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 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Scottish Mondays

I know its the middle of summer - but I thought I would share some of my winter shots too. This was in Beauly 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Etsy tip of the day - Dont waste your energy worrying about your neighbour

Dont waste your energy worrying about your neighbour

Yes have a look at what the competition is doing to get an idea of what the ceiling price your market has and even to get an idea of tags and titles 

but not to copy them, or (and I know several people have had this happen) to mail people to tell them that their prices are too low and they are devaluing the craft for everyone else

You dont know everyone elses story, make yourself unique by being yourself and not worrying about everyone else

Also it is such a waste of energy to trawl shops to report them because of copyright problems or you dont think they made their items themselves
Yes if you come across them on your travels in Etsy and want to then report them - but dont use up your energy reporting the bad

That actually dosent hurt your shop as much as you think it does, every day more and more people are coming here realising they can find wonderful handmade and vintage items and quality supplies 

If we focus on the good not the bad, promote other peoples shops that are great rather than using clicks on shops you hate (which helps their SEO by giving them activity) 

It sounds a bit crazy but if you think negatively, look for the bad and complain all the time then things become hard work
Look for the positive, focus on what is good and you will enjoy your day - and ontop of that your energy supports and promotes good shops which brings quality shoppers which in the long run helps you 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Etsy Tip of the day - Set goals that you can actually have an influence on

Set goals that you can actually have an influence on

I am guilty of this one (and just about everything else I talk about here :D ) 
I say to myself this year, month or week my goal is x sales

That is a rubbish goal I cannot make sales happen so if I fail my goal then I will be downhearted and if I do better then Im patting myself on the back - when in reality either one could just be a fluke

Yes of course we have bills to pay and you might *need* a certain amount of sales - but you need goals you can actually work on instead of wishing for unicorns

Goals can be things like 
List x amount of items a week
Create x amount of items a week
Post x amount of items of FB pintrest or whatever
rewrite x amounts of tags and titles 
Comment on x amount of facebook pages/forum posts/groups/blogs

Then once you have a nice routine in place you can change one or two things a time and see how they benefit you - If you double the number of pins how does this effect your stats, compare this to another week/month if you list more items
See what is best use of your time - and constantly check and double check, its not just Etsy that makes changes over time, every site you are on will change, how people use these sites will change, new places will become popular

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Etsy Tip Of the Day - Look At The Bigger Picture

Todays ramblings
Look at the bigger picture 

Too often on threads you see people saying 'My views/sales for today are right down'
and the day is about 2 hours old

While I have my own views on why some people post these types of threads (view mining - trying to just get views - I will talk about that later) it is too stressful and a waste of your time to check things hour by hour

At the most I check my stats on a weekly basis to see what my views are doing (and dont really panic about highs and lows, its just information) I check sales data monthly compared to not just last year but all the years I have
I know not everyone has many years worth of data - so if this is your first year look at your stats, try and work on always improving them but think of this year as your line in the sand, you are learning about the seasonal fluctuations in your shop, and in the worldwide market 

It is so useful to track your stats for info - but dont get too stressed out by them. Step back and look at the big picture, how is your month doing? How is your year doing?
Of course many of us have bills to pay, but is it good use of your time to be listing an item then checking back every hour to see if someone has viewed it? List. promote then step back and leave it for a week and see how it gets on compared to other things in your shop 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Etsy Tip of the day - Find Your Target Market

Find your target market
Pre SEO Etsy this was the number on tip on here - but lately people seem to focus on SEO (which is totally fab and useful) this isnt instead of SEO but a little different thing you can do

For example one target marked for me can be dog lovers (amongst other things of course) 
For me this is a great one to pick because I AM my target market because I am also a dog lover
So I can hang out in places where other dog lovers go, make friends with other dog lovers and talk about dogs - and it is not forced it is not 'work' it is something I genuinely enjoy 
And every now and again I can mention my fuzzies. Not spamming people all the time, not hanging round with them just so I can use them for free advertising

Basically if you make what you love then hopefully you have interests with the other people who would love what you make but cant do it themselves and this drives some extra traffic for you, this gives you people who might like to tweet and share your items to other people who might be in your target market

and you are hanging around with people you like anyways, reading forums that are of interest to you and following pinners and tweeters who interest you

Some people asked if I include links to my other tips (thank you, too kind) so here are the ones I could find

Monday, 22 June 2015

Scottish Monday

I love this one, from Christmas. Mia at the frozen Lilly Loch. Time to overuse 'magical' again

Scottish Monday

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Etsy tip of the day - Love What You Do

Love what you do

If you just make or buy things because you think they will sell then this becomes a chore
If you are doing something you love then it can be fun for you
Ontop of that because it is something you are into then more chance you can hang around in forums and places where other people who are into the same things as you are - often your target market - and you are not just there to spam them - which people see tru very quickly - you have a real interest and a passion 

I had a little thought today
No matter how difficult things can be for me trying to make a living by myself and not working for the 'man'
If I could go back in time to my 10 year old self and tell her that my 'job' would be training dogs, walking dogs and making little sculptures of animals that little 10 year old would be very very happy

Monday, 15 June 2015

Scottish Monday

I know I am so luck to live somewhere where we can walk almost everywhere, and even better we can have the dogs with us offlead. 

Scottish Monday

Yes the fuzzylugs always get to the top of the hills first! 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Etsy Tip of the day - Do a little something in your shop every day

Do a little something in your shop every day 
People talk about quitting their day job to do etsy or something like that - if that is your goal then you have to start thinking about this as a job
Hopefully a job you enjoy, but be professional, set a side a little bit of each day to do something

The internet favours active places. Every time to post or so something you have a chance of someone seeing your item - and if you work different times on different days you expand the amount of people who would be there to see you compared to if you just nipped in once a week and did everything all at once

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A beginner level long thin agility course with video

Sunday at the stables we did this nice fast course

A nice one for speed and confidence, you can pretty much do to 12 on your left hand, front cross the landing of 12 and do the rest on your right hand

I have included a video of the lovely Molly running this course. Molly hasnt competed yet but she is a little superstar. Yes she skipped one weave pole :)

I didnt run this one as myself and Ben were just back from a show and we were both pretty worn out (but the little superstar got another first place)

I hope if you run this you enjoy it, and feel free to share any videos of you running it

Adjust the spacing as you need as wider or closer spacings each have their own challenges

Monday, 8 June 2015

Scottish Monday

Ever feel the dogs are laughing at your lack of ability on your two legs?? At Windyhill in Elderslie 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Etsy Tip Wednesdays - Smell the snowdrops

Following on from my last thread a couple of days ago where I was talking about how one day I focused in on a different term from usual, found out where I stood with it in search - then targeted a couple of items to that term

Today I wanted to share what I had done to help my shop

I walked the dogs :) 

Sometimes you can get bogged down trying to do things and end up not being very productive

its nice to just step back and smell the snowdrops, have a proper break and hopefully come back with fresh eyes and get much more done

DABAD - Stress in agility

This post is part of the DABAD, please check out the other amazing blogs here 

I know there will be some positive amazing articles on this subject.

For me the timing is just perfect to cover a bit of the darker side of stress in agility

A couple of weekends ago I was at my first Agility show of the weekend

(Ben did amazing BTW, 3 wins in the weekend to take us up to grade 6! Something I never thought would happen)

And we had a lovely day chatting to friends and cheering on their successes too

There were also a few people who made the day slightly less enjoyable.

I am sure the majority of them are lovely in their normal life, and in training. But come to a show and they feel stress, pressure to be perfect when surrounded by so many peers

So there was the lady who dragged her dog over to another to say 'hello' and then when her dog showed its teeth to the other dog the lady actually smacked her dog in the face.
The stress to have the 'perfect dog' affects many people, everyone wants that dog you can take anywhere and it just happily and calmly acts in the perfect manner in every situation.
We are not perfect and neither are our dogs, they have the right to not want to be friends with every dog and showing teeth and even growling are not naughty behaviours they are comunications.

There was the mild mannered lady who has got herself a much more drivey breed than she has had in the past and from being lovely and gentle with her other dogs she has felt the stress from the breed experts on that breed to be 'hard' on the dog to keep him under control so she was ringside yanking and yelling at her dog. Very sad considering how gentle and lovely she is with her other dogs.

And there is the stress on the course. I am sure in training people dont drag their dogs too and from the obstacles on their hind legs, yet at a show people feel the stress that they are surrounded by far too many strange dogs and worry their dog might react or run off to play

When things go wrong in training I am sure most of us just go back and calmly try it again or train some more for that level of difficulty, we dont scruff our dogs and force them to the point where they went wrong.

We are all human and we feel the stress, but your agility run is not important, your dog is
Try and grow a thicker skin, if something goes wrong in the ring just laugh and run on and finish on a positive - then train later where you went wrong.

If you are stressed in the line and not sure how your dog will react as the people around you to give a little space, blow a few runs if need be just practising calmly walking up to the start line. Or even do some fun shows where you can have toys or food with you to reward your dog for the behaviour you want.

If you are stressed that your dog wont like other dogs then give them space at shows and get some good behavioural advice of positive ways to help your dog.

Stop stressing about the win, stop stressing about what other people think, take it as a day out with your dog, enjoy your dog and find the positives in what they are doing, nothing else is important

And here is my brag, my tired fab boy with his haul after his first show.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Long thin agility course Week 1 June 2015

This weeks long thin agility course
As ever adjust spacings for safety and flow.
This weeks course was mainly to be a fast flowing course without too many challenges. With the spacings in our yard it was best to turn the dogs right over 7 to give them a nice line to the see-saw. 14 - 17 depended on the speed of the dog/handlers.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Scottish Monday

Peeking down from the path to the little bubbling river at the Glen Park in Paisley 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Fuzzylugs Friday

Todays Fuzzies, there were all taken in the 'carpark in the Sky' Overlooking Paisley
If you like them please visit my store 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Etsy Tips Wednesday. SEO Tip of the day

For a while I was running some tips on the Etsy forum and I was asked to share them here so I will run a feature on Wednesdays sharing my tips on Etsy, things I have found over the years I have been on Etsy
Of course I am not an expert and what works for me wont work for everyone

Just sharing what I did yesterday - hopefully it inspires someone

I picked a new term for my items that I have not worked on yet
I searched on tools4etsy and saw I had ONE item on page 14 for that term 

not good enough

So a little tweak of that listing and one other, rearanging the title and making sure the tags were spot on

Checked today and Im page 2 and page 3

So tonight I will promote it on facebook and try and add some links - and fingers crossed for page one tomorrow :)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Long thin agility course

Another long thin course.
The section 5 to 9 was based on part of a course I ran at a show at the weekend and really loved so wanted to inflict it on my pupils
So many ways to handle this bit.

Personally what I chose to do was
5 to 6 dog on left h and.
Post turn over 6 turning dog right keeping them on the left hand
Over 7 turn dog right and front cross
Over 8 turn dog left and front cross
Dog on left hand over 9

But of course there are many different ways to run this

If you do run it and film it please pass on the video :)

Monday, 25 May 2015

Scottish Monday

Still the 'carpark in the sky' the colours were just so bright here they almost hurt my eyes. View over the top of Glasgow to the campsie hills at the other side. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Fuzzylugs Fridays

If you love these feel free to share and visit my shop 

Monday, 18 May 2015

Scottish Monday

Taken in April just before everything comes back to life - the sun behind the trees. Have I already used the word 'magical' too many times in posts?

Friday, 15 May 2015

Fuzzylugs Fridays

Todays fuzzies, If you love them feel free to visit my Etsy Shop 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Long thin agility course 14/05/2015

Another long thin course for you all

Adjust the spacings to suit and for safety - this is just an idea of the layout. It was also a 6 pole weave.

The main challenge was making the A-frame very close to jump 5/15 to test all the dogs who adore it.
Actually most dogs managed this trap very well - when their handlers told them in time where they were going

I havent got round to filming people running this one yet (If you run it and film it then please send me the link and I can include you here :) I would love to see it) But here is one of the girls enjoying a post agility zoomie

Monday, 11 May 2015

Scottish Monday

Again the 'carpark in the sky' Its stunning isnt it? The kind of walk where you just feel you can breath deeper with every step.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Fuzzylugs Fridays

Todays fuzzies, feel free to pin, share, comment and visit my shop


Monday, 4 May 2015

Scottish Monday

Of course my two have to feature in some of my photographs. A fantastic day up in the carpark in the sky overlooking Paisley and Glasgow 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Fuzzylugs Friday

I have been taking my fuzzylugs for some photo shoots and thought I would share some of the images with you - and in keeping with trying to be more active on here I will dedicate Fridays to showing you all my sculptures.
So if you like Fuzzylugs check back on a friday - or visit my shop

Monday, 27 April 2015

Scottish Monday - still at the Glen Park

Another little shot from Glen Park. Just magical woodlands with the sun peeking out

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Long thin agility course End April 2015

Here is this weeks long thing course. Very tight with out yard but actually ran well, the turn into the weaves at 5 was challanging and most dogs needed to be on the right side for that. Over 15 worked very nicely as an 'ass pass'

Here is Smudge running this course 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Video of the mini octagon course being run

I filmed wee Max a beginner dog with his beginner mum having a go at this course

Here he is :) he was off agility for a little while and is doing really great getting back into it

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Agility course - tunnels under the dogwalk

This was Sundays advanced course at the stables. Really wanted to practise some tunnel discrimination, This one did cause some challenges. several dogs just loved the dogwalk so much that 3 was a struggle for them, even when carefully taken right up to the mouth of the tunnel one dog even managed to leap onto the dogwalk :D.
6, 7, 8, 9 ran really well with all the dogs going out to 7 no problem giving the handlers plenty time.
and a few of the dogs missed 13 and went into 7 again
Overall it was a good fun run 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Scottish Monday

I keep on promising I will be more active on my blog. So as a challenge to myself  I decided to run themes on different days.
And Mondays will now be Scottish landscape days, the highlands, the lowlands, the beach, the woods I have thousands of photographs of Scotland so decided to share them here. Hope you like
Here is the first, the waterfall at Glen Park in Paisley. A magical little place at the end of quite a steep walk (my calves are still hurting)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Week starting 06/04/15 long thin agility course

Another long thin agility course for the yard
This one is a good way for beginners to practise slaloms and treadles and a fun way to try some of the octagon courses that were all the rage a couple of years ago in smaller spaces

And here is how it looks in our long skinny yard 

If anyone films themselves trying this (or any other of our courses) please send me the link and I will stick it up here

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Another Long Thin intermediate agility course featuring the Holmberg Double

Following on from last weeks course for intermediate students here is this weeks course inspired by AgilityNerds post on the Holmberg Double. This one also includes some backside of jumps and some running past jumps and a fairly tricky weave entry.

If actually ran very well. 
Dog on RHS wrap 2 360 then push to 3 while staying on the landing side of 3. Front cross pulling dog past of course jump 2 then weave.
To 9 with dog on LHS. Flick (rear cross you staying on take off side) dog turns left over 9. Dog on RHS 360 wrap 10, push round 11 staying on landing side and front cross so dog on LHS into 12.
Run to take off side of 13. Turn dog left over 13, pick them up on your left hand to wrap round your body for nice approach to weaves. 
Dog on LHS 360 15. Push to back of 17 and race dog down to 20.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Living the reactive life

A few months ago I remember a lady commenting on a forum that she had never owned a reactive dog but she had been to enough seminars and read enough books that she was confident that in no time any dog of hers would no longer be reactive.

The science can make it sound nice and easy

But one thing that tends to be glossed over is the effect on the human of living with a reactive dog.

For a while at least its not just your dog who is reactive, your stress levels become sky high.
When you are out and about you need 6 pairs of eyes.
Gone are the happy chilled walks in the country, now you are scanning the horizon in all directions looking for 'triggers'
Is that fallen log over there actually a dog waiting to pounce?
Does that person have a dog with them or is it just a carrier bag?
and at the same time you are constantly scanning your dog and trying to see what they are spotting, trying to get your plans into motion when they spot a trigger
And freaking out that even that giant empty field you have drove out into the middle of the country to find might have a random person suddenly appear from behind a hedge with no warning - and a barky GSD on a short lead (yup it happened)

You dont just HAVE a reactive dog, you feel like a reactive dog!

And other people are so helpful!
Some people seem to assume that a dog is reactive because you are not a strong enough leader (sheesh, I wonder which telly entertainer they got that gem of behavioural (non) science from), they either give you looks of scorn or (better yet) start yelling at you!
Suddenly everyone is an expert. When I first got Mia I was inundated by people offering me help from teaching me to time my corrections properly to some kind (!) person offering to lock Mia in their garden with their dog so they could 'sort out who was the boss'!!

And there is the other wonderful well meaning advice that at the moment you just cant follow - like when you have messed up and your dog isnt coping with something and has charged to the end of the lead on their back legs screaming at something and someone tells you you should keep the lead loose

Or you turn a corner to get away from an oncoming dog and find a horse and rider - and someone tells you you shouldnt pick up a dog

Sometimes you have to break the rules to get out of a situation.

Sometimes I forget how far I have come with Mia, when we are walking in the park, playing, having fun and I realise I am not scanning the horizon. I am not horribly stressed

I try and not forget what it was like tho so I can try and not judge people who are living with it just now.
All the theory in the world is all well and good, and there are some great methods out there that can and do help dogs all the time. As you can see from the photographs, Mia is a pretty happy dog most of the time, she has canine friends and can play offlead. It is possible to improve things (she will always be reactive, but she wont always be reacting)
Nothing can actually prepare you for what it is actually like to really live it at the time.
I hope I will never judge someone or condemn them if they realise they cant cope with a reactive dog. If you can in the long run it is really rewarding, but no shame if you own up that you cannot cope.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Intermediate Long Thin agility Course featuring the Holmberg Double

Saw this fun challenge on the AgilityNerd Blog (check him out - he really is awsome!) and decided to try out his Holmberg Double on our intermediate courses in our yard

We were running medium sized dogs so found it easiest to 'Ass pass' 2 and 3 (get to the take off side of 2 with dog on left hand, send him over jump wrapping behind you and pick him up again on the left hand to get to 3 to try that again) 
Other options that ran very nicely was to get to take off side of 2 then front cross or ass pass the dog to turn them left over 2, push round the back of 3 and pick them up on the left hand to send to weaves.
10 to 11 worked best for us with an ass pass on 10 with the dog on the right hand then run with them to the take off side of 11 and flick them right over 11 into the tunnel 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

McFuzzylugs at Crufts

Some of my wee fuzzies made it to Crufts this year :)


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