Sunday, 25 September 2011

Stockbridge - 2nd weekend

Unfortunately due to recently starting a new job I didn't stay the whole week at Stockbridge. I returned on Wednesday evening in time for Curry night, yum! We then had entertainment Thursday night which was awesome!

We knew we had a hard time trying to match the previous weekends results. We had Piper and Bonnie back so were able to put in the 4 teams. Rockets (Diefer, Merlin, Bonnie, Loki) managed a best ever time of 17.79secs and came 3rd. Diefer ran well, katie had been pestering her mum to run him back to a 2nd ball which really made a difference and he ran quite a few 4.3s. Good old extraset who we expected to struggle without Jemma or Merlin came 2nd with a best time of 19.68secs. Missiles also managed 2nd with a best time of 24.64secs.

Ballistics (Piper, Asher, Shani, Lacy, Luna) had a tough day. Asher had been fine all week and had done some runs the day before to work on box and stuff but when it came to racing he seemed ok in the warm up and 1st leg but then dropped drastically down to 4.3. We did 16.71 despite this (honestly think the world is against us doing any superfast times!), he then sat out the next race and I tried him in the final race of the morning but he still didn't seem right so I pulled him out for the rest of the day. I wondered if maybe I had overworked him the day before and felt mega guilty especially with the Champs a week away. The rest of the team had a thrilling 5legger last race against Stars but they just had us by a nose so we ended up 2nd. On the plus side Piper hit his 1st sub 4s by doing 3.94 twice, a 3.96 and a 3.98 :)

Stockbridge - 1st weekend

This was so long ago now, I remember very little. We were missing a few dogs so didn't have Rockets in. Merlin went in to Extraset and ran a PB of 4.35secs over 9" and then ran 4.38secs 3times in a row in the last race, clever spanner. Sonny also started to come in to his own and ran pretty consistent 4.4s. This contributed to Extraset coming 1st with a best ever of 18.74secs.

Diefer and Loki went in to Ballistics with Asher, Shani, Lacy and Luna. I couldn't get there until just after 9am due to being at work so missed the 1st race against Essex which we unfortunately lost. We got there in time for 2nd race where we got our act together and did 16.66. We won all our races after that including a very close last race against Stars to come 1st.

Missiles also had a great day winning all their races to come 1st so we had a clean sweep :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Trying to Catch Up... Newlands Farm 23/24th July

Oh dear, I've got really behind!

Well, at Newlands farm we only had 2 teams as we were missing the Missiles and most of the 1st team. Rockets were Saturday and Extraset were Sunday. I went Saturday to run Elliot with Diefer, Merlin and Loki. The dogs all ran really well together and despite the ground not looking like it would run fast we managed to better our seed time to 17.91secs. I don't really remember much else about the day, other than we won all our races and therefore won the division :).

I missed Extraset (Sonny, Perry, Smartie, Jamie) running Sunday but apparently the dogs raced well, they just found it a little tough without having Jemma and came 5th.

Wow that was pretty brief for me!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Kilnsea Event Field, Reading

We had all 4 teams in again this weekend. Missiles were Saturday but me and Sarah just went for the day Sunday so didn't get to see them run. They did well to come 3rd.

On Sunday we had Ballistics 1st in as 3rd seed in division 1. The team was the usual of Piper, Asher, Shani, Lacy, Luna. Our 1st race was against Bassetts so we went without Lacy. Despite the weather and ground conditions not being good, Asher ran better than he did last weekend. We gelled quite well together but as Bassetts got lights we were holding back on last dog. On 1 of the runs the 1st three dogs did 12.17secs (pretty good, once asher is back up to speed we are hoping sub 12 ;)) but Carol had a little blonde moment and forgot to let go of Luna! Oopsy! Luna doing under 4.25 would of broken the British record and as you dedicated readers will know, she has done a 4.08 this year so this is all very exciting! We ended up having a best time of 17.13 in that race, ohhh dear! Asher sat out the other race of the morning and the team managed 16.94secs. In the afternoon, I just ran Asher against High Flyers (our other main competition). He again was much better and managed a 3.87secs in the 1st leg and consistent low 3.9s after that which is a definite improvement but still not really my boy. Must keep working on the leg! We sat Piper out of that race so it wasn't quite a full strength team, we ran well, I think the word of the day was 'slick' and won with a best time of 16.70secs. The rest of the team did the biz in the other 2 races which meant we won the division :)!

Next we had both Rockets (2nd seed) and Extraset (6th seed) in division 2. Rockets were Diefer, Merlin, Elliot, Bonnie and Loki. They yet again seemed to gel really well and run consistent times including 2 times sub 18 (with different line ups) of 17.98 and 17.93secs. That is a new best ever time for Rockets! It was all going great until the last race when it all fell apart and they lost which meant they finished 2nd! Loki was fantastic and ran a best ever time of 4.06secs, clever boy! Extraset were Jemma, Perry, Sonny, Smartie and Jamie. We thought they were going to have it really tough but they raced consistently great and got a bit lucky in a couple of races. They ended up coming 3rd with a best time of 19.01secs. If Rockets had won their last race against Hampshire, Rockets would of been 1st and Extraset 2nd! Jemma had to do lots of racing due to lots of false starts but she also managed to do a best ever time of 4.38secs :).

Overall a successful day, and wow how glad am I that I was able to bring Asher back to racing when I did. With 2 more teams going sub 17 with times of 16.74 and 16.80 this weekend, 16.85 just wouldn't of cut it to get us div 1 at the Champs! It just seems crazy as we were bottom seed div 1 at the Champs last year on 17.38secs. Now there will be atleast 2 teams sub 17 in div 2 this year!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Barbury Castle AKA Birthday weekend!

I went up to Barbury Castle on Friday night with Sarah and we took the caravan with us which was nice especially considering the weather forecast for Saturday was bad! It was a fun and eventful weekend, think I got a tad too drunk when celebrating my birthday Saturday night! Lol!

Saturday we just had Missiles running in division 7 and they managed to come 4th (seeded 5th)with a best time of 25.08secs, that time was with Ruby running so shows she is starting to influence the speed of that team!

Sunday (My Bithday) was a much busier day with the other 3 teams in 3 out of the 4 divisions. Subsequently we spent all of our time at the ring!

Extraset were first on in division 3 seeded 2nd on 18.91. The team was Jemma, Perry, Smartie, Jamie and Bonnie. We decided to swap Bonnie with Sonny as we didn't think Elliot would be able to run due to skinning his feet! We don't like to run Bonnie all day so we decided to put her on the 5 dog team as we don't like to run Perry all day either. Despite the ground running quite slow, the team ran really well together as always and we had some good, close racing. They managed to win all of their races to finish 1st with a best time of 19.09secs.

Rockets were next in as top seed (18.04) in division 2. The team was Diefer, Merlin, Elliot, Sonny and Loki. Luckily by Sunday morning Elliot's feet looked much better so we decided to let him have a few runs to see how he got on and he was fine. We usually have big problems with consistency with this team but for once they actually ran quite consistent (albeit slightly slower)times! They won all their morning races and by the last race of the day were still unbeaten. Their final race against Barkshire Bandits was very close but they were just pipped in to 2nd place on the 5th and deciding leg by 0.08secs. Merlin is looking great at the moment, when he ran start he was fantastic, hitting 4.47, 4.48 and 4.50secs over his own height of 12". He runs much better start as he is still a little cautious running in to the changeover, i'm sure this will come with time. The team managed a best time of 18.33secs, they did 18.3-18.4 in every race apart from when Loki was out as he is the fastest dog so the team was a little slower.

Ballistics were 2nd seed in division 1 on 16.85secs. The team was Piper, Shani, Lacy, Luna and... Asher! I was told by Smart that I could run him in a couple of races to see how he got on. I ran him in our 1st race against dream team. I was annoyed with myself as my changeovers were so late, I think i was overthinking whether he'd be back to normal speed or whether I'd be releasing from the same spot as before. He ran ok, we managed to go 2-0 down as Piper fumbled the 1st leg and Asher fumbled the 2nd so we were all being cautious on changes (you literally could of got a bus through mine) for the rest of the race. The 3rd leg we ran clean and did 16.63 secs! The next leg we did 16.76 and were able to win the final leg too. Asher sat out the rest of the races until we brought him back in to face Bassetts in the last race of the day. We sat Piper out of the 1st leg so we could get an accurate time for Asher (thats all I can judge him on as he doesn't give me anything else!). My start was awful at 0.14 and the clock read 3.96 (so would of been 3.82) but Shani was a smidge early so it wasn't quite that fast. We brought Piper back in and the next leg Asher fumbled, I think he might be struggling to hold the ball now he is missing 2 of his front teeth, poor boy. He made sure he caught it properly after that which resulted in us gaining a leg back but he was less snappy on the box and on the final leg this resulted in less momentum on the return and Shani getting a light. So we came 2nd but the time was the most important thing as that *should* get us div 1 for the Champs so we can relax now! Asher was fine after racing and at Smart they said the racing had made him no worse which is good. He may now have the rest of July off, I haven't totally decided yet, just want him tip top by the Champs. Piper ran great and managed to run a best ever time of 4.00secs. The other 3 ran ok, maybe just slightly off their usual times but then as I mentioned earlier the ground seemed to be running slow.

And the best news of all, after a right kerfuffle, Luna got her 3rd and final 12" measurement which means we can now get her height card, yay :)

It was a lovely show with lots to watch and the camping area was beautiful. And we got really fit walking the 1m to the ring!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Farnham Park, the June one.

Wow 2 posts in 1 day! Thought I'd better get back up to date! Asher was still out, I was hoping he might be allowed back to do some warm ups but he was still a long way off being ready. Although as I am writing this I feel like we're getting closer.

We ended up missing ALOT of dogs for this tournament so had to make the decision to pull out Rockets. With Mark not their to run Loki (he went to Glastonbury instead, poor show!) we decided not to run him either. This left us with just 4 dogs for Ballistics and 5 for Extraset.

Extraset ran Saturday with a team of Perry, Merlin, Sonny, Smartie and Jamie. Bless little merlie, he was so speedy over the 9", I saw him run a couple of 4.4s! I ran Smartie for the 1st time which after some initial teething problems went really well and I think she quite enjoyed running for crazy auntie Nat! The team had some really close racing but won all their races with a best time of 18.92secs to finish 1st.

The team for Ballistics on Sunday was Diefer, Shani, Lacy, Luna. This was the 1st time Dief had been on the 1st team in over a year and as he is currently clocking times around the 4.5 mark is on average about 0.4 slower then Piper therefore we were pleasantly stunned when in our 1st race of the day we did 16.94secs and beat High Flyers! It just seems insane that a month ago we were struggling to break 17 with our strongest combo and now it's happening even when our top 4 aren't running! I have to say the main difference is Luna closely followed by Shani. Luna ran another best ever time of 4.08secs which is a massive improvement on what she used to run and testament to how much work has been put in to her. I think she is also really enjoying running anchor. With Shani being so amazing I think we were forgetting that she is still such a baby and over the last couple of shows I think has gained alot of confidence in the ring. This means she is running in to changeovers better and holding her speed. She also did a best ever time of 3.89secs and most of her runs were sub 4. It was a very tight division with every team losing atleast 1 race. In the end we came 4th but had we won our last race against Bassetts we would have come 1st! It was great racing. Big congratulations to High Flyers on winning the div with a best ever time for them of 16.54secs and to Bassetts for getting their best ever time of 16.55secs.

I also got to see the grandkids. River and Steve are so big now with their long legs! I've had a soft spot for River since the time they were born and I still totally adore him. He is even more like Asher now (apart from Colour ;)) and has the same lollopy (is that a word?!) gait that Asher had at his age which made me think he was going to be slow! Turns out they don't find that extra gear until they're over a year! Steve is also stunning and has a very striking face but is a little more aloof in personality than his siblings. It was really nice to have the 3 of them together although we didn't get much time to let them play. Hopefully we will have more time at Stockbridge to get the family together!

War Memorial Park, Basingstoke

I decided to just go for the day on Sunday as I had a friends birthday Friday night and I was supposed to be taking Elliot with me so would have had to have left ridiculously early Saturday. In the end Sarah was able to come too which was nice :).

Missiles and Extraset both ran Saturday. Missiles had a tough 7 team division and unfortunately came last but raced well. Extraset despite missing Jemma managed to come 3rd with 19.64secs.

On Sunday we had both Ballistics and Rockets in Division 1. With Asher still out we had Ballistics as Piper, Shani, Lacy, Luna. Rockets were Diefer, Merlin, Elliot, Bonnie, Loki. Rockets threw their 1st race away on lights which was a real shame as they had been 2-0 up and were then a little outclassed by the higher seeds. They did manage to win 1 very close race against Power Paws and also achieved another fastest ever time of 18.04secs, very close to breaking that 18sec barrier now! Ballistics were fantastic, all the dogs raced really well. We were amazed when not only did they manage to go sub 17 several times but they equalled our best ever of 16.85secs. Luna is really starting to pick up some speed now and the fastest I saw her run was 4.15secs. They won all their races to finish 1st and Rockets came 5th.

It was a lovely venue on great ground, lots of teams ran personal bests so congrats to everyone who did well :).

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Broken Asher and Padworth

Well it turns out I wasn't being paranoid afterall. Took Asher to Smart on Wednesday and he has got a problem with his right hind leg (same leg he injured before). At some point (I think in hindsight it was when he slipped at training back in Feb) he has damaged his gracilis muscle (inner thigh) which has healed but because of the scar tissue and it not healing in the right way it has left this muscle very tight causing a lump and it is putting a lot of strain on the tendon. This is why he has been slower at flyball as he cannot push strongly off of this leg and is struggling to control his approach to the box. All makes sense now, feel REALLY guilty that I didn't get him looked at before and also massively relieved that I didn't leave it any longer. Apparently if I had waited until the end of the season he could of been looking at a very lengthly lay off. As it is we think it will be 2-3 weeks but I think it's unlikely he'll be back doing flyball until Barbury Castle on 9-10th July. We have lots of exercises to do and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he has made progress when we go back to Smart on Weds. His injury is very common in Whippets and Greyhounds, but our physio said they would have been hopping not walking in, just shows what a tough dog he is, Collies are their own health hazard!

So that leads me to Padworth, despite Asher not being able to run I decided to go anyway to support the team. We had all teams and all people there. Extraset and Rockets ran Saturday.

Extraset dogs (Jemma, Sonny, Smartie, Perry and Jamie) were on fire and annihilated their seed time by running 18.91secs in the 1st race. They went on to win all their races and the division. Jemma was really focused and ran 4.4s in the 1st race and quite consistent 4.5s after that. Sonny's diet and fitness work seems to really be paying off as he ran so much more consistently and had a best time of 4.52secs. Smartie wasn't quite on her usual times but still ran well as did Perry. Jamie also looked really good even managing 5.02secs which is great for him.

Rockets (Diefer, Merlin, Elliot, Bonnie, Loki) were up against some pretty tough competition in Div 2. Overall the team did really well and won 3 of their races to finish 3rd with a best time of 18.40secs. Diefer seems to be getting more confident over 12" and I think we are getting more confidence in him! Merlin was a little inconsistent and seemed quite unsettled. He didn't do anything wrong but his times were quite variable depending on how confident he was going out. Elliot had much better box turns but I think the extra distance and speed he was coming off the box with meant he thought he could run back on a single stride (we taught him to add another stride between box and 1st jump over winter) which wasn't working for him! This meant his run back was slower and he was jumping very high. We will have to put the guide in for him at the next competition. Bassetts were kind enough to let us borrow some soft balls to try Bonnie with which I think helped her but will be something we need to try a few more times to see how much difference it makes. Loki ran great hitting a few 4.2s. Unfortunately their was an incident in the afternoon that shook him up and resulted in him being reluctant to run in the last race of the day. We are hopeful that it was just a blip and he will be fine this weekend. We also hope that the owner of the other dog involved isn't too upset and will be back racing!

We had a great night Saturday. Me, Carol and Mark took advantage of the playground on site which was very fun but I am now covered in a ridiculous amount of bruises and I only remember how I got 1 of them! This meant I really wasn't with it Sunday (no change there!), probably a good job I wasn't running a dog!

After a beautiful day Saturday we were greeted by lots of rain on Sunday. Missiles and Ballistics were running. I wasn't up in time for missiles morning racing but I saw them in the afternoon and they looked good. Ruby continues to improve and I don't think it'll be too long before she's catching reliably. I think she could be a quick little height dog when she does. They won 2 of their races and finished 3rd.

Ballistics (Piper, Shani, Lacy, Luna) were 3rd seed in div 1. We weren't really too sure what to expect times wise without Asher. They gelled really well together, we decided to try lacy going 3rd as her box turns had been wide running last. Her turns did improve but I don't think she was significantly faster. Luna ran great last though so we will probably keep that order for the time being. They won both their morning races against Shooting Stars and Shooting Star Comets with a best time of 17.16secs which we were really pleased with. Unfortunately as the day went on the rain got harder and the ground more slippery so the decision was made to call off the racing before Ballistics raced again.

We're off to Basingstoke this weekend, another new venue so be interesting to see what its like. Again Asher's not running but I think I will be running Elliot!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Becketts Farm 16.85 :-D

Well we had thee most amazing day at Becketts Farm on Sunday. We had Ballistics as 2nd seed in div 1. Rockets and Extraset were in div 2 as 1st and 5th seeds respectively. Having all the usual dogs for these teams was great as it meant we had 3 teams of 5 dogs and all teams were at full strength.

Rockets were Diefer, Merlin, Elliot, Bonnie, Loki running over 12" and Extraset were Jemma, Perry, Sonny, Smartie, Jamie running over 9". Div 2 was a very hectic division to say the least. I was running Perry in Extraset but also helping out Rockets so it felt like we were barely out the ring. Was quite fun though!

Rockets were typical rockets, moments of brilliance and moments of chaos! They managed to lose their 1st race on lights, 2nd race was against Extraset which was great! Rockets really got their act together and managed to pull out a fantastic time of 18.16secs with a line-up of Diefer, Merlin, Bonnie and Loki. This is another fastest ever time for Rockets. Needless to say they beat Extraset! They continued to win the rest of their races fairly comfortably although the range of times they ran was huge! They also managed 18.44secs twice in a row in the last race of the day, more amazingly they were with a different line up for each one! We recorded splits for all the dogs although I don't think they give a true representation for this team as changes were sooo variable! Fastest times were: Diefer 4.52, Merlin 4.61, Elliot 4.53, Bonnie 4.54, Loki 4.24. This doesn't include the race against each other where I suspect faster times were run as we were too short on people to do times for that one! Despite losing 1 race they still managed to win the division!

Extraset were more consistent apart from 1 nightmare race where Sonny started dropping his ball, luckily we managed to bring it back! Jemma was fine after her incident last weekend and ran very consistently all day. The rest of the team also gelled well together and managed to win all their races except for the 1 against Rockets with a new best ever time of 19.62secs. The line-up was Jemma, Sonny, Smartie, Jamie. We have to be quite careful now with the seed time as we don't always have Jemma due to Sarahs uni stuff and Jem is the fastest dog on the team! Dogs fastest times: Jemma 4.54, Perry 5.18, Sonny 4.65, Smartie 4.58, Jamie 5.19. This meant Extraset came 2nd!

Ballistics had a team of Piper, Asher, Shani, Luna, Lacy. Asher the total muppet stole some food not long before we were due to race. I never give him breakfast before racing as he always runs considerably slower. It was a bit gutting knowing that even before we entered the ring that he wasn't going to be himself. I decided I would only run him in the 1st race as we weren't sure exactly how much he'd eaten or how long ago. As suspected he was well off his pace but seemed fine other than that. 1st race we went for a time and left Lacy out. 1st leg flowed really well and we did 16.85secs :-). As planned I left Asher out for the rest of the morning. The other 4 did great winning the next 2 races with a best time of 17.32secs. In the afternoon Asher ran the 3 remaining races. He looked alot snappier in the 1st race of the afternoon and managed some sub 4s...just! Our last race was against Bassetts, we'd won all our races up to that point but they'd managed a 16.59secs earlier on. It was a fantastic race which went to 5 legs. They won the 1st on speed, we won the 2nd on speed with a 16.98secs, 3rd we both got lights on last dog but they were able to turn around quicker, 4th and 5th they got lights which meant we won! Dogs fastest times: Piper 4.05 (PB), Asher 3.97, Shani 4.12, Luna 4.29, Lacy 4.37 (Just because I'm a nerd... this technically means we could of done 16.43secs which is very encouraging ;-)!).

We had a fantastic day, couldn't of asked for anymore. We've got a weekend off now so we're going to train our new starters (and do tiny bits with Miss Laika!) and do some boxwork particularly with the babies that have come out this year to try and maintain their turns. Got to continue the fitness work with Asheroo. I'm also thinking of taking him back to Smart to be checked over to put my mind at rest that nothing else is going on to slow him down. He will be thrilled, my bank balance will not!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Farnham Park 16.96 :-D

Urmmm do I really need to write anything else?! ;-)

Ok, we had 4 teams in. Extraset and Rockets ran Saturday. Extraset were on 1st in division 7 with a team of Jemma, Perry, Smartie and Jamie. Things all started well, Jem was really focused and all the dogs were running consistently. We won the 1st race with a best time of 19.90 (0.05 off our seed time). Unfortunately Jemma got injured in the last leg of the 2nd race which meant we were down to 3 dogs for the rest of the day. Amazingly those 2 wins managed to get us 3rd place as we were in a 3 way tie and had the fastest time!

Rockets were in division 6 with a team greatly strengthened by the return of thee Diefer (and everyones fingers, toes and just about everything else crossed that he would do 12")! Team was Dief, Merlin, Elliot, Sonny and Loki. As Sarah was there to run Mr E I was in charge of the team. It was a real pleasure, all the dogs ran so well. So happy for Claire that Dief ran over the 12, and he looked really good running 4.4s. He's not at race fitness yet either so hopefully there is more to come from him. Merlin was flying, he ran consistently at 4.6s all day which is about 0.2 faster than he was running when he came out. Elliot ran around 4.6s and box turn seemed better than at Anstey Park but again improved through the day. Sonny was good in the early races running around 4.7s but tired towards the end of the day. Loki was awesome, he is just so strong coming back and really proved himself in our race against fantastic 4 when he was going out just behind their last (v quick) dog and managed to run a new PB of 4.17secs to win us the race. I hope he keeps this up, then he might be shifted up a team! The team managed to win 4 out of 5 of their races just losing 1 race on silly lights to come 1st with a best time (and fastest ever for Rockets) of 18.30secs! Yay! There was definitely still some room on the changeovers too!

Ballistics and Missiles ran Sunday. Unfortunately they were both on at the same time (in different rings) which meant I didn't get to see much of the Missiles racing. I think they managed to win 2 of their races and came 4th. Ballistics were 5th seed in division 1. We had a team of Asher, Shani, Luna and Lacy in that order. 1st race against Shooting Stars we finally managed to get our act together to run a new fastest ever time of 16.96secs and enter the 16s club, woohooo! And I was late on my start with a 0.13, terrible! We lost very narrowly to Shooting Stars, they hit a 16.92 in the same race. We continued to have close racing for the rest of the day and we were fairly conistent with our times running low 17s. We also did a 16.88 with a very small light on Shani due to Asher slightly fumbling the ball. We managed to win our races against Jets, Bassetts and Lightning. We lost very narrowly to High Flyers on a light on the 2-2 deciding leg! Jolly Jumpers beat us pretty convincingly but annoyingly that was the race where our changes were the furthest out and we weren't that far behind! So we finished 4th. Although I couldn't really of cared less, the time was enough for me :-). Asher ran 3.8s in the 1st race of the morning and afternoon but got really tired as the racing went on. I'm now thinking it might just be fitness as maybe I've wrapped him in cottonwool and haven't pushed him as much as I should out on walks. I've rectified this now and I don't think he quite knows whats hit him! Shani ran sooo much better in the pack and went back to running 4-4.1s. Luna was flying, running quite consistent (so I'm told) 4.3s. Lacy was a touch inconsistent as it was her 1st time running anchor and she was relishing the opportunity to race the other team. This meant for the 1st couple of races she was coming quite wide off the box. She was alot better in the afternoon so hopefully the wide turns won't continue or she won't be able to go last either! Other than the turns her foot speed was really good and I understand she hit a few 4.2s which is excellent for her.

I'm so thrilled to join the 16s club and I'm so proud of my team and how far we have come over the last couple of years, lets hope we keep on progressing and getting faster. Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of congratulations, it really means alot!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Laika 6 1/2months

Just a quick post with a new pic of Laika from today. I think she's really pretty but then maybe I'm a bit biased :o). She's really enjoying coming to competitions as she gets loads of attention and sometimes I actually let her watch the flyball which sends her completely loopy. She decided after watching for about 5 mins that she could do it better and since then goes crazy to get in the ring. Even at prizegiving she is constantly trying to head towards the ring although isn't too sure what to do when she gets in there! Crazy puppy :-D!

Oooh and whilst I remember, just because I've been asked a few times, he name is pronounced Layka (basically sound the 'a' not the 'i')!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


We had a bit of a depleted team for Alton but still managed to put out 3 teams. Rockets and Missiles raced Saturday.

Missiles did really well in division 6. Ruby was the most focused I've seen her and is getting speedier. We have starting working on the catching and she is progressing well. Unfortunately we have a conflict of interest as obviously her owner wants to continue racing her but that means she can't transfer what we are training her over to racing as she hasn't done enough reps yet. Just one of those things I suppose, and if it doesn't improve over the Summer it'll just be something for Winter training. The rest of the dogs also did really well, they just lost 1 race and finished 2nd.

Rockets were 3rd seed in division 2. We had a team of Jemma, Merlin, Elliot, Smartie and Bonnie. All the dogs were great, the judging however was not. I wouldn't usually say anything as it takes balls to go in and judge but I was getting more and more frustrated as the lights were playing up and decisions kept wrongly going against us resulting in unnecessary reruns and losing legs. It was Jemma's (and Sarahs) 1st competition this year, Jem was off her rocker in the 1st race especially as we didn't have time to warm up properly so we left her out of that one but she was great after that and didn't look like running across at all. She tired a little bit towards the end of the day but then it was also her 1st time over 12" so we'll let her off! Sarah also did well on her starts (and her ankle held out... phew!). Merlin's box deteriorated a little from last weekend which I think was partly to do with the ground (dip infront of box) so we're going to do some reps on Friday before Farnham to remind him, other than that he was focused and consistent as ever. I ran Elliot who was great, I find it difficult to judge how fast he's running as I'm trying to run away with such enthusiasm! The interesting thing was that at training last weekend he spit his ball nearly everytime for the tuggy but I had real trouble getting him to spit his ball from the start this weekend which kinda dispels our theory that he won't spit when he's tired. Looks like a competition issue! Hmm now how to fix that...! Mark ran Smartie and she found it very exciting watching her owner Carol run Merlin before her which meant she was flying! Bonnie was awesome as anchor dog and ran fantastically. I think the 12" really suited her as it helped her striding and slowed her down a touch which made her box turn significantly better. So we were really pleased with the dogs and only lost 1 race to come 2nd. We had a best time of 19.16secs and that was in the last race of the day so pretty good going!

Ballistics were 2nd seed in Division 1. The team was Piper, Asher, Luna, Loki. We had a successful but slightly frustrating day. Our 2 main races were against Dream Team Supreme and Bassetts as the other teams were in the 18-19s. I tried getting my team to push it in the early races but as we were comfortably winning this proved difficult! We managed a best time of 17.33 but it could of been so much better, every changeover had room. Infact we didn't manage 1 leg all day where everyone was bob on. We did do a 17.04 with a tiny light (from moi) in the 1st race and Luna and Loki still had room so we know the speed is there, just gotta coax it out! After Asher we were on 8.04 and after Luna 12.53. So we won all our races up until our last against Bassetts. They got a light on the 1st leg but we were quite a bit up on them going in to last dogs so I think if Loki hadn't fumbled (blooming red lane with the dip infront the box lol) we would have had them on speed anyway. They got a leg back after that but then managed to get 2 lights handing the win to us! Thanks Bassetts! Asher ran ok, his box was a little better than it has been. He still doesn't seem as quick as he was last year. I keep getting super paranoid that it's his leg but I know I would be able to tell if he was even slightly lame as I spent the majority of my time staring at it when he was actually injured. He is completely sound and happy so I think I just need to chill!

Looking forward to Farnham now, going to be a very tight div 1 and I'm a little bit nervous! We only have 4dogs aswell (no Piper) which is a shame. Lets hope we are on it!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Babies Video from Acremead

Dogs are in order: Shani (WSD), Merlin (Collie/Cocker cross), Loki (WSD) and Ruby (Terrier)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Acremead take 2

Due to the babies having successfully come in to open we were able to put out 4 teams for Acremead this time. Missiles and Rockets ran Saturday.

Ruby managed to gain her 1st flyball points on Missiles which was very exciting for everyone, it's taken a long time to get her this far. Big congratulations to Joy. Now if she could just catch the ball she'd be dangerous! We do have a plan of action so I think it's just a matter of time! Unfortunately despite winning 2 of their races Missiles finished 5th.

Rockets were 5th seed in Div 2 on a declared of 19.30secs. We had a major reshuffle of the teams after finding out we didn't have Diefer and after how well Loki and Merlin ran last weekend. So the team ended up being Merlin, Sonny, Elliot and Loki. Sarah was stuck at home revising so I had stolen Elliot to run. He was such a good boy for me bless him. The team ran really well, it took a couple of races for us to get it together seeing as it was the 1st time this combo had raced together. Merlin was well cute running start and was very consistent throughout the day, again his box held up. Sonny also coped well with suddenly going up to 12" and I think with a bit more race fitness will be really strong. Elliot's box turn got better as the day went on and he seemed to be running speedy. Loki was awesome, he is just getting faster and more driven. He ran quite a few 4.3s and is cracking as anchor dog as he is so strong on his return. We ended up winning 2 races and coming 4th with a best time of 19.11secs but there were a couple of races that really could of gone either way and I feel there is a lot more in this team.

Ballistics and Extraset ran Sunday. Extraset were top seed Div 4 on a declared time of 19.75secs. The team was Bonnie, Perry, Smartie and Jamie. The team seemed to gel really easily and ran smoothly and consistently all day. I had the pleasure of running Perry which was lovely. Bonnie seems to have come back from her injury really well and was flying running start. Smartie was happy to be back running for her mum and Jamie looked alot better than he did last weekend at Fairview. We had a couple of close races but managed to win them all to come 1st with a best time of 19.85secs.

Ballistics were 2nd seed in Div 1. The team was Piper, Asher, Luna, Lacy, Shani. I would say at the moment this is what we would call our full strength team so I had high hopes. We decided to put Asher up to 2nd to see if that would help his speed and try Shani Anchor. Putting Asher 2nd (and start when Piper was out) defo helped him and he ran quite a few 3.8s, he's still not fully flying but I think that'll come in the next couple of weeks. However Shani anchor did not work, she was running nowhere near the times she ran last weekend. Luckily her box turn stayed lovely but I'm afraid she will have to go back in the pack as she wasn't driving back. Looks like it's going to be Luna or Lacy that will be anchor. It's a shame in the sense that in terms of speed they are slightly weaker than the others but it's overall speed that counts. Hopefully it will make other teams get lights as they will be down on us going in to last dogs! Anyway Piper was cracking and ran a few 4.1s and Luna and Lacy were consistent as ever. Our changes were all over the place and we kept messing up potentially good times. We finished 2nd, just losing to Bassetts with a best time of 17.14secs.

We've now got a weekend off before Alton. Hopefully we'll get some training in this weekend and can try some combinations to see what works best!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Fairview Farm - Div 1 winners :-D

I wasn't able to go to Stockbridge until Saturday so missed Missiles running on Friday. Rockets and Ballistics both ran Sunday.

Rockets were Diefer, Sonny, Smartie, Jamie and our debutee Merlin. They were 6th seed in Division 3. The team really struggled to gel and had lights and lates everywhere. Also because the ground was so dry and hard we had trouble anchoring the box securely which was causing Sonny to fumble. Merlin did really well, he had one baby mistake when we ran in blue lane and he ran up the side of the jumps but other than that was fabby. His box turn held up really well, he was coming off a touch wide but his back feet stayed nice and high which was good. The team managed a best time of 19.31secs and came 5th.

Ballistics were Luna, Lacy, Asher along with debutees Shani and Loki. We decided at the last minute to put Loki up instead of Diefer as we thought he might be stronger over the 12" and because it would be easier to share the racing out. It would of been a shame if Diefer hadn't got much racing as he usually runs all the time on Rockets seeing as he is their fastest dog. Anyway we were 4th seed in Division 1 on a declared time of 17.50secs. Shani was great, we ran her start although I'm not sure this is the best position for her as Lisa really struggled to hold her still enough to get a good start! We did 17.13secs in the 1st race with a start of 0.2something, that was Shani, Luna, Lacy, Asher. In the 2nd race we did 17.14secs again with a big start, that was Shani, Luna, Asher, Loki. When we switched to red lane against Bassetts, Shani had a bit of trouble getting her bearings. She really wasn't trying to be naughty, she just really thought she should be in blue lane. Unfortunately this resulted in her running across on the 1st leg... Sorry Bassetts! After doing a start close to the gate she was fine and ran perfectly after that. Her box turn was stunning, Doggie portraits got an awesome pic of it that i'll post when they go up. She ran consistently around the 4sec mark. Loki also did amazingly, his box turn also held up really well. He ran around 4.4secs, he only dropped his ball twice (on one he was able to re-run and still win us the leg :)) and he did great in the charged atmosphere of Div 1. We only lost one race and that was against Bassetts but they lost 2 races which meant we won the division :-D. Also after my concerns about Asher last weekend he was the same this weekend... hanging on the box, didn't seem right, running slow... until he went in the pack and bang 3.8s then he went start for one race and ran 3.7something. So it would appear our problem is running anchor. I think he overthinks it and is so desperate to win that he forgets how to actually run and turn. Sooo we are going to have to majorly rethink our running order. I feel bad because Luna and Lacy have gelled so well in the middle but it seems such a waste of Asher if he is going to be running quarter of a sec slower. I guess now is the time to do it though!

Only downsides were that Merlin got measured at 12", he really freaked at the measurer and went right up on his toes, maybe if we practice we will get him lower, I really thought he would get 11". And Katie cracked her ankle bone which means we don't have Diefer for this weekend and we have had to have a big shuffle of Rockets and Extraset, could be interesting!

Laika also got to meet up with her mummy and brothers. It was really lovely having the whole family together. Asher adores Gemma and seemed really pleased to see her! River is literally a black and white version of his dad, he has some of the same mannerisms like wanting to have his head next to your head (anyone who has met Asher will understand!). Steve has the same colouring and coat type as Asher but in body shape and character is alot like his Mum. I'd say Laika is quite an even mixture of them both. She has Asher's Head, feet and legs but body shape, coat and tail is much like Gemma's (god knows where the ears come from!!). I'd also say her character is quite even between the 2. I'm just really annoyed I forgot to take photos!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Here we go again :)... Acremead

Yay, season has finally started and with such beautiful weather!

Saturday we had Missiles and Babies. Missiles were Tyne, Sky, Chelsey, Fraggle, Guiness and Molly. They won 2 races and came 4th. Babies were awesome :-D. Team was Shani, Merlin, Loki and Ruby. We kept the prop infront of the box for all the morning races and then in the afternoon I was taking it out for 1 or 2 legs per race to see if they would hold their turns. Shani was stunning, she ran consistently at 3.9-4.0secs all day and box turn held up lovely. Merlin was also really focused and ran at around 4.8secs, box turn dropped a bit the 1st couple of times I took the prop out but they got better and were lovely by the end. I was so impressed with Loki, he has gone from the herdy, starey dog that struggled to focus to a dog with all his focus on flyball. He only dropped his ball twice going third which is a great improvement and his box turn was beautiful. He was running 4.3-4.4secs. Ruby also did great, she is still struggling to catch the ball but she was bringing the ball back everytime and her speed improved throughout the day. So our fabby little team ran consistently brilliantly all day and won their division :-D so proud!

Sunday we had Rockets and Ballistics. Rockets were Diefer, Smartie, Sonny, Bonnie and Jamie. Unfortunately there was a mistake with the paperwork which meant we had to go NFC. Nightmare. Not the end of the world as most of the dogs were way off their times from last year so would of struggled in the div anyway. It was Bonnie's 1st show back after her injury and she did really well, we are running her from close to the gate, firstly because of her kamikaze box, she does lovely turns up close but add a bit of speed and lets just say they go a bit out of the window! And secondly to get her running in the pack properly. I think it worked well for her. Rather than waste the opportunity we ran with the prop in for Diefer, Sonny and Jamie. Hopefully this will help their turns to hold up in competitions, although I'm not too confident. Jamie dropped a bit everytime I tried taking prop out and Sonny was good on the 1st leg of each race but lazy after that, I think it's a case of fitness with him. Diefer's were great but I was stood in on him so again don't expect it to hold!

Ballistics were Piper, Luna, Lacy, Asher with Perry as emergency reserve. We'd been chatting the night before, and I'd said that I'd be happy with anything under 17.50secs for the beginning of the season and with Acremead not being the fastest ground (well so we thought!!). To be fair though, all the dogs were looking fantastic, much leaner and fitter than they were this time last year so we set out to see what we could do. Our 3 races in the morning were against the lower seeds in the division but we just went for it and managed a best time of 17.17secs with a 0.15 start. I was getting a bit frustrated though because Asher didn't run well at all. I don't know if it was the fact he wasn't really racing anyone, he was out before the other teams last dogs and he tends to run better if he is trying to beat something. His boxturn was also all over the place, I *think* he was trying not to double hit but because he was hitting too low it meant he was just hanging on the box for ages and then coming off wide :-S. Of course it could just be fitness or he might not of been feeling 100% so we will see this weekend. In the afternoon we had the 3 higher seeds, our changes were a bit out against Bassetts, I got 2 lights trying to push it to catch up. We also got lights against Extreme, think it would of been close if we hadn't. Last race against Northants was well close. Poor Piper was knackered after doing like a gazillion false starts over the day. We managed to get a light on the 1st leg then we were all really late and lost 2nd leg. Luckily we managed to pull it back to win it 3-2. We ended up 3rd. Overall I thought it was a very successful 1st outing for Ballistics and well chuffed with the time. Luna and Lacy were fantastic. We don't have Piper this weekend but we do have Shani debuting with us which is exciting.

Hopefully Rockets will do better this weekend with Merlin and Loki joining them. Really looking forward to it.

Finally congrats to Extreme Racers on their record breaking run of 16.46secs. I am a little bit in love with Spirit, what a stunning dog!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Countdown to the Flyball Season

It's less than 2 weeks until our season starts. Our 1st show is Acremead and I am so excited. All the problems from last year are gone and I'm really hoping I can enjoy my racing! Teams are going to be a bit of a juggling act with availability and the volume of height dogs but it'll be fine!

Training has been going well. We have been mainly doing team training for the last few weeks as in the last couple of years we have found we have come out a little off the pace so we wanted to get the dogs a bit more race fit this year. Most of the dogs are holding their turn in the racing environment (with props in), just got to hope they do in proper competition. Our intermediates are ready to race, they run against another lane with no netting and are doing great. The only problem we have is with Loki spitting his ball if he's in the pack. We are working on it and it's improving but he may have to run last for a while. Shani, loki, merlin and ruby are going in as a Starter team at Acremead then all being well they are going on Open teams at Easter. We also have 3 new Starters, they are amazing. Nice, drivey Collies, makes my life easier. Would like to get them out sometime this year too.

After the RR seminar I didn't do full runs with Asher for a few weeks. I worked on box, getting him higher and having more respect for the prop. He did really well and was doing lovely turns but I realised it was going to need more repetitions than I had time for before he was racing again. So I raced him normally on Sunday and the 1st leg he did his box turn was AMAZING, after that they went down hill a bit but were still mostly better than before. The plan is to try to still work on it when I can but to really make a big effort to retrain at the end of this season.

Our big aim for this year is to qualify for Div 1 at the Champs again. I think that is going to be a big ask, we'll certainly need to be sub 17 and maybe by a fair amount. I was very pleased with 17.05 last year although I hoped we might just sneak under 17 as the max out time for those dogs is around 16.8-16.9. One of our new dogs should certainly make a dent in that, we'll just have to see if we can get it together particularly in the 3 qualifying shows before the Champs.

Really interested to see how all the teams come out this year, particularly ones that went to the RR seminar. Wonder how many will bring props for warm ups or suddenly are now armed with tuggies! Also if there will be any surprises, all it takes is for a team to have a couple of good dogs come through over Winter and bang they end up in Div 1!

Also new website address is

Laika 5 1/2months

Laika is now nearly 5 1/2 months, she is totally crazy, completely mad as a box of frogs... And I am very happy about this! She's a bit more foody now, and turns in to a bouncy, excited puppy when I get her treat pot out. This has made training alot easier and alot more fun for both of us. She can concentrate for longer now and has learnt quite alot since I last posted. Her wait is coming along well, I just need to add more distractions.

She is now so mad about her tuggy that I almost need to wear a body suit when it's out! We have started small amounts of 'flyball' training. Her being the only current team puppy has been both a hinderence and a help as no time is set aside for her but it does mean I can work her by herself and do exactly what I want to do. She comes in to training and does 3-5 recalls (obv no jumps) to her tuggy. We've also recently started doing a couple of short distance retrieves of a tennis ball and she is doing really well, learning to hold it until I say 'yes'. The only time she doesn't bring it is if she doesn't pick it up cleanly which I don't mind because atleast she's showing she wants to get back to me. I'm in 2 minds with her box work at the moment, I had in my head that I wouldn't start any box work until she was a few months older as I didn't want to damage her. But then at the RR seminar they said they had pups on the target board by her age (only very close up) and over many years had seen no ill effect. So I have target trained her to my hand and to a target (which she is now transferring to everything, very funny!) ready to start her on the target board at probs around 7months. A few weeks a go I tried her on the sofa to see what she would do if I got her to follow her tuggy and she almost immediately did 4 feet turns on the edge. Since then she likes to offer this behaviour alot! The problem that is bugging me at the moment (and probs one reason why I haven't transferred her target to the wall) is that I still can't decide which way she is going to turn. If anyone looked at her she would scream 'righty', whenever she chases a ball/toy or you call her she turns right 90% of the time. But if you go and place a toy down, take her back and send her to it she turns left 80% of the time. I probably wouldn't be so paranoid if it wasn't for Asher being so similar and I had to completely retrain his turn so I want to get it right! Need to make a decision soon though :-/. Help!

I'm not sure how big she is going to get, she's about 17.5ins at the moment and weighs around 11kg. She still looks very 'puppyish' if you know what I mean so I think has a couple of inches of growth left. I see more and more of Asher in her now which is lovely, so exciting watching her grow up :o). Will get more pictures soon.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Rocket Relay Seminar

On Sunday Sarah and I attended the Rocket Relay Seminar in Newark hosted by the Flyball Fever team. Aaron and Kelly from Rocket Relay came all the way from Canada to share their training techniques with us. I found it a very interesting and informative day. I don't think I have ever listened and concentrated so hard in lectures in my life! I feel like some gaps in my knowledge have been filled in. Before I think I had a good enough 'eye' to indentify problems but not always know how to fix them but I learnt things that I can definitely see working with Asher and other dogs in the team. It also came at the right time for making sure I train the puppy right and I now have a clear path of how to progress her training.

I worked both Asher and Elliot in the working slots due to Sarah still recovering from the broken ankle. Elliot was very funny with his ball obsession being sooo strong and also his love of doing the box! We took him due to the problems Sarah has had with getting him tuggy motivated when he has ball which results in him having a slower return. I felt we took an awful lot out of his session as Aaron was able to demonstrate how to move the reward from the ball to the tuggy and how to get him focused on us before he is able to do the box so that he is already thinking about getting back to us before he is released rather than just thinking about getting to the box. He made progress in just that 1 session and spit the ball for the tuggy so we are hopeful that we can now continue this and improve his overall speed. Also from watching videos at training and listening to what Kelly was saying about 1 of her whippets we have decided that we need to make him triple stride from the box to 1st jump back. At the moment he double strides (i used to call it single striding, they are affecting me already lol!), but takes off very early for the 1st jump back. Due to his conformation his power is upwards so he jumps very high and loses a lot of his power which affects his speed all the way back. If we make him put in another stride hopefully he can use his power more forwards and generate more speed.

Asher was a good boy and happily demonstrated our problems lol! Aaron was a little bemused by our special second ball catch method! He thinks that we should just use tuggy but I find Asher is quite inconsistent when we do this. I know that he could be a bit more tug motivated but it is already pretty strong and he spits the ball for the tug. Its just in competition sometimes he will tank it back for it and other times he coasts but always seems to grab tuggy with same enthusiasm! Maybe it is something I am doing different? Anyway we will work on it but I have seen a significant improvement in Ashers speed since we started using our funny technique so whether it beats it or not remains to be seen! The main thing I wanted to work on was his box turn because of the double hitting. It was really REALLY bad when we were demonstating our problems (he was hitting very very low), but then I only put a 5" jump infront of the box (usually use 6-7") so only to be expected. We put the jump infront of the box up to 9" and did some turns, he did a couple of nice ones. We then did some toshy runs where although he knocked the jump quite alot Aaron said he didn't double hit at all. I now have some exercises to work on that I think will help and I have to be more picky about what I do and don't reward. I feel more optimistic because Aaron said that although he was hitting low, his body position and striding was good so I should be able to get rid of the double hitting providing that I am consistent and use the prop all the time.

Really enjoyed the day and it was a privilege meeting Kelly and Aaron who I have admired for years! Thanks to the Flyball Fever team, especially Katie and Kristian for making it all happen.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Flyball Nerd!

My team take the piss out of me pretty much constantly due to the amount of time I spend talking about/researching/watching flyball. It's not often we have the time/people to take videos of our training but as I wanted to get some of the babies, we decided to take some of Ballistics (+Diefer) too.

Sorry about the quality of the video, it was taken on my phone and it's a bit rough around the edges, couldn't be arsed spending ages putting it together. I did however spend ages watching it over and over, timing it, watching it slow motion and freeze frame. Oh dear, if you're not interested in technicalities, stop reading now!

Over the summer I noticed Piper seemed to be hanging on the box a bit, I couldn't really see properly as I was always running Asher at the same time. After seeing a pic of him on the box from the champs it confirmed what I suspected, he was double hitting. In the vid, the 1st couple of box turns when he is in the pack he is still hanging, not quite double hitting because I think the jump in front is just about stopping him hitting too low. However i think the last 2 box turns are alot better, in these runs he has someone letting go and someone racing him up to the line. I think this is making him extend more over the jumps so his take off point for the box is closer than it was in the other runs. On a freeze frame his front feet appear higher and closer to ball hole so he is getting a better push off. So I think we need to work a bit on striding so that he doesn't take off too far from the box, as racing him to the line seems to be helping we will continue to use this aswell. I timed him around 4.2secs, I'm reasonably happy with this but I think with a bit more box and toshy work he should be able to hit consistent 4.1s.

Lacy's turn is very consistent, she does hit slightly too far to the left which is why she is a little wide. I'm going to try having the wing on the left side a bit tighter to encourage her to hit closer to the ball hole. But it's not something i'm too concerned about. To be honest I think even if she came off dead straight she would still have to double stride back to the 1st jump as I don't think with her build she has the power to do 12" from the 1 stride. I only got 1 proper time for Lacy which was 4.46, a little slower than normal but she is the sort of dog that needs a few comps to hit race fitness so again quite happy.

Asher's double hitting is quite apparent in this video, the slightly disheartening thing is that he seems to think that this is they way he should do it as the turn is very consistent, he just has to use that front leg again to get his rotation and push off. I can get him to turn without double hitting and it is very fast (I have to stand in a specific position and do crazy things with hands and tuggy!), but as yet I have been unable to transfer this to a full run. I think I'd have to retrain him to target an area on the box with his front feet as he hits far too low, don't know if it would hold though. Other than that I'm pleased with the way he's looking, drive back is good and striding is nice. Fastest I got him at was 3.82.

Luna I think is looking fabby :). Box is nice and quick (can't believe the improvement from how it used to be!), I hope she holds it in competition! Her drive back is also 100% better than what it was, she is another 1 who double strides from box to 1st jump back but again because 12 is her own height I think she would struggle to single stride. In the 2 runs I have of her I get her at 4.36 and 4.39, very, very happy with that!

Then theres Diefer, firstly, I wouldn't train box turns like this unless you're desperate! I really, really don't like teaching dogs to "go round"! I find him frustrating to train, we orginally taught him "on/off" like the rest of our dogs but this gradually regressed until he refused to jump on/off when the ball was in. We then tried standing in on him as a bit of a quick fix. It worked to get him turning and we gradually back away from the box until we are no longer standing in. Then maybe the next training session or a couple of sessions later he will completely go back to refusing to turn properly and so it starts again! I know this turn won't hold up but I think if we persevere with it in training we are limiting the amount of times he turns badly, and I think it does make his turn slightly better in competition.

The babies are still improving and I'm really pleased with how they are doing, we have a few little things still to work on. I haven't got around to putting the video of them together yet but will post when it's done.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Laika update

Well Laika will be 16weeks on Thursday. The above picture was taken at 14.5weeks. I think she's going to be quite a big girly! I'm pleased with how she's progressing, she is really good out on walks and has a nice recall, at the moment I only call her if i'm fairly confident she is going to come (she stays fairly close to me or follows Asher so I hardly ever NEED to call her) although this is generalising to more and more situations quickly, sometimes she actually quite surprises me! She is interested in people and other dogs, she desperately wants them to talk to her but if they ignore her she is quite happy to walk on past without jumping up or following them. Of course jumping up is a big problem if people do talk to her because they speak to her in cute baby talk and most of them then wait for her to jump up before they stroke her, very annoying! But then i figure thats there problem and i'll work on her not jumping up when people stop seeing her as a cute puppy!

Her drive for a tuggy is pretty awesome and it improves all the time, she really picks up her pace when she sees it and she tugs VERY enthusiasticly. We've now got to the point where she will keep tugging whilst Asher is doing crazy exciting things around her which I didn't think would happen for a good while as she is quite focused on him. She's seen and picked up a tennis ball on a couple of occasions, none of them really planned and I didn't really make a big deal about it. I'm still deciding how much interest I want in a ball so i'm going to wait til after the RR seminar before I progress any further with that. I have done a couple of very short retrieves of her squeaky latex ball back to her tuggy where she has exchanged really well.

I'm still finding her drive for food a bit of a problem, although I have seen improvement in this in the last few days. However tbh I don't think she is that much more interested in the food she just wants to interact more. I had a particularly frustrating few days where on most training sessions she got bored after a couple of minutes and wandered off, I was horrified! So I gave her a couple of days off and started back with high value treats, since then she has been a lot better and is now working with her kibble mixed in with a few tastier bits. She knows quite a few things now but I really must start teaching her a wait, I find it such a boring thing to teach though!

I'm finding keeping her activity level down very very hard. Her stamina for such a young pup is ridiculous and when she goes on walks with Asher she just runs and runs. At home she is constantly on the go, she loves to climb and will clamber up on everything, she terrorises Asher (who bless him is normally so chilled at home!) and has crazy times where she runs at literally 100mph around the house and does box turns off the sofa. The only upside of this is that she does seem to have very good coordination and balance for one so young. I was very excited last week as for a couple of days in a row she fell asleep outside her cage TWICE (both times only for like 45mins but its a start) lol. I do just about manage to stop her doing too too much but I will be very glad when she is old enough to do full length walks!

Despite her craziness she is very sweet and very funny! Oh and she has now lost 2 teeth bless her :-)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Flyball Training

I was really pleased with how training went on Sunday. 1 of our starters (a Corgi called Sinead!)had the ball in the box for the 1st time and showed great improvement over the session. Her enthusiasm makes up for her shape bless her! Logan another starter, was the most focused he's been and is really picking up some pace over the jumps. Still big problems with the box as he's not really ball motivated but again showed improvement and I've set homework so we shall see!

Intermediates were fabby. Shani and Loki did full runs for the 1st time 2 weeks ago and did really well. This weekend we also had Merlin and Ruby so the 4 of them did full runs and looked fantastic, soo proud! Loki showed massive improvements in speed even from the last session to this 1. He's always been quick going back as he is so tuggy motivated but was really starting to power to the box aswell so hopefully this will continue. Shani was great as always, really would have no problem putting her straight in to open. Merlin did great on his 1st full runs, box turn was lovely, we've been working on getting him to hit a little higher and push off more strongly with front feet to get a tighter turn (not that it was very wide, he was just not getting the distance off the box that he was capable of), and it seems to be paying off. All of their boxes held up really well with the extra speed and they were doing loose changeovers with no problems. Ruby is slightly different because of her catching problem and confidence issues. Her owners only concern is getting her to go up and back so as much as it pains me I have let the box turn go. She is now going up and back more confidently and I'm hoping speed will come with it eventually. She is triggering the box and catching the ball maybe 1/3 of the time so I think we are getting there!

With the team dogs we did lots of speed exercises which included variations on "the toshy thing", 1 jump, box and back over all 4 jumps which made all the dogs turns really snappy, handler starting off just in front of the dog and racing dog up to 1st/2nd jump, then stopping and running the other way. We tried to tailor it for each dogs needs, so that if a dog was slower coming back we'd do more toshy thing with them and if they were slower going up we did more racing them up. The dogs seem to love this sort of thing and it's a really good workout for the handlers too! Poor Carol ran 3 dogs lol!

Laika came with me again but it's really hard to find time to get her out as I'm hands on involved in literally every dogs training apart from when I'm running Asher. Our training is a real team effort and there is rarely anyone stood around doing nothing as we need people to hold dogs, boxload, watch changeovers etc. Near the end I did manage to get her out and gave her to our 6yr old box loader in training to look after whilst I helped some of the dogs. She was really good and was more looking at me and what I was doing rather than watching or trying to chase the other dogs.

It must be nearly April now surely??! I'm really missing it now and feel like we've got a lot to look forward to and aim for this year, just need to get back out there!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Laika at 12 weeks

Well in the last couple of weeks she has grown lots, played lots, learnt lots and got in lots of trouble! She's finished her vaccinations and is out and about in the World. She's been to flyball training to meet everyone in her new family! We went to Pets At Home on a Sunday afternoon which is never a good idea with a puppy, I was stuck in there for 45mins because everyone wanted a cuddle. She's also been to Blaise Castle which is probably the busiest park/woods near us where she met all manner of rolling things (bikes, scooters, rollerskates, weird plastic cars etc), loads of dogs, kids, screaming kids, people who wanted to cuddle her, people who were totally oblivious to her. All in all, pretty good socialisation and nothing seemed to phase her. The only things that worry her are dogs barking that she can't see and traffic going past whilst were walking along the pavement. Both are improving and i'm not pushing her, she is a very strong character and I think she will get past it quite quickly.
Training wise we have done bits and pieces but not loads. There seems to be lots of puppies around at the moment who seem to be able to do sooo much. Fair play but that's not really my style! I'm a pretty relaxed owner/trainer, my main aim is to build drive and determination. I think that sometimes training too many things can make the dog a bit careful and not really want to let go, not really something I want for flyball! So yeh at the moment she knows some basics and a couple of little tricks like paw and hand touch. The main things she is learning at the moment are recall and walking on a loose lead. Both are currently ok but need more patience from me (not 1 of my strengths) to build them up gradually rather than expecting too much too soon.
I'm also working on wiring an 'off switch' in as I don't think she came with one! She rarely sleeps and seems to be able to go on and on. I'm just trying to reward anytime she lies down quietly. She has to go in to her cage for periods of the day otherwise i think she would be doing far too much on her young bones, she does not appreciate this! We have a small wall that comes down from our garden to the back door, I am constantly trying to stop her jumping off it, I may have to fence it off and only leave access up the steps. It's not even like she carefully steps down, she thinks she's Rambo and jumps off it like she's dock diving (its only about 14ins high)!
As you can see from the picture, her and Asher are getting on really well. They play all the time now, and I'm happy that he's happy with her. That really would of been my worst nightmare if he had been upset, he's my special boy :0).
She seems to want to please more than she did which is making training easier. She now really wants to be told how clever she is whereas before she would rather have gone off and done something else. The mouthing has also pretty much stopped. She is very naughty, cheeky and totally exhausting but I wouldn't have her any other way (can you tell I'm writing this whilst she is asleep lol).

Monday, 10 January 2011

Introducing Laika...

1 day old

2 weeks

4 weeks

4 weeks with her brothers River and Steve



9 weeks

9 weeks at Sarahs

10 weeks

I'd like to introduce you all to the newest member of our household; Laika. She was born on the 28th October which makes her currently 10.5wks old. She is a blue merle WSD with bright blue eyes. Her mother is Gemma who runs for Aces high and herself is from flyball and ISDS lines, and her father is my Asher.

I've kinda kept everything quite quiet about her due to the constant issues I have with bringing new dogs in to my house as my family aren't really doggy people (I had to wait several years to get Tess, and then literally begged for atleast 3yrs before I could get Asher). I wasn't sure right up to the last minute whether I would get her home at all so didn't want to jinx it by telling everyone about her. Also as I'm sure you can imagine we have recieved criticism for "breeding for the wrong reasons" yet it didn't stop us having loads and loads of enquiries about the litter despite their only being 3 puppies. All in all the last few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster and only now do I feel things have settled and I feel strong enough to introduce her with the enthusiasm she deserves!

Well she is bright, determined, strong willed and tugs like a demon :). She already has her cute and quirky mannerisms. She's very attached to me but also likes to do her own thing which can make her frustrating at times! She does crazy zoomies round the house and garden, Asher is totally bemused by her and wondered what the hell I had done to him when I 1st brought her home. He now thinks she is quite good fun. I think he missed having the company of another dog when we lost Tess. She's generally very confident and no objects/noises bother her at all. She does play the sweet and innocent card when she first meets new people and dogs but it doesn't take her long to show her true colours! She picks up things very quickly but can only concentrate for short periods especially as at the moment she is not particularly foody. Housetraining is still a bit of a headache but we are getting there. She was also quite nippy when she 1st came home but this is decreasing even quicker than I expected.

I have been asked if I feel under pressure with her because of already having Asher and him being so quick and also her dad. Well basically; No, I didn't get her because I want another superfast dog, I wanted another dog to train and work. I will of course put my everything in to her to make her the best that I can but I don't really mind how fast she is. If she did end up sub4 I probably wouldn't be able to run her anyway because she'd be on the same team as Asher! My main aim is for her to have a fantabulous boxturn as obviously this is a major interest of mine. Related to this I want her to show equal drive to the box and back from the box. I have a rough training plan sorted already, not that the actual flyball parts of that can begin for several months yet! She will not be 1 of those pups doing full runs at 9months ;)! I'd also like to do a bit more agility with her so will try to do more foundation work to hopefully eliminate the problems I have encountered with Asher.

Anyway for now she can just enjoy being a puppy, terrorising the house and generally causing chaos! I hope to keep her training updated on here and will try to add photos and videos when I can.