Tuesday, 23 December 2008


I'll update properly another time but for now just a little video of my nutty dogs that I found on my phone! I used this park to teach Tess to do comebye and away when she was younger and when I got Asher he just sorta copied her but in the opposite direction. They'll both go on like this for ages if i'm stood in the middle! I'm surprised they don't get dizzy, I do if I watch them too long!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Asher is Advanced and rule changes

Points have gone up from our last flyball of the season which was Brinkworth and Asher is now Flyball Dog Advanced, yay! To be honest i'm not really bothered about points and I'd much rather go to a competition and get a faster time and know that I've pushed every single change even if that means lots of lights than get loads of points. I'd certainly never re-run my dog if I got a light unless the other team got a light aswell but saying that it is lovely to get the certificates as a record of your dogs achievement and your own dedication! You don't really get any record of a fast time unless you print out the seedings list! Tess retired on 19,313points, she was very annoyed that i didn't let her train today!

The jump height proposal went through which I am pleased about so dogs now jump 5" less than there shoulder height. Will mean that our 1st team will now jump 13" so hopefully that will make a bit of a difference to us. We will have to see how that affects our height dog Bunty who will now get 10", she currently runs about 4.8 over 11" but with all the box and power training if we could get her down to consistent 4.6secs she would be a contender for the 1st team. Asher would love to run over 10", he goes in to super speed, his box is also better over low jumps!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Flyball training!

If you read this regularly or know our team you'll know that we are currently in the process of changing boxes from the boomerang to the flat front style. We still do not have our new box or a chute as apparently men aren't as handy as they used to be :-P (hopefully this will be sorted by the new yr!)!

But I am pushing on with the training nonetheless. I have been getting the dogs to jump over and back over a 6inch jump. The handler releases their dog from about 10ft, I stand the other side of the jump with a ball and when all four feet are over the jump i throw the ball back towards the handler. When the dog is comfortable with this and is anticipating the turn and throw of the ball I am putting our old box about 5ft back from the jump so that they learn that the box is not necessarily the target but they must just again perform the turn over the jump. As we don't have a chute yet I am using our boomerangs as a make shift one just for the dogs to turn on without it being loaded. I am gradually moving the box forward so that the dog is eventually making contact with the box as it turns. Today was the 4th session of this box work and all the dogs were brilliant. Today we had i think 16 dogs at training and i managed to get all but 2 of them turning on the box with all 4 feet. Some of the turns were just stunning, especially Sonny who we've always had problems with as he is so ball obsessed that he doesn't think about the turn just getting the ball but the change is incredible. The good thing about me having the ball is that they always get correctly rewarded for the behaviour I want and because i'm throwing the ball they are really snapping back off straight to chase it. I originally wanted them to be able to go and turn off the box independently with no ball and with me not standing there on command so that the transition between boomerang - chute - flat front is easier. But now I actually think that shaping the turn whilst they are focusing on the ball may make the transition easier as during a full run the ball is what the dogs are looking at and is what also messes up the turn when the dog has practised for so long with no ball. Therefore if i can create a turn where the dog is focusing on a ball at the same time then when it actually has to trigger a box with the ball loaded the difference is minimal. Thats the theory anyway but we will see how it progresses!

The two dogs that didn't manage to get 4 feet on are actually brother and sister and seemed to have a problem with putting there back feet on the box like they didn't trust it. They are both cautious on our boomerang anyway despite being 7yrs old and doing flyball all there lives. I am getting there owners to get them used to jumping on and off a piece of wood on the ground and also walking them around their leg on to the boomerang box to get them over this fear. I actually think they will feel more comfortable on a flat front as the movement is less and it is quieter. We've got some lovely starters coming on aswell, think we might have enough for 2 teams in the spring! Got a couple that look like there gonna be very fast, yay :-D!

As we've been doing no full runs the dogs have been doing power training and working on changeovers from restrained recalls. All the dogs are thriving on this, they are soo enthusiastic. We've been running them over 6 or 8 jumps gradually increasing the height until the big dogs were doing 6 jumps over 15 inches and the little dogs and oldies were doing 6 jumps over 11 or 12 inches. The changeovers from restrained recalls have really benefited the more nervous and the starter dogs as they have so much drive when they are chasing their owner for there ball that they hardly notice another dog coming towards them. Asher came out for a bit at the end (apparently just to show off lol) and was completely loopy, he did some power training and some box work and just loved it.

I am currently however having a recurring nightmare about the dogs turns. It really is my worst nightmare that the dogs will come out in the spring and not turn properly! I don't want to be one of those teams that gets a new box thinking it will automatically make them faster without putting in the work and I now see all the dogs as a reflection of me as a trainer, feeling the pressure lol!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


Had a fantastic session at agility tonight, he did 12 weaves!! He'd never done 12 before but i was convinced to try them and he was brilliant. I doubted that he was gonna weave at all cuz I did some training earlier today and he was a lunatic just ploughing through the weaves and just generally being an arse! He even picked up the entry at a 45 degree angle, superboy:-)! I've also been working alot on rear crosses cuz he's been spinning and he did two out of three tonight where he turned the right way, he really felt like he was listening and was just soo good. We did some quite complicated (for me!!) little jumping courses where he could of blasted ahead but didn't and listened to me and followed my arms. I'll try build some courses and post them. He was alot more sensible on the seesaw aswell, i've added a steady command as he jumps on and that seems to be working well. Tonight was the first time I actually felt like he was approaching a level where he could go in to a competition, whether I could handle him round a course is another story! And the secret to this success ...taking him on a two hour walk with Sarah and her two before training, just seemed to take the edge off his nuttyness :-p! I'll get some videos next week if I can find a willing voluteer!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Agility training

Agility training this week was good, did some slightly more complicated courses which we coped fairly well with. Had some sticky moments where he thought we really should be going one way and i thought we really should be going another... then he likes to stand and bark at me! Was pleased with his weaves, he was doing 8 weaves for the 1st time at training. I'm impressed with his entries but if he's going too fast he will still skip a pole further on down. Rear crosses need some work as he will spin when i cross behind, i've borrowed susan garretts dvd 'Success with One Jump' off my friend so i'm trying to learn some stuff off of that, i'm finding it all very enlightening so far! Also managed some snakes without too much drama and was really pleased with them as he wasn't jumping too long. Talking of jumping long, we do have a porblem with that as he has such a long stride, he can turn on a sixpence but he really extends over jumps which is great for straight lines but not so good for turning. Also when he knocks poles it is generally because he has tried to bounce a jump that every normal, sane dog would put a stride in! Contacts were really good, he still has food at the bottom of the contact but i am pleased with them. Tried one without food at the bottom though and that wasn't so good, he still went to postion but as soon as he realised there was no food he spun round to look at me like 'wheres the food!!'. I'll have to work on that, i have a plan!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Wall training

Since we have decided to change boxes to a flat front style I have begun retraining asher's box following an american technique of wall training. As with everything he took this all in his stride and is doing perfect turns off the wall. He turns completely horizontally and pushes down off the wall which is what I eventually what him to do off the box. We may train some of the team dogs this way but the rest of them I think we will work off a chute and build them up.

Quick update

It's been a while since I last posted but had a lot going on personally and had a lot to think about which unfortunately isn't to do with doggie stuff! Feeling a bit more together now so thought I'd catch up!

Agility wise Asher is doing really well, he's now jumping full height and so far (touch wood) isn't knocking many poles. His directionals are coming along but still need alot more work. His contacts are fab, they are very consistent, he (almost!) always goes straight to 20n 20ff enthusiatically and accurately and never breaks until he's released. He can do the seesaw on his own now but only as a single obstacle as if you give him a run up he goes too fast and slides off the end but he is learning! Weaves need a lot more work, we were having real problems with the channels at club as he was going too fast and not turning his body quick enough so jumping out. We kind of hit a deadlock where every week we would get to the same distance and then he would stop. I tried holding his collar and guiding him through but this didn't work as when he's restained he just switches off. So i've started working on it at home, i've got some tracking poles and started 2x2 training. He's picked this up incredibly quickly and in one wk he can now do 6poles from all angles, finding the entry himself and with me in all positions. He does 'swim' mainly which i'm really pleased about and i'm hoping he has linked it with his channel training. Still loads of work to do though as he still slips a pole or misses the entry if I drive him at the weaves too hard and of course I need to increase the number of poles but overall i'm pleased with the progress we're making. I as a handler however need ALOT of work, I tend to dog watch quite alot which means I don't get in to position quick enough, I also tend to rush turns as I attempt to keep up with him so either end up pushing him wide or pulling him off the jump. Oh well, i'll learn, just don't want to let him down!

Well the flyball season is over, no more competitions until April now :-(, his first season has gone so quickly and I couldn't of asked for more from my little superstar! He hasn't put a foot wrong all year, he won pairs at the british champs with Badger, he won singles at Stockbridge with a time of 3.87secs and he helped our team achieve our fastest ever time of 17.80secs. Since my last post we attended stockbridge and brinkworth. Weather at Stockbridge was glorious, we raced really well but things didn't quite go our way. Brinkworth was fun but ground was slippy so racing went down to best of 3 in the afternoon, again not much luck in the racing but still managed a 18.21secs so we were pretty pleased considering the conditions. We should have also gone to portway but one of our dogs came down with kennel cough so we pulled out. I still went to party with the High Flyers though and had a great time, really enjoyed the racing as I got to be on the line for flyers!

We had a ballistic team meeting last week to discuss training over the winter. We have decided to change boxes to a flat front box which I am really pleased about. I know there are differing opinions but I think if you take the time to teach a perfect turn they will make our team alot faster. We are having ours modified to be as close as possible to an american box. I'm a little bit nervous aswell as excited as I have been put in charge of box training. I have a plan of action (plus a few back up plans) but I'll bore you with that in another post. I'm hoping by the spring our dogs will be perfect!

On a final note, Tess my little princess is now offically retired aged 11.5. She has had a fantastic flyball career and she has given me so much joy over the years. Her first show was 10th July 1999 and her last was 5th October 2008. Now she can take it easy and watch all the youngsters. Hopefully she'll give some of them a bit of advice aswell!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Imber Court

Box still looking ok!

Me and my girly!

We weren't sure if this competition would even go ahead due to the terrible rain but we bravely headed down to Surrey on the Saturday morning. It was on a sports ground which had amazing drainage so despite all the rain the ground had held up very well. We had three teams in, the ballistics (1st team) and missiles (3rd team) ran Saturday. Missiles were a little out of there depth as we were on a seed time of 22.92secs with Jive in the team. Tess wasn't on top form due to it being a bit slippy but she tried hard and we managed a best time of 23.70secs. It was a 7 team division and we won 3 of our races to end up 4th so were really pleased with that.

Ballistics had an absolutely brilliant start to the day, we ran our 1st race against maple leafs and managed to beat them acheiving a new best ever time of 17.80secs and finally breaking that 18second barrier so we were well chuffed. Won are second race aswell, unfortunately the afternoon went down hill as we lost to the bandits with a light, a late and naughty Sonny running out again. Don't know why he's suddenly doing this again, back to training for him. He was ok in the blue lane against bassetts but they were just a little bit too quick for us. Last race against maple leaf raggers was such a shame, can't remember exactly what happened, we had them on speed but i think we one the first leg, then sonny ran out the next 2, then next 1 he stayed in and we won it. Then on the last leg he ran out, little bugger! We ended up 5th, nevermind if we'd of one the two races we should of won we would of been 2nd, if only...

Rockets ran Sunday, stayed dry pretty much all day which was nice. I got to run the wonderful Perry as Bobbie wasn't there. He is sooo lush to run, he's very tuned in to what you want him to do and he's just a big softy. Had a bit of an annoying day as first race we were a whole second faster but got 3 lights and lost. Then Jive was slipping and running out, then Bunty got her silly head on and started running round the ring, it all kind of fell apart. Once Bunty is in that mood she doesn't run at full speed, thought we had cracked it with her but she does like to keep us on our toes! We did manage to win one race and had the 2nd fastest time of the division of 18.88secs but still came last!

So a weekend of if only's i guess, i'm sure we are due a successful competition soon... 1and a half weeks til Stockbridge...

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Amazing Training!

Just a little post cuz I had an agility lesson with Char Harding on Sunday, was brilliant. Felt like I learnt so much and I have lots of homework to do! Asher was a good boy, he tried really hard even if some bits did blow his mind a little bit, well he is a boy, can't take it all in bless him! I've got training at Clifton tonight so I'll see if i can put some of the stuff I learnt in to place!

Catch up!

Oh dear, it's been ages!

Well we've had the BFA national championships which were FANTASTIC! Loved it soo much! Went up on the thurs night and managed to blag an awning to sleep in instead of faffing with a tent. Raced Tess Friday in division 21, she ran so well all day bless her, we were top seed and unbeaten all day so 1st place :-). It meant so much to me because it was Tess' last championships and we've always had bad luck at the champs, the amount of 6th place rosettes i've got is ridiculous so was lovely to get the little plaque and 1st place rosette! We did pairs with Kristian and Badger, was amazing even though they've never run together before and run on different boxes, badger and asher managed 8.25secs which won us the pairs on friday and i think it was the quickest time of the weekend:-). Friday night was ace, we had a quiz which our team won... what a brainy lot we are lol! Disco was really fun aswell, stayed up til bout 2 with the mad mutts!

Extraset ran Saturday and were really consistent all day but not quite quick enough to beat all the teams, they came 3rd. Saturday night was sooo funny, we had a flyballers that bounce competition where we had to race each other on spacehoppers! We made it to the final only for me to fall off and be beaten by Penny from the Bandits lol lol! Stayed up til bout 4, was a lil bit tipsy!

Sunday morning arrived very quickly and I didn't feel too great! Our 1st team had an absolute nightmare, one of our dogs decided he didn't want to come back over the jumps. He hasn't done this for months so we were absolutely gutted cuz once he's got it in his head it's like a switch has flicked and you can't switch it off so we just went nfc so he didn't get in to the habit of running out. Things got worse when another of our dogs followed suit and ran out straight through ashers path... bang! Think my heart stopped, the thought of anything happening to him doesn't bear thinking about. He also runs at over 30mph and is built like a brick wall so was very worried for the other dog aswell, luckily she was ok. Rockets also ran Sunday, things started badly with a reformed character returning to his old ways so we lost the 1st 2 races. We thought it was just not our day. Luckily he got his act together in the afternoon and they did there fastest ever time of 18.79secs and won two races. Thats nearly as fast as the 1st team, me thinks we might be stealing that height dog! They came 4th. I watched all of Division 1 and it was absolutely brilliant, such close racing, High Flyers defo deserved to win but all the teams were great.

So back home from champs and the the following Sunday morning I drove the 192miles down to sellindge in Kent for the Shooting Stars tournament, we wouldn't usually go that far but it was Kerry and Jason's wedding so really wanted to go. We only took 1 team, a slightly depleted 1st team which ended up being bottom seed in division 1 so we didn't hold out much hope. We managed a fastest time of 18.52secs which is the fastest those 4 dogs have done so that was good and we ended up 4th :-)... unfortunately only because 2 teams went down to 3 dogs but we'll take it! The wedding party on the Sunday night was brilliant, really enjoyed it, had a sweet fight which was totally not my fault lol and I got rather drunk so all in all a good weekend! Also Shooting Stars broke the 17 second barrier with 16.98secs, it looked sooo good and i think they could go faster.

Oh yeah and flyball was on tv in the form of a piece on the one show, they filmed all weekend at the champs for approx. 3 minutes on the tv. Personally I wasn't impressed, it wasn't at all factual and I think if you didn't already know what flyball was you wouldn't have a much better idea after! Nevermind, good publicity I suppose!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Flyball pictures

Asher at Chilterns

Asher at Stockbridge

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

A few pics of the doglets

These are just a few photos from my phone that I thought I'd post

Asher on his wall!

Asher and Tess pretty tired

Tess looking pretty


Asher looking handsome

Anglesey week -The parties and other stuff!

Well Friday evening (the day we arrived) we were going to have an early night until me and Louise started on the cider (we are from the west country!), we were up until 3 and had to get up at 8! That kinda set the tone for the week really.

Monday was a rest day for us so we all took the dogs to the beach, they love it there and we quite like it too. We all went in the sea, up to our knees anyway and the dogs swam. The sun shone and there was nowhere I'd rather of been at that time, it was lush.

Monday night was the 'official' party or PODfest as it became known, they had a lady come in to do the entertainment. She's been coming for a few years now and is brilliant, she really gets everyone involved and shes got a great voice. She got everyone singing and dancing, not that are team needs much encouragement and along with the mad mutts we caused are usual chaos. I led the amarillo around the field for the 2nd year running... yeh i'm cool! Then it started raining and we carried on dancing in the rain, good times! We then all descended on high flyers base camp, where the party continued and the talk rapidly switched to flyball boxes. We really need a new box for the team but can't decide which sort to get, anyway everyone has a different opinion and I will discuss it in a separate post. About 2 we literally staggered home, still soaking wet and 5 of us carried on talking til gone 4am, it was the chocolate vodka that finished us in the end!

Tuesday we went to the leisure centre, went swimming and got to have a proper shower which was very much needed!

Thursday was the other big party to celebrate Louise's from High flyers 21st birthday. The weather was rubbish by then so we had it in the admin gazebo by the ring. Had a wicked night, quite a lot of people there and we played games and stuff. Me and Mark from my team did an allnighter, were hardcore. We walked to the beach at 5 in the morning with Carol (who couldnt sleep) and the dogs. Was really fun, I've attempted this walk on several previous anglesey encounters but we usually get bored once we reach the golf course and turn back so it was nice to finally make it!

So all in all we had a brilliant time in Anglesey, shame we had to come home a day early as I missed lee's birthday party :-(. Can't wait til next year although some of my team members won't be returning due to the behaviour of another team, such a shame when that happens.

I'd also like to give a massive congratulations to the High Flyers who carried on up to the Wirral when they left Anglesey and managed a fastest time of 17.13seconds making them top seed in the country! They also won the division :-).

Anglesey week -The racing

The racing was great, was really nice to race against teams we don't usually see and of course spend quality time with the ones we do! We had two teams: the missiles and the rockets as we didn't have all the first team dogs there. Rockets raced saturday, we were on a seed time of 19.46secs, which ideally we didn't want to break because of the summer champs in a couple of weeks. It was tricky as we had molly the little border terrier who runs around 7seconds plus 5 pretty fast collies (one of which won't run over full height) so the plan was to run three races over 9" and two over 14". So the first two races we ran over 9" and we promptly lost as we were doing 20s with Asher and 21s without. First race in the afternoon we ran over 14, the plan was for the first 3 dogs to do there normal thing and for me to hang back with Asher and let go when I thought he could win it, easier said than done! So yeh I broke our seed time to 19.30secs...oops, i was like 10ft late so not alot else i could do. We won that race and the next race over 14". Our last race was against demon dogz (can't remember if it was pawz or racers) who were running mid 20s so we went with molly and the 3 fastest collies. It was brilliant racing that went to the wire, we won it 3-2 which put us 3rd, we were thrilled considering how much mixing around we had to do and Asher was still running 3.9 in the last race (over 9) even in the heat, good boy!

Missiles raced Sunday, Tess ran in this team. We were greatly helped by Jive running in this team as even though she is nearly 10 she still runs well under 5 seconds. We've stuggled the last couple of comps as she has been promoted to the rockets but we are still running on a seed time with her in the team of 23.37secs. Speed wise we didn't have a lot on the other teams but what we did have was complete consistency which in the end won us 1st place :-). Was really pleased with Tess as she ran consistent 5.7secs, I know thats not fast but for a dog that is over 11yrs old and has never exactly been lightening I think its pretty good!

For the 2nd comp of the week, both teams ran Wednesday. Missiles were on first and it became apparent to me that Tess is affected by the weather, as it was quite cold and the ground a bit slippy. Tess is very careful when its slippy and her joints weren't warm enough to be as supple, consequently she wasn't as quick as the weekend before and i didn't run her as much. Fortunately two of the other dogs on the team ran much better than they had on the previous weekend as the heat had really got to them. This resulted in another 1st place :-).

By the time the Rockets raced the ground had dried out a bit, we went with the same format as before. And again we lost the first two races although one of them only just which was a shame. The third race was against Hotshots, we decided to run over 14", it was really hard judging when to let asher go as there last dog is tiny but also pretty quick. Unfortunately I underestimated Asher and despite still being about 6 foot late we did a 18.98seconds... double ooops! We then won the next two races, one over 14" and one over 9" which wasn't as close as soxon were running 21secs. We came 2nd overall. Not bad for a week: 2 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd :-)

To see some pictures of Asher and the rockets racing, go to equipics http://www.equipics.co.uk/viewdir.tlx?albumid=166330

Really love the pics of him here as you can see him run on the right hand side of the jumps so that he can get on the box properly, also love the pic of him on the box and coming off of it :-)

Really enjoyed watching division 1, Shooting Stars were still a force to be reckoned with despite not having dodgy dot-com there super height dog, shame they're not at the summer champs this year!

Anglesey Week - the weather

Well I've made it back safely from Anglesey after what can only be described as a week of two halfs weather wise! The first weekend was absolutely beautiful, it was so hot and sunny I got sunburnt (which is now peeling *yuck*). Then Monday we had showers culminating in a proper thunderstorm overnight, I was literally clinging on to Tess as she was panicking trying to escape from the tent... it's only as she's got older that it has started to bother her, Asher just slept. From there the weather gradually got worse, and after very strong winds thursday night and torrential rain we decided to come home friday fearing that the tent wouldn't survive another night!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Agility 11th week

Well we had some good bits and bad bits at agility tonight. His dog walk looked really good tonight, his final position was alot better than it has been as he had been lifting his back legs off the contact but he held in the correct position until I released him so I was really pleased. His aframe was ok, it was fine when there was someone there waiting to feed him in FP but when they weren't there he wasn't really driving to his target and was more looking for the next obstacle which I can see becoming a problem in the future so more work on this I think! Jumping was quite challenging tonight as he seemed very hyper (I can always tell cuz he makes a very odd screechy-growl when you release him). The first thing we did was go ons in to tunnels which he LOVES so after that, thats all he wanted to do! So when we tried to do a sequence of left turns I think I lost him three times in to the tunnel... naughty boy, also unlike him cuz he usually tries so hard to listen, luckily he redeemed himself because his right turns were lovely! Hes also started to pick his feet up, were now working them over medium height and I was worried he would knock loads of poles because of all his flyball training and lots of speed but so far he is not doing too badly. We didn't do any weaves tonight but I am thinking of getting a practice set for the garden as I can see this being a weakness for him.

Were off to Anglesey on Friday, actually can not wait, been looking forward to this for ages! Lots of parties happening whilst were up there and the dogs really love it... lets just pray for sunshine!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008


Asher was born on 1st May 2006 on a farm in Llandovery, Wales. He is a shortish coated tri blue merle working sheepdog. I'd always intended to get a pedigree collie from working lines as my second dog but up until a week before I got him I still wasn't allowed to get another dog. I got the go ahead to get a puppy on the Tuesday and Asher came home on the Sunday. I kind of had to seize the moment before anyone had a chance to change there mind! As it was such short notice all the litters I had been looking at had been booked in advance and there wasn't alot else around so I decided to do a tour of Wales. I found 4 litters to look at and off we went! The first litter were lovely but were all black and white, I didn't really mind what colour but as I already had a b+w I wanted something different, they also looked like they might end up a bit small. The second litter only one pup was left, I really liked the mother and father but the pup was quiet and a bit too laid back for my liking (i was looking for a flyball dog!!). The 3rd litter included Asher, there was just something about him, he wanted to be with us and was so so friendly. We still went to see the last litter as I expected them to be the best pups as both the parents were ISDS reg. trial dogs but I didn't really like the father as he was too chunky and just not my sort or collie. I also just didn't click with the puppies so we drove all the way back up from Bridgend to Llandovery to collect Asher. I think I drove over 400miles that day and we didn't get home til after midnight.

He was a very active puppy (not your usual play then fall asleep kind), he was on the go all the time, he also didn't like being left at night and it took him about a month to stop screaming in his cage for the first hour when we went to bed. However, he was extremely clean and was completely housetrained within about 2-3wks, he also never nipped. He didn't do much chewing and he learnt things very quickly. He's such a nice dog to work with because he is incredibly loyal and all he wants to do is please me, he can be quite sensitive because of this so will swtich off if he thinks he's doing something wrong.

He is quite a tall dog and has very long legs, he took ages to get control of them! I used to think he would never be very fast because he was almost a year old before he could keep up with Tess, luckily something clicked and all that changed, now he is super fast!

I started putting in the groundwork for flyball as soon as I got him, he was retrieveing at 10weeks! I knew the most important thing was getting the drive bringing the ball back so I really worked on that. I also got him obsessed with a tuggy which is what he still runs back to on his flyball runs to this day. I've never had a problem with him dropping his ball on the way back because I proofed this very early by ensuring he always brought the ball right to me before he could play tuggy. He is still reluctant to play tuggy unless he has brought me something first! I also started teaching him to turn around my legs (both ways until he decided which way he was going to turn). At about 7months, it looked like he was going to turn right so I started his cone work and started him on the box at about 10months. He started full training at 12months and picked it up instantly, it was like he was born to do it, he started fast and has just got faster! His 1st starters competition was at Anglesey almost exactly a year ago with his team mate Sonny, George from the Dolphins and Taff from Hotshots. He ran start dog flawlessly all day, only from 20ft as I didn't want to mess up his box, we won are division with a time of 19.87secs, I was very pleased! He took part in one other starters tournament and his 1st open was Newark in November last year. Unfortunately, a week before Newark he decided he didn't want to turn right anymore and that he was infact a lefty, this completely ruined the months of work I put in. We are finally getting there with his left turns now but it has taken a while!

Since his first show (where he was a little star) he has gone from strength to strength, he is the fastest dog on our team and runs around 4.00-4.10 over 14inches. He ran for the first time over 11inches last weekend and was seen to run a 3.60, I didn't see it so I don't know if I believe it yet but I know he ran late 3.7s and 3.8s so I am thrilled, he is my special boy!

I always indended to do agility with him but wanted to wait until his flyball was completely solid first. We eventually started in May and are 10wks in to the beginner course. He is doing really well, he has no fear of any of the equipment and really seems to understand my body movements so I need to make sure I get it right! His contacts are looking good and he loves going on in to tunnels. Need to work on his directional commands and also weaves as he has trouble finding the entry when it gets too narrow, he's fine at about 8-9inches. I would really like to compete with him as I know I've got a very special dog and I want him to be as successful as possible.
I would also eventually like to do some obedience with him, I don't think it will ever be his speciality but I 've worked really hard with him and he can work really well so I would like to see if he can do well. His only fault is his behaviour with other dogs particularly in a confined space or when he's on the lead, he can be quite agressive so taking him to obedience classes isn't really very fun as I have to be very aware all the time. Out on walks and at flyball he's fine as long as he doesn't get harassed. Oh well, a small price to pay I suppose when you have the dog of a lifetime. He really is amazing and I can't wait to be with him through everything we achieve in the future.

Mobella my Tess

Tess was born on 2nd May 1997 (she has the same birthday as David Beckham:-)) at the Mobella kennels in Southampton. Her mother is Mobella Just a Dream and her father is Mobella Tuckers Luck, who has sired many good puppies in agility, obedience and the showring. She stands at 18ins at the shoulder and is quite petite. She is black and white classically marked and very pretty.

I don't really think I knew what I was letting myself in for when I brought my very cute, little puppy home. I had wanted a border collie so that I could train it for dog sports but I hadn't anticipated how far one little dog would push me! She's naturally very herdy and also quite dominant and with me being only 10 when I got her and not very dominant it caused some problems. She would nip me all the time particularly during training sessions and when she got excited, she herded, chased shadows and snapped at cars and bridges but mainly me! She thought my dad was god so if he was around she wouldn't take any notice of what I told her to do. The training class I went to were not at all helpful and mainly just sneered at the fact a 10yr old had been allowed a collie puppy, I went every week but things didn't get better. I rarely left happy and quite often in tears! So I decided to leave, I had done my research before getting her and I realised I was making more progress with her at home rather than putting her in such a stressful situation every week. I'm making her sound awful and when I look back she probably wasn't that bad but at the time it was quite stressful! Well to cut a long story short, I put alot of work in and trained her myself. We went back to the christmas party at training and won a couple of classes beating some dogs in the top class so I think I proved them wrong!

Since then she has learnt loads of tricks and is very obedient, I can take her anywhere, put her in any situation and she is now very sweet and loving. At 18months we started flyball training, she picked it up incredibly quickly even though she wasn't very fast. As we started competing she got more confident and excited by the atmosphere so gradually got faster. She peaked at around the 4.8secs mark, nothing to set the world on fire but then I could probably count the number of times she's ran out on one hand (in nearly 10yrs) so atleast she's realiable and she loves it! She's now 11 and still runs in our bottom team, she can only manage low jumps now but her box is still really good and she's always sound the day after racing so I still think she's fit enough to be running even if it's not every race of the day. This however will be her last season as I want her to have a long happy retirement so I'm going to enjoy any racing we still have left together. She has her Flyball dog GOLD award for 15,000points and currently has about 18,700 points but sadly I don't think she'll reach the next award.

When she was younger I also taught her agility in my back garden with equipment I made my dad make, she picked up everything really well and probably would have been an excellent agility dog. We took part in a couple of cleverdogs competitions which we had a lot of fun in but weren't quite quick enough to win. When I got Asher I took her back to obedience classes (different club) as she hated being left at home, she fitted straight back in to it and really enjoys it. Her heelwork is gradually getting better as she used to work quite forward, she has a lovely recall and retrieve and her stays are completely solid. I thought about entering obedience competitions with her but outside she gets her madam head on and will NOT work!! All she wants to do when you're on grass is herd!

Overall she is a little madam who is too clever for her own good but she is also my best friend who's always been there with me whilst I've been growing up. She's taught me alot and introduced me to the wonderful world of flyball, she's my princess and I love her more than words can tell.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The First Post

Hi, I don't really know where to start but I thought at 5.00am on my 21st birthday would be a good time! I read alot of blogs so thought it was about time I started my own although we shall see if I have enough to say and if I can keep it up!

Ok, well my name's Natalie, I was born and still live in Bristol, I just love it here, don't think I could live anywhere else (although I would one day like a big house in the country on the outskirts of bristol!). I go to Bristol University and study Anatomical Science with Veterinary Anatomy although I don't know what I'm going to do with that yet.

I'm a big animal lover, particularly dogs. I've had dogs throughout my life, being brought up with two Dobermanns. I wanted my own dog for a long time, researching breeds and reading training books, I think I knew pretty much every dog breed by the time I was 6! I got my 1st puppy for my 10th birthday back in 1997, I called her Tess and I suppose thats where my story begins. I'll write a separate post about her as there's alot to say about our time together.

I joined the Bristol Ball-istics Flyball team in November 1998 when Tess was 18months and have been with them ever since. Our 1st competition was at Longleat on 10th July 1999 (My 12th birthday) and we were instantly hooked. Since then we have travelled the country competing and having a great time, I love the people in my team, I have grown up with them and we're like a family. I also love the thrill of racing and still can't wait for the weekend when a competition is coming up. The parties are also amazing!

I got my 2nd puppy Asher in June '06, he is the most fabulous flyball dog and everything i could of wished for. He started competing, aged 18months at Newark showground in November '07 and hasn't looked back. Recently I started agility training with Clifton agility club and I am really enjoying it. It is a new challenge for both me and Asher although I think we are doing pretty well so far!

I am also a member of Stoke Bishop Dog Training Club, where both my dogs are in the top class although I don't go as often as I should! I have competed with Tess in a few league matches where she has done very well but as yet we haven't ventured to a proper obedience competition, maybe sometime in the future!

This blog is to record my training and competition results for both flyball and agility and hopefully it will become as good a read as some of the brilliant and very imformative blogs I already read on here.