Saturday, 4 December 2010

On a roll...

Whilst I was blogging I thought I might aswell catch up on recent events and training.

Winter training has once again commensed in earnest. The main objective is making our fabulous babies future flyball stars and so far it's going to plan. Our group that we call the intermediates consists of Loki, Shani, Merlin and Ruby. No other word can describe Shani other than amazing... box turn, speed, focus, it's all there. I say this but she hasn't actually done a full run yet, actually none of them have, we are playing the slow game! Loki gets quicker and more focused every week, his box turn is great. He has a very strong eye and desperately wants to herd, he doesn't really chase, he just stares, but it can be difficult to break him away, as I say he is getting there! Merlin is our collie/cocker cross, he will probably be an 11" (10"if were really lucky) height dog and is looking like becoming a cracking little dog who always puts his all in to it. His box turn is nice but still needs refining, it's a touch wide at the moment and front feet hit is a bit low but it'll get there. Then there is Ruby who this time last year wouldn't touch a ball. She's now retrieving a ball and triggering the box. Box training with her is hard because she does lovely on/offs the box with no ball, but she cannot catch the ball when it is in the hole when she turns this way. So when the ball is in we are letting her do her own thing to encourage her to catch the ball (she won't catch anything if you throw it to her, she lets it fall on the floor 1st!). This is working and she is now catching the ball out of the box, when this is more reliable, i'll start encouraging her to turn properly and still catch the ball. Other main thing with her is confidence, she doesn't like changeovers at the moment and her speed is greatly affected if she feels nervous about anything around her.

With the team dogs, I'm aiming to get as many box reps as I can manage with the props in and head to head racing to encourage them to hold their turns. We are also working on various speed exercises to get the best out of them and also give them a bit of variety in what they do at flyball training. My plans with Asher are really just more box reps with prop and work a little bit on foot position to try and get rid of his double hitting, not sure if that will be possible now that he's been racing so long though (maybe a certain Mr Robbins can help with that in march!). The main thing really is making him hold his turn when he's going anchor and out behind the other dog. Ideally we want him back running anchor on ballistics next year so that would make a big difference to him.

We also have our new group of starters who are the hardest bunch I've ever had, I think I'm going to have to adapt our box training technique for most as building the confidence and drive to jump on and off the box is taking a while. Fingers crossed something will click in the next couple of weeks, would make my job a bit easier!

We are also in the process of redoing the Ballistic website as the way it was before wasn't really in the style we wanted it so noone ever really used it, i'll post a link when it's finished then you 3 people who read this will be able to see who these dogs are that I babble on about all the time!
I've kinda lost all enthusiasm for agility in the last few months. I think the problem is that I feel we really haven't made any progress at all in the last year and in some ways have gone backwards. The frustrating thing is that I know the sort of things that I want to work on and how I want to go about it but would be very difficult in a class environment and its just not long enough to work with him. Asher is the sort of dog that will just keep on working, he doesn't really tire and sometimes he needs a long session to really get what you are trying to teach him in to his head. I've thought about private lessons but the trainers that I would want to go to are either too far away or not taking on new people. I do still have a lesson with Anthony Clarke to take that Sarah bought me for my birthday so maybe that will give me some motivation and i'll be prepared to drive that bit further every week for a lesson! Actually if someone could just buy me a field and a set of agility equipment that would be great, thanks very much.

So thats about it, Ashers well, his bad leg seems fine, he went lame the other week on it, checked him over and turned out he had the most massive bruise and lump ever on it where he must of bashed it on a walk, he's such a nutter! It's all gone now so that was a relief!

Acremead and Becketts

Just wanted to finish off the write ups for the last couple of shows. I don't really remember alot of what happened so I'll try keep it short.

Acremead is a lovely show that I enjoy going to, however the ground isn't really great for times so we just went to race. We had Piper back, racing in div 1 was great, we totally messed up against Molten and lost on lights, we held it together for the other races resulting in a very close last race against Bassetts. They just had us by a smidgen but it was great racing. We ended up finishing 3rd with a best time of 17.43secs. Asher struggled with the ground and was a bit inconsistent, he still didn't seem quite on form. I was still pleased with him, he always gives me 110% :). I don't remember the results for our other teams so i'll leave it at that.

Becketts Farm was our last show of the season and we had 3 teams. Missiles ran Saturday and raced brilliantly to win their division, good for them to end on a high. Rockets ran Sunday in a very strong 7 team div 2. Team was Diefer, Sonny, Smartie, Jamie and Perry. In the morning they raced the higher seeds of the division so unfortunately lost all 3. Changes were also a bit out. However in the afternoon they came out fighting and fought hard to win all their afternoon races and set a new best seed time of the year of 18.59secs. They finished 4th.

Ballistics were in div 1 with a team of Piper, Lacy, Asher and Luna. We had incredible racing. 1st race was against Bassetts, thrilling 5 legger, we managed to do our fastest ever time of 17.05secs (just 0.05secs off joing the special 16s club, nearly did it with a 16.95 but we had a slightly early change) and win the race :). Our race against Live Wires was also very tight, we managed to win the 1st leg but when they swapped dogs they just had us by a little bit so we lost 3-1. Extreme were unlucky against us getting ball fumbles and early changeovers in the wrong places, had they been clean runs we would have been very close but as it was we won that race too. So our hopes of winning the division rested on Bassetts beating Live Wires, we watched intently but Live Wires just managed to hold their nerve and win the race resulting in them winning the division and us coming 2nd which was still a great result in such a strong div 1. Really pleased with the way all the dogs ran, Luna was absolutely faultless, she looked confident and controlled and noone would ever have known that we ever had a problem with her. Asher was back on top form, absolutely flying running 3.7-3.9 all day, it amazes me that he can do that over 12". So a great way to end the season although in some ways I feel the end came too soon and had we had an extra 1 or 2 comps on good ground we would have broken the 17s barrier. Nevermind, next year.