Sunday, 30 January 2011

Doesn't time fly....?

Well, on Wednesday, the Fly is a whole year old! How time has flown eh?

I keep intending to write a huge blogpost about how we're doing, but in a way I'm glad I haven't. I have a huge downfall of overanalysing everything that I do with her and it makes me enjoy her less than I should be doing. For this reason I've stopped blogging and just gone back to loving spending the two days a week that I do have with her.

I have however come to agree with all of those blogposts/websites that tell you to film absolutely everything, and I do now. I must admit, the high quality of the iPhone video camera has made this a lot easier and the VideoPix app has given me awesome frame-by-frame analysis. It has also helped me a lot to know where I should be stood, when she runs best etc. I'd recommend anyone to film all the time, especially in flyball, even though you don't think you will see all that really will if you start looking.

Fly has started her official training with the rest of the club now, and did her first session in the new year. I know she's behind a lot of those who have been doing full runs since they were 8months old, but that's not for me (or for Fly!)...each to their own. We have been doing recalls for the past few weeks, and I've kept the sessions really short. Most of our starters come out twice, but I've just been doing her once and calling it a day at that. This weekend we started introducing Kim doing a recall on the flat along the side to get her used to two lanes from the beginning; Fly has a bit of a chase drive. First time we tried this she did the four jumps and then ran to Kim/Maxine but came back, second time she came back to me but thought about going over to them. I'm pretty sure third time she'd have come straight back to me.

I'm hoping to introduce the ball with our new chute box at training in the next few sessions, as ideally I don't want her collecting the ball from the floor and getting herself into the incorrect stride pattern.

Fly is a real conundrum. At home she's crazy, and cuddly, and annoying and loveable. I have no other way to describe her other than causing utter chaos wherever she goes. Every time she sees you she greets you like she's not seen you in years, throwing her little whippety self straight at you and if you're lucky you'll get an "arhooo" - even if you've just left the room. She's on your knee as soon as sit down, and if she's priviliged enough to be upstairs then she's straight under the covers with her pokey face. She goes absolutely insane with her football, and she runs around the garden at 100mph (literally) which frustrates poor Poppy as she's an old lady now and just can't catch her. Finally, go help me when I do anything with Jet as all hell breaks loose as Fly will do ANYTHING to muscle in on the action, screaming banshee puppy has to go in her crate.

At training, Fly is coming out of herself and doesn't quite play the "shy, innocent" little puppy that she did at shows last year. She loves to be the centre of attention, rolling around on her back making her ridiculous noises and wriggling at everyone. Then, as above, if I'm running another dog then the "OH-EM-GEE!!" light switches on in her brain and we either have screaming or if we're in the car she wipes the windows with her little paws (literally for hours, I should really attach mits to her paws and hire her out). She is a strange little thing.

She is getting far more into her toys and loves her sheepskin tuggy. Whilst I know a lot of people say that dogs should only see balls at flyball, and that they shouldn't play with them away from training, I think that they should actually *like* them enough to want to go and get them (but like the tug more, obviously!). If our younger three are out on a walk, then Fly used to just chase Jet continuously and wherever Jet went then so did Fly. Over the last few weeks however if they are playing ball then Fly has started to go and retrieve it herself, rather than chase Jet...which is fab. We are still doing a fair bit of tuggy/ball work and she is doing nicely at exchanging.

I have said a lot of positive things here, because I want to focus on those. I have spent way too long whinging about how (just sometimes) it would have been with a different dog, but she is testing me as a trainer and making it really fun along the way. Thanks to those people that have listened to my moaning and sorted me out lol, they know who they are!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Box work breakthrough...?

In previous posts, I showed Fly's boxwork updates. I've been doing what I've watched from the Springloaded DVDs and read on a couple of websites, basically what I did with Jet. Jet's turn wasn't trained like that from the beginning as she started her boxwork with our old club (= zero boxwork), but I tweaked it with that. At uni, one of our lecturers told us a Henry Ford quote "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got." When I thought about it, as much as Jet has a nice-ish turn, I'd like Fly's to be significantly better; I have her from the beginning, and I'm more experienced than I was then - no excuses.

For a while, I've not been entirely happy with the results I've been getting. She's followed the toy to do a fairly nice turn but I've not been 100% on where her feet are, and overall I think she was a bit too reliant on me. I realised that I need Fly to offer the turn behaviour completely independently and I've set about using a target type method (with a clicker), similar to what I've seen on videos but adapted for Fly.

We have only done one session, but oh my goodness she's made such a huge improvement. She's using her back legs completely differently and offering the turn with no prompting from me whatsoever, I have to say I was really pleased with her.

I have some videos, will maybe post later.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

And we're back,...

Well Fly is nearly 10months old, where on earth did the time go?

Agility wise we've done nothing to be honest, I can't get to training on a Tuesday and at the moment I have to say my interests are 100% more in flyball. That will change, as it always does :).

We've been doing the beginnings of box work for a few months now, i.e. changes of direction on the flat to get her used to whipping around fast but nothing on the actual box. I also determined that she turns the opposite way to Jet and Chip, so is the odd one out in our house now. In the last week, I decided to step it up a bit and let her have a little go on the chute properly. Now we obviously modified this a bit, she wasn't running at it from 30ft like Jet does but she was going on it from near enough a standing start as she's still young. I do hate people doing things with pups too young, but after a bit of an odd discussion with one of our orthopaedics lecturers and explaining her build/growth patterns, he thought she'd be absolutely fine. Plus, we are doing 3/4 reps maximum, and it's only once a week as I'm at uni for most of it. I sound like I'm panicking here, there are dogs younger than Fly doing full runs for a ball out of the box, which I find absolutely insane.

Here are a couple of videos:
I'm not pushing her properly for speed just yet as it will make it too high impact imo, but I just want her to get used to the motion. I'm quite pleased with her, she's a good girl. We still have a lot of work to do, but tbh the thing I'm most delighted about is that she absolutely loves it!

Ball/tug work:
Well, what a difference here. In the last month the change has been brill, and I have to put that down to Kelly's help. Without going into too much detail, and getting into the whippet mindset she's so much better. She also gave me some stuff to do with the tug to get her a bit sharper on it, and although we've only just tried it - wow has it made a difference! I've now got her targeting the ball and bringing it back over a short difference (I was told off for doing the distance too long before!) with an immediate drop for the tug. I have to say she's quite shifting too. :) Yey!

Finally, she's had first rabies vaccine (as has Jet!) so that she can come along to the European Flyball Championships in Germany next year. Exciting stuff! That also meant that the girls came to uni with me at the beginning of this week, as you can see they were totally phased by the experience...

I have to say, I really am enjoying little Fly at the moment :)

Friday, 29 October 2010

No need for a change of title...

...because, yes, yet again I am an incredibly bad blogger!

I've actually had a week with Fly this week, not under particularly happy circumstances as I have been in bed most of it with a mystery sickness was not nice. She has however taken it upon herself to be at my side 24/7, which was cute to start with, but a whippet shaped lead weight trying to lie on you every second of the day doesn't quite rank so highly. Sweet (for a while).

Over the last couple of days, I have had a bit more energy and I've been doing some retrieves to tug. This is something that just feels like it is coming together at the moment *touch wood* with just the right balance between liking the ball/tug. Don't get me wrong, she could like them both more, but she's completing the exercise. We're in the very fortunate and extremely lucky position to have Kelly Robbins helping us out at the moment. She's watched a few of my videos of Fly and given us some massive pointers that seem to be working really well for us, plus a lot lined up for us to continue working on. Kelly really understands the way that Fly works and I can't thank her enough so far; mind you she is somewhat of a whippet expert, owning 3 herself. I love seeing things work, and it makes me even more excited about training Fly, she does make me smile :) Bless her blue cottons!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Growing up...

Fly is now 7.5months old, how time has flown!

She's still a mischievous little madam at home, into everything and not scared of anything. She always wants to be with you, doing what you're doing and poking her nose where it doesn't belong. It's also not unusual to find her playing with Jet or Chip...or should I say, wrestling to the death!

Training wise she's doing really well with the clicker and has quite a little repertoire of tricks now, the thing that I need to work on a lot is to get her doing things at a distance as she's very clingy at the moment...but we're getting there.

This week she started foundation agility classes officially, obviously nothing on the equipment but lots of running to toys and wait training etc. On the whole she was very good but we do get distracted by a certain vizsla puppy, she's just too much fun apparently! I won't be around on a Tuesday evening until Christmas now, so I'm not sure what she's going to do.... I will do foundation for both sports at the weekend and will try and find her some private lessons maybe next year, but for now we're just enjoying her being a pup!

Here are some new photos of my very gorgeous girly, thanks to Leanne:

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hydrotherapy and a busy week...

I will put a bit more about Fly and Jet's week on Jet's blog, but she's been one busy puppy! Along with the longest walk she's ever been on in her life (with her best friend Diva!), she also went to hydrotherapy for the first time!

Jet used to go on a regular basis a few winters back, and I wanted to get her into it again as it really helped her fitness levels. I thought little Fly puppy couldn't miss out and she came along to do some too; a little non-weightbearing exercise can't do her any harm. She did 5minutes and was totally unphased, she was a surprisingly strong swimmer.

Before: waiting to go in sat in the car:


Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Fly was super at agility tonight, we did a few recalls to a tug and she was good. She had a couple of moments when she had to go see Diva when she had her tug, but overall she was fab. We also did some tunnel work, and to say she's never seen it before she was a really good girl. :D

We've been working hard on her learning her "finish" for obedience and knowing her heelwork position. With Jet, I did her coming around the back of me, but always one for a challenge I decided to teach Fly the opposite way. She's picking it up really quickly actually and is responding well to the clicker.

We're continuing with her hand touches which are coming on nicely, and we've just started sending her away to a target. We're moving quite slowly with it as she just doesn't seem to be picking it up too well once it gets too far from me, but she's getting there.

We also had a bit of a surprise at agility training with her deciding that she can (flyball!) boxturn off the wall?! She did one which was quite nice (not asked for and very unexpected!!!), but I wasn't really intending to do anything with her on the wall, especially at 7months. However, I may give it a go when she gets a fair bit older now that I know she should be able to do it. I've always shied away from it with Jet as she has a dodgy leg, and is quite a heavy dog, but we might be ok with Fly and I've seen some pretty awesome boxturns developed with it. There's a great video from Lyndsy and Rave (Rave Reviews) showing how to progress from a slant board right to the wall, so when she's old enough we might try it.

Tomorrow I think we might do some proprioception work, as it's been a while and also some rear end awareness as it is always useful. I'm really enjoying our little ten minute sessions, she is actually quite a clever cookie!