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.