Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dog Sport Updates and Flyball Thoughts

We are going to our first flyball tournament since Gridley this weekend! Pax, Indy and Goose are all on our “A” team. I’m hoping we can break our NAFA team record of 17.2. Pax will be running full time on the team for the first time!
We went lure coursing with Pax and he did awesome! I think this is his favorite sport. It was amazing to watch, but so much slower than flyball! There have been several race practices, but it’s hard for us to get to them with flyball practice. Hopefully we’ll be able to find a NOTRA race for him or possibly even some open field coursing this winter in California.
Indigo started back up with Nose Work and is working on more difficult hides. She is ready for her ORT and probably NWI trial, but I haven’t even had a chance to look at the schedule.
Indigo and Pax are both doing well in agility. Pax is learning weaves and rear crosses and Indigo is back to 2o2o contacts, which will hopefully allow her to enter a standard trial someday. Ben had a really hard time teaching her running contacts. Indigo has a trial Thanksgiving weekend. Will she learn her contacts by then? I hope so!
In flyball Pax is working on confidence going into passes and holding his ball. To work on going into passes, I changed the drill a bit. Last week we tried it this way: You need two holders, two dogs, two handlers, and one four jump lane with no box and a big run back with jumps adjusted so there is an extra one in the run back and one less in front of the box area. Holder 1 stands around where Dog 1 would normally start. Handler one stands with tug at jump 3 going toward the box area. Holder 2 has dog 2 in the box area and handler two has a tug near jump 8 in the run back. Holder 2 lets dog 2 go like for a normal recall. Holder 1 lets Dog 1 go for a tight pass (or as the dogs can handle) but instead of going to the box, handler 1 starts running toward the box area and catches dog 1 there. And then switch dogs. This teaches Dog 1 to run full speed to the box into another dog. Eventhough the box isn’t there isn’t cued the same and more comfortable for some dogs to recall to a tug than to run toward the box.
Other thing that I am working on with team dogs are: ball obsession (still haven’t found a method that works) and striding. My question about striding is whether there is a benefit to putting a noodle on top of the jump to “flatten” out the dog. From everything I know about jumping, it doesn’t make sense. So, I’m focusing more on striding gutters.

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