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!

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