Monday, 24 October 2016

October 2016 Dog agility course at Old Mill

This was quite a fun little course that provided quite a few eye rolls from people when walking it but lots of smiles when running

The first challenge is sending to the backside of the tunnel for 3, if a dog hasnt seen this before then they can become quite confused. It takes about 5 min to train for this sending the dog to the tunnel on your right hand from 5 and then moving a step clockwise round the mouth of the tunnel till they will send from 2.

Getting to 4 only caused problems for a few dogs who read the motion of their handlers as a signal to take 7 but a slight pause in running, a close command or a serp arm all fixed that issue.
Left hand 5 and send to 6, front, blind or rear cross at 7 to turn left to 8
9 left a few options depending on the dog and the handler
The simplest approach was to keep the dog on the right hand, push round 9 and 360 keep turning with the dog on the right hand - or more advanced ass pass there

Or with the dog on the right hand stay on the landing side of 9, push the dog round the jump and serp them in then push out to 10

Or get to the takeoff side of 9, send the dog right over 9 and pick up on right hand

For 11 depending on the spacing just make sure and get a nice line so the dog is straight onto the A frame

12 to the tunnel depends on the dogs verbal commands, some dogs when they heard 'tunnel' ignored everything else almost tripping the handler to get into the wrong side of the tunnel because that had caught their eye, in that case running out as if you were heading to 7 and only turning towards the tunnel once you were past the wrong side was the safest - but better to teach a 'out tunnel'
Right turn over 14 gave best line

On left hand for 15 to 18 - extra bonus points to layer off course 9
Similar issues to 19 as from 13
and send to 20

I didnt record anyone doing this this week but if you give it a go I would love to see your videos

Monday, 18 July 2016

Macro photography

I love macro photography, Entering tiny worlds that most people just walk on by
I dont even have a massively posh camera but lugging about the heavy camera on every walk gets a little tiring
Yesterday I saw lots of little beasties in the hedgerows so I whipped out my mobile phone to see how its macro photography skills were

and I have to say Im pretty impressed!!
The downside is to get a decent photograph you have to hold the phone right up close to the insect, no super zoom keeping them safely at arms length!! But overall for just point and shoot on a mobile phone Im loving this photo of a wee beastie, the focus is in the perfect place.

And if you are interested (not sponsored :D) the camera is a HTC desire 626

Monday, 16 May 2016

Old Mill Dog agility course May 10th 2016

Here is this last weeks course at old mill
It was based on several smaller courses from the Clear Run agility sourcebook. The contact equipment was on the field anyway but made a really great distraction training for some of the dogs

This was firstly done in 3 sections. 1-7, 8-14 and 15 to 21. 8-14 is the most difficult section and then running the full course 7, 8, 9 and 10 become even more tricky 

Several ways to run this one of course based on dog and handler. 
1-6 on the right hand with a flick into 7
Most people pulled through from 7 to 8 staying on the takeoff side of 8 with the dog on the left hand (although racing to exit of 7 and pushing over 8 staying on the landing side keeping dog on right hand 8 - 9 also worked well) 
Front or rear cross between 8 and 9, push to backside of 10 then front cross to 11
360 post turn or ass pass on 11 to weaves on left hand
Flick dog to 14 staying on takeoff side of 13
Front or blind cross to 15 then front cross or flick to tunnel 
Right hand to end 

One of the main challenges on this course is simply remembering it, its actually easier to remember courses if there are more jumps so you are not using the same jump again and again

Here is the lovely Fly, a novice dog having a go at the course 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

If you go down to the woods today

Not quite teddy bears but amused the local dog walkers while I was setting up this little gathering

We have been lucky with finally a couple of days of sunshine so taking the fuzzies on location seemed the perfect thing to do (after walking the dogs of course)

Lots of shots of course didnt work out too great - but I really love this one of my wolf

 Needle felted Wolf

He hasnt been getting much love in the past and I think its just because I cant quite capture how lovely he is in real life, I was really happy how his intense eyes came out in this one. He is currently for sale here in my etsy shop 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Bluebell Woods

Opps, I have been neglecting blogging again! I will try and be good, I promise

Finally Spring has come to Scotland and I have a lovely walk in the Bluebell woods

How are the dogs you ask? Ben has just turned 9 and Mia somewhere about 8 and they are both as lovely and bonkers as ever

Monday, 12 October 2015

Old Mill Dog Agility Large courses 11 oct 2015

For 'Show Practise' we are running full sized courses out on the football pitches to give the dogs experience in a slightly more show type environment
Sunday was the first of these with this fun course. Its roughly a 1-4 grade course and was a blast to run.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Agility course end Sept 2015

A surprisingly fun little course here. Adjust the spacings as needed and the weave is a 6 pole.

A few challenges here.
Where to be between 2 and 3 so they are not drawn to 11 or 14. How to turn over 6? Whats the best way to turn over 8? How to get to 18??

But actually it ran much better than it walked. The pentagon in the middle also made for some good slalom and threadle practise

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Etsy Tip of the Day - SEO tips

Again These tips are just what work for me and what I have found. If you dont agree with them that is fine - what works for one shop is not the same as what works the other

I know many people know way way better than me about tags and titles - todays is just meant to be really quick basic advice to get people started who are really stuck

I know on the forums people often say 'you need to work on your tags and titles' but dont always explain 

So one little tip to help with the tags and titles - note this is mainly geared to Etsy SEO, other search engines are a little different although much of it is similar

On your item pick a couple of phrases that you think a shopper might use when they look for something like your item

So perhaps for me I might think of 
'needle felted dog' 'Border collie art' 'Dog sculpture' (and about a million more :) but a few at a time for each item is good) 

These three phrases have to be in your title with the words in the phrase in the exact order
For example 
'Needle felted Border Collie Dog art Sculpture' Would possibly make more sense for some people to write - but not so nice for Etsy SEO for the terms I wanted (there are some good terms in there too :) - for this title tags could be 'Needle felted Border' 'Border collie dog' ' Collie dog art' 'Dog art Sculpture' )

So for the phrases we wanted for this item a title of
'Needle Felted Dog, Border Collie Art, Dog Sculpture' would work better (I know it dosent look pretty)

Then you make 3 of your tags your exact title phrases. Then in your other tags you can muddle up things that will be smaller searches (like your shop name or a special name you give your item) and use terms that also fit the item that you will use in different listings 'Collie Sculpture' (having more than one item with the tag does seem to help)

To help with other search engines also have your title in the first line of your item description.

So to clarify (I dont 1/2 waffle on!)
The terms you pick to focus on must be in your title and tags in the exact same order as each other to be most relevant in the search 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Etsy Tip of the Day - Dont fear change

Time again for my ramblings - and I would of course like to point out that this is just me, its just what I have found and what I think. Everyone will be different and the fantastic this is what works for one person will be different for someone else. So if you dont agree then thats cool. Also feel free to share your tips too, I need to learn as much as the next guy

So for today
Dont fear change

How often do we see threads on here basically saying things have changed, everything is broken, sales are crashing
Its depressing to look in the forums sometimes. 

Over the years Etsy has changed many time, of course there are things that I miss that used to be here but overall now my shop is doing better than it ever did.

Forgive me while I tell you one of my stories

I have been here for a very very long time. 
When I started I put a lot of effort into learning, understanding and networking. If was working, slowly slowly but every year I was doing a little better than the one before 
At around 2010 I felt I was doing really really great. I had made the front page several times and the sales that followed that were truly amazing (for me)

Then Etsy made a huge change. The search engine totally changed, we went from recency (basically to get to the front of the page you just had to renew your listings) to relevancy. Also some other tools that many of us had been using to get traffic (like chat) went away

Overnight my shop died, totally died
I did nothing about it, I didnt have the energy or the understanding to make the changes needed - I just kept on doing the same thing
and for several years my sales were dead in the water, 16 sales in the first year after the change.
If I had felt like posting in the forums I would have been crying about how broke Etsy was

Finally in the last quarter of 2013 I decided to give my store one more proper try (and if it failed I was going to close my shop). I got into the forums and teams and really tried to learn about SEO, I made some tweaks to my items and got to work listing more and more
In the last 3 months of 2013 I sold more than I had sold the 2 years before combined
In 2014 I sold nearly ten times that of my worst year - and more than double my previous best ever year. This year I am actually on track to do at least 50% better than last year - and if I do that will roughly be the maximum I can actually create, I might have to think of raising prices

So was Etsy broke when the changes happened??
Nope, it seems these changes ARE better for me, I just had to learn how to use them

So before you say 'Its all rubbish' try asking 'What has changed and how can I learn to use it?'
If you are here on the forums you are more proactive than most people with shops anyways - if you ask, learn and adapt then you are putting yourself ahead of many of the rest 


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