! Crazy! ... soooo Busy!


Crazy ...
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It's just crazy ... Christmas is here (almost), Mum's flat out with the kennels, the Summer heat is dictating our routines (with exercising the dogs, watering, training - everything has to be either really early or really late!), everything is growing before our eyes ... meaning more gardening, mowing, raking, weeding ... work is full on - I'm working all the public holidays this Christmas, including New Years Day on a 4am start (so there'll be no New Years Eve celebrations for me this year!), it's just never-ending!
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Anyhow, it's been a while since my last post - I've been really busy! - it’s been an interesting few weeks … with trying to fill my bosses shoes whilst she was sunning herself in beautiful Queensland and a number of unexpected airport shifts, I’ve hardly had time to scratch myself, let alone find the time to play with Party (as she grows up before my eyes!) and then trying to get enough sleep to keep functioning without losing every last bit of the little amount of patience that I have left!
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I have found time, however, to take some video of some of the kids in the backyard ... check them out at our You Tube channel ...
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"Who let the dogs out?" - Krash & Chilli playing
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"Hunter & the Girls" - BC's Hunter, Delta, Summer & Ticket
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Krash "Hunting Ants" (you wouldn't believe where Krash finds ants!
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Party "Duck Diving" – toys in the water bucket!
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Lights!
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We've finally got the power connected to the kennels (it’s only taken us 3 years!) so now we’re lit up like a Christmas Tree (just in time for Chrissy) ... and geeze it makes like easier! You don't realise what you make do without until you have it.
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Detector Dogs
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Our detector dogs for work finally arrive 1st January! I’m looking forward to finally getting into it and doing what I came to the job for. With 2 months of “handler training” scheduled for January/February to look forward to, being paid to play with dogs, the new year is looking promising already … a new year and a fresh start in more ways that one!
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Happy Birthday Crash-Man!
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Cash had his 10th birthday yesterday, 12th December ... wow, that means it's that long (10 years) that I've been competing in agility?!!! Thats a decade! Hmmm .... well, Cash isn't any worse for wear, even tho retired from agility years ago he's still thoroughly enjoying the comforts of home ... sleeping on the bed, still bossing the girls around (the boys bash him up!), bench surfing in the kitchen (when we let our guard down ... and oh my, he has done some serious bench surfing damage!!!), and just simply couch potatoing wherever he can.
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My "Heart Dog" ... who weaved his way into my heart, showed me the passion of dog training and taught me so much ... bless him!
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Agility
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Last night was the last agility trial of the year for us. Ticket & Carrie were entered and good ol' reliable "Carrie Dalmatian" gained another Qualifyer in Masters Jumping ... only one more Q and she's achieved her JDM2! I think she really enjoyed herself on this run ...
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video

She's such a fun dog to work with ... she really takes the pressure off after running a dog like Ticket who is so unpredictable, and regularly knocks bars ... it's actually a nice change sometimes, to run with a dog like Carrie that only needs clear course direction, rather than micro managing and continual support!
Even so, Ticket also did some lovely runs, although no qualifying rounds, but some really nice work. Here's a couple of her runs ...

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Not sure if I'll get time to post again before Christmas/New Year ... so here's wishing you all a very Merry and Safe Christmas and a Happy New Year! Love to all your families and friends and not forgetting your friends and relatives far and wide!
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last Weekend ...


Okay, I'm a bit late on the update (again!) ... but better late than never (have I said that before?!) Last weekend was Party's last show in the Baby Class, from now on she will be in the "big kids" class and eligible for Challenge (and Championship points towards her Champion Title) - that's next weekend.


Pic above and below, Party at the show being a "lap dog" ... I'm sure we won't be able to do this for too much longer!


After the show, we took Hunter and Party down the park for some photos ... here's what we took.



Hunter pretending to be an 'obedience dog'


Hunter being a 'show dog'

then it was Party's time ...

at 6 months old ... a little bit of baby heel work ...




and if you're really quick ... 'show stand'
this doesn't happen very often, nor for very long!
... and I just liked this one of Mum's little Papillon "Genie"
with her hair blowing in the breeze ...

That's all for now ... hope to have some new video's uploaded over the next week or so.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Agility again ...

Saturday night was the first time in years that I've made it home from an agility trial before 11pm! Well done to Perth Training Dog Club on a very organised trial!

Saturday also saw Carrie qualify in Masters Agility ... and thanks to Sue & Linda for the following video of Carrie's run!

video

Ticket also did some lovely runs, although no "Q's", we had some fun and she did some awesome contacts!

Only a couple of trials left this year ... Ticket is sitting on her JDO title ... maybe we'll pick up that last Q to finish her title before the end of the year!

... till next time.