Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Acremead and Best Laid Plans!

Wow what gorgeous weather, I have a sun tan... in april, brilliant!

Rockets ran Saturday in Div 2 (Jemma, Elliot, Smartie, Piper, Perry and Jamie). We were really pleased with the way all the dogs ran. We let Jemma just run blue lane and she was really focused, she did warm ups in red and didn't seem to look across then either but we didn't want to risk running her as we wanted her to get in the habit of doing it right. Elliot was excellent, box turn was so much better than at Becketts farm so winter training (and Smart visits!) clearly paid off! Smartie was consistent as ever but as expected her box turn regressed, she is very stuck in her ways and wasn't totally independent on the new turn anyway. Not too bothered as she has a nice fast turn anyway. I was however bothered that Jamie's turn deteriorated alot, the new box turn had made him quite a bit quicker so it's very annoying that it didn't hold. Part of the problem was that because of the heat and Jamie tiring we couldn't warm him up between races so couldn't remind him of the turn with the props in. We will see if we can fix it over this summer. Perry was good following him being out for the last couple of months injured but has slowed a little hopefully this will come back with fitness. Piper was amazing! I love that dog! He ran start and in the pack and didn't bat an eyelid. He ran out once when the other lane caught his eye and he came off the box really wide but other than that he was perfect. His box looked really good, a couple of dodgy ones but he was trying really hard to do what he had been taught and had some stunning ones aswell. Taking off his start times (which were understandably quite large as it was his handler's 1st time running in competition) he was running 4.1s-4.2s and I'm pretty sure he has alot more to give. The team only managed a best time of 20.00secs (Piper, Smartie, Elliot and Jamie I think) but the ground seemed to be running quite slow and Jamie really tired with the heat (and 6races) so overall pretty good and they came 4th.

Ballistics were in Div 1 on Sunday. I described the planned team in my previous post but unfortunately Angie and June broke down on the way and couldn't make it, which meant we had no Bunty and we would have to run over 12". So Asher went on the sheet as 5th dog just in case we needed him and we thought he could do a few legs anyway if there were any races we thought we could win. Well Diefer had other ideas. Diefer decided he couldn't possibly jump 12" and was running up to the line and swerving out around the jumps up to the box, once he got the ball he would turn and come back down over the jumps. What a git! Couldn't believe it as we've done power jumping and full runs over 12" this winter with no problems. The only way he would do it was to run him right from the start gate which obviously made us considerably slower. So super sub got to make a lot more of an appearance than we originally planned. We got to go start which he loves anyway and 1st leg he does 3.95secs. The boy was back! Overall he probably did 3 full races split over 4 races. We rested him totally against Bassetts and Molten as we knew we couldn't beat them anyway. He went on to run 3.83secs as a best time with quite a few other 3.8s and low 3.9s. I couldn't believe it, considering how unfit I think he is and over 12" aswell! So proud of him :). We won 2 races against Dream team and Lightning Strikes. Our fastest time was 18.58secs. Luna, Lacy and Sonny ran well. Was really pleased with all there box turns. Luna ran 4.6-4.7 (she ran 4.8 over 12" at Becketts), Lacy and Sonny both started off well but flagged quite alot as the day went on so are clearly lacking race fitness.

We are a bit stumped as to where to go from here. I expected Luna to be a bit quicker (but as I said lots of teams were saying there dogs were off there normal times) and I didn't expect Diefer to act as he did. At Acremead in 2 weeks we have 4 teams (2 of 4dogs, 1 of 5 and 1 of 6) and need to decide who goes where. At the moment we are thinking of putting Piper in at the deep end and putting him straight up 2 the 1sts but were not sure if this is fair on his handler who was sooo nervous this weekend. Then Diefer and Sonny would come down to Rockets. This would mean a 1st team of Piper, Luna, Lacy and Asher. Rockets as Diefer, Sonny, Smartie and Bunty. Extraset as Jemma, Elliot, Perry, Jive and Jamie. We will have to train Piper over 12" to see how he does and see if we can persuade his handler that the 1st team isn't that scary a place! Any thoughts on Diefer greatly appreciated please!

Asher was back at Smart on Monday and his leg has been given the all clear, I just have to continue with the exercises to bring it up to full strength. They couldn't believe the muscle he had developed in the 3 weeks since I last went! 1 more appointment in a months time as a final check and then he will be discharged.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Flyball and Asher got to do it properly :)

Yay Asher got to do full runs. His favourite part was of course that he got to do box work and he did lovely box turns. With the full runs, started out releasing him from the gate and worked him back to 30ft. Wasn't really winding him up as I wanted him to take it steady but he was accelerating well. Not at full speed but then I wouldn't expect him to be especially not running from that distance (he does need a good run up, he's like a jet taking off!). Was good to see him doing really good box turns and then trying to accelerate on the way back. He tends when he is racing to carry the speed he generates on the outrun to bring him back as well so doesn't really drive back that much so I was happy that he was picking up speed on the return as he didn't have the usual speed from his outrun to rely on.

The rest of training went well. I got to run the lovely Elliot who is an angel in the flyball lane and so easy to run. We trained the teams for acremead (minus piper who will be in Rockets) . So ran Rockets as Jemma, Perry, Smartie, Elliot and Jamie. The plan is to run Jemma in blue lane (this is her good lane) and Perry in red lane. Piper, Smartie and Elliot can swap the middle 2 positions and Jamie on the end. We've submitted 18.9 which on paper should be about right but you never know! Ballistics are going to be Diefer, Luna, Sonny, Lacy and Bunty (unfortunately Rosie has gone lame). They all looked good at training, was happy with boxes except Diefer who seemed to regress quite alot, very annoying as up close he does lovely turns. We've submitted 18.4 which again should be very achievable but the fastest time they did without Asher last year was 18.76 so we will see! Planning to do a race or 2 over 12" aswell to see what difference that makes.

Had some real breakthroughs with the starters this week aswell. Finally got Moss doing some nice 4feet turns with a ball. This has taken a looong time but I'm hoping something has clicked now. The problem we have is that he has no motivation to drive off the box, he is not interested in a 2nd ball or tuggy once he gets the ball in the box and at the moment is only interested in coming to me. This is something that we will have to work on and I am going to have to distance myself a bit from him so that he will work for his mum. He should be doing full runs within the next couple of training sessions so we will see the full extent of his drive problems then. I'm hoping because his eye is so strong that he will be a racer and that will be his motivation to drive back but I'd much prefer he was concentrating on us as he still has a tendency to chase! Ruby is now picking up the ball, she is only holding it for a second but still progress. We've also seen improvements in Charlies box and he is driving better to the box, he is certainly now ready for atleast starter competition but his handler still requires some training! Chez and Abby have stopped training, quite annoying when you put so much time in to them! But we have 2 newbies to fill the spaces. Dylan a lovely Staffie cross who is loving every minute and doing really well. And Freya a Large Munsterlander who has an amazing natural box turn.

Pups are about 8months now. They get faster and more focused every week. The beginnings of box work will start soon, but we will take it slowly and I will be setting homework as this lot have absolutely no excuse not to be brilliant lol!

So so looking forward to this weekend, really need a good flyballing weekend, it's been too long!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Back to Agility

Well 1st time at agility class since before Christmas. I was expecting him to be a raving lunatic. He was actually very focused and easy to handle. He only did medium height which of course wasn't a problem for him although I don't think he was too sure what to do with his striding. His weaves were quite rusty, he missed one entry and on another course just ran past them. He also came out at number 10 the next time so got him to do them right and didn't do anymore for the night, didn't want him to get in to a habit.

Contacts were fab, had the target at the end of all of them (no food) and he was really driving and stopping perfectly. He is really good at still stopping if I run past but need to work on crossing behind him on contacts as this does tend to slow him up.

I was actually most pleased with his jumping and responsiveness. I think I went in to the class with the attitude that I didn't care if he did every course wrong I just wanted to try out my handling and commands as I've been working on his wing wraps and directionals out on walks. It worked well, I felt like I was clearer and less naggy and he was much quieter. He barks most when he's frustrated with what you're asking him but because I was commanding him earlier he was able to prepare himself more.

So overall very pleased with him after 4months of no agility. He will definitely do medium again next week and then we'll be back at smart so they can let me know if he can move up to full height.

Monday, 5 April 2010

This and That

Just a general update really.

We were supposed to be competing at Stockbridge this weekend. I was planning to go Saturday morning to help out with the teams and watch div 1 but I phoned just before I was due to leave and was told of the horrific conditions, we weren't sure how long racing would continue for so it seemed a bit silly to go all the way down when I wasn't even running my dog. Luckily I didn't as Sunday and Monday of the show were cancelled.

Piper did get to run a few races in starters on Friday with the Bassetts and apparently did really well running as start dog so he'll now come straight out in to open at Acremead in 2 weeks time.

Missiles also got to run. From what I've been told the star of the day was Fraggle who ran faultlessly all day and was single striding :-). I'm not sure where they came though!

Both are other teams were supposed to run Sunday and although I think everyone was a bit disappointed they were also a bit relieved about not having to run in the mud! Lets hope for better weather at Acremead!

Asher continues to improve. I rarely see him favouring the leg now and his exercise is increasing more and more. I've been taking him out for about 1hr 20mins with him doing 25mins free running, 15 mins lead walking, 25 mins run and finish with 15mins walk. He is certainly quite unfit by his standards (but not by most dogs standards lol!) and his leg seems tired after but he's not lame on it which suggests to me he is using it properly so hopefully it will build up quickly. He went back to flyball for the 1st time on Sunday and just did runbacks, he was very happy, he didn't look all that fast but then he was running on his own and not being wound up. He was desperate to get back on the box (he looovessss boxwork!) but we'll save that for next Sunday. The important thing is that he was fine afterwards. And I don't think I've ever seen him so contented when we got home, bless him! We're hopefully back at agility on Wednesday to do a few bits over medium height and some weaves.

His physio exercises have increased again, he now has a wobble cushion and has to do all his weight shifting and balance exercises blindfolded to really get him to use his muscles correctly. I'm lucky I have such a amiable dog!

Think thats it for now so I'll just leave you with the boy.