Friday, November 30, 2012

Confessions Of A Flyball Freak

I am, admittedly, a freak when it comes to flyball packing.

(Actually, im probably just a freak when it comes to my dogs, but that's another story...)

I'm always worried that im going to forget something majorly important (i.e. dog food or skid boots), or that i won't have enough vet wrap, or Demo will destroy the tugs i bring, and on and on.

My newest flyball aquisition was a 30inch rolling duffle bag. It holds everything. It holds everything and i have more room to pack more. My flyball bag carries more than just the bare basics, it carries everything dog related i need on a flyball trip, essentially it is my dogs' suitcase and that's why it is so large.

In my flyball bag i have:
-small plastic storage bin that holds their "racing essentials": flyball collars, flyball leashes, gloves, and their racing boots.
-small plastic storage bin with vet wrap and practice/backup skidboots.
-smaller plastic cube that holds emergency medical supplies, bandage sissors and eastic tape.
-at least 5 tugs
-small crate fans
-cool coats
-winter fleece coats
-tennis balls
-bath wipes for the dogs
-face wipes for me
-kennel name plaques
-treats and a few clickers

...And probably a few more things im forgetting.

Does anyone else have any flyball quirks? Or is it just me? :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Countdown to Agility Debut: 59 Days

Had a good class tonight with Trophy.  Almost didn't go because I've been having terrible foot pain for months that's not getting better, but decided it was the right thing to do.  It was a really small class, only 3 of the regular 6 students were there so I'm glad I went.  We ran through two courses that focused on weave entries and crossing using weaves.  And I learned that either Trophy was never as solid on weaves as i thought, or that he is more out of practice after a week off than I thought.  So I need to pull out my weave pole set again and work with him.  He needs to learn independent weaving, and also better entries.... just have to get him out of FIERCE HUNTER MODE when working in my backyard... *sigh* (Anyone want to buy me a manners minder for Christmas?!)

Anyway, pulling out the weaves really is not a bad thing, because I was determined to teach Demo 2x2 weaves before signing him up for Agility classes.... and well, Beginner's agility is starting in January and she's holding a spot for me and Demaroux.  I am not excited about shelling out double for lessons every six weeks, but I am excited that one of my current classmates will be starting her second dog in this same class!

And in other news, I am TOTALLY TERRIFIED about this agility debut.  I had planned on competing in CPE if I ever did compete with Trophy in agility (since I didn't really care)... and then this trial ended up being the one that my instructor pushed me towards... and now I'm kinda sorta dreaming of MACh Brokenbutt's Law of Murphy ATD, CGC, (and updated list of flyball titles here)... and it all spiraled out of control. :)

Parting thought, I need a better way to get Trophy pumped up for the ring.  We've been doing so good lately in class with him really wanting to work for me, but tonight he was back to pokey and not-so-interested.  I don't know if this was because I was really frustrated that the first main obstacle focus tonight was trying to do a blind cross after the weaves or a rear cross into the weaves and Trophy couldn't hold forward momentum during either and kept circling out of the weaves to find out what the heck I was doing, OR if he was tired from two days in a row at work (he also knocked two bars,super rare for him, and refused the A-frame once, but never hesitated when getting sucked aboard the teeter).

Gah!  Why can't this dog have tug drive! :)

Final parting thought, my friend Megan and I are roadtripping to York, PA this weekend for a big flyball tournament.  She's running Catastrophy himself, while Dem and Pan will be splitting the starting position.  I'm really excited!  A photographer will be there (not that I've purchased photos from CanAm yet) and I loooove seeing my kids in action. :)  Wish us luck and not much snow!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spread the Word! Border Collie looking for Forever Home, Amazing DISC DOG Potential!

So my foster dog is just about ready to start looking for his new home.  Mac (a.k.a. Macaroni Man) is just about 1 year old (born 12.1.11 I believe) and a purebred border collie.

He is 10-12 pounds overweight and hasn't fully grown into himself yet.  He has been limping due to a yet unknown shoulder injury/strain.  We are awaiting results on a serious set of radiographs (20 different views) that were sent out to a specialist Tuesday.  We do not believe anything is broken or that he has OCD (my personal opinion is that he is butt-high still in his growth stage combined with being significantly overweight is the cause of anything in his shoulder).  I have had  for almost 3 weeks (it will be 3 weeks on Black Friday) and his limp has peaked and is getting much less noticeable as he is losing weight and getting proper conditioning while slowly uping his activity level.  Today I barely noticed a limp in his movement.

The vet said he will probably have arthritis in that shoulder when he is older.  I feel he would not make a good flyball prospect or serious agility prospect as these activities put too much strain on the shoulders, but I'm sure he would love agility and be able to play in the preferred or elite classes with lower jump heights.  I have not yet taken him swimming, but he was training to be a goose dog in his former life so I imagine he would be awesome as a dock dog.

However, Mac's greatest thrill in life is chasing and catching a frisbee!  Mac LIVES for disc!  He is a natural and is already tracking and jumping for the disc.  He is very biddable (although he can be sticky-eyed and obsessive which might make freestyle training more challenging).  He is a natural toss and catch rockstar!  He learned to go around behind me to run out for the disc already.

Mac is wonderful with other dogs (although he does have a very in-your-face playstyle that some dogs may not appreciate.  Mac is also wonderful with people, he has never met a stranger (although I do NOT know how he is with children).  Mac has shown polite curiosity towards cats and small dogs, although he would probably chase if they ran.

Mac is available through Multiple Breed Rescue in Elyria, OH.  you can contact them through their website.
Video of Macaroni's disc prowess:

Video of Mac playing at Daycare:

Video of Mac hanging out at Daycare:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Twice is Nice!

Was lucky enough to have not one, but TWO flyball practices yesterday!

First, our normal Saturday morning practice with our team.  My friend Megan, who is going to be traveling with us to the tournament in York, PA in December and running Trophy for me came to learn how to pass.  Now, this is a really difficult task considering our building is not tournament length and so she's going to have to relearn on the fly at the tournament, but she needed to start getting the overall flow of running a dog down.  Eventually she's going to be bringing her Aussie back to practice with us, so she needs to learn it anyway.

I've been working with a client's dog for several months to get him out of the hosue and work his little brain in adition to giving him extra exercise.  We're starting to have a break through with him.  He has already chained the jumps and loves to do jumping.  Now we are working on box work and taking a ball off the box while maintaining a nice turn.  I took some video for him mom to see since she can't be in the building while I work with him (he used to be able to work for me, but suddenly because worried/protective of her).  I've been working on boxturns for months, and finally got him to do a nice turn off the box with no ball (using his butt on the box and not being lazy) so now we're trying to add taking the ball off the box.  This dog is going to be a ball spitter, I can just see it, but that's another issue (chasing is also going to be another big concern of mine with him, but one problem at a time!)

Demo was getting some pretty crazy turns in and coming up high off the box.  I didn't take my video camera, so I can't replay it and see what was going on.  Pan was awesome, as usual, and since I had a prop in the whole time Trophy's turns were nice.  which brings me to my second flyball practice, which I'm calling "remedial box turn practice".

Remedial Flyball practice was held at another facility slightly closer to my house (by like 5 minutes) with a woman who runs her dogs on a team from Michigan.  Her dogs are amazing and fast, so I took Trophy to get a second opinion and some ideas on how to re-re-fix his boxturn and get him to engage his butt on the box.  He's gaining speed while his turn is getting worse. If I can fix his turn I just might have another dog who can run under 5 seconds and not retire early with shoulder issues (the latter being my primary concern).  She gave me an exercise to work with him to 1. build confidence taking the ball and 2, get him to lower his turn slightly on the box without using a jump board (as it's high with a prop and non existent without a prop).

I also took Demo along to analyze his turn and brainstorm what he was doing in the morning practice, which of course he wouldn't replicate.  Practicing at another facility was good for him though and instead we worked on getting his turn off the box to be snappier and also worked on making it tighter since he's such a looong bodied dog.

And in a non flyball related news, here is a picture of my Foster dog, MACaroni. Ain't he a handsome dude?  He has a shoulder injury we're still trying to figure out, so no flyball in his future, unfortunately.

Friday, November 2, 2012

More Flyballin' Fun!

A few weeks ago I got a call from my team captain. They had a dog pull out of the upcoming tournament in Davisburg MI, would I like to go to fill in?

I didn't really like the facility the first time I went.  There is a minuscule 55 feet of runback, and the way the building in constructed one lane is up practically up against a wall and the first time I went they had up running back into basically a box. Very claustrophobic.  And the first time we went over new years Pan and Harley collided which started my worries about running Pan in the right lane because she looks left to watch the start dog.

Also, Davisburg is 3 1/2 hours away, and since it's indoors most tournaments there are when it's cold out, which means I have to stay in a hotel. Trophy was a total jerk in the hotel at the NYE tournament, he barked and growled alllll night long. I literally slept with my hands clamping him mouth shut. And by slept I mean I got about an hour. Total. All night long.

All of the above flashed through my head, but so did not having to pay a tournament fee. And that this would be a great run through for hoteling with Trophy if we ended up going to the tournament in York, PA in December.

So I went. And I was able to take two dogs.  Trophy, my rock solid dog, and Demo to earn some more points.

I was going to alternate them for two races each day.  And then in the last race on Saturday Demo jumped up for his tug, got his hocks tangled together and took a hard fall on his back legs.  He screamed and came up limping.  I walked him around until he had almost stopped limping, and then put him up and got Trophy.  Two heats into the race our start dog came up limping - she's 11 after all.  Our back up was Demo. Who hadn't raced in that lane and who wouldn't get a warm up.  Amazingly, he did not let me down.  He went out and ran his heart out and didn't mess up. :)  I'm so incredibly proud of him, and Trophy ran so nicely for my teammate.

Hotel was interesting with the boys.  They both curled up on the bed and passed out.  I found an NCIS marathon and did a little reading until my eyes got tired, then I turned off the light. I was going to leave the TV on to help mask the outside noises from Trophy.  Didn't matter. the second I switched out the lights, Trophy woke up growling and prowled the room and wouldn't shut up.  So I locked him in a kennel in the bathroom and Demo and I slept in the bed.

Sunday was similar with only one little bobble.  My teammate was running Trophy in start and I was going to run Demo.  She was late getting to the warmup, so I ran both dogs out and I don't think Trophy knew who he was supposed to go to after his first heat.  I'm passing him with Demo, and when he saw me run up with Demo he turned and tried to rerun. Luckily he didn't crash into anyone on our team, and when he didn't have a ball on his side, he checked out the other lane.  Once we got him back and he she started feeding him cheese he never made another error.

We played the raffle, I wasn't going to since I haven't been lucky yet, but I put in $20, and man-o-man did I come out a winner!  A new x-pen, RV mat, and a $25 gift card to BP!  That gas car proved instrumental to the rest of the evening.  I started out following a teammate home, and she stopped right before the highway and pulled into a BP station.  I almost continued on as I had 3/4 a tank, but since I had that BP card I figured I would also stop and fill up.  Turns out my teammate's breaks had gone out! So i topped off my tank (the card perfectly filled it up) and then the boys and I waited with her.  She has a tracphone, so I gave her my phone to use to call AAA and her husband so she wouldn't use up her minutes. Then I moved stuff around so she and her dog could ride home with us as they had to tow her van 187 miles home.

It took over an hour for the tow truck to get to us, just as my battery died from not running my car for the past hour, so he gave me a jump, and loaded up the van while my teammate and I started home.  I finally got home at 11 after dropping her off.

It was a a great weekend.  I love my team and I'm glad I could be there to help out in more than one way!


In blog related news, wow! Over 2,000 views to my little blog.  who knew? :)  Thanks for reading!