Young Master Frederic

Young Master Frederic
Young Master Frederic

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Hare n Hounds Christmas Show

Freddie and I went to the Hare n Hounds Christmas Show yesterday, our last show of the year.  Quite a few hadn't made it because of the snow, but there was still a good turn out.

Freddie's first run (graded 1-2 agility) had both me and the judge stood laughing in the ring.  I was a little worried as there was a brush fence and a wall, both of which Freddie hadn't seen before, so maybe I was a little distracted because after the first 2 fences Freddie decided just to do his own thing - went for wander through the tunnel and over a fence or two before coming back to me!  But once he was concentrating he did the rest of the course fine including jumping the brush and the wall without hesitating.

We picked up another couple of E's, but close ones with only small mistakes.  Then in graded 1-3 jumping he did a fabulous clear round.  It wasn't an easy course but Fred really concentrated and he was fast too!  His clear round earned 2nd place, our best yet, and only 1.5 seconds slower than the winner!  Well done Freddie Bear.

Hare n Hounds, Halloween Show

I realise I didn't post about the Halloween Show.  Hmmm, maybe because it's one I'd rather forget!  It was Freddie's first indoor show, and I hadn't anticipated his cocker spaniel nose coming to the fore in amongst the horse muck layden floor.  So on the first day we managed 4 runs and 4 Es.

I was determined to do better on the second day, and filled my pockets with Freddie's favourite treats.  On his first run he went of sniffing again, and another E.

But I was full of optimism on his second run - there were no weaves so I was very hopeful of a good fast run with no sniffing.  And it was, but unfortunately half way round I felt a 'pop' in my left calf and instant pain.  I hobbled round the rest of the course, sending Freddie wide of a jump and picking up 5 faults.  Then hobbled to the car to put Freddie in and went to find the first aider...  And what a lovely lady she is though I can't remember her name.  She sorted me out with an ice pack for my leg and a cup of tea for me and I sat a while before heading home and for the hospital.  The hospital confirmed I had a torn calf muscle with the only treatment being rest.  How long would I be out???

I limped badly for the next couple of weeks, with poor Freddie sat crying at the door on training nights.  But thankfully it mustn't have been a bad tear as we were back at training two weeks later, and ok for the Christmas show.

So at least this show taught me a lesson - warm up!  I will always make sure to stretch out before setting off in future.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

South Durham Show, and a wet Wilton

Two shows in two days this weekend.  First our club show - a great turnout, six rings and pretty decent weather for October.  The rain stayed away and the sun came out for a fair bit of it.

Freddie and I had a great start to the day, running our first clear agility round in graded 1-2 agility.  Didn't do quite as well after that with 5 faults in ABC agility and 3 Es in our other classes, though most of them were my fault.

As it was our club show I spent most of the morning pole-picking, and a good part of the afternoon on tickets.  It was lovely to run for Gill Crawford too, who we started our training with.  It was a good, if a little twisty, grade 1-3 jumping course.  We failed at the second jump - for some reason Freddie had got himself a little worried about something in the queue and wasn't quite concentrating when we started.  But once I had convinced him it was fun and we started again from jump 2 (with an E already in the bag), he ran brilliantly proving again we are so close to those clears.  Freddie had one eye on Gill the whole way round though - must have been a little confusing for him!

And the day finished off on a real high - being presented with a lovely yellow 3rd rosette for Freddie's clear round in the morning, what a good dog!

Sunday unfortunately was a different kettle of fish - under torrential rain I'm afraid it was 'Wilton wash-out'.  We went and did our three runs but with no success, 2 Es and 5 faults.  And what I did learn was that agility in the rain doesn't do it for me or Freddie - he pulled me all the way back to the car.  And a real shame for Wilton Club.  Hope next year's is better.

So only 2 shows left for this year, and both indoors thank goodness, the HnH Halloween Show at the end of this month and the HnH Christmas show at the end of November.  Wonder if we'll finish the year still in Grade 1?...

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Hare n Hounds, and 2 clear rounds!!

We were at the Hare n Hounds Autumn Show on Saturday and Sunday and had a great time!  We were entered in 9 classes over the weekend so could really get stuck in.

First class on Saturday was grade 1-2 agility, and a quick elimination.  But a bit later we managed grade 1-3 agility with just 10 faults and a nice quick time, and grade 1-3 jumping with 20 faults.  We then had a looong wait, and a snooze in the van before our last two classes.  I wasn't too optimistic because by this time Freddie was a bit tired, but we gave it our best shot and Freddie ran his first clear round in G1-2 jumping!  I was sooo proud of him.  Ok we then got E'd from ABC agility but nothing was wiping the smile off my face, especially when we found out that his clear round had earned us 8th place.  Here's my boy sporting his HUGE rosette

Sunday started with two E's - Freddie was all a bit excited in his agility rounds and ran under a few jumps oops!  I then went to pick Paul, Jasper and Darcey up to have a wander round the show, and did a bit of pole-picking before Freddie's last two runs.  First G1-2 jumping again, and another clear round yey!  This time earning 6th place.  And G1-3 jumping where we had a fantastic run but unfortunately I turned Freddie too early for one jump so he ran past it then backjumped.

All in all a great weekend, another goal achieved, two places and our first 8 points.   I think we really can do this!  Next goal is an agility clear round, and this weekend is South Durham show on Saturday and Wilton Show on Sunday.

Monday, 20 September 2010

First goal achieved!

Freddie and I went to Easington Agility show this Saturday, held at Witton Castle.  We were entered into G1-2 agility combined and graded and 1-2 graded jumping.  I was a bit nervous when I saw the courses though, all the same judge and all, in my and others' opinions, were a bit tough for grade 1 and 2.  But I suppose a challenge is good!

First agility round - we were eliminated (again!).  My fault - I should have sprinted to the far side of the dogwalk to get in the right place to guide Freddie round the next jumps, but took the shortest line and didn't have a chance when Freddie just took his own line!

Second agility round - eliminated again, for a very similar mistake to the first.  This time I anticipated and turned too early sending Freddie past a jump, and he backjumped when I called him back.  But having said that, Freddie was running really well and the mistakes were mine rather than his.

But jumping was a lot better.  A very tricky, twisty course with nothing straightforward.  And we got round with just 10 faults - a refusal at the weaves but he went through second time, and one pole down.  Our first KC round without being eliminated - my first goal!  Good, clever Freddie, I am so proud.

Next weekend is Hare n Hounds Autumn show - we have 9 runs over 2 days.  See if we can't progress a bit further.  My next goal is a clear round...

Friday, 3 September 2010

K9 Fun Agility Week

Freddie and I took part in a fun agility week this week at K9 Pursuits and had a great time!  I would recommend this for anyone who is starting out in agility, or if you fancy giving it a go and having a good laugh at the same time.  We were competing in teams and as individuals, with a mixed bag of dogs including crossbreeds, cocker spaniels, a labrador, a collie and a beagle.  We did timed races, mini agility courses and a few silly games too.  Sinade and Finn came out as overall winners, fantastic as they hadn't really done any agility before.  I think Finn should be renamed 'speedy gonzales'.  I think they caught the agility bug and hope to see them at classes soon.  Many thanks Gill, Andrea and Jake for a great week.

Ooh and in other news - I had a dream this week that me and Freddie got a clear jumping round and came 3rd.  Let's hope that our next competition is a dream come true!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Fun Day at Prissick and Hare n Hounds Summer Show

Sunday 1 August saw us heading for Prissick Base in Middlesbrough for the Hare n Hounds fun day.  These are great fun competitions arranged by Chris Hare, suitable for any level, you can run any height and even run on lead if you want.  There was one jumping ring and one agility ring with the courses and judges changing at lunchtime.

We arrived too late to walk the first courses - big mistake on the agility!  I watched for a bit and thought I had the course in my head, but got to the complicated jump sequence and got completely lost.  We picked up and got to the end but with a big fat E! 

So on to the jumping - again, I hadn't walked it but it wasn't too complicated, a nice run though some awkward corners... but the real benefit was no weaves yey!  So with OH and our other poochies keeping watch we set off, Freddie ran like a dream, never took his eyes off me and we got our first clear round. Woop woop!!!  I was so happy, clever little Freddie.  But no rosette - prizes were awarded to 3rd place but our time put us 4th.

In the afternoon we had a terrible jumping round, but it was pretty hard.  I was very nervous about the agility - it was a nice course but started with a really tricky jump sequence.  I thought there was no way I would get Freddie round, but gave it a go.  To my delight he concentrated again, and did fantastic over the jumps, carrying on to a great round with only 5 faults for cornering too fast and slipping off the dog walk.  We would have got time faults too but not a bad round, we came away very happy.

The next weekend had no agility in it as I went off to be a bridesmaid for my little sister, but we headed to Gainford on 14th August for the Hare n Hounds Summer Show.  I learnt a lot at this show.  Our club was running a ring so I spent the morning pole-picking and watching some great grade 4-7 dogs, and handed tickets out on the afternoon so got to say hi to some lovely people and dogs, and get harrassed by some not-quite-as-nice people who seemed to think they were very special and could dispense with the rules.  Thankfully my club mates kept me right and I got some good advice from some more experienced people.  I guess the agility world is like every other and has all types of characters in it...

However... our runs weren't good!  I wasn't good, and Freddie wasn't really on the ball.  We only had two runs - the first was graded 1-2 agility.  We got a good start but Freddie got so far ahead of me on the dog walk that he carried on and did the jumps however he fancied, and back-jumped when I called him back to me.  Our second run was combined 1-3 agility.  This time he did the first two jumps ok, but in my haste to get him to pull through to jump 3 rather than go into the tunnel facing him he back-jumped again, but again the rest of the run wasn't too bad.

So our KC record so far - 5 runs and 5 eliminations!  Still waiting to get round with a few faults never mind that elusive clear round.  But I think this is quite normal for beginners, we won't give up!

First competition

Freddie's first agility competition was at Weardale DAC Show at Wolsingham Showground, on Saturday 24 July.  We got there nice and early as Freddie needed to be officially measured before we could compete.  And after standing around for half an hour and missing the briefing for our first class, we finally got measured.  As suspected, Freddie just measured large - the cut off is 43cm, and Freddie is about 46cm!  So guess what, we have to compete against all the super-fast collies!

Our first run was an Olympia qualifier, grade 1-7 combined ABC.  Oops!!!  I really should have never entered, and on the drive up to Wolsingham had pretty much decided not to run it.  But... I walked the course and thought that with a fair wind I could get Freddie round it so decided to give it a go.

First hurdle (and not the jumping kind) - I knew I had to get my ticket once they were calling up to my running order number, but thought (as you would) that you had to run IN ORDER.  Well, I felt slightly silly but thankfully the person in the queue was perfectly nice and explained that once you have your ticket you queue to run! 

Well eventually it was our turn.  The start was ok, a jump sequence and onto the dog walk, after that Freddie ran past a couple of things but I managed to get him back, over things and through things in the right order, and even managed to get him through the weaves on the second try.  We clocked up about 25 faults until the next to last obstacle which was the tunnel, I anticipated too much, Freddie ran past it then when I called him back he went in the wrong end - elimination!  But to be quite honest, I was elated for our first run that I had managed to get him round the course!

After that was graded 1-2 jumping.  I was most worried about a run of 12 weaves (Freddie's worst thing).  Again, we had a decent start, but on one complicated bit Freddie ran past a jump, I called him back and he back-jumped it - eliminated again!  But we carried on and guess what - 12 perfect weaves first try! 

Our final run of the day was graded 1-2 agility.  This time we had a nightmare start, jump and A-frame ok, but I could not pursuade Freddie to weave at all and 3 bodges attempts earned us our 3rd elimination of the day.  But after that he did the rest of the course perfectly including a couple of tricky turns.  Even the judge shouted 'hard luck' as we finished.

Not a bad day's work for a first show, and Freddie got a big beefy bone as a reward for being such a good boy.

Liver cake recipe

I've tried a few recipes for liver cake, but the best has to be 'Nana Sue's' liver cake.  I hope Sue doesn't mind me sharing the recipe...

1lb of liver (we like lambs liver)
3 medium eggs
6oz wholemeal flour
Pinch of garlic powder

Blend all the ingredients (best to keep an old blender just for this job), spread onto a baking tray and cook at 200 degrees C for around 20-30 minutes, or until it is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.  Once cool, cut into treat sized pieces.

This will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, and can be frozen.

Initial training

When Freddie was 14 weeks old we began his training at K9 Pursuits in Newton Aycliffe.  We did K9's foundation course, which includes the Kennel Club Good Citizen Puppy Foundation, and quickly found out that (a) we really enjoyed training, and (b) Freddie is a clever little pup!  The training we do is all reward-based, and for Freddie that reward has to be food every time - but he will do anything for a treat, particularly home-made liver cake.  Puppy foundation led on to drop in classes, then Kennel Club bronze, and we were then asked if we wanted to join the puppy agility class.

Now a lot of people in the agility world will tell you that you can't begin training until your dog is at least a year old.  But K9 thought long and hard, and decided to try a puppy class, using just the small equipment and importantly with NO jumping, and it turned out to be a great idea.  All the puppies in the class, Freddie included, learned really quickly, picking up the basic commands and building confidence.

Freddie absolutely adored agility, and still does.  Though the first time he went off-lead in class he did a doodle-dash round the room taking in every bit of equipment through sheer joy.  Not quite the control required but a sign of how much he loves it.

So we carried on going, and graduated to 'big boy' class rather than the puppies, learning the big equipment and started jumping.  And in July 2010 we joined South Durham Dog Agility Club.  They are a great club, with chance to practice on full courses.  We practice Saturday mornings and Tuesday nights at Hurworth Moor.

Here's some pictures of Freddie's first ever taste of agility:

Read on to hear about Freddie's first competition...

First post!

I've never written a blog before, but feel inspired to keep a record of the trials and tribulations as I try to get started in the field of dog agility with Freddie, my gorgeous cockerpoo.  So... where to start.  Maybe with a bit about me and my doggies.

I'm Jo, currently 33, and work as a civil servant.  Two years ago I went for my singing lesson (another hobby of mine), and was greeted at my teacher's house with the cutest little bundle of brown fluff I had ever seen.  This turned out to be Rosie, a cockerpoo puppy and the sweetest thing I had ever seen.  I rushed home to OH and somehow managed to convince him that it would be a good idea for us to get a dog.  So off I went on the internet searching for a litter, and found Foxisle Gundogs who had one puppy left in a litter.  It was meant to be!  And on 6 October 2008 we set off to Doncaster to pick up our puppy.  At the time I was rehearsing for 'The Pirates of Penzance' playing Mabel (the female lead) and so we named our puppy Freddie, after the lead male character in Pirates - 'Frederic'.

Freddie is a cross between an English Cocker Spaniel and a Miniature Poodle, both black, and Freddie is black with a bit of white on his chest and bottom lip.  He is quite a little character, very loving and sooo sensitive.  This is Freddie as a youngster:

And this is him last week, on his 2nd birthday:

This blog is about Freddie, but I should also introduce our other dogs - yes Freddie only stayed an 'only dog' until he was eight months!  We then spotted a tiny cockerpoo baby on the site for Many Tears Animal Rescue, and adopted our little girlie in April 2009.  She is called Darcey, and is a tiny 12" tall apricot toy cockerpoo.  She is a little Diva girl who gets away with murder and rules the roost in our house!

And in March this year we brought home Jasper, our chocolate F2 labradoodle.  He is one huge puppy, but the happiest dog I have ever met, and fitted in with our little pack really well.  This is the three of them together: