Sunday, 30 November 2008

Team flyball training.

I was able to attend the team training this week as I'd managed this Sunday off. Itb was a nice dry day but very cold and the ground was a little muddy and sticky as it always is when it's been frozen and thawed out. We managed to train fine though other than half the field wanting to stick to our boots.
Sleet started a bit of loose change over work. She veers to the side a little after the last hurdle when she sees another dog running at her but doesn't seem to be overly bothered so, hopefully, that will gradually disappear as she gets used to it.
My sister tried running her dog storm before her but sleet was more interested in her when she was running back with storm than going down to the box so we put sleet first and then she ran fine. Just needs to build up her speed although she isn't too bad. We moved onto a lane where there was only netting around the area between the box and the hurdle closest to it then just wings on either side of the other hurdles. She tried to run out a couple of times but soon realised there would be no ball as usual if she did and she didn't try again.
Wren only had one period of runs today but she did really well and looks like she'll be really fast. She comes down fast from the box for her tuggy...just have to watch to make sure she doesn't spit the ball before she's meant to but she only did that first time and, as long as I keep the tuggy hidden until she's well past the start gate, it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. She's also going down to the box much faster to get the ball in the first place and her catching skills are definitely improving.
We wanted to get videos of all our 4 dogs running a leg but, as sleet and storm were running together, my sister wasn't able to get a vid of Sleet or me of Storm so Wren was the only one to get a couple of legs captured today. As you can see, she's coming along really well and her enthusiasm is getting ever stronger.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Happy 1st birthday Sleet.

She was 1 year old yesterday actually but I was working a 9-8 shift so didn't have chance to post or take photos. Fortunately, I made the most of the nice day before to get some photographs.

Today, I did a little more flyball training with them both. They're both doing great now with Wren still just having the minor issue of not grabbing the ball fast enough off the box and having to fumble for it. When my sister raised the hurdle just in front of the box to make her turn, it seemed to cure that problem mind. Otherwise, her enthusiasm is 100% with her making funny noises and yapping as I release her at the start point and rushing down to the box at good speed.
We trained them on the garden path and there was no netting but, on there, it's easier and quicker for them to go over the hurdles than round which they do and will, no doubt, give them good practise for running out of netting.
Lets now hope the weather is ok on Sunday for team training.
Tricks wise, both Sleet and Wren are learning to circle me backwards and are doing well. Wren has learnt the putting her paws on my feet and me walking along and also to back through my legs and the figure 8. Sleet has learnt those and has been learning more upright type stuff such as jumping up at my back and walking along with me in this position, doing a circle round me in "jumped up", position and letting me do a swirl whilst she stays in position. She hardly needed any training for any of these and seems to be a natural at that type of stuff. She's doing more steps on the limp and also on her front legs with hind legs up.
On the art front, I am still currently working on my sisters xmas present. It's a montage of her older dog Monty with a head study and two smaller flyballing studies. I can't post it in here because she looks in on this. It'll have to wait until after xmas. I have done the head and am currently working on the first of the two smaller studies.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Some flyball training today and general trick training..

Today, my sister and I arranged to do some flyball training whilst she had a box loaned from our flyball club. I'm often made to work on Sundays so I can have trouble attending the club training and when I do have sunday free, the weather decides it's going to be atrocious so training gets cancelled. The forecast for this weekend isn't good either.
Today, it was dry, if a little windy, and we got some decent training done. Sleet is coming along well. She was a little fairy like on the box at first but after she was shown how to really treat a box, she's well away and developing a nice swimmers turn.
Wren has a few little issues to iron out. At our club training, she has the problem of not actually going down to the box for the ball straight away and just turning to look at me. If my sister box loads, she doesn't seem to do that so maybe she just needs somebody she knows to boxload until she gets more into it. We didn't have any of that today as my sister was boxloading.
I used a tuggy to encourage her back quicker and it sister mentioned that she was the only dog she knew that went back ten times faster than she went down but she has the issue of spitting the ball sometimes on her way back or not bringing it back at all. Of course, no ball, no tuggy and she goes back to get the ball when told. As Sleet never allowed her to get a ball that was thrown for them, she hasn't developed quite the ball drive that sleet has. It took some clicker training and encouragement just to get her to want to pick a ball up after chasing it and then bring it back and she's come along quite well considering.
She now has some drive but it just needs developing that bit she needs to improve her catching skills. She jumps onto the box and always misses the ball which falls to the ground and she has to fumble about trying to grab it before she can come back.
She's still only young though at 8.5 months so there's plenty of time before she can even compete in starters, nevermind sanctioned tournaments.
She's enthusiastic about the whole experience which is the most important thing.

On the trick training front, I've generally been teaching them in the evening using their suppers as the food rewards. The sessions last as long as their supper does.
They've both learnt quite a lot already and have been learning several new things at a time.
They are both currently learning the quite difficult trick of walking on their front legs. Sleet is coming along well with this and took her first few steps forward on her front legs last night. Being light and skinny, she doesn't find it as hard holding herself upright like this. Wren being that bit bigger and heavier needs a little more practise keeping her back end off the floor a little bit longer but she knows how to lift it up fine and do a quick handstand.
Sleet has also been learning the limp the last couple of nights and took her first steps last night with one leg lifted and without physical aid from me so I was dead pleased with that.

Ok, So I decided to start one too.

Everyone seems to be starting a blog these days so I thought I'd follow suit.
I'll be talking about everything in this blog, not just dogs. I'll also talk about my art (pet portraits and animal art), photography, cacti and any other interests and pastimes I get up to.
There's just too many things I do to create a seperate blog for each...would take forever keeping them all up to date...