Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Getting my head around the handling challenges......

Our first competitive outing using the scooter happened last weekend... and the weather was perfect!

We were entered for two Agility rounds.  The first, Grades 1 - 5 had a few twisty sections and I decided to do a training round leaving these out to boost our confidence...  which it did as everything went pretty much to plan.

The second round, Agility 3 - 7, was tricky, but I thought I'd attempt the twists and turns.  The course started like this and the red line shows my planned route with the scooter...

Of course it didn't all go according to that plan.  The line down to the first tunnel entry was okay and it seemed like we might get the weaves right (not quite... ah well) then the second tunnel entry went well (yay) but confusion hit at the far side of the A frame (there is SO much for us both to think about).

Anyway there's a clip of this run which shows a few sticky moments, but all in all I feel it is okay for a first attempt at a real course.

I think Patsy is trying to work out what I want, but we haven't yet worked out a common language for signalling from the scooter....  Also, I haven't quite sorted how to run a course without too many tight turns for the scooter.

The alternative handling route below was suggested by another wheeled handler.  And this would certainly make the scooter handling easier, but would mean Patsy would need to work harder by running further ahead.

One way and another I think my mental agility will be rather challenged by working all this out.  But new challenges are what make life interesting.....  :-)

PS... Delighted to mention that Shona and Honey beat us in the 1-5 Agility class by winning it!  Yay!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Introducing "Ability for Agility" and ME

Since becoming ill with ME in March 2012, I have had to take a somewhat alternative approach to training my little dog Patsy for the Dog Agility we so enjoy.

Throughout Patsy's initial training in 2011, I was able to run along side her and handle her in the normal manner.  We weren't brilliant, but were enjoying learning.

In 2012, it became clear that I either had to give up doing agility or find another way to handle Patsy without running myself.  Thus I started to train for "distance handling" and limited my own exertions in the ring to a walk.

By the end of 2012 we were starting to make progress and had even accumulated a few rounds in which we were not eliminated!  (Taking the wrong obstacle results in elimination, so often when I was not nearby Patsy would just head for whatever obstacle SHE thought should be next.  Either that or we flunked the weaves... )

This picture captures the final jump in our first ever not-eliminated round!

The trainers at Castlereagh & District Dog Training Club were all highly supportive - and Patsy and I even won a club award at the end of 2012 for our progress.

As time went by however my abilities deteriorated further and so again, in early 2013, I faced the possibility of giving up agility.  Luckily the online agility community came to my rescue, and I was inspired to attempt handling using a mobility scooter.  This is still a work in progress, but training seems to be progressing well  thanks to my ever patient and inventive trainers at Castlereagh Club....  

Yesterday (May 2013), we went to our first competition and I was totally delighted by the support and encouragement from all my agility friends.

So in this blog, I'm going to track our progress and chatter about Agility in general.

Edit: For a more recent update see
written May 2014