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Definitely not a Mickey Mouse dog...

When Rosie Ison heard about an accidental mating between a Miniature Poodle and a Collie, she though this could be just what she wanted - a dog with the will to work. She had experience training two Standard Poodles who were 'hard work' to motivate. What she wanted now was a dog that she didn't have to wind up ten minutes before a run.

I didn't get Disney (The Cartoon Classic) to win at Agility. I was hoping to get a dog with a willingness to work. Winning would be a bonus!

Disney proved to be a most willing and responsive dog. I did competitive obedience with him since he was four months old to keep his very active mind occupied. He was eager to please and quick to learn. For example, he could be fast asleep on the floor but when he heard the words 'Are you ready?', he'd be up and ready to work. The instructor thought he was great. Disney often had the class in stitches with his poodle-like antics and funny shaggy looks. I was really looking forward to the time when I could get on the Start Line, knowing that after months of agility training that I had a dog who really wanted to work and was not being cajoled into it.

Training trials and tribulations
As everyone who knows me is aware, I'm very much against jumping puppies before they are 12 months old. Their bones and particularly their growth plates are very vulnerable to damage up until this age. The only agility training I did with Disney before he was a year old was channel weaves, contact training, waits and directional work  - all done with lots of fun and play.

Disney started Agility classes at a year old. It was immediately obvious he had potential and was extremely keen. Two weeks into training, however, disaster struck. An hour after our return from our morning walk, he started having problems getting up and standing on his back legs. He seemed incredibly weak. My vets had finished surgery so I was advised to keep him quiet in his pen and bring him in at 4pm. By the time we got to the vets, Disney seemed 95% better. All the vet could find was a slight reluctance to extend his right leg. To err on the side of caution he suggested a week of cage rest, a week of lead walk and then a gradual return to normal exercise. It's possible that Disney had just overexerted himself when playing ragger with my 19 year old son for a long time the night before.

Four weeks later we returned to agility. Disney soon caught up but then three weeks later he was neutered so he had another two weeks out. Six weeks later another set back. Disney started vomiting and losing weight. On examination a lump was felt in his intestine. He was x-rayed which also showed something, so he was opened up which revealed a lymph node on his intestine the size of a golf ball ! Blood tests revealed he had Protein Losing Entropothy.

Disney was a very poorly little chap. However, after a month and various drugs, he was well enough to start training again. Once again he caught up quickly, but I kept him on the 15" jumps for a lot longer than would be normal. He was entered for his first shows at 18 months old.

Then two weeks before his first show problem number three! He suddenly became stiff on getting up on his right leg but after walking around for a minute or so he was fine. This went on for about five hours and then disappeared. The Vet could find nothing, but to be on the safe side I rested him and missed his first two shows.

The Magic Kingdom
His first show was the Southern Border Collie Club in December ' 99. Although he knocked a pole in both classes, he worked perfectly. Next was Chart in January 2000 where he got a Seventh place.

In March he was pipped at the post and got Second in Starters Agility. In April he WON me out of Starters at Vyne by winning Starters Jumping and we also came Second in Starters Agility. The next week he got Sixth in Novice Agility. Then to my surprise, he won Novice Agility at Milton Keynes in May (the best trophies ever ). He isn't even two years old yet.

Disney is currently zooming up the points tables in both Agility Eye and Agility Voice. It just goes to show you don't really need to start jumping puppies at six months old to be ready at 18 months old. In fact though Disney started at one year old, he actually only had three whole months of training before he competed because of all his time out.

Show Biz
Disney is also currently doing some commercials and can be seen on the National Canine Defense League advert (He's 'Daisy!'), and he is in the new 'Bakers' advert due to be out next month.

Best of all since November he has also been 100% fit (touch wood).

About the author...
Rosie Ison
started competing in agility back in 1994 with her Standard Poodle Ellie who is now eight years old. She no longer competes.

Rosie still competes with her other Apricot Standard Libby who is six and a half. She is a very difficult dog to compete with as one never knows how she will be! She can either be brilliant or terrible and go on a go slow. She hates any sunny weather and, as soon as it gets the slightest bit warm, she gives up. Last year was her best when got into several finals and got many high places but just couldn't quite win anything ! However, she is the most wonderful dog to live with and she has the sweetest nature.

Rosie train with Scrambles DTC and Surrey DTC, but she don't get to Surrey as often as she would like because the venue is a long way from her home.

Her 16 year old daughter Laura has been giving me a 'hard time' over the last year because she went from Elementary to Senior in less than a year with her dog Wispa. She has rigged her Mum constantly about still being a Starter after six years!  Well, she's no longer that, and maybe Rosie will catch her up this year with Disney ?  

The only thing to do now, Rosie says, is go to the gym more regularly to get fitter so she can run faster !

A registered child minder, she lives in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.

You first heard about Disney in the Great Poodle v. Collie Debate. Click here for the Great Poodle v. Collie Debate.


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