Young Master Frederic

Young Master Frederic
Young Master Frederic

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: