Tests and trials

Elite Obedience with Squid

Squid has finally started her career in elite obedience (highest level in FCI). I’m very happy to be competing in obedience again and look forward to many years of perfecting our performance. Our first competitions were two weeks ago. I was brave and entered us in the international, world team tryout trial, indoors in Kungsör. We had some really good exercises, but also some mistakes and bad luck. On Saturday, we failed the send to box because Squid slipped on the floor when I cued “stand” in the box. She fell into a down, and then sat up in confusion as I started to walk towards her. On Sunday, I think she was very unfortunate when she kicked one of the scent articles, and happened to get it in her mouth as she went for the correct one. It fell out after a short while, but the exercise is still failed. Here are some highlights from the competitions. Unfortunately, my camera was out of memory for the last part, so I didn’t get the very good recall and send to square on film:

Last weekend, we went to a regular elite competition, and had a good run. 293,5 points and our first “excellent” score towards the championship title. I’d planned for three more competitions this month, but Squid just came into heat and we have to cancel those trials.

If you’re interested in the way we’re training obedience, you should check out our Foundation Class Online. We’re still on the first lesson, so you can join us and easily catch up if you want to learn more.


This is how happy I am after getting to know Wilco (he is wonderful!) and running agility with his father Epic. Epic ran three clean runs this weekend. Two first places and one second place. He seems to jump much better after our long time away from agility with rest and rehab!


Will of course write more about Wilco and what we’re doing these first days. But first, some rest after this intense weekend!

Squid is back!

After nine months of rest, puppies and rehab, Squid ran her first full agility course on Saturday. We have been doing a little agility during the past months, but mostly just worked on rehab and strength. She’s far from her top condition, but I’m so glad to have her back! This was her first run of the year. She was 4th out of 91 (29 clean runs) large dogs. I’m very happy with that considering that we’re both out of shape.

Epic also competed on Saturday. He feels much stronger than Squid and had a lot of speed, but dropped some bars in every run. I think he needs some time to work his jumping out after so much time off from agility.

Already on Saturday, I started to feel pain in my achilles tendon, and on Sunday I couldn’t really run. I had two runs with Squid, but wasn’t able to handle well because I was so much slower than usual. It feels better now that I have rested, and I was able to run some sequences with Epic yesterday without pain. I really hope that this won’t persist now that my dogs are finally able to start running again!

Field Trial and hunting capercaillie

Working cocker Kat has been to her first field trials. First she passed the retrieving test on water which is required for spaniels to enter field trials. In this trial the spaniel has to show steadiness to the shot and a thrown retrieve on water. The dog should be able to see the game in the air, but it should fall into reed so the dog cannot mark exactly where it lands.
Little Kat (<10kg) picked the duck up by its wing, but delivered perfectly to hand.

Skärmavbild 2013-09-23 kl. 14.33.29

The next day she entered her first field trial (on pheasants). This trial was a beginners trial where no birds are shot, which I think is a nice introduction to trials for young spaniels. Kat was the first dog out. We started in quite rough cover for a young dog and I helped her a little with discrete hand signals to go into cover in the beginning. But soon she got going and she hunted along nice and tight with great speed and true cocker style with hardly any whistling from my part.

There were no game in this piece of ground, but after a short break we got into the “hot area”. She got a little sticky on some fresh scent, but soon added even more speed to her hunting and I needed to turn her on the whistle a few times. She flushed two pheasants and was steady to wing and shot when I blew my whistle. To play it safe, I walked up close to her when a third pheasant flushed.

The last part of the trial was two thrown retrieves which she did perfectly.

Kat got the following scores (on a scale from 1 to 5 where is best):

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Hunting drive 4, Hunting pattern 4, Speed and style 4, “Will to please” 5, Steadiness 3 (whistle and body language), Reaction to shot 4, Marking ability 5, Will to retrieve 4,  Grip 5 (soft and balanced), Overall impression 5.

The week after the trial I spent in the forrest hunting capercaillie and black grouse with the german pointers and cockers. We had a wonderful week.

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There are still some working spots available in the Field Trial Foundations Class.
We have just started on lesson one, so join us now.


Good start to 2013

2013 started well for me. We went to Stockholm for an agility trial this weekend and I’m very pleased with the results. Squid won J3 both days, and was close to winning A3 as well (if she hadn’t bounced off my leg at the end of the course). She became Swedish Jumping Champion on Saturday. Shejpa ran 3 out of 4 clean runs and qualified for the Swedish National Championships in June. She placed 2nd and 3rd in standard, which was surprising to me as she often struggles on the carpet and hasn’t been trained at all this winter. Squid ran really well on the carpet. She’s never been on a slippery carpet like that before and we usually train in really soft and heavy dirt, so I didn’t know what to expect. I think she handled it well because she always knows where she’s going and jumps well so that she lands in the direction she’s going next most of the time. Dogs that don’t bend well over the bars and have to turn on the ground (like Shejpa) struggle much more. Squid needs to work on turning better out of tunnels, that’s where she had her wide turns and slipping on the carpet.

Fall is here

It feels weird to say, but I’m glad that fall is here. We’ve had a very intense summer, and it’s nice to go back to a bit more normal life. It might not seem like it happens much in the blog (but I’ll try to change that, now that we have some more time at home), but we’re having a lot of fun with the online obedience class that we’re running. Awesome people and great dogs working on some advanced obedience skills.

I went to a local agility trial this weekend and was very happy with both the arrangement and some of my runs. Shejpa won the agility class on Sunday by almost a second, Squid got a certificate in jumpers on Saturday, and Epic won class 1 jumpers on Saturday and class 2 jumpers on Sunday. He turned two a month ago and it feels like we’re getting more and more consistent. I used to call him my intern at agility trials, but now that he is two years old and is running in class two, it’s time to take his intern badge off 🙂 He still has a lot to learn though, and I’m working to improve his jumping skills, his turns off the dogwalk and his weaving. I hope that he will make it to class 3 during the fall, but I’m not in a hurry. Here is Epics winning class 2-run from Sunday:

Pogue Obedience Class III

I forgot to tell you that Thomas and Pogue went to an obedience trial yesterday to compete in class 3. They did a great job and got 290 out of 320 points, which is really good. They also won the class. Pogue was very happy and energetic and Thomas was very proud of him. He is now qualified for the highest class. We’re hoping that Pogue also will qualify for the highest classes in search and rescue, field trials and agility this year. I think he will!

Old picture of Pogue. I’ve bought a new camera that should arrive tomorrow and I can’t wait to take some new photos of the dogs.

Agility Trial in Torsby

Squid did her first trial of 2012, and her first since September, yesterday. It was a long day in a cold riding facility, and a long drive, but it was worth it. I realize that I have a lot to work on, her performance is far from how it is at home where she doesn’t get aroused by other dogs running agility. Last season, I felt that all the training i put in made a big difference and that it got better, but we’re back where we started at the beginning of this season. She’s acting like a different dog and the biggest thing is that she is ignoring decel and looking for tunnels and weave entries. It’s really boring training, but I realize it has to be done. I want to trial with the dog I have in training. Crazy Squid still managed to win both her runs and is now qualified for class 3 in jumpers. Exciting!

Squid’s second agility trial

This week has been packed with dog training. I counted 31 hours in indoor training arenas in four days! We’ve done obedience, agility and herding. Yesterday was finally the day of Squids second agility trial. We entered one trial in December, where we weren’t prepared enough for performing in that environment. Squid gets very excited around other dogs doing agility and I wasn’t really prepared for it (especially not with a sore foot that made me limp around the course). Since then, I have taken every chance to train with others, letting her go crazy and then work on start line behavior, contacts, weaves and handling. All the hard work has really payed off. Squid was completely quiet before her runs (I managed her very carefully), didn’t move a foot on her start lines and ran clean and fast. She came second in the standard run and won jumpers. We’re now one third on the way too the next class. Here is a video of our runs:

Squid’s Herding Test

Squid, 19 months old, passed the swedish herding test yesterday! This is the lowest level of herding trials and also something the dog must pass if you want to breed it (and register the dogs with the kennel club). It was my first time competing in herding and I was really nervous (I actually can’t remember ever being so nervous about a trial, I’m usually pretty cool). Three out of seven dogs passed the test and Squid placed second. I tried to just take it very easy and keep me, Squid and the sheep calm at all times. Here is a video from the test: