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
WHERE IS YOUR BALL, COCOA??
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.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Going The Distance

I remember a few months ago we were working on a jump sequence in class that was basically a big 'U' around the perimeter of the building. It required a send to a jump on the 'bottom' of the 'U' so that with my fast dogs I could scramble to get ahead of them as the second jump after the send was an off set tire.

I remember that Trophy, of course, with his 18+ months of training nailed it perfectly... Demo on the other hand, not so much. Demo let me send him over the jump once... then refused to send the rest of the time. Forcing me to babysit that jump and never letting me get far enough ahead of him that I could get him through the tire without him spinning into me and back talking.

Then I compare that class to Demo now.

What a difference time makes. Demo is mastering the send, especially to tunnels and jumps and he's pretty good about sending to the dog walk consistently as long as there isn't a tunnel sucker right there.

He is so fast it really helps to be able to trust him to get out and do his job now. He has also learned that this is a team sport, and he checks in with me more for direction. Of course, he's also a lot more barky on course when he thinks I'm doing it wrong.

we even tried to send him to the teeter... however since I usually collect his royal barkyness and guide him onto the teeter, I think he took the send like it was the dog walk, despite having done the teeter already, and he almost flew off the end. Put him in again and he jumped off. Put him on again and he c.r.a.w.l.e.d. down it into 2o2o. Good boy.

Trophy was especially animated in class this week, I think he really liked the trial He was so enthusiastic about taking the course and ran the dog walk instead of poking along at the top like he usually does... until I had to crush his happy thought for walking out of his 2o2o on the dog walk AGAIN. It was still really nice to see his happy attitude especially since I almost dropped him from agility last year when he moped thru the class so much. Apparently we both like running agility together now. <3

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hearts On The Line

Can I just start by saying WE DID IT!

Trophy's first agility trial is in the books.

I could not be more proud of my boy.

The opening in Nov JWW sucked. Two jumps into a very tricky weave entry right next to an off course jump. After that it was smooth sailing... but on top of my first show nerves, I had tricky sequence nerves and Trophy read me like a book and missed the weave entry, but thankfully did not take the off course so we corrected and sailed through the rest. He looked to take a second off course, but turned to my call and we finished perfectly.

Q and First Place in Novice A JWW!

I cried. Cause I'm a sap like that and this dog is my world. :)

My agility instructor gave me the best compliment of my dog handling life, and I owe her for everything I've accomplished with my boy in this sport thus far (which isn't much, yet, lol.)

long wait before our standard run.  Watched an awesome Master/Excellent JWW course most of the day.




Finally time for Trophy's Standard run.  I had a plan in my head and as I'm trying to execute it during the walk through and seeing all these other people running the course to babysit their dogs (which was necessary for some of them, watching the runs) I just shook my head at myself for the breif second I thought "should I dumb this down?" and ran the opening like it was a much more difficult course in class.  I worked my contacts to get into position, I used distance and the fact my dog knows his job in the tunnel to do a really pretty front cross over a jump to prevent an off course up the A-frame and take the teeter instead.

Q and Second Place in Novice A Standard!

We had our issues which cost us the first place.... like stopping on top of the A-frame, walking off his dog walk contact to sniff at the rubber pellets, and a very almost off course back into the tunnel....



But there was SO much more there I am absolutely beaming over.  Like his weave entrance.  His A-frame contact once he came down from the top.  And god I am still beaming over the broad jump, tunnel, front cross on the landing of the double I mentioned earlier.  I was the scariest and most rewarding thing Trophy and I have ever done together.

I love this dog.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Noob's Guide to Flyball: Chapter 3: Letting Him Fly a guest blog by Matty

The hardest part for anyone running a dog in flyball is trusting your dog to do his job.  This can be twice as challenging (i imagine) if you haven't participated in or witnessed the training process and are running someone else's dog.

Ok so for the third installment of my noob's guide the executive decision was made (Lex) that I should talk about “letting Dem fly” … which is still something I have to actively think about during tournaments. In a nutshell what this consists of is that while I am lining up with Demo and waiting for my cue to send him on his way, I hold him by the hips. It’s the easiest spot to hold the kid for how he lines up. What my horrible habit is with this is that when I let him go I don’t just let him go, I push him a little bit too.

Now the initial thought here is one of a push start, like an extra boost for him. Bueno, right? WRONG. What it does in all actuality is it slows him down because while I AM pushing him forward I am also holding onto him that much longer than I should be and that in turn slows him down and adds time on to our starts. No bueno.

One of the peeps on the team, Lori, told me I was doing this and told me how to release Dem properly. Essentially it was as simple as actively thinking about what I was doing while I let him go. I wasn't supposed to be pushing him, but just pulling my arms away from him so I could “let him fly” as she said.  So its something I have to constantly work on whenever I get the chance to with him.  It’s one of those things I have to mentally check myself on every time we race (one of many) and if I push him then either Lori and/or Lex will for sure call me out on it. I don’t think I've ever had a race where one of them wasn't present.

That’s a shot of me letting him fly,  and as you can see Demo is a good 7-8 feet away from me already and I’m taking off at my jog/sprint after him. Zoom zoom.  
I wish I had a picture of me pushing him from when I starting this addiction but I didn't have anyone to take pictures then and I really don’t want to have to push him on purpose just for photo’s sake.

For those of you who are proponents of the “push” method and not the “fly” method, please consider this. You wouldn't push a car while the driver is flooring the gas pedal would you? And yes, Demo IS that fast… I mean his name is Demolition for a reason, come on.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Eevee's Death Wish

Thursday July 25 started out normal enough,  took Eevee to work with me.  Tasha was going to drop off Demo and Trophy for me before agility and take Eevee home.  Well, she made plans with a friend so my Dad brought up the boys and I sent Eevee home with him.

At 11 or 11:30pm she started trying to throw up and couldn't bring anything up.

I took her outside and she peed, then she refused the treat I gave her for coming inside.  Eevee never refuses treats.  I picked her up and that's when I felt how absolutely bloated she was.  Her chest was puffed out and everything inside her rib cage felt like it was about to burst.  Her abdomen wasn't as bloated, but she was definitely feeling stuffed.

I freaked out.

I woke up my mom, I woke up my sister and we rushed her to the emergency vet.

She tried 6 times to vomit on the way to the vet and couldn't bring anything up.

The vet took her back to get some x-rays and this is what we found:


The red circled area is her stomach. You can see it literally trying to squeeze out between her ribs.

It turns out that despite already having fed E dinner at work, but my father took the Kong Wobbler I have and FILLED IT TO THE BRIM with dog food (it holds about 3 cups) and gave it to Eevee to go to town... and didn't tell me.

OMFG I was so mad.  $300 emergency vet bill because no one can stop feeding the puppy.  She weighs 22 pounds!  She only eats 1 cup of food TOTAL a day!!

My sister volunteered to stay up all night with E.  Good thing too, as she started vomiting up food after we got home... and of course the pig would IMMEDIATELY try to gobble everything back down if you didn't clean it up instantly.

I took over at 8am.  This is what her night looked like, let me just say it wasn't much better for me all day until about 6pm:

It was hell.

Now, Eevee is fine and appears to have no long term ill affects... other than she is ALWAYS HUNGRY AND SCAVENGING FOR ANYTHING THAT MIGHT POSSIBLY SORT-OF RESEMBLE FOOD.

On Wednesday she climbed up onto the table in the sun room to chow down on cat food.

Thursday night she was outside for 5 minutes, came inside and puked up a large amount of DIRT.

This kid is going to kill herself........and now I have to go invest in a basket muzzle for her to wear any time she's not IN HER FREAKING KENNEL.

Ugh.

It is a damn good thing she's so freaking cute.



Friday, August 2, 2013

One week to go...

Trophy's agility debut is one week away.

I know I have been quiet for the month of July, but everything has been going really, really well.

I feel like our handling has really come together.  His obstacle discrimination is really nice.  We did this sequence two weeks ago.



Demo has a ton of problems with this (wheeeeeeeee tunnel!), but Trophy executed it perfectly every time.

I had been having trouble with him popping out of the last weave pole or two if I tried to get some distance with him, but tonight was no problem with that.

He still doesn't have a truly independent Stopped Contact.  He knows 2o2o, but if i don't stop and turn into him he won't stop.  Tried this tonight when I tried to get a head of him on the dog walk.  If I kept moving, so did he despite whatever cue I gave him.

All in all he is totally ready for our debut next weekend, I just have to keep myself together.

Tonight Demo really shined on course.  It wasn't an extremely challenging course, there was a couple handling moves to be executed, but other than an extremely tricky weave entry, it was pretty straight forward.  Demo really nailed it tonight, better than I feel he had been getting handling cues.  I was especially impressed with his ability to suddenly take jumps at a distance, something we really struggled with at the beginning of the month.

I feel like the light bulb is finally turning on in his head with weaves, and with his contacts.  It's less mindless following of a treat and he's starting to understand the behaviors more.

Although we need to revisit turns on the flat...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Noobs Guide to Flyball: Chapter 2: Box Loading Where Right is Left and Left is Right.... Right? A Guest Blog By Matty

Welcome to our second installment of a Noob's Guide to Flyball. Boxloading is probably the most important and least talked about aspect of flyball. After all, you can't play flyball without a boxloader. It takes a lot of guts to be the boxloader, I mean, would you like to face this coming down the lane at you


(and Trophy is my most mild running dog!) Here to tell you all about it from the perspective of "hey, you've been to one practice and we need you to boxload this tournament... here you go!" Take it away, Matty! 

Ok so this time I’m going to talk about box loading. Oh the joys of box loading, its kind of a scary and daunting task when you think about it. I mean you have to realize that the dogs are trained to turn off one side of the box. So you must know which way the dog will turn so you can put the ball on the correct side of the box. And if you screw this up or totally forget to even put the ball in the box, then congratulations! you have probably given that heat of the race to the other team. Both of which I have done, and cursed myself out in my head for. 

Now the prime example of me doing comes from the most recent tournament, Lex was starting with Pan and in the second heat Lex nailed a perfect start! She also did this squeee thing she does when she gets excited. And I, being the curious turd I am, directed my eyes at the clock. 0.000, and in the moment that it took to complete that I had completely missed reloading the box and Trophy had come and hit the empty box. Since I had forgotten to load the box, Trophy didn't have a ball and we took a no finish for the heat and the perfect start didn't count. And if you are on a team like mine that is about running clean heats and less about being the fastest then it might not be the end of the world but let’s be honest, we all have that little bit of competitive spark that flares up sometimes. (Mucho props to Lex for not killing me on the spot, there will be many white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies from me in your future!)


Now from my understanding the dogs turn either left or right (as the box we use only has two positions, one on either side to retrieve the ball from). What that means is that the ball either goes on the right or left. So the dog either turns right or left, feel free to say “duh”. What needs to be explained after saying the dogs turn right or left is that if you are box loading that you need to reverse the right’s and left’s because you are facing the dog. What that means is that when the dog is running toward you and he or she turns to the left, it means that he/she is actually turning to your right. WOMP WOMP!  

[Lexi's note: Pretty clear as mud, right? Basically you have to think of things in terms of DOG'S left or right and BOXLOADER left and right - they are opposite. If the dog turns left it means BOXLOADER right. Still clear as mud? Welcome to boxloading :)] 

 So how does anyone keep all this info straight? I personally keep a list on my phone that I copied from Lex of the dogs and which way they turn (from the dog’s point of view). It can be confusing if you don’t know the point of view. But once you have the left’s and right’s down you should probably think about having a few extra balls.I personally like to carry two extra of every ball for each dog. Everyone bust out your calculators and do the math, that’s eight balls in whatever holding place you happen to find on your person. I personally like me some comfy cargo shorts, the pockets hold my extra balls pretty well. But to each their own, I have seen fanny packs, back pockets, front pockets, hoodies, and even seen tennis balls held in the small of the loaders back. So your results may very.


What do you do if the dog in your lane bobbles the ball and pretty much has no chance of finding it, but will not return to the handler because it's a dog on a mission and will not be deterred? As i found out this past weekend, you can just drop a ball for that dog to find so that he/she can get it and just get out of there before they run off or steal the other teams ball, which could lead to even more problems. 

Another good thing to remember is that you DO NOT LEAVE YOUR POSITION UNTIL THE HEAT IS OVER. And since I sometimes can’t hear the judge due to barking or even see who’s who down at the other end of the lane because the light outside could rival the sun itself, I usually look for the other box loader to step off and then follow suit, or if they don’t move and I can actually differentiate people on the other side I will look to see if anyone is running their dog or doing anything resembling what happens during the heat. 

My last point is going to be about calling the dog from the box. Since I am paranoid as all get out I usually keep my mouth shut unless I’m told to say something. And with that, it’s story time. During the tournament over Memorial Day weekend one of my team mates asked me to call her dog, and I just immediately blurted out the dogs name. Which would have been a fantastic thing, if we had been running the heat. Alas, we were in between heats and the dogs were lining up. So I yelled, “Dodger!” and Lex comes back with a, “When he’s running”. Dodger was third in the line up. Big duh on my part, but that’s what I get. Sometimes I get wrapped up in my head when I’m trying to make sure I have the lineup for the heat correct. 

[Lexi's note: we have run into this twice with Demo. He will NOT come back if his ball gets lost. Twice he has technically crossed over, once causing a very clear interference, and the judge did not whistle the heat dead, Demo then jumped over the back boards to hunt down his ball - there are props and spare tubs of balls and god only knows WHAT back there, not to mention the wires for the lights.... so it was a really dangerous situation and I was pissed SO PISSED at the judge for not calling the heat. That is when we found out if the boxloader just "accidentally" drops a ball for the dog it's just a re-run for the dog and hopefully the next time it happens we can avoid Demo trying to kill himself!"]

 Next time: Trusting your dog and letting him fly!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

We've Got S.W.A.G.R.

Gosh, I don't even know where to being on this weekend.

Tournament in Sandusky.  Camped with my besties: Jbiz, Matty, and my sister. First day was nice, started out super humid but cooled by the afternoon and light sprinkles at the end of the day really helped cool things down... only after racing was done and Jbiz and I went to shower it started to DOWNPOUR.  We had to walk through water above our ankles to get back to base camp.  Then the path we all walked in teh grass to our tent turned into a mud slide.  and water seeped between the tarp and the bottom of the tent.

We moved Tash and Pan into the back of the Vue for the night (it eventually stopped raining) and Matt took Demo into the bed of the truck.  Jbiz and I kept the rest of the crated dogs in the tent because we both have cots to sleep on.

It was just... hell.  My hell is not on fire, it's flooded and muddy.

We had to carry the dogs in and out of the tent to prevent them from getting mud every were.

And in the process I got a cut on my big toe by the nail that I believe is infected from walking thru the muck for two hours in bare feet.

Ok, now on to the dog's performances.

Had problems with the box on Friday and all the dogs bobbling.  Slowed down the mechanism, and they did slightly better.

Starts with Pan were pretty good.  Had some bad ones, but for the most part I kept it under .050 split.  We did get our second perfect start today... but since I saw it and I screamed in celebration Matt (who was box loading) looked at the clock and didn't load a ball for Trophy... lost it on a no finish. oh silly greenie boxloaders. :)

Tasha got some pretty good starts with Pan today too when the lights started making more sense to her.  As did Matt with Demo, although Demo started losing his concentration on the recalls and either couldn't find Matt or was blowing him off.  Not sure which, but it concerns me.

Trophy was his awesomely consistent self, even if Jbiz couldn't get her passes together.

Cocoa debuted in Preflight and totally ROCKED it.  It was pretty hilarious as we got her officially measured and the judge said he would give her 3 inch jumps if he could, lol!  We started working thru her not bringing the ball back over all 4 jumps and not dropping early.  Worked with another dog in the other lane (but not running at the same time, doing box turns while cocoa was running or alternating runs).  Cocoa was slightly distracted, but quickly refocused.  by the 4th preflight run today she was doing full runs and holding the ball all the way thru the end over 7inch jumps (we forgot to take them down to 6 and she'll have to jump 7 anyway for NAFA).

There were just enough wacky problems in the lanes, combined with severe pain today, a sun burn, crankiness from the flood, and sunburn today just sucked and for the first time ever I was really, really really glad to put this flyball weekend in the books.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Noob's Guide to Flyball: Chapter 1: From Fly Fishing to Perfect Starts, A Guest Blog by Matty

Note: while I try to keep the language of this blog pretty PG, in real life my friends and I swear like sailors. As this is written from the perspective of my friend, I have not edited language.

Introduction:

At Saturday's flyball practice my friend Matty, who has been running Demo for me at recent tournaments, said he is going to write a book about flyball and he has already picked the title.  From Fly Fishing to Perfect Starts.  This made me laugh as it is Matt's first two flyball tournaments in a nut shell.

In March I put out a call on my facebook page that I needed someone to run one of my dogs in a tournament in April because two of my dogs would need to be on the same team and I can't run two dogs at the same time.  Matty, who had been to a tournament in Januray for a few hours said "That sounds like fun, I'll do it!"  He made it to one practice, the week before the tournament, where he learned the basic mechanics of how flyball runs: releasing Demo, when to call him, how to catch him and get the hell out of the way of the other dogs.

His first race was... interesting. We were almost late and almost missed warmups. It was less than ideal, but we survived. Matt survived, and is now excelling at starting Demo.  

As a semi-regular feature we will be sharing Matty's story.  Which is the story of flyball from the perspective of a total noob.  Flyball from the perspective of someone who was just about thrown into the ring blind.  Someone who went from fly fishing with a tug, to having a perfect start in just two tournaments.  Take it away Matty.


That's Matt in the Blue, and Jbiz running up the lane.
H'ok so, zees is muh story...

As Lex said, I knew the basics of how flyball runs, and let me stress this, I knew BASICS. I knew on which light I should let go of Demo, I knew roughly where I needed to run up to with the tug that Demo loves so much and I knew to run back and get the hell out of the way of everything else. So we go in and the warm up timer is counting down so we make a mad dash to the box to do run outs and and get that out of the way [Lexi's note: Just so you get the amount of pressure we were under, all three of my dogs ended up on the same team due to a last minute lineup change where one of our team members pulled her dog. I was coming off of an injury where a dog had bitten my hand and I had to fight off a huge infection, and I had JUST been cleared to full use of my hand the day before - it was still VERY sore. We had two green handlers, Matt running Demo and Jbiz running Trophy and I was running Pan.  Jbiz had some more practice time under her belt, but we don't practice with as much runback as in a tournament so this was her first time doing actual passes... and we didn't have a practice run. We had just enough time for a run out, but not enough time for a full warm up run. AGAIN: We had a run out... and then game time.  Talk about pressure, there was a lot of it riding on their shoulders. My account of this first tournament can be read here.]. An experienced flyballer would have known what was going on and that time is of the essence here. And there was moi, so being the noob that I was (am?), I just tried to keep up with everything. As anyone who isn't normally in these situations can attest to, having someone yell at you can be a bit startling so when they yelled "RUN!" at me it took me a second to process. but after a moment I kicked it into gear and away I went down the lane.

Now, there is something I was told after that first race. When I am being 'yelled' at, its not yelling per say. No one is necessarily mad at me and pissed off. They are yelling for a few reasons. Mainly its loud and people need to be heard so they have to yell. Also, they need to emphasize speed is of the essence and you need to move fast because I swear everything at a flyball tournament is on a timer.

So my very first race: there I am, lined up with Demo, kinda half squatted half crouched over, waiting for the the lights to start the count down. I believe I was somewhere around the 48' mark... or something close to that. The lights start and I see, one yellow.... "Demo readyyyyyy".... two yellow.... "Go!" and away he went, doing his thing. I take off after him doing as I was told. Running down towards the start line I pull the tug from around my neck, Demo gets the ball from the box and that's my cue. I swing the tug down on the ground and begin to run toward the back of the lane waiting for Demo to grab it. Now two things happened in the whopping 2 seconds from me swinging the tug to Demo grabbing it that I did wrong. First off, what I had thought was perfectly fine tug swinging mechanics, was actually a laughable imitation at fly fishing as the rest of the team described it. I got up to my position and (as I was told later)  "gently tossed the tug up and out in an arc, then gently swung it down with a flourish and ran back".


VIDEO PROOF of Matt's horrible Tug skillz at 0:06 seconds. ;-)  Compare to Deb's Tug skills at 0:16seconds.

It became quite the joke around our camp site for the weekend. Eventually I even got on board with it and said I just needed some glitter on the end of the tug to complete the look. That was the first thing I did wrong. The second was that as I ran back with the tug I  pulled up on it as I anticipated Demo grabbing onto it. This little tiny action causes Demo to jump up and grab the tug higher up. Higher up in this case was my hand. I got a good chomp from Demo and thank goodness I had a glove on because even though Lex told me that if he managed to bite flesh he releases immediately, it hurt like a bitch. Didn't break the skin though, so I just suited up and got back in line for the second heat. I wasn't mad at Demo because that whole bit was my own fault and I knew going in that it could happen.

Just before the fly fishing began...

So I was one heat of my debut flyball race in and already I had been made fun of, and injured. Both of which I fully deserved.

Pausing for a moment to clarify, MY TUG MECHANICS DON'T LOOK LIKE THAT ANYMORE! The advise given to me from the all mighty flyball teacher known as Lex were to "take all your demons out on that floor" so I tried that. My mission was to beat the floor into submission and my weapon of choice was a 4' long fleece tug.... Bring it on.

It was raining Sunday, so we carried Pan and Demo to the
building and back to try to save their boots.
So, that was the highlights. The rest of that weekend went pretty smoothly. I had clean starts save for one or two. My typical starting time for the first while was on average .100 ish. now once I started getting into the groove of things with starts and the timing of the lights, I asked Lex if I could start moving Demo up a bit to tweek our starts and she let me. Slowly working start times down and getting better starts.

I am going to say that first initial time I was allowed to move Demo forward and try some starts on my own with where I placed him is the moment I caught the flyball bug.

From there I became all about getting the best start for my team. It clicked with me that my starts are my contribution to the team and that is what makes me feel apart of the team. Cue the mushy gushy stuff.

Moving on to the second tournament that I had ever participated in. With one practice and one tournament under my belt I naturally felt like a pro. This tournament brought out more members of the team than the previous tournament, so I got to meet more people; and let me tell you something, the peeps on this team are hil-freaking-larious. Better still, Lex decided to take a backseat at this tournament and let other people run all 3 of her dogs. Most importantly, this meant I got to run Demo a lot. Like, A LOT A LOT. Lex ran Demo for two of the eleven-ish races he ended up running in that weekend, one because he did something we can't remember but she wanted to run him to try and fix it and the second was because he was going to get his FDCH-G. She's sentimental like that.  But all the other races, that shit was all me. [Lexi's note: Demo got so many races because we ended up pulling Pan from a few as she was having major problems on the box - her back feet slipping off and such so to save her body we gave her a rest and put Demo in.]

We did pretty darn well all day Saturday, the average starting time was .0 something something and I was quite pleased with myself. We ran fast and we ran clean. You couldn't ask for a better tournament!

Snuggling before Sunday Race Day!
Then shit got real on Sunday. We're in the middle of the day (it's about here that my tug mechanics make the transition from fly fishing to demon killing). We had been talking about perfect starts earlier that day and Lex made a comment, "There is nothing worse than a -.001 start." and what do I do? I nail a frustratingly imperfect -.001 start. So I make an annoyed grumble and get Demo back in line to try that again. He was doing spectacular, bobbled a few times but made a good recovery. Now a couple races down the line, we get to the second or third heat and by now I've got my routine down. Demo and myself had moved up to roughly the 43' marker and we had fantastic starts from there, false starts if we moved up any more and slow starts if we moved back. So 43' it was. Now in the middle of this race, we do our thing. I had stopped even looking at the time clock at the end of the lane because we had plenty of people to take times and box load and call passes. So I get Demo on the tug and Kandice comes back with Malley who ran second and passed into Demo and she's yelling "Dude, you got a perfect start!!"

Me: what?!

Kandice: You got a perfect start!

Me: Seriously?! Awesome!! I didn't even look at the clock!!

Dude from other team: It doesn't count if you don't see it, haha!

Me: I'll take what I can get...LEX!!!! I GOT A PERFECT START!!!! (She was calling passes that race so she wasn't tooooo far away and ran back and gave me a high five)

While all this is happening on the outside, on the inside I am all "BOOM BITCHES!!! I GOT A PERFECT START MOTHERFUCKERS!!! POINT ZERO ZERO ZERO! FUCK YEAH!"

After the race the guy from the other team bro fisted me and we got Tasha's reaction to it (she was taking down times so she was too far away for the initial celebratoriness between heats). She said "I was taking times and then I saw 000 and I thought it was broken. I looked at it, then I looked at the other side, and I just decided oh well and just wrote it down."

That pretty much sums up my second tournament, we got some schwanky glasses for being there, I got two because I ran Demo and box loaded. But we'll save box loading for chapter 2...

Matt out!

Matt will be back (hopefully) soon with Chatper 2 and how we literally threw him into boxloading, in the mean time show him some love by commenting on the blog and sharing it with your friends!  Maybe we really will publish it some day! ;)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Flying Squeewok

This upcoming weekend, one week from today, Cocoa will be making her preflight debut.  I can't believe she's only been in flyball training for just about 3 months...

Today she had her first full run in practice.  Can't wait to see her in action at a tournament setting!!

Video:



Later this week I will be introducing a new feature to this blog.  We're calling it The Noob's Guide to Flyball.  Don't miss it, it's a hilarious look at a friend's first flyball tournament and I'm hoping we can turn his adventures into a book!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

So You Want To Do Flyball...

When I was applying for my first Border Collie back in 2007, I did some research on local training facilities and dog sport options. I had a couple online friends who competed in Flyball and it looked like a lot of fun. There was a nearby team and I vowed to check it out when I brought my dog home.

Well, then Qwill was diagnosed with hip dysplasia, Shiner a broken pelvis, and Trophy was only 4 months old when I moved back to Ohio.

Trophy was 3 (well 2 years 9 months) when we finally made the jump and attended our first Flyball practice. There is so much I wish I had known back then that I know now, so if you've ever thought about trying out Flyball this is the post for you!

1. Terminology

  • a Flyball tournament is made up of head to head RACEs between two teams.
  • Races are made up of 3 to 5 matches called HEATS.
  • The order your dogs will run in is called THE LINE UP.
  • The first dog in the line up is called the START DOG.
  • The last dog is called the ANCHOR DOG
  • The middle area of the Flyball course where the dogs run is called the LANE.
  • The area behind the start line where your team lines up is called the RUN BACK.
  • If the dog coming onto the course crosses the start line before the dog completing the course has crossed the start line it is a BAD PASS.
  • If a dog or owner makes a mistake such as running around jumps, not picking up the ball, dropping the ball before crossing the finish line, owners hand or toy crosses any part of the finish line, bad passes, etc, it is called a FLAG and the dog is said to HAVE FLAGGED.
  • When a dog flags they must rerun the course after the rest of the dogs on the team complete on order to finish the race and get a time. If more than one dog flags both must rerun in the correct order or you get a NO FINISH and no points.

View of the RUNBACK of our START DOG running down the LANE. :)

2. Most Likely You Are Going To Become Addicted
For me this meant that after being in the sport less than three years I would go from 1 competing dog to 3 competing dogs and a puppy in training, get no less than 2 of my friends helplessly addicted (one if whom doesn't even have a dog-he runs Demo for me), own my team and run my own beginners classes. Your millage may vary. You should, however, be prepared to bond with your team, your dog, and find yourself wishing it was a Flyball weekend at the very lowest end of the "Flyball addiction" spectrum.

Trophy and I hanging out between races at his first tournament. Back when I knew so little and I'm lucky I remembered to bring him a water bowl...

3. There Is Lots Of Homework
If you go into a Flyball class expecting to not have to work your dog at home you will be able to eventually compete, but it is going to take exponentially longer. Trophy took 5 months to train, Pan 6, Demo 10. With all of them I took props and boards home to practice. If you do no work at home plan on it taking over a year to get your dog at competition level.


Demo would have not made his debut at CanAm2012 without lots of practice reps in our hallway.

4. Find A Team You Mesh With
There are lots of reasons why people play Flyball. The two most popular being for points and to be the fastest.

Teams that run to be fast are often going for regional championships, out they are running for the accolades of being the fastest ranked team, and still others run to set world records. They have a truly competitive spirit and are always pushing for speed, pushing passes to be as tight as possible, and occasionally you will find the team that puts winning before sportsmanship and their dogs safety.

Hanging out at Base Camp during lunch break. Photograph by Kandice Nadeau.
Our team runs for points and therefore titles as we accumulate points. This means we can accommodate some slower dogs as we put together teams with the sole purpose of running together under 24 seconds. We don't push passes to try to get the fastest time, we would rather run clean and watch the points rack up. This does not mean we are anti competitive, but rather that we will switch out slower dogs for faster dogs to try and gain a speed advantage or we make sure we run clean when our opponents are pushing passes so they flag and we complete the race.

Getting on a team whose philosophies don't line up with yours can cause heartache down the road, especially if your dog isn't living up to your expectations... or the teams.  But Expectations are a whole 'nuther ball o' problems that I'll touch on in a later post.
Recharging.  My favorite picture from CanAm2011.

5. There Is More Equipment Needed Than You Think
While as a regular team member you don't have to worry about buying a Flyball box or jumps, there is a lot more equipment you will find yourself needing/wanting.

Can't live without this stuff.

From outfitting your dog: special Flyball collar or harness, skid boots, vet wrap, tug toys, cooling jackets, therapeutic jackets with ceramic or magnetic therapy (for when you get truly over-the-top addicted) etc.

To camping gear: tent, cot, sleeping bag or RV if you are fancy-schmancy... x-pens (and the stakes and top cover) or extra travel kennels, water buckets, pop up for shade, sun foils and shade tarps, crate fans, crate blankets, mats to cover the floor, cooler, folding chair, extension cords, etc.

Cool Coat!

Or, if camping isn't your thing, hotel swag: travel kennel, dog blankets for the bed, etc.

And above all else, an insane amount of poop bags!

Also, there are the visits with the Chiropractor... but not for you, for your dogs!

Packing List.... Dogs? CHECK!


6. What To Expect When You're Expecting To Compete In Your First Tournament
This depends on if you are debuting in NAFA or UFLI Flyball.

UFLI has several options for green dogs. The new "preflight" class that (as of last check of the rule book) gives your dog 7 minutes of ring time for training in the tournament environment. This can be an incredibly valuable tool to help proof dogs to their job in a highly distracting environment. You are welcome to have any dog on your team run with your dog to practice passing or against your dog to work on that aspect of competition. I started Demo in preflight before he had a boxturn- just picking the ball up off the floor - to work the pattern in the environment. If your dog is a little father along and you want to try racing a stranger or passing and racing strangers then you can enter singles or pairs racing. Singles is your dog running head to head with another dog for time, pairs is you and a partner running had to head with another pairs team (also helpful for practicing your starts)!
Trophy's swag from CanAm2011

For NAFA or UFLI team debuts, your team may have a different policy, but our team functions like this:

You will be placed on a team with 4 veteran dogs and perhaps one other green dog. Teams have 6 dogs on them, 4 dogs run each heat from the listed 6, so if any green dogs have some green dog issues we have enough experienced dogs to complete the run.

Demo with his FDCh Title Ribbon.  You don't always get ribbons, but when you do it's AWESOME!

You are given the majority of the warm up time to do a few close up box turns, a run out (where someone holds your dog by the box and you call them down the lane. This helps proof the dog on which lane they are running in) and do a few practice runs.

If your dog handled the practice runs well we will put him in the race. We like to start green dogs either first or last so they only have to worry about running past one dog, not sandwiched between two dogs.
Sleeping between races, or before racing began, since they still have their coats on.

If your dog flags for dropping or missing a ball or missing jumps we have the dog rerun to see if he makes the same mistake out if he fixes the mistake. Then we will make a decision to let him run another heat or put in a veteran dog. If, for example, a green dog drops his ball when running head to head with another dog but completes correctly with no dog in the other lane, we will let him try again in the next heat. If he again can't hold his ball racing against another dog we will pull him so he doesn't start to pattern "I can run twice if in don't bring my ball the first time" or it may indicate we need to do more head to head practice in training. We will give the dog the next warm up to try again.

So, that's flyball for beginners in a nutshell. :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Countdown Begins Again

I finally did it.

It's official.

I entered Trophy in an agility trial.

August 9th.

To cement the deal his official height card even arrived in the mail yesterday.

Only entered him Friday because the rest of the weekend is reserved for purebreds only and my fantastic boy is a mix. Which is part of why i hate AKC. Yes, let's fill our greedy pockets by accepting mix breed into their own special program, but still give everyone the option to exclude them whenever they feel inclined to do so. Granted it's not as bad as the original proprosal when they were thinking of starting the Canine Partners program where everything was to be "seperate but equal" (glad they took a look at the history books and how well that did NOT turn out in the civil rights movement)... but it still sucks. Especially since AKC is the most accessable agility venue where i live. Trust me, didnt really want to register him with the AKC, but, i'll pay for my sins elsewhere i suppose.

Now i have to get him refocused on his contacts, which he has been blowing off lately. I mean, he's not jumping over them, but he's definitely not stopping in 2o2o like he is supposed to. He steps off the aframe (his most skipped contact) stands at the bottom and looks at me. If i glare at him he will backup into position, but im trying to get away from that as it will get us NQ'd in the ring. I need to teach him to target touch for his contacts like i did for Demo, but between teaching Eevee life skills and working on Demo's contacts i havent worked with Trophy much recently. Goals for saturday while i have a day off i suppose!

The good thing is he has been much more focused on *ME* lately. We had been having a problem where he is head over heels in love with a classmate of mine who has run him a couple times, brings things like steak and ham chunks for her dogs class rewards, and always gives him a goodie at the very end of class.

Well, it got to the point where with 20 minutes left in class he would stop on the down side of the dog walk or teeter to turn around and look at her. Or he would stop on top of the aframe to look at her. And if he was on the table god help me if she said ANYTHING because even if im trying to release him to run the course with me, as soon as he heard her voice he would light off like a fire cracker to run to her. Shitheaded dog! Two weeks ago i took a crate, moved it so he wouldnt be able to see her if i put him in it, and proceded like normal until he wouldnt focus on me and then i grabbed him by the scruff of the neck (he runs naked) walked him allllll the way back to my chair from the other side of the building and threw him in the kennel. He paid much better attention the rest of the class.

Now, she was sick last week, so he was excellent for me, we will see how he does today.

You only get one Novice A dog, so i really hope he doesnt let me down!

UPDATE: got confirmation today (6.27.13) that he is #18 and #19 on the waitlist for his JWW and Standard runs, so looks pretty good that we will get into that trial! Woohoo!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Demo and the Grown Up Agility Course

So... crazy things have happened.

The biggest thing, with the biggest impact to this blog is that Pan has been pulled from agility.  I'm sad about this for a number of reasons, first and foremost being that I got into agility because it was what my sister always wanted to do.  So to get her doing something with Pan I tracked down the agility instructor she started with with Koda way back when and signed up with Trophy in the same class.  Secondly, Pan has been doing better in agility than Trophy lately.

However, my sister still has some pretty major health concerns, the least of which being she may have to have a 5th surgery and her health insurance runs out in January if she doesn't find a "big girl" job before then...  SO.  We decided to pull Pan.  The look on Pan's face when my sister drove away with her in the car while I walked Trophy and Demo into the practice building was excruciating.  But, there's always Flyball for her.

So, now that a spot opened up and Demo is doing so well in his beginners class, we moved Demo up to fill Pan's spot.

He started running Grown Up agility courses Thursday night.  Now, if my head had been more in the game and less on my sister's health and pulling Pan, etc, we probably would have had an awesome run of it... instead I was foggy and slow to get my signals out.

But, Demo did very, very, very well for being a very green dog running basically a Master/Excellent level course.

Trophy did well, but not as well as I would have liked.  I hope it's because he was picking up on my mood.

We will see next week.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Spring Pole Fun


A few weeks ago when the pups over at So Fly: My Life with Flyball Dogs got their own spring pole and shared the tutorial on how to make one, I was inspired.  I wanted to make one for a LONG time.

So this weekend I did.

Actually I made two.

My dogs are bigger than Koira from So Fly, so I went with a much heavier duty spring as I not only foresaw my 40-50 pound dogs going to town on this thing, but I also wanted to eliminate anything breaking from more than one dog tugging on the same tug.


I got heavy duty Carabiner clips (rated for 200 pounds), heavy duty eyelets (rated for 190 pounds) and porch swing springs (with a max load of something like 320 pounds).  I used some long fleece tugs I had on hand at first, but ended up braiding a new really long one so the puppy could play more.







 Koda (on the pink tug above) loved it and spent the most time on it.  I thought for sure Demo would love it as well, but we had to hide his jollyballs and encourage him to play, although you can see that he did get into it for a bit.

The tugs are on carabiners so I can easily unclip them from the spring and bring them inside so the dogs are never unsupervised with the spring poles.

In all I spent $45 on the two, not including the tugs since I had them on hand.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Agility Wrapup

The kids have been doing really well in agility lately, even Pan!  She's still a bit of a spaz, but slowly -ever so slowly - she is getting her head screwed on correctly.  A few weeks ago she refused to focus on me at the start line and totally pushed my buttons in all the wrong ways, something that she had never managed to do before. I walked her off the course to prevent running the progress we are fighting for. My instructor took her at the end of class to prevent leaving on a bad note and she did well. Every week she has fewer and fewer shut down moments. This past Thursday she only sniffed the ground once and only for a few seconds and then she immediately refocused on me.

Trophy is suddenly having problems stopping in his 2o2o lately, but only on one obstacle at a time. Last week it was the dog wall, this week it was the a-frame.I don't know what his deal is. In general he is doing well. I'm pretty impressed by his weave entrances lately. Not perfect, but I'm baby sitting him less.  My biggest problem with him is thathe is in love with a classmate because she brings things like meatballs and ham. If she says his name he takes off to her and couldn't care less that we were in the middle of a course. At least I know if I ever can't run him he will do backflips for the chance to run for her.

Demo is doing really well.  My instructor says he has "contacts to die for". Unfortunately, despite me finally trusting in my dog to not kill himself and relaxing when I run him, I have inadvertently slowed down his performance. Not that he is slow by any means. Now we are working on getting him weaned off his target discs and to hold his contacts no matter what I do until he is released.  He is so much fun to work with. He's on the fast track to move out of his beginners class. He basically ran a full course last week, with a little help on the teeter. Have I mentioned how much fun he is? I'm hoping to get our a-frame out of long term storage and work on contacts at home.

Eevee (bet you weren't expecting to see agility updates about her) is learning to go through tunnels already. And I borrowed my instructor's babydog teeter board. She has once again proved her fearlessness as she ran across it several times without blinking. Then we started started working on hitting her contacts. She is one smart cookie.

I got to run my instructor's sheltie in a practice run too. That was fun. She ran him first so I got to see where his problem spots are. Then I ran him twice, the final run being pretty good, the only error being where he turned right and took an off course jump instead of heading left into the tunnel I was cuing. His mom was sitting to the right so I didn't take it personally.  It's neat running a dog who totally understands his job on course (not having to baby sit weaves at all, for example) and gives you time to set up the next obstacle, but will show you where all your handling errors are.

Always so much to learn.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Eevee at 12 weeks

I can't believe it's already been 4 weeks since we brought her home.

Demo is her current idol.  He plays with her the most, and she hangs on his every move.  

Her ears keep going up and up and up.  I wonder if she's going to be prick eared, which would be fitting with how much she looks up to Demo.  But, I like her tipped ears and I've considered gluing them down to keep the tipped look.

She's getting faster too, although she tires quickly.

This week she started showing herding behaviors this week too, stalking Demo as she chased him outside.

I had been having major problems getting her potty trained, as she would pee in her crate every single night.  I spent a lot of time trying to rule out behavioral aspects cutting down on her crate space, etc, but nothing worked. While in start contrast she was totally getting potty training in regards to pooping and even rang the bell to go out this week. At her vet appointment this Monday we brought in a urine sample and discovered she has a UTI.  She in on antibiotics and today she finally woke me up to go pee and did not mess in her crate over night.

She is learning to spin, bow, and put her back feet in a box.

I love her more and more every day.