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.