Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cloverdale Flyball November 7-8

Indigo and Epic ran this past weekend in Cloverdale for a NAFA tournament. It was our 3rd tournament with the trailer and it was awesome! I love being just a few steps away. Ben was able to spend a lot of time working on the computer while Finley napped in the trailer. She didnt miss any of her naps and that made everyone very happy!

I am in the process of figuring out a better option for video and we only have 5 people at this tournament, so no photos or videos from this tournament.

Indigo raced in the same position (3rd) all weekend passing Ezri. She ran her best passing time ever of 3.86 with lots of 3.9s and 4.0s for the rest of the weekend. She has lost some weight and we tried not feeding them a big meal in the morning. Also we tried giving her Rimadyl on Sunday morning, but she didnt seem any different with that.

Epic keeps speeding up and seemed to enjoy running in start in almost every race. He ran a best team time of 3.80 with all 3.8s and 3.9s for the weekend and not one error. Ben got his first perfect start with Epic as well!

Pax had a great time meeting people and dogs and watching racing. I have high hopes for him not having distraction issues, as he was able to tug anywhere. They opened up the racing lanes for practice on Saturday night and we were able to do several recalls with him. He was little bit nervous at first, but went right for the tug.

Our next tournament will be the first weekend in December. Hopefully we can take the trailer and I can get some video!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

herding isnt exactly a dog sport

I know that herding and dog sports are two different things and many people stick to one or the other. I love both for different reasons and time and money are my only constraints to being fully involved in both.

We spend the majority of our time doing flyball for several reasons. All of our dogs can participate. There is a weekly practice that is a fun social time and it only costs us $5 per dog. Indigo was fully trained before her first birthday, Epic learned and was competing 5 months after we got him, and I expect Pax to be ready sometime near his first birthday. Agility takes a bit longer, but is attainable with lots of practice at home and a good instructor.

I love herding because its relaxing and quiet. The drive to Dianes farm is lovely and being outside at the farm with all the animals doing their jobs is a major (and welcome) contrast to our everyday life. I love giving my dogs the opportunity to do what they were originally bred for. I have been wanting to enter a sheepdog trial for a long time, but the process of getting there seems close to unattainable. Herding lessons are expensive and its hard to find time to go more than once a week.

Indigo is not cut out for herding. We tried for several years with several instructors, and she did not progress. I was afraid that if she continued she would injure herself or kill a sheep. Since she is exceptional (in my opinion) at flyball and agility, we decided to retire her from her short herding career.

Epic came to us with quite a bit of training. He had a good start on his flanks and could do nice outruns. He has lots of talent and because of this, is a blast to train. I actually feel like Im learning something when I go herding with him. Anyway, Ben took him to a lesson with Scott Glen recently and it was determined that he doesnt know his flanks as well as he should. Now our new goal will be to get him doing his flanks properly without any guidance. He needs to know what the words mean. Then when he knows them very well, we will move on to driving. I need to remember to enjoy the training process and be patient about getting him into a trial.

At our last lesson we worked on having him circle the sheep and gave him the flank command when he was doing it correctly. Every few minutes I rewarded him by allowing him to fetch the sheep.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Updates On The Dogs

Indigo: Something is wrong with my girl and I cant figure out what! Its so frustrating. We have done massage, chiropractic, xrays and now we are testing her thyroid and next we will do a tick panel and then accupuncture. Its really frustrating because I dont know what her problem is. I dont know if she is in pain or if there is a training issue? Her flyball times have slowed down from 3.7/3.8 to 4.2 in start. This is a big change for her. After a lot of activity she seems to get a little bit of an arched back. It is really frustrating because I dont know if I should rest her or do something else to help her. Anyway, Indigo and Ben are having a great time training with Heather and Michael Bruce in agility They are working on Bens handling skills and will start 2 X 2 weave training as soon as we get the weaves we ordered!

Epic: Epic is doing great! We decided to keep him out of agility and focus on flyball and herding. He has gone to Diane Pagel's farm a few times for board & train and we are looking for a longer term training arrangement so that he can start trialing. He had a lesson with Scott Glen a few days ago and now we are working on teaching him his flanks well. He knows them, but not perfectly. He needs to know them well and correctly before we can move to driving. In flyball he keeps speeding up for Ben. He is regularly running 3.9/4.0 in the pack. We could not be happier with how he turned out.

Pax: Our introduction to the world of sighthounds.... He is a great dog and fits in well. I am taking puppy agility with him. He has a great amount of drive and focus as long as we keep the sessions short. So far we have worked on tug drive, walking a ladder and walking on a long board. Training will be a challenge compared to working a training addicted border collie, but I have high hopes for his future. In flyball we are working on flat recalls, targeting, "over and back" and just last night we introduced one jump. We will most likely hold off on lure coursing and oval track racing until the Spring.

CanAm video

Here are videos of our two Can-Am teams. I still need work on my video editing skills.

The Open Team: Jet City Jumpers Buzz The Tower
The Regular Team: Canine Mutiny BiCostal Pirates

And another video by my friend Sue from Canine Mutiny