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!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

It's past being a "bad blogger" now...

OK, so it has been waaay too long.

Fly is seven months old now and goodness time has flown by, she's now 18/19" to the shoulder but still seems absolutely tiny to me! I've had my exams in May (which I found out that I passed in July!), then I went to the European Flyball Championships in Belgium and finally then we went for a holiday on Anglesey for a week with the High Flyers.

Flyball wise, we've been doing loads of tuggy work and occasionally some ball work. She has a brand new tug, courtesy of Alicia, which is a lot bigger than her other one, but heck she loves it! I have to admit, I have been doing a tiny bit on the chute, not at speed though and just to get the initial shape of the turn. She only does one or two reps, and to be honest, she flings herself on and off things with a lot more force than we are doing here. We've watched all the Spring Loaded puppy videos, which has given me some ideas and pointed us in the right direction I hope. We've also spoken to a few Border Whippet owners from the US, who have been so so helpful.

When we were on Anglesey in July, we did a little bit with her too. Rachel from Alpha Dogz has a canen lines puppy, Boris, who is the same age as Fly and they did a bit too. We started off letting her go at the box to run over 1" slats on the ground where the jumps would be, and she absolutely flew bless her; even though she is so little, she is actually quite powerful. Boris then had a go and bloody hell, Fly went mental! She was screaming and making some horrible demonic noises. Next we put one dog in each lane and raced them doing a recall over the slats. For the first two times she stayed in her lane, but on the runback she ran over to see Rachel and Boris - well, more specifically Rachel and her tuggy. This was the start of me realising that she often finds people a lot more interesting than dogs in flyball - she gets so much more interested if there is someone making a really stupid noise than a really fast noise running. Luckily, the last 2 time she was great and came straight back to me.

She's been doing tiny bits of "agility" in the second session at A4P when I run Jet, with the help of Leanne. We've done lots of recalls and send on to dead toys. She's done a couple of running through wings and over poles on the floor. On Anglesey she did a little bit of the same and really surprised me on how focussed she was! I'm hoping to start teaching her the 2o2o position on one of the dogwalk planks on the floor over the next few weeks. Luckily we have a few puppies of a similar age at All Four Paws, so we are going to run a weekly foundation course so they can all learn together.

Tricks and training wise, I've not really done as much as I should have. She knows the basics; sit, down, stand, close, paw etc....but we need to work on wait! Jet's wait is, not to sound big headed, amazing (as tested on Anglesey, leaving her in a wait on the start line, going to the other end of the arena to sort the tunnel out and to hear Kristian/Alice/Reece shouting "ready ready ready" at her and she didn't move a muscle!) I guess I can't have anything other than perfect for her...which is hard! I've got a few books of dog tricks too which we're working our way through, she is doing quite well with it.

Fly is a very funny puppy, it is hard to describe her really. I take her to shows all the time, and she is totally not phased by anything. She is very focussed on me and often totally disinterested in some people that come to see her - it's not that she's scared, she just isn't interested. Once she knows someone and she's had fun with them, then she loves them (she came back from Anglesey loving the Flyers!). She LOVES playing with other puppies and throws herself all over them,...rolling around like an idiot. At home she is a maniac! Heck, Jet was an angel compared to this thing. She's ALWAYS awake and wanting to do something, always on the go and going and "doing"...whether that means playing with her football (yes, she loves footballs - so much she set off at Rotherham after Ryan/Gromit from Extreme Racers with their football - argh!) or destroying a shoe. At times, I really can see why some people cannot cope with puppies!

When I was looking for a BC puppy, my criteria was that I wanted working lines that I liked, crazy, nice build (not too small, not a donkey!) and fairly slight. Looking at rescues, I homed into "couldn't cope with her" etc, I wanted absolutely insane. In some ways, I didn't end up with any of these,...a small border whippet who to many will appear pretty shy...but then in some ways, the Fly at home is exactly what I wanted! I do have flashes of inspiration that when she gets training in flyball, she'll be a lot more interested (ref: going mad at Boris after her go!). We will make her into a good girly :).

I'm really enjoying Fly, and will keep this a bit more updated. She is a real character! Thanks to all of those people who have helped me with her so far, and in particular to poor Kristian who has listened to my rants/waffle and told me not to be so stupid on so many occasions now. One day I will get my dark faced collie, but for now I'm excited about my blue Border Whippet!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Getting big now...(&Dinnington)

My little girl...isn't so little anymore! She's growing like a weed. She had a superfun day at Dinnington and is really coming out of herself now. She had a bark while we were at the ring, well, an "arhoooo". Very cute. I shaped it into a "speak" command, and she melted all the 'Owlers when we got back and was barking on command. She decided that Jet's green ball was the best thing ever, think we'll have to get her one (not in green, of course, that's Jetly's!). She played with the tuggy lots and was really pulling for it, she even did some recalls to it and boy was she quick. I'm soooo pleased, as she can be such a shy little thing sometimes - but I forget she's still only young. Like at agility, she was very interested in watching Jet run, but not so much in her toys, I know it will come and trying to get her to play with it first time there was probably a bit much! It made me feel better talking to Sarah, who said her Floss was a very quiet pup and now she's a raving lunatic. Then I think about Jet, and she wasn't particularly mad either - it's always the quiet ones, clearly! Plus, when you live with Jet and Chip, there's not much chance of being sane.

She was however going crazy when I was boxloading for George at 'Owlers camp, James could hardly keep hold of her. She also had a good bark at Ollie from Rotherham doing his boxwork too. At presentations she was adamant that she wanted to play with Nat's JRT pup Esther, but the poor girly has pins in her leg, so understandably didn't oblige. Finally, thanks to Nat for her huge(!!) pink kong wubba, that she loves :D.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Fly is still doing well! She's loving her tuggy more than ever and has suddenly fallen in love with tennis I should say she's doing reeeally well. A couple of weeks back, she'd win her toy and run off with it - now she comes bounding back to play with it some more.

She's learnt "left" this week, and hand touches to have a bash at some heelwork, probably just for fun. We've kept up with the proprioception work and she's done bits of the elephant trick.

She's still quite a shy girl when she's out and about. She's not scared or worried about anything, but just takes a while to come out of herself. At home she's a lunatic.

Fly came to training this weekend, and was playing with her new bestest friend in the whole wide world, Diva the vizsla.

Monday, 3 May 2010


Well Fly now weighs 6.5kg! The big fatty, she seems to have grown loads!

She had lots of fun at Drax, she was a bit unsure at first but got more confident and had cuddles with everyone - I'm going to have a sweepstake on how big she's going to be, I've had everything from 13" height dog to MASSIVE. She played lots of tuggy by the ring and watched a lot of flyball. She wasn't really phased by anything, and she saw loads of new things. There seemed to be puppies galore, so she made lots of friends, including devious Diva!

Thanks to Hazell at Tyne she has a fantastic furry tuggy that she loves :D. Yey!

Watching div.1!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Big girly now...

Well, I went back to uni for two whole nights and came home to find my puppy has grown! She seems loads taller, but she's still not very big for 12weeks old! On her first visit to the vets she weighed 4.9kg - tomorrow is her second visit....I've no idea how much she is now.

I'm looking forward to her visiting Drax this weekend and meeting lots of new peole....not to mention watching flyball!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Fly is doing really well, she's been learning about lots of new stuff - I bought her some super exciting things to get her used to when I was out; bells, hats (trying to avoid her being the same as Jet's hat "thing") and even a cat tent that she thinks it's superawesomewow.

The one thing we're struggling a little bit with is her tuggy. She likes all toys and will play with them, she'll chase the tuggy and grab it a bit (and we do lots of letting her win) but she seems a bit reluctant to actually tug it. On the other hand, she will play manic-tug with lots of other toys, in particular a furry slipper (random!). Anyway, my thoughts are that she either 1. isn't quite comfortable with the fleece tug in her mouth or 2. really, really likes furry things.

I guess I was a bit hung up 0n her having a fleece tuggy, as other pups seem to cope fine with them. However after some searching around about tug drive, I saw Susan Garretts blog (which I haven't been on for what seems like forever) and she talked out finding exactly the toy to suit your dog, whether it's a fly-swat like her terrier Decaff or a tuggy.

So I've gone for a happy medium and bought her one of these:

How can she not like this lol?

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Proprioception fun!

After a day of being a crazy puppy, we took inspiration from the seminar we attended at the SMART clinic back in February with Char, and did some basic proprioception work. We made it super fun of course and she got lots of treats.

I set up some stuff in our front yard (she can't go in the big garden yet as it's waaaay too exciting!) including:
  • A group of different surfaces including foil, a carrier bag, some bubble wrap, some newspaper, an ikea bag and some polythene
  • Some very small poles in a pile, some crossing each other etc.
  • Jet's wobble cushion
  • A plant pot
We did a selection of things with each, like walking over the different surfaces to get her used to not always walking on grass or carpet. Then we walked her very slowly through the poles, so she had to think about where all her legs were at once - she did some very high stepping with her back legs, so at least she knows she has them lol! She learnt how to "step up" on the wobble cushion and plant pot which was super duper fun.

She really enjoyed all this lot, especially as it came accompanied by treats. In the end she kept going back and slowly walking through the poles herself in the attempt of another treat, and I'd turn my back to find her stood on the wobble cushion.

She's so much fun!

Another picture, can't resist:

Situation under control...

So, what does Jet think to Flybe? They get along sooo well, better than I could have ever imagined. Jet doesn't love puppies, she puts up with them, but generally has the "please remove this" attitude. However she's really taken little Fly under her wing and has turned her into a crazy thing.

Here is a video of her having discovered her bark with one of the baby toys I bought her. Sounds definitely required:

Friday, 23 April 2010

A busy day..!

Fly has only had her first vaccination, so isn't allowed out to see any other dogs quite yet, but as this is a vital period for socialisation we had a different trip out today. We went for a walk with Jet and Chip (with her being carried in my coat the whole time - ouchy my arms!) around the woods, and she heard lots of new noises from the quarry, barking dogs at the hound kennels in the distance and rustling leaves - she wasn't phased at all. We then went across the road to the park, where Jet and Chip went playing chuckit and we sat "people watching" for a while. She saw kids playing with balls, screaming, crying, cyclists and people with prams. Then we went for a walk around the park and she saw the fountain and the waterfall which was making a lot of noise. Finally, she met a little boy who reeeally wanted to say hello to her and she was fine. It wasn't too busy for her, but it was nice to introduce her to such a wide range of stuff.

So, she was a good big brave girl today :D.

This afternoon, inspired by reading Bernadette Bay's blog ( about socialising her pups, I went and bought her loads of baby toys from the charity shop. So in the end for about £1 we ended up with loads of stuff, making different noises etc. She's a bit sleepy after her busy morning (along with playing tug, chewing up a toilet roll, playing with Jet, killing the sheep toy and playing beachball) - so she can play soon. Plus, we have to clean them up as at the moment they probably smell of yucky babies.

Introducing Fly

Introducing the new addition to our house hold and with her own blog, Fly!

Fly is an 11 week old border collie x whippet and I'm really looking forward to training her, but first and foremost letting her be a crazy puppy :)