Monday, 25 January 2016

Game over :-(

Little Sixxy just isn't confident jumping full height anymore so I've decided to give up any hope of ever competing with her again and just train her on small/medium.

She's such a sweet girl, she tries so hard but worries about the height and distances between jumps and either takes off way too early or puts little stutter strides in.  It actually breaks my heart to see her worry.

She never was the bravest, most confident girl and I think her start line always showed that - she always looked worried to me and it's something that's always niggled at me.

I hope that by training her on lower heights we can have fun together for lots of years to come :-)

So that kind of ends this blog because I set it up for Sixx to follow her agility progress!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

New Year = New Goals!

I'm slowly coming round to believing that Sixx is ok now..... probs not quite there but almost!  Sixx and Who have both just had 10 days off and we've been concentrating of fitness and body awareness. Lots of woodland walks, making sure I take the route with the most hills and doing some balance pad stuff.  Who had another physio session on Tuesday and Sally showed me how to use the body wrap on him and we did some proprioception and TTouch stuff.  Who is also booked in for some treadmill hydrotherapy sessions.  Sixx has got some really good hind leg muscles but Sally (physio) thought Who could do with building up a bit.

We've got a goal setting evening with Dan coming up in January which I'm really looking forward to. However, I appear to be a bit goal less at the moment!  Since Sixx got injured I'm finding it really hard to have any solid goals coz I just think it can all change in a second so why worry too much!  All I really know is that I want to focus on improving my handling and I guess trying to push Sixx a bit more.  I know in the past my handling has been 'chasing butterflies' and not attacking courses.  Who's only a baby so I'll probably be happy with just getting some focus and hopefully him being fairly relaxed in the cue.  Lots of UKA's probs.  

Whatever happens I know I'll 100% enjoy the adventure :-)

Saturday, 17 October 2015


Sixx had a physio check yesterday and got a massive thumbs up from Sally! Woohoo!!  It's been a year since our last show - I remember it so well because it was the same weekend as AWC and I kept running back to the van to watch the Live Stream to see if Dave was running.  I feel like I've forgotten how shows work now!

Everything has changed for me in agility since Sixx's injury - I have an entirely new perspective on the whole thing! I really thought I'd never get to train her in agility again and even though she'd still have a great life I just felt such a loss that we'd never get that feeling you get when you're running agility.  I can't even describe what it is, but that connection, that bond, that unity or whatever but also that fun that you get from training and competing together.  There's nothing in the world like it :-)

I hope we can just carry on training and competing and having fun for lots more years and just see where it takes us :D

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


Aaah Sixx is still looking good!  We decided to keep her on standard for a bit longer as although she's looking really good she still isn't massively confident and sometimes takes off early.  I don't think she's ever been massively confident in any aspect of her agility so it's been really good for us both to go back a step and do more driving lines and confidence building stuff.  She's crazy for agility, funny little fluffy dog! I love her so much and just feel so hugely grateful to have her in my life 💕

Friday, 31 July 2015

Progress report - July 2015 :-)

So we're on week 6, sequences on medium height.  A week of that then up to standard, after another week large and after that we can introduce 6 weaves and some contacts.

I've always made sure we warmed up before training but now we've got a good routine; a brisk on lead walk up the road and back, some cavalletti and some race to the toy.  Warm down is more cavalletti, stretches and a walk up the road and back.

I've got some TTouch harnesses for Sixx and Who and when we're at shows I'll use the double lead to walk them to the rings to get them thinking about proprioception.

Every other day I do strengthening exercises with both dogs, sits to stands on wobble cushions and rear leg stretches.  

Sally the physio recommended a very interesting book to me - Jumping from A-Z by Christine Zinc.  It's full of info on conformation, the mechanics of jumping and different jumping styles.  It's really given me a deep appreciation of the amount of skill that our agility dogs have to learn - adjusting their stride according to conditions, our q's, their level of experience, confidence, so many things!  I feel I've really taken for granted just how incredible our agility dogs are and how much we ask and expect from them - especially when a lot of them haven't even had specific jump training!

One of the issues I've always had with Sixx (a minor issue btw!) is that she would never really power off the start line but after a couple of jumps she'd really speed up.  I've always thought it was related to her wait - that I'd somehow caused her to be tentative about the release.  From reading this book I think now it could be more to do with her confidence in finding a good take off spot for the first jump.  Apparently it's a really common problem.  This is something we'll be working on!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

We've got a long way to go....

Sally gave Sixx the go ahead to start doing some agility training.  To be honest I'm crapping myself!  It's such a roller coaster of emotions - the elation that she can start training again and then the disappointment if she gets hurt again.  I don't want to hurt my princess!  Sally thinks if she's ok in after six weeks she should be ok for good so this is gonna be a long six weeks!

This is the plan;


Saturday, 6 June 2015

The story so far.......

So last season was amazing, Sixx went Grade 5 and I was really enjoying running the 5-7 courses.  I love a challenge and Sixx runs so much better when I don't have time to think and put her off! 

At KCI she felt a bit off, I put it down to her being a bit tired and mostly down to me having had some negative remarks from someone that I thought had probably affected my confidence and handling.

The next show she still wasn't right, knocking poles and coming out of the weaves early almost every run which she would never normally do.  I decided to give her a break and get Dave to treat her.  That was in September.

Dave treated her, said she was really, really tight in her back and she definitely needed a break.  Dave wasn't able to carry on treating her so I decided to take her to Theravet for physio.  Physio showed she was tight in her back but also her shoulder and hip so we started treatment for that.  After a few months she showed a big improvement so I gradually began to do some little bits of training with her.  She seemed fine and after 6wks of gradually building up her training we had a lesson with Dan.  She was still only jumping on medium at this point.  Omfg she was AMAZING that first lesson back!  I was so excited!  The following week, however was not so good.  She was measuring on a couple of jumps and when I put her over a very small extension grid she crashed the last jump.  Sixx has been doing grids since she was four months old (puppy bumps) so I knew straight away that something had to be wrong for her to do that.  
Dave had another feel of her and said he thought it could be that she had a bulging disc and for safety's sake it was best not to do any more treatment until we knew for sure.  Well I'm not insured so it meant waiting till I had the money to get the MRI done (anywhere from £1-£3,000).

Finally in March we got to do an MRI - it was clear!  What a relief!  But also, what was causing her pain?  I hadn't been able to afford the dynamic MRI which would show if a disc was bulging in extension so there is always the possibility of that :(

On the plus side she wasn't showing any signs of pain or discomfort in day to day life and never been lame (despite one vet telling me she'd torn her cruciate! WTF?!).

So another treatment from Dave at camp and then a treatment from a chiropractor recommended by a friend and still no progress.  Then someone recommended a different physio.  I'd already decided not to go back to Theravet, The girl that had originally treated Sixx was leaving.  Sally had treated a lot of friends dogs and they all thought very highly of her so I thought it was worth a shot.

I've never seen Sixx so happy and relaxed being treated before!  Sally has a really calming effect on her and Sixx really seemed to trust that Sally wasn't going to hurt her.  As a result Sally was able to find things that no one else had.  Her pelvis was 'out' and she had some pain in her back, shoulder and mainly hip.  Sally thought the main culprit was sacroiliac dysfunction, causing off loading on to the left foreleg giving overuse spasm in the dorsal thoracic sling muscles and compensatory posture.  

Maybe finally we had an answer?!  We're two treatments in - Sally seems to feel quite confident that the issues can be resolved.  As for a return to agility, well we have stretches and strengthening exercises to do, and I guess the only way we'll know is to try and see what happens.  The best news is that I know she can be pain free.  If she can be a pain free agility dog it would be awesome but that would be the icing on the cake :-)