Monday, June 16, 2014

Eevee updates

Well, in our hiatus, Eevee turned a year old.  And if I do say so myself I think she's grown up pretty well.  But I might be a little bit biased.  I'm also getting ahead of myself.

Shortly before I stopped blogging, I had started a new job for an amazing company.  We're allowed to bring our dogs to work with us!  This is, of course, beyond fun.  It also meant that I could keep up with Eevee's socialization.  She's the most friendly and outgoing dog ever.  She's never met a stranger (she's definitely never read the aussie breed standard).

She usually goes to work with me 2-3 days a week.  She has everyone wrapped around her little paws.

Unfortunately sometimes her manners suffer as some people let her get away with way more stuff than i let her get away with.

At the end of October I came home from work and found this on her. (The shiny white thing is a quarter for reference)

My best guess (watching her play outside with my other dogs a few weeks later) is that Shiner got a bit too grabby playing with her.  Took her to the vet the next day and they stapled her back together.  She had to wear a thundershirt for a while which turned her into a fluffybutt monster.

Going to work 5 days a week had her pretty tuckered out.  Once healed she resumed flyball training.

She started agility training in February.  She really wants to try all the things.  She's a lot of fun to work with, even if she barks constantly.  She's more fearless than Demo on contact obstacles.  I didn't think it was possible.

She turned one in mid-february.

She debuted in preflight in April.  Now we're just working on her boxturn as she has her first singles races in July!

I have no idea how this is comfortable.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hiatus done

We're back!

I didn't expect to take such a long Hiatus, but it was needed.

Back in October Trophy was injured.  I thought it was his back.  He had chiropractic and massage care and some rest.  Unaware of the severity of the injury, we kept training.  He had an agility trial in December and did well, earning his Novice Standard Agility Title (NA).  We then had a flyball tournament the following weekend.  He threw up several times on Saturday so he was pulled from Sunday racing - i don't think this was related to his injury, but I have no idea.

Novice A Dog Done Right.  If we go back to agility
we'll be in Novice B now.
Then he started refusing contact equipment in agility class and I made the decision to pull him from everything.  We had x-rays done at our primary vet in January, and everything looked good.  It wasn't a back injury and he doesn't have hip dysplasia (yay!).  Fearing a soft tissue injury, he went on "bed rest" (I couldn't truly crate rest him, but he wasn't allowed to run or play) for almost 4 months when i finally booked him an appointment with a sports medicine vet.

While she believed that he had pulled an iliopsoas muscle, he also appears to have a degenerative nerve disease in his hind legs.  She said if it weren't for how active he is, I probably never would have known for several more years (he turned 6 in May).  It affects his right rear leg more than the left at the moment.   She didn't believe it warranted further testing at this point, and because I had crate rested him for so long, the iliopsoas strain had healed.

After being given a regime of stretches and exercises and being given the OK to *finally* return to being a dog and running around outside and playing with his siblings, we have slowly returned to flyball.  One sport at a time for my Trophy and we'll go as long as he's able.

After months off, he finally returned to the flyball lanes over Memorial Day.  He raced 3 heats each day and was *very* happy to be back.  He was running just slightly slower than before he was injured, so that was exciting news.  He is on the roster for the July tournament and will run a half spot, sharing with another dog.

While all of this was going on, I just didn't have the heart to talk about dog sports with my other dogs, but now that Trophy is doing better I'm much more in the mood to blog.

I think I'll save some updates on the other dogs for their own blog posts.  We'll see you soon!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Eevee Does All The Things!

Eevee turns 8 months old this month, and she is really starting to mature into one amazing dog.

Saturday in flyball practice jump sequencing started clicking into place.  I believe she really only tried to run around the jumps once, then she started plowing through the sequencing and even single strided!  Still only doing two jumps in a row since i'm not in a rush, but I'm really excited on how fast she picked this up.

Then on Saturday afternoon I'm throwing frisbees in the back yard to Baxter and E is SUPER interested.  Like, chasing down Baxter as I send him around for his disc - to the point that Baxter royally told the little shit to leave him the heck alone or next time he would eat her.  So... I pulled out another disc and threw one for Eevee... and she caught it... in the air... and she brought it back to me.

I've literally NEVER thrown her a disc before.  Not even rollers when she was a wee pupling.  I like throwing discs for Baxter, but it's not something I'm ever planning on competing in.  So I've been busy building her flyball foundation and her agility foundation, things I actually plan on competing with her in, and yet there is just something oddly satisfying about being able to throw a good throw with good disc placement and watching your dog kick butt in snatching it out of the air.  I'm really tickled that she is picking this up.

I took this video on Sunday.  I can't throw well and film at the same time, it just doesn't happen.  Usually my disc placement is much better (not always, but usually).  I don't want her jumping for discs yet, most of my throws she can just snag out of the air while she runs up to them, but again, i can't throw and record!

I'm looking forward to seeing her continue to grow up and be such an amazing little companion in everything I love to do!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trophy's Second Agility Trial

Trophy's second Agility Trial is in the books.

He was extremely mellow yesterday, and his performance in Flyball practice was - well, let's just say horrid.  We got to the trial early and he was super distracted, not his usual calm and composed self.  Not exactly stressed but not himself either.

It showed in our first run.  The course was a FAST little jumpers course.  No crappy weave entry in the opening like our first trial.  However, he went around the second jump in the opening, a dropped bar and another refusal in the closing cost us the Q.

Got him adjusted with his chiropractor after his run and we went home to take a nap before his last run of the weekend.

Much better run in Standard.  The only error being my late cue into the weaves.  Everything else he rocked.  His contacts? Rocked.  All of them.  He's such a great dog, he really can't let me down.

The other MAJOR surprise of the weekend?

I took Demo up to get measured on Saturday after flyball practice.  I only had one measure slip filled out, i just KNEW that he was going to measure over 22 inches since he's about an inch taller than Trophy and Trophy's highest measurement was 21 5/8".  Well, apparently Demo was so completely out of sorts that he slouched so hard he measured 21 3/4".  My jaw dropped.

The only other measuring official there this weekend was one of the judges, and I didn't want to wait for the class to finish, so I brought him back this morning.  The judge measured him at a whopping 20.75".  I still can't believe he measured UNDER 21 inches.  Trophy didn't even measure under 21" for his height card!!!  I'm still blown away by this amazing chance of good luck.  We had been practicing with Demo jumping 24" and he clears it with EASE, but I can rest a little easier knowing in the long run I can save his joints a little by only making him jump 20".

And since we're talking about Demo.... I just entered both boys in a trial at the end of November.  Trophy for two days of JWW and Standard, and Demo for two days in JWW only.  I'm not ready for him to do contact equipment in a new location, I want his confidence up on the familiar equipment first... but i think he's ready to try a paw at some jumps. :)

P.S. CanAm is NEXT WEEKEND!!!!!! CAN'T WAIT!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Agility Updates and VIDEO!

I'm really quite mad at myself for not updating more than once last month, but I've had some big (like, gigantically big) life changes going on.  Namely I left my day job and found a new "big girl" job.  Currently I'm also still training for my former employer, but it's turning into extremely stressful LONG 12+hour days 3-4 days a week and I don't know how much longer I can keep that up.  But it's opened up a lot of options for me with my own person dogs - like i should be able to afford to compete in agility more, and I signed Eevee up for a beginner agility class.

Anyway, my instructor took video of our runs last Thursday.  First up is a compilation of all the work piecing together the course for Demo and our final full run at the end.  I'm really proud of everything i see in this video.  He's becoming really responsive and is (for the most part) reading my cues really well.  The tunnel to the jump not directly in front of the tunnel exit was really hard for him, but he's also only been in classes for 9ish months and this is a really advanced course.  His weaves are coming along, little bobbles.  I need to remember to make him lay down and SHUT UP before retrying weaves as once he starts barking he loses his brain and won't complete them (also my positioning for the front cross after the jump into the weaves was horrid, so it wasn't all him.

Tonight we are going to work on getting his speed back up over the dog walk if we have time as the last setup with the dog walk had him running into the dogs waiting their turn and the social pressure made him almost shut down to the point he would crawl down the end plank.  So no we have to get his speed and confidence back up.  I LOVE his contacts though, especially on the A-frame.

Excellent example of his distance work coming along in the full run when he took the 3 jumps in a row when i fell behind.

And just video of Trophy's full run.  Almost flawless, except again crappy positioning on the front cross into the weaves and rotating back into Trophy the second time into the tunnel which caused him to avert course.

I love this dog.  He really is such a good partner.

Trial on Sunday with Trophy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

End Of Summer Slam 2013 And The Amazing Squeewok!

Ermagherd! Flyball!
Two weekends ago was the End of Summer Slam tournament held in Monroe, Michigan. This marked 2 years in the sport for Pan as she debuted in singles and pairs at Monroe two years ago before her team debut at CanAm. This year we debuted Cocoa in singles, pairs, and we even gave her some points with 3 heats in our last race Sunday after she finally settled into her job and quit scaring us about crossing over!
Photo by Gerry Bradshaw

I suppose I should back up.

Saturday Cocoa ran singles against another dog on our team, Hershey. She did awesome! Posted mostly 6.5 seconds after she remembered that the jumps are important and should be all taken in order. Lol.

Photo by Gerry Bradshaw
Then she moved on to pairs. We ran Trophy and Cocoa together and called it SWAT Secret Weapon. We were running against two little terriers and for some reason Cocoa did NOT like the little JRT she was running against and she crossed twice to chase. She has never before shown interest at practice at chasing, so we decided to hold back and let her run after the Jack, named 'Shorty' was finished so to not encourage chasing in the lanes and to not scare the dickens out of Shorty. No more errors. She ran about 7 seconds passing.

Photo by Gerry Bradshaw
Fast forward to Sunday. Ran pairs against our team first, so again no errors in crossing over. Then we have singles against... Shorty. Of course. Since Cocoa was still really interested in Shorty we let shorty run then we ran Cocoa. A judge, who is notoriously mean to certain members of our team and can be a bit... overbearing... shall we say? Approached us outside later to lecture us on why we should have pulled her from singles and put cocoa back in preflight and didn't understand (since he hadn't been there on the pervious day to watch racing) that Cocoa does just fine with our team in the other lane And in preflight you can only have your team in the other lane! The crossing is new and to prevent ruining the confidence of another new dog we held her. I don't regret this decision.

Paris against Shorty and a whippet was next. Talked to the team about their order. Shorty was running first against Trophy and the whippet's owner said her dog is also having some crossing issues, so to just run Cocoa and it would be fine, her whippet was not aggressive to other dogs. Did I mention that the judge who talked to us outside put himself on our race? So it was a little bit of pressure. Whatever, we are SWAT. We've got SWAGR. lets do it. Shorty was having problems completing. Shorty stopped halfway down the lane. Trophy ran and we let Cocoa go..... and she didn't cross!!! 4 good heats!

Cocoa's last pairs race was also against Shorty and she didn't cross there either! Good girl Cocoa!

So we decided to let her have her team debut since she appeared to get her crossing under control and she was focused.
Photo by Gerry Bradshaw

First heat we had a bad pass by our second dog, she reran but i think our final time was over 35 seconds, so no points.

Second heat Cocoa dropped her ball just before the last jump, we didn't rerun her.

Third heat - CLEAN!  25 points for Cocoa!

The best thing about the weekend was watching everyone else's reactions to Cocoa running.  So many people stopped to watch her run. So many people asked to pet her and see her because she's so small and fluffy.

Cocoa then proceded to practically die on the way home.  She was so tired she sprawled out on Jbiz's lap and didn't move.  We even poked her and she didn't move.  She was beat after two days of a lot of racing for a 5 pound ragamuffin!

As for the other teams:
Variety was seeded in division 1. Demo and Jbiz laid down some good start times for her first time running him.  Pan and I running third on that team after Malley eventually dialed in our passes, Bandy running anchor.  We banged out a couple 18.9's with that line up, which is that fastest time we have posted while any of my dogs have been running with this team.  If we had had a knowledgeable pass caller all the time we may have managed a few low 18's but, really, we run to run clean and rack up the points.  We don't want to lose the points on bad passing.

Our Standard team came in first place, but they ran against mostly pick up teams which couldn't place. We don't run for the placements anyway!
Photo by Gerry Bradshaw
shoulder parrot/backseat driver

I was most proud of Demo this weekend as not only did he have different people handling him (Jbiz ran him most of the weekend, and then a teammate's husband ran him in the last race while Jbiz was running Cocoa) but he also stopped double hitting on the box.  his turn looks pretty darn good right now.

Pan and Demo earned their next titles, which i wasn't expecting, so that was an added bonus!!

On to CanAm!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Agility Progress Report

First,  I have entered our second agility trial with Trophy thanks to a sponsorship from a good agility friend.  New D-Day is set for Sunday, October 13.  One month from tomorrow.  I just sent off my registration so I haven't gotten any confirmation yet.  Wish I could do two days of the trial and try to move out of novice, but alas.

ETA: Got confirmation on 9/15/13 that I am IN for both runs on Sunday 10/13/13!

Tonight's agility class was built around a grid of jumps.  All contact equipment and a tunnel were around the edges of the building, and we worked on technical handling skills - reverse jumps, threadles, tricky jump sequences.  Stuff we haven't really worked on in a while, at least not this amount of technical stuff in one class.  It was a lot of fun.  Trophy (for the most part) remembered the command for taking the backside of a jump which was cool to use in class for the first time.  The hardest part of the whole course was the ending sequence of a stretched out serpentine.  Trophy and I ran that sequence 6 times before we finally managed to put all three jumps in the serpentine together.

Unfortunately, we were back to having some startline issues with Trophy not paying attention to me for his start cue again for his last run though, and he popped out of the weaves when I tried to front cross when he was weaving.

Demo's weaves are getting better.  He's going to be so damn fast when he finally understands that he can't skip a pole just because he's flying through them.  I love watching him fly over the 24" jumps.  He makes it look so effortless.  Need to work with him on  understanding taking the reverse of a jump.  He had never done that before.  Surprisingly the best part of his performance was the serpentine.  I'm really, really really happy with his a-frame contact.  He is exceptionally solid in it.  Because of where the dog walk is situated currently near the seating for the other dogs in class he is extremely worried about coming off the dogwalk straight into his 2o2o and I have to babysit him.  I'm hoping that won't be an issue when the dogwalk is moved.

Overall totally pleased with their performances tonight.  It was a fun course.