Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flying Blind

As part of our agility course run at practice on Tuesday we were presented with this little sequence.

I don't have a course editing software program, so you just have to guess on the spacing. lol. :)

First we were allowed to run the course which ever way we liked.  I lead out slightly past jump one, rear cross on jump 3 and jump 5.  Once you memorized it, it was a fun little course.

Then our instructor threw a wrench in the works.  We were not allowed to run the course using any front or rear crosses.  We had to use all blind crosses.  Because apparently blind crosses are coming back in style in the agility world.  I don't know why. Blind crossing turned out to be extremely hard.  After 6 attempts I finally got the blind cross on the landing side of jump 2, and then I blew it on the landing side of 4.  Trophy was starting to get frustrated because I wasn't doing it right and he was doing his best to do what he thought I wanted.

I really don't see the appeal in a blind cross unless it's with the dog in a tunnel and I naturally lose sight of my dog.

Although maybe I've had front and rear crosses drilled into my head so much this far in class that I just don't see the practicality of it....  I will hold off on judgement until we practice them a bit more I guess.

I didn't get to run this course with blind crosses and Pan, she wasn't as focused as she was last week.  She was back to her Run-First-Think-Later self tonight.

Lastly, our agility class has been split up and dispersed to fit us in better with other classes.  Or, to put both of my kids classes on the same night.  It's a bit bittersweet as the 5 of us started together with our green dogs and we have really built up a camaraderie together of cheering our dogs' little victories and landmark break-through moments of success with problem areas.  Like when the other English Setter, Lindy, had a fear of jumps and the day she finally ran a full hour of class without missing or avoiding a single jump - we ALL cheered.

Just like with adding Blind Crosses to my agility bag, I'm trying to look at this as a new way to gain experience by watching new handlers and their teamwork with their dogs.  At least I will still see them at Trials.... if we ever make it to one!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tournament Videos 2!


SWAT Tactics: Trophy, Dodger, Malley, Max

SWAT Sharp Shooters: Harley, Bandy, Hershey, Toby (after Demo was pulled)

SWAT Special Ops: Pan, Toby, Bandy, Hershey

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tournament Videos!

I've been having MAJOR difficulty uploading these to Youtube!

The one good video I got of Demo (from the race he crossed over twice and I pulled him) was of his warmup.  He doesn't get a clean push off the box, he kind of gets hung up on the prop, but the 3 strides off the box is awesome.

then we have Trophy's incredibly frustrating boxturn... the "I'm going to put my back feet on the box but NOT use them to push off" approach to flyball...

I will have a team video to post tomorrow... for now I am STILL sick and going to bed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Panda's Return to Agilitiez

Panda and my sister had their first Agility class tonight in months.  Since my sister still isn't feeling up to 100% health she ran Trophy and I ran Pan.  I was expecting to have to reign in a train wreck of a dog, but she did REALLY well!  The course tonight was interesting, lots of interwoven jumps calling for lots of rear crosses.  I just kind of went balls out with her and she nailed all the crosses except one front cross because she broke her stay on the dog walk and I wasn't in the right position yet.

She did dive into her contacts though (even if she didn't stay)!  That was new, something i'd been working on with her in her "off" time.  Scared the crap out of me when i sent her into a tunnel to the A-frame and she SOARED over the A-frame.  I thought she was going to die, but she slammed right into her 2o2o!  I was so proud!

Now we just need her to weave.  I said I wasn't going to teach her to weave, but Tasha offered to pay me to do it so OF COURSE I said yes!  So, Trophy is going to move his agility debut to April, the next local AKC trial!

Trophy was also fabulous tonight.  I need to fix his weave entries, but the rest of his weaving was AMAZING!  I am so proud of where I've come with him.

Lastly, Demo starts next week in agility and I'm really excited to get him going!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Flyball Hangover

Another great weekend of Flyball!  Despite the fact that I am once again sick. :(  Woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat, and I'm surprised I have any voice right now.

My dogs did great, however.  Trophy once again was running with my friend and future housemate, Megan, handling him.  Not only did she get her first Perfect Start with Trophy this weekend (and at her second tournament, first one running in start position!) but Trophy ran his new personal best time with her of 4.653!!

I really don't know how he's pulling off more speed, since the video I have his turn is abysmal :( yet he keeps shaving off tenths.

Pan was spectacular, my starts with her less so.  I think I like the NAFA lights and timing better.  the extra .2 seconds totally threw me for a loop.  I either false started or had huge split times. If I had anything consistently under .09 it was a fluke.  BUT Pan is a mere 145 points behind the top pointed English Setter in UFLI!  With at least 2 more UFLI tournaments scheduled this year we are aiming for #1!

Demo is coming into his own, and I'm super proud of him.  He racked up 945 points and earned his first 3 U-FLI titles.  He would have made the 1,000 mark if he hadn't taken two bad bobbles and crossed over during one race.  I pulled him from the next 3 heats that race.  He was fine the rest of the weekend, except for one more BAD bobble that flew up behind the barrier and he refused to come back down the lane without his ball.  Luckily he chose to come back down the correct lane, but I was so pissed the judge didn't whistle the heat dead sooner so the boxloaders could have prevented my dog trying to kill himself over a ball. >_<  His turn improved all weekend.  He was running average 4.6's. I know we can go faster as soon as he gains confidence (if Trophy can shave off 1.8 seconds off his time since starting flyball, I'm sure Demo can hit that magic sub 4!).

All three dogs' teams took second place in their respective divisions.

Videos are uploading to youtube, I will share them ASAP!  For now, I'm going to potty the dogs and then pour my sore, sick body into bed.  Another long work week starts tomorrow... and I still have a Flyball Hangover!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year: New Goals

Finally a real post!

I've been crazy busy at work recently due to a high number of board and trains going on at the same time.  Thankfully, they've all gone home now and life is returning to normal.  Flyball has a new twice a month schedule that started last weekend, Demo is starting Agility in a few weeks, the flyball tournaments are already lining up, Qwill will be restarting Rally eventually, Trophy and Qwill will hopefully start volunteering as Therapy dogs (that deserves it's own post), and I some how need to reschedule Trophy's Agility Debut in the rest of the mess.

It's going to be a crazy year, that's for sure!

I want to start by talking about last week's flyball practice.  We joined up with another Ohio team, F^2 (F squared, formally known as Frenzied Flyers).  They have an amazing practice space with two full lanes with plenty of runback and lights.  It was great fun.  Since my dogs are the only young dogs on the team that won't be double running at our tournament in Euclid in 3 weeks I'm starting all 3 teams.  I haven't started U-Fli in a long time, so it's going to be interesting and I was VERY glad for the practice with U-FLI timed lights.

Trophy is becoming a mystery for me in flyball.  He's continuing to speed up (he was running 4.7's with nothing higher than a 5.0) yet his butt is not up on the box at all.  I'm worried that he's going to injure his shoulders, but we're already signed up to run in Jan and again in Feb with a busy schedule ahead (tournaments already scheduled in March, April, June, and July we are considering).  I know the only way to fix this is to pull him and practice good turns EVERY DAY until we have 3 million GOOD repetitions  then return him to a tournament and pull him again if everything goes south, but we're so close to our next NAFA title that I'm being selfish and I don't want to pull him..

Trophy's got such a high sense of self preservation (if her hurts in agility, he stops performing for me) that I'm torn between thinking everything must be ok if he's continuing to run faster on his own (he's not a super fast dog to begin with, he's not hitting the box with that much force) and worrying that his turn is hurting him regardless of what else i think and somehow i'm just blind to it.

So I don't know what to do about him.

Demo's turn started out messy, but he settled down into it with the prop in.  I'm worried about losing his turn since he *IS* a faster dog (although he was running mid-high 4's at practice, but he was sick for 3 weeks and he's probably out of top condition).

Pan, well, Pan just kicks butt at flyball.  She's consistent  has a good 3 footed turn, and I'm really proud of the job i did training her. :)

Well, back to real life, more updates coming soon!