Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Sunday, 7 December 2008
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
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
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Monday, 3 November 2008
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.
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!
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Me and my girly!
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
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
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
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 :-).
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!
Thursday, 24 July 2008
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
Thursday, 10 July 2008
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.