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.