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Saturday, August 30 2014

Good Dog Training Newsletter - September 2014

NEW CLASS CALLED SEARCH

Things at Dog Sports morph constantly as it becomes obvious that we need to give people and their dogs jobs to do to assist with training. All the obedience lessons in the world will not keep people sucked up to dog training in the same way as learning Agility or Flygility.

However, it goes without saying that these full on athletic sports are not for everyone. Handlers do need a degree of physical fitness and dogs also need to be of an age where they are capable. This means really young dogs, older dogs and dogs with physical disabilities such as the loss of a leg, are not involved with the club as they don't feel it is the place for them.

When handlers are learning a sport or activity with their dog they are also learning waits and stays, recall and send-aways, otherwise their dog can't participate. From all this has been born the sport of ‘Search’. I hope we can grow this and invite as many people as possible to participate. Search has four sections and can be done with any degree of proficiency. It can be done on leash or on long-line or it can be done free running. It is fun and it is very easy to train for the basics.

Course 1 is Agility Hurdles on micro and a tunnel. The target is a tent made of a tarp into which the dog must stick its head to get a piece of treat food. The course is 30 meters but run one is only 10 meters. For beginners their handler can go with them until they understand that if they travel over the hurdle and down to the tent there will be a treat. They then need to travel back over the hurdle to their handler. Once the dog can achieve this they can then attempt the 20 meters and then the thirty meters. All of the dogs last weekend managed the thirty meters perfectly so they are all ready for next week doing thirty meters only. No this is not difficult, but it acts as a confidence builder and a warm up, it uses Agility equipment and so it allows beginners to teach their dog to use that gear. It also makes a wonderful intro course to Flygility.
Snapshot_1_Chan.png

Course 2 is a blind send-away/retrieve. The handler may choose the toy or ball or object they want the dog to retrieve. So here we have to teach our dog to bring something back to us. The course lengths are 25 meters, 50 meters 75 meters and 100 meters. You must succeed on the short course before you can go on to the longer courses. The dog does not know where it is being sent, it does not know how far to go. All except one of our dogs achieved 75 meters on our first effort. We didn't do the 100 meter course, but we will at the next meeting.
Snapshot_1_Gus_2.png

Course 3 is ‘Find the Body’ and stay with it until released. We have a very short dummy for this exercise, at the moment it lacks legs but I am working on it. We put food on our dummy to teach the dogs to go there. In obedience terms it is a send-away, find, drop, stay. Some of us coped with a stand stay which is fine. The terrain is important, we used the gravel piles in the pits area at the club last time and that was fun but it always needs to be in a new place, luckily we have plenty of options at the Club. Most of us were really at the 'feeling our way into the exercise' stage with this course. However it was quite promising for some of the dogs. It is a good idea if the dog will voice when it finds the 'body' however only one of our dogs was voicing on our first attempt.

Course 4 will be new to everyone at our next lesson but I believe it will be fun. We will have a person go and hide. We and the dogs will not know exactly where. We will then send our dogs off to find the person and we will follow our dogs either on lead or free running. The person who is hiding will have food for the dog when it gets there but must not call or attract the attention of the dog in any way. This version of hide and seek is a great way to get the dogs to look for missing people or children. We will give each dog 5 minute’s total. The shorter the time it takes the greater the score for that dog.
Some of the skills that need to be learnt to participate in Search are being able to carry a variety of things such as............a set of keys, a child’s toy, a dog toy, a piece of clothing, a small first aid kit, a piece of rope, a piece of wood. The dog needs to learn to send-away and stay away, to bark on command and to retrieve over distance. It doesn't actually matter who does it the best but there will be achievers who inspire others to try harder and train more. To get some of these skills they will need to do Obedience Classes or practice a lot at home.

If you think it sounds intriguing come and join us for an hour and a half of absolute concentration at 2p.m. on Saturday. Cost of the class is $5. There may be a small surcharge for any extra gear we find that we need to have as a group, and of course the ground rent fee of $2 for the Club still applies. I will definitely put up a trophy for the end of year for the highest scoring achiever. This really is great fun. I worked with Chan and he was just terrific. I think he has it in him to do this quite well.

FLEA SEASON IS COMING UP

This is a reminder to us all that the 1st day of spring is the beginning of the Flea season. No matter what anyone says if fleas bite your dog's skin it will set up all sorts of skin conditions which follow your dog for the entire summer making him itchy, irritable and costly to maintain. Once a skin condition gets really nasty then you will be stuck with the whole veterinary visit, prednisone, cycle for the whole summer, it is expensive time consuming and unnecessary.

This is how I handle the flea thing. Bearing in mind I have three dogs and one cat sharing similar spaces. It is also important that your worming regime is up to scratch (so to speak) as the two problems go hand in hand, um paw in paw. So first of September I spray my house with a thing called Kiwicare No fleas. I buy the concentrate from Bunning’s and make it up in litre doses. I vacuum my car, and my house then I spray the inside of my car and my whole house, carpets, curtains corners, soft furnishings, couches beds etc. I put veterinary quality flea pour on on my dogs and I make sure I have a good supply of eucalyptus oil. I am a regular feeder of crushed garlic to my dogs and I do find that this helps condition the skin. Once a week I groom my dogs thoroughly and apply a little bit of eucalyptus oil to their tummies. They quite like this. My reasoning is that tummies seem to attract fleas, even if you are using the most expensive pour on a flea will often jump on to the tummy space, bite and go yuk and jump off again but in making that one or two small holes they can still set up skin issues for your dog.

All the time I hear people say, but I am using the pour on and my dog is still getting the skin condition. You also need to be aware that summer is a time when plants are doing their best to be virile and there are lots of plants in the garden and in the park that will set up an itch and scratch problem. I do find that eucalyptus oil has a calming effect on skin irritations and you can use it as often as you like. You can use common and garden salad oil if you like but the dog licks it off pretty quickly. Eucalyptus is effective because it doesn't taste that nice.

I redo my house spray on 1st December and 1st March. My last flea treatment on the dogs is usually 1st March; unless the weather is still quite warm and flea attractive, then I will do an additional pour on on 1st April. Then I am over flea treatment until September again. Get on top of the issue now ... good idea huh. Unless you have a thing for your Vets and want to pour lots of money into their lifestyle.

KNOWING YOUR LOCAL BODY DOG BY-LAWS

Do you actually read your by-laws when they are sent out with your Dog Registration request, or go online to check the law occasionally? It is subject to change at the time of the Annual District Plan revamps.

  • Picking up dog poo is not just something nice you do to make the ground user friendly for others IT IS MANDATORY. IT IS A LAW AND YOU MUST DO IT. Otherwise you can be caught up with and fined heavily.


So who is going to see my dog poo then? Well I often do and believe me I get very abused when I advise the perpetrators that they should pick up their mess. I do it nicely at first. I often show people how to do it because they don't know how to use a bag as a glove on their hand and collect the poo. At the Club I go around periodically and collect up the stuff that gets missed because of night training. I must admit I am sure my dogs have gone after dark at the club and I have not noticed, so I do a big collect of every poo I can find and there are quite a large number each time I do it. I would like to think other club members are happy to do this regularly too because otherwise we will get into trouble with our generous landlords, the Stock Car Club. Yes I know the Sumner farm dogs come each evening and do theirs there, but tough just pick it up so we don't get the blame.

The Redwood Forest dog walk area is a must see on the subject of Dog Poo. There are masses of it. I just can't go there anymore. There are places where you cannot avoid it. Honestly it is disgusting. At Hamurana we have an off lead dog walking area at the Lakefront.

In 2005 I made submissions to achieve this free run area. It was to be on lead only. The Councilors consulted with me about the closing of a portion of off lead from 15th December to 1st March during middle of day hours. I was extremely proud to be part of that local body by law. The Animal Control Department at the RDC told me to be vigilant about advising dog owners to pick up their dogs droppings because they would take the right to run off lead off us very quickly if there was deemed to be too much mess at the Hamurana Beach area where Families picnic during the summer months.

I have been abused a few times over the last ten years but recently an English couple who live along the main road really roasted me. The gentleman in particular promised to 'break my dog's back' if he approached his dog. He also decided that I had 3 dogs illegally as only two dogs per household are allowed. As I said above it pays to check your Dog Bylaws. Hamurana's Rural Aspect is outside of the ring fenced urban area that the law of two dogs applies to. I have supplied them with a copy of the salient parts of the By Laws. However I don't imagine I am flavor of the month in that household and I am left picking up after their dog as well, although I have promised to deliver it to their gate - at no charge of course.

Happy Training. Raewyn Saville


Sunday, March 24 2013

Fae the Fat Fairy learns Agility Episode 17

Well you know I am still plodding along learning Agility but I had a whole four days without the Boss. Me and Julie and Midge got left at home while the Boss took Boo and Chan to Hawera for the Taranaki Masters Games. They came home with a gold and a silver. Chris and Boston and Bootz went too and Bootz won Bronze. One day I gotta do this stuff so I don't get left behind any more.

Don't get me wrong I love my pal Julie and she loves me and we lie on the bed and watch TV and work along together looking after the ducks and chooks. There is no rush with Julie and I like that. I never run away when I am left with Julie as I have to keep an eye on her in case she needs me.

Anyway when the Boss got home she was straight back into training dogs again, me included. She tells me my weaves are improving. They are in a straight line now but bent out and on Saturday at the Club I did them the same width I do them at home and the Boss was really pleased with that. I am pleased she throws my ball and I can dash off through the sticks and pick it up and run back flat out and play with my tug toy which is my squeaky football from Uncle Bruce the Bassett Hound man. It's my favourite.

Today we did NALA and now that I am 16 months I was allowed to do the Veterens course which was done by my sister Midge in under 29 seconds. I don't know what my time was but I did all the stuff and there were 13 bits of it and it was fun. At the end I got to play with my ball and tug toy again so that was great. I got to run the Flygility course as well. It had the A frame with hoops in it this week and I learnt that at last week's Flygility class so that was easy. The Boss ran it with me to make sure I did all the things. I missed one hurdle, deliberately as I was going toooo fast to do it. I think so anyway. He he he. The Boss laughed as well. She said I made a good effort and we played ball and tug at the end again. I was pretty exhausted having two days of Agility stuff in a row. Chan, Boo and Midge were tired as well so that's okay.

Right now I have to stop this blog because I can hear a Rat in the Kiwifruit. I need to go out and bark at it and make it frightened so that it falls out of the Kiwifruit and I can kill it. I got one last week this way. Look out Rat here I come. yapayap yap a yap wowowowo yap yap

A whole week has gone by now and we did Agility things nearly every day. Monday is my favourite. On Monday I go to a class run by the Boss called Play to Learn - nothing serious. There are now fourteen dogs in that class and last Monday we did contacts, so that meant we had all the contacts out of the shed. The A Frame, the dog walk, the cross over and the seesaw. We did them all on really low so that nobody could fall off and hurt themselves. We all learnt all the contacts in groups of four and then we had a competition at the end to see who was the best. Both the Cocker Spaniels were the best. I probably was the best best, but I am not allowed to compete with the other dogs because the Boss sayes I have an unfair adsomething. The German Shepherds are amazing as they are so big and the planks of the contact equipment are so narrow. I love Shepherds, I was born where there were beautiful Belgian 'Malenois' Shepherds . My best friend is Miska, she is a German Shepherd. They are different but sort of the same. I love their BIG.

Next week we are doing stick games at Monday night class. This is preparation for weaves and is real fun. I am looking forward to it. We always start Monday night with 'Control' so all the dogs get to know each other and settle down and work without running off and doing other doggy things. We do heel work and stays and recall in that class as well. It takes about an hour and a half to get through the workload with 14 dogs. The winning dog gets a green ribbon. GREEN IS GOOD. The boss told me to put that in. Tuesday night I do beginners Obedience. I really like Obedience, I don't have to run around so much and there is lots of staying and downs and things and I like that, I can just sort of doze through it. Also my friend Coco comes to that class and she is a real dag. Coco pretends she doesn't like the other dogs in the class, she barks and hackles up at them all, but it is just her way of having fun really. She is a German Spitz and she is very precise about where other dogs should be. 'Don't you come too close to me, you get back get back go on go away' she yaps and then she gets tired of it and when she does her heel work she doesn't yap at all. Her heel work is just so beautiful. She trit trots along. She is very pretty and thin, a kind of micro model dog really. She does make me feel fat, but she likes me, I don't think she feels threatened in any way by me and it does remind me I should resist eating all that chicken food that is out in the paddock so I too can be thin like Coco. I can but try. All the dogs in Monday night are new dogs to the Club and some are even younger than me. Tuesday night Obedience is dogs who have been coming for quite a while. When we get the lights up and going we will do more Obedience later in the evening which will give people time to go home from work and get to class. Then we will have more new people coming in.

The Boss is working on an Agility Ribbon Show for new entrant dogs. Sort of like Kennel Club Ribbon but with a course for people who have never done any training before to come and give it a go. The winners will still get ribbons. There will be two Elementary Courses and two Starters Courses and one Novice Course. It will be in October/November and should be great fun. Maybe by then I will be able to do a whole course as well. I haven't even looked for a bunny on the course for the last three weeks, I get so busy trying to do the hurdles and tunnels and things, I actually forget the Bunnies. Here it is Easter as well. Oh well Happy Easter Bunny everyone and remember that Jesus was no Bunny and it is his special holiday too.

Wednesday, March 20 2013

Taranaki Dog Club Flygility Tournament - Report on weekend in Hawera

16th and 17th of March was the weekend of Taranaki Dog Club Flygility Tournament(Saturday) and Masters Games Agility(Sunday). When I saw it advertised in the NALA mag a couple of months ago, I thought it might be something that we could take a Club team to and find out how Masters Games work. As Dog Sports Rotorua is a non Kennel Club Dog Training group, we are not part of the swings and roundabouts of Ribbons Trial Agility and Agility or Jumpers Champs. However, some of our best Agiliteers and some of the learners are keen to compete and we have been to a number of Ribbon Shows over the past couple of years and participated. Chris Hutchings belongs to the Kennel Club now and has braved the Champs Events and done very well as a new chum. But at some stage in the growth of our club there is going to be the desire to run a show of our own.

I wondered whether Masters Games Agility might be something that we could hook into and run in Rotorua. So with this in mind I asked a couple of people if they might like to join me going down to Hawera to participate. Chris was keen so we set about prepaying our registrations and we asked if we could camp on the grounds. The reply came back as a yes so I spent some weeks patching up the farm trailer (putting a new floor in it) so that I could get a WOF and consequent Rego. The lights needed completely overhauling as well, as the darling ducks and the cheeky goats had kind of gnawed and pecked at the wiring . Every opportunity I got I drilled a couple more holes in the trailer and bolted on new floor boards and gradually pulled the wiring to bits and put it back together again. Still the lights wouldn't go so I had to call in my good friend Stephen White and he found the problem. Our farm trailer has a wire crate that fits on top and some years back when I went to Taupo to compete, I made a rap around piece of canvas and put a tarp over the top, all tied down with circles of old inner tube rubber. So I set about rebuilding the crate with the canvas and tarp. The crate has a gate at the back and it does great service as a carryall for the tents, water supply, gas bottles, fridge, chillybins and all the hardware that goes with camping. When it is empty at the camp ground, it makes a nice cool place for any dogs that need a bit more space. As there were two of us in my Nissan Navarra twin cab plus my two dogs and my bedding and odds and sods in the cab as well, and in the covered tray we had our clothes, bedding, stretchers, extra dog things and Chris' two dogs in crates, the trailer was really essential.

As I said when we finished packing Chris' stuff in at her house on Friday morning, 'it looks like we are going for a month'. But when you are 60+ and have 'body issues' there are essential extras such as comfy mattresses and extra warm clothing and lots of wet weather gear and vitamin pills - you know what I mean. Chris insisted on taking the Dog Sports resin table, which was quite long but worked out to be really sensible, we had chairs of course and an electric jug plus a gas stove. Emergency toileting equipment (for us not the dogs) are an unfortunate need when your body has been through what mine has. Anyway, all packed and on the road. Chris said as we pulled up the Mamakus heading for Putaruru, 'oh heck I forgot the water and you asked me about the water and I still didn't click'. Chris has a filter system on her home sink and had carefully filled and stowed a bunch of bottles of water for our trip. They got left behind. It was the only thing we forgot. I had 25litres of Hamurana water so I reckoned we would be alright. Why take our own water? well funnily enough I have known my dogs to get upset tummies on water in new places and I am kind of wedded to Hamurana water. We knew there was a drought on and we did not know where the water at Normanby was coming from or how far out in the country we might be.

We stopped in Otorohanga and had a cuppa and a snack at McDonalds. Good loos there too, so we were fortified for the rest of the journey. We stopped again past Awakino for the dogs who had also had a break at Otorohanga. It wasn't terribly hot in the car so it was a nice temperature for the dogs all the way down. It was also WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) festival in New Plymouth that weekend and there was a lot of traffic on the road. The trailer tows well and the rubber bands held it all together. It was a scenic and uneventful trip. When we turned off at Brixten onto State Highway 3A and covered the distance on the eastern side of Mount Taranaki, the mountain was under cloud, so no siting of the 'perfect cone' on that occasion. Through Stratford which is a very tidy and attractive country town, reminiscent of 1950s and then the last leg of the journey Eltham and Normanby.

The instructions from the crew in Hawera were, 'as you come into Normanby you go over the rail bridge, then on your right is Ketemarae Road, turn there. You will see the Normanby Hall in front on you, Go past it and in the gate. You can camp anywhere except on the athletic tracks. We will open the gate at 4p.m..' So all that happened and we were happy to find a corner on the Southern end of the huge recreational reserve, tucked in beside a shipping container, which felt a bit like our home Club. It had shelter from the East with the container and shelter from a shelter-belt on the south.

There were two campervans already parked on the grounds. They were in the middle of the athletic track and had obviously been here before as they had positioned themselves to have ringside seats to the two days of show. We happily unpacked our trailer and set about putting up the tents(one each) and setting up our table and cooker and fridge. We had arrived about 4.15 and by 5.15p.m. we were pretty much organised. A lovely fellow competitor by the name of Jean helped Chris with her tent. Chris had lashed out and bought herself a new tent and hadn't put it up before, even though she has put up similar tents, so Jean was an asset as I could go on setting up the camp while they studiously figured out the new tent. There was no wind and the promised rain had not yet arrived. We had a welcome from some of the Club members who turned up and we figured out the loos and shower facilities. Also on this domain was an old bowling club which patently was no longer used as a bowling club, and the Normanby District Memorial Hall. Some short time ago some local lads had burnt down the old hall. The Community had been consulted and the Council set about rebuilding the Hall in beautiful brick, a very modern design with facilities as requested by the local people. Fancy that there is a piece of NZ where the Council listen to the people and actually do as requested by the ratepayers and residents. Sorry about the sarcasm...

The Hall has a set of public toilets, ladies, mens and disabled and a separate area with sports showers and changing rooms one for men and one for women. These are open to the public and they were spotlessly clean, beautifully set out and the varnish was barely dry on the walls they were so brand new. It was a bit of a hike from the campsite to the loo but you kind of expect that when you are camping. So there we were all settled in for a weekend of doggy competition.

Saturday morning dawned greyish but it soon changed into a hot hot day, humid hot. After breakfast we wandered over to the Clubhouse and registered for the Flygility day. The dogs had had a good walk and seemed to be aware that they might be called upon to perform. First up for Flygility was Beginners. Both Chris' dogs Bootz and Boston, are in Beginners. Mine have both qualified out, so I asked if I could Judge for them. They were happy about that and I had a ball judging. We had some very novice dogs who obviously don't train for the event and they needed all the help they could get to complete. It was great. Both of Chris' dogs got points and ribbons, so off to a good start. Advanced up next. My Chan's course. Always a disaster having Advanced first in Chan's day, he is just so busy and excited and 'up' he will not concentrate on the weaving. If it is later in the day he will. So we were eliminated pretty fast even though it was done as a double draw because we only had five Advanced dogs. However he was happy and excited and that is always good, especially as he has been plagued over the last two months and has had hardly any valuable practice leading up to this weekend. He has been attacked by wasps and had multiple stings which took a few weeks to clear up. He got two infected toe nails and had to have an anaesthetic to sort it and has been on antibiotics for all things which upset his gut. So he was barely serviceable really and the weaves reinforcement work hadn't been done. After Advanced was Intermediate Individual. Becki-boo's course and she made it through to semifinalist which is great for her and a ribbon. Both Bootz and Boston got valuable Intermediate points. The Senior course was fairly straight forward and Chan made it to Runner-up with a ribbon and Becki-boo made it to semi-finalist and a ribbon. Then it was Intermediate prs which Becki-boo got a point in and Chris and Bootz made it all the way through and ended up Runners-up in team with a lovely border collie who enjoyed running on Bootzies mini height. Then another Seniors course, a pairs this time and Chan got a semi-finalist ribbon with his team mate. End of day. Hot tired but we had all had a bundle of fun. A nice hot shower in that lovely new shower room was the ultimate luxury. Good food to finish the day and a big sleep to get ready for the real event 'The Masters Games' tomorrow. The dogs were satisfied, quiet happy and replete. All smiley.

Over night Saturday the wind blew something fierce and odd showers passed by, but nothing too gross. Wind always sounds bad when you are living under canvas. At about 2am the dogs woke us. Chan was scratching at the inside of the truck window and I discovered Chris was already up as Bootz was unsettled and muttering. Considering how tired they all were it seemed a little odd but we let them all out to have a pee. My lot ran straight over to the shelterbelt with nose to ground, could have been some 'varmint' hanging around, but it didn't seem urgent for them. They peed and went back to bed. I slept again very well and woke at about 6.30. I missed my alarm clock. Goes to show how much one relies on such things. At home it goes off at 5a.m. and I get up between 5.30 and 6 on normal mornings. Some early times I get up at 5. Anyway the wind was still blowing and it was a warm bleak grey morning. Little rain showers and that wind. Chris said, 'Rain before 7 find by 11" and how about that she was right .

I don't like to feed the dogs much before Agility but they were looking a little hungry so I decided I would give them a handful of the biscuits we had won to go with the ribbons the day before. Chris told me she had put her packets of biscuits in the trailer. I went to get them and discovered that a rat had been nibbling one of the packs during the night. So there was our 2a.m. visitor, always listen to your dogs, they are always right. If they are unhappy then there is something going on.

We picked up our registration packs for the day. Very well stocked they were too. Wine gums, lip balm which is yummy, SP30 sunscreen, a six pack bag with Taranaki Masters games written on it, information about the Taranaki area which was worth reading, a lovely Masters Games keyring and other bits and pieces. The order of running with our running numbers were also supplied and the program for the day. Our judges were two delightful young women Jazmin Ellery and Kaylah Hill. It was quite astonishing having always been one of the 'olds' running stuff for the'kids' to have all the young people doing the work for us 'olds'. They were fantastic. The courses were very well thought out and nobody seemed to be doing the usual 'course hate' comments that I generally hear at Agility Shows. Those two judges worked all day from 8a.m. till 4p.m.. I hope someone gave them a nice lunch, but they didn't seem to be out of the ring for long. They smiled, they clapped and they made quick decisions with a great show of maturity.

First up was Starters for my Chan. He ran well. Nothing spectacular but clear and straightforward, no messy bits. Next up was Becki boo in Starters and she too ran well although I gave her enough time to do one pirouette she shouldn't have. Chris' Boston was a bit over enthusiastic and did a bit of barking as he does when she gets on his case and I think he missed something he shouldn't have. Bootz on Micro ran quite well he is very reliable. He wasn't as good at the weaves as he should have been and she got docked 5 with him. Anyway within a short time it became obvious that Chan had done enough for the Gold in Starters and Becki boo bless her socks got the silver. Well well.

I watched what was left of the Intermediate and Jumpers A and B picked up hurdles for a while to save the Judge some foot work. Then it was the Novice. It was a good course but that wind was a pain still. The rain had gone and we had a hot busy northerly. On the northern side of the course was a chute tunnel under the dog walk. The flapping end of the chute was flapping madly. I reckoned that Becki boo with her hatred of flapping things that crack in the wind would be a bit bothered and I probably talked her in to it. She actually jumped off the dog walk from the flat top, which is high for her little spindley legs. Buggar. Went back and reinforced it and she did it and missed the contact. Oh well rest of course okay good weaves no issues. Shame.

When it was Chan's turn I was careful to talk him over the dog walk problem, he got the contact and then ran out over the hurdle back through the flapping Chute tunnel, over a hurdle and a turn into the weaves. I blinked and he shot into the tunnel on the other side of the course. Oh buggar, my fault, I had concentrated so hard on the contact I lost the plot. Old and stupid real shame. He could have done well on that course. Chris found the challenges of the course a bit beyond her experience so far, especially as she has only competed for just on a year and only been to about 6 shows in that time. But it was a good experience for us both. Becki boo actually came 5th with 10 faults, so I guess everyone found it a bit challenging.

Jumpers C was a simply little course easy flow not much in the way of Challenge, almost an old fashioned Elementary. However by now Chan had sore feet. I had seen this coming. On Saturday he gave his all at Flygility, which he loves passionately and I had treated his feet on Saturday night and again on Sunday morning, but I knew that the hard droughty grass and ground was grazing his delicate Sharpei feet. His feet have big soft pads and the skin comes off them just so easily. Everyone uses the term. 'Oh he has Sharpei feet'. I used the iodine spray about three times during Sunday but he was having trouble walking properly. Bless him he did the C Jumpers nice and clean but slowly and I guess landing on his feet was a bother but he tried to put a smile on his face and have a 'show must go on' attitude. Normally he would have blitzed it and been well ahead of me by the end. But he was behind me. Becki-boo ran it as Becki-boo does, if I go fast she goes fast, so I went as fast as I could. Chris was hoping that this was her moment for a medal. She was disappointed she had not done better than she had at that point.

By now I had figured out who Chris'competition were in her age group. They were not that fast but their dogs were self propelled really. There was always the opportunity for mis-direction when the dogs run on ahead. So I said to Chris - when you go out with Bootz run as fast and as hard as you can. She looked at me. She said okay. So my last word to her before she went onto the course was. Just go... and she did. To me Chris ran as fast as she possibly could and little Bootz didn't miss a beat bless him. It looked like a pretty good clear run to me. 'So' I said when she came out of the ring 'did you run as fast as you could'. 'No' she said 'if I hadn't had to steer Bootz and myself around a course I could have run faster'... a typical Chris reply. Boston went well until he got to the tyre/hoop. It was a bit of a micro/min course and Boston has a maxi imagination and was upon the hoop before he realised and ran under it. So poor old Boston, who is the least experienced of all our team dogs, had a bit of a difficult day.

I went off to watch the Senior Course being run. It wasn't a really difficult course, it had seesaw and a couple of traps and there were times when the handler had to be in a certain place to get a certain result. The only word I can use to explain my feelings while watching this work is INSPIRATIONAL. Women and men in their late 70s and early 80s, with bodies that no longer behaved themselves. Limited ability to twist and turn, carrying a leg that no long functioned properly, stiff with arthritis, but their dogs thought their masters just as athletic as they were. The dogs did all the leg work, running on and completing sequences that were quite complex with just the odd arm wave or voice command from their boss. It brought tears to my eyes. I looked around to find Chris beside me crying her eyes out. 'Never mind' I said 'you tried your best'. 'I am not crying because I am sad' she said 'Bootz won Bronze in Jumpers C.' WOW.

 So what a thrill.  We had a full set between us.  In my age group Becki-boo was 5th in Jumpers C and Chan was 6th.  So clear round certs for those.

A great way to cap a great weekend. We spent some time talking to the team after the Events and prizegiving were over. They were very encouraging about our enquiries to run Master's Agility in Rotorua. They gave us all the help we could possibly need and left us with the key to their wonderful clubrooms which was the old bowling club complete with lovely flat green area and fully fenced, right on the boundary of the huge park facility we had been camping on for two days. We had decided to stay over till Monday morn as driving for five plus hours at night after such a busy two days, did not sound like my idea of a happy finish to the weekend. So we had a lovely 'last sleep' in Normanby and got up and packed the camp quietly and calmly and drove all the way home in bumper to bumper WOMAD traffic.

So thank you Chris for joining me for the weekend. It was a lovely break. We learnt a lot of stuff to take back to our Club with regards to the sorts of Agility we should be looking to run to build up an Agility culture at Dog Sports Rotorua. If anyone wants to go next year, I think Chris and I will be doing it again, so come and join our gypsy camp and have some 'fun for the elderly' at Taranaki Masters Games Dog Agility.

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