Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flyball: Of Demo Drama and Lexi Meltdowns

I was lucky enough to have two flyball practices this weekend.  First up was our normal team practice Saturday.  I was not really looking forward to this practice as it felt like I was pulling teeth trying to get people there.  We had 4 people there, and a boxloader, which was really nice.  Got some good boxwork done with Trophy.  But then Demo's turn was all double hits on the box.  This is bad because it really slows him down.  If I'm going to speed him up his turn MUST get better.

So I was really happy when I got invited to a practice with some people from a fast team from Michigan who would be able to help me out with this.  It also helps to give me more stuff to work on in this upcoming class so I can help students if they stick through enough to actually run with us (and I'm pretty much like MUST.LEARN.ALL.THE.THINGS!).

Broken Collie.
But before we get there... Saturday night Demo slid after a tennis ball on the carpet in the living room and skinned both his back feet.  I was like, you've just got to be kidding me.  I have never wrapped his back feet at practice, and he didn't do this until HOURS after we got home.... and on CARPET?!  I bandaged his feet with some antiseptic so they wouldn't get muddy outside, then I unwrapped them overnight, and rewrapped them Sunday morning so we could make it to the practice.  Luckily his feet didn't bother him... although since I had to run to work right after I haven't unwrapped them yet, so who knows what they look like.

At practice we started with Demo and trying to find the right combination of props to help him.  They tried several different things, but nothing really seemed to help.  They said it was a striding issue, but also that he "is weird" and they hadn't quite nailed down the issue yet.

Fast forward to his second time in the ring, he was taking off too soon for the jumps and that was where the issue was coming from.  We put a 3 inch wide slat from the jumps across the lane at the 4 foot mark (and they said you can even put one at 14 feet out)  to essentially gear him up into a 10 foot stride before he even hits the jumps (6 feet from first jump to the start line, plus 4 feet to make another 10 feet).

Once we did that his box issues basically disappeared.

And then he pooped in the lane. >_<

Trophy was another story...  We worked more on getting him to pop off the box faster (I need to start calling him WAAAAAAAAY earlier than I do - when he lands after the 4th jump before the box, not when he takes off for the box).

I also learned that while he has a pretty turn with no ball, he also takes off for the box from too far back, and while his two footed turn isn't perfect, he's pivoting enough that it shouldn't be dangerous.

So I'm really not doing much harm by continuing to run him... although I think I'm going to try to get him to turn nicely without props while still taking the ball with up close work and slowly moving him back to speed (versus their method of alwaysalwaysalwaysalways use props unless it's an official heat) and see what we get.

All in all it was an awesome weekend.  I'm so thankful for all my dogs give me.

Now we just have to heal the Broken Collie before Agility on Thursday....

Woe is the Broken Collie.
(BTW, despite all her issues in agility, Pan rocks at flyball, and I have nothing to report on her because she's practically perfect.)

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