Thats a Pass!

10 11 2008

As 2008 is coming to a close, the Madera tournament is fast approaching. I usually enjoy taking a break from practice the week before-keeping the dogs mentally energized and saving a bit of gas money is nice too. This last weekend, however, i needed to go to practice so i could take a box home in preperation for this weekend’s tournament, and to work on Riley’s passing a bit more.

It had rained the night before, and the grass was wet, but thankfully the ground was still hard. The clouds covered the sky and the weather was crisp and cold. Because of the rain throughout the week, Jet and Riley had no excercise on Friday or Saturday. Its getting harder to work them after i get home from work, since its already dark out.  Needless to say, Jet was going ape, and Riley even seemed restless.

Since my last post, I’ve seemed to find the magic “Riley button”, that wonderful little gadget that just seems to fix Riley’s issue so easily its a wonder what i could have accomplished had i known it earlier.  Riley needed help on her passing-she was uncomfortable with the concept of running into another dog head on, and would make a beeline into the other dog’s path as she ran to the start line. I had discovered that if i restrain Riley by her chest with both hands, while she is standing at my side, and then run up-or basically run to the line with her all the way-she ignores the other dog and has gained huge strides of confidence down the lane. Before, Riley would dodge at the other dog and then amble down the lane-sometimes double striding the last jump before the box. With me running with her, she carries herself to the box like a different dog-she has new speed i didn’t think she had-single striding the way down with enthusiasm, and a confidence at the line which makes her more consistant with passing and having her pretty much ignore the returning dog.

I am glad this issue has a “Riley button”. She’s not the kind of dog who is bomb proof and will stand a correction at the line-she would lose her enthusiasm and shut down from a correction. Everything in Flyball MUST be possitive-as it should be.  I can safely say Riley is ready for the Madera tournament.

Jet was amazing at practice. We never have the ability to record times at practice-but this weekend a teammate and i were recording each other’s dog’s times with the stopwatch on my phone.  Jet was practicing running over 10 inch jumps, since thats what we will be running over at Madera.  He had some very nice box turns and his first full runs the begining of practice. On the second time he came out to do some pairs racing with the Malenois in the other lane, whom he loves to race against.

Jet was simply amazing, and it was probably the best practice we’ve had.  Over 10 inch jumps he ran his best ever time of 3.98 seconds. The second run was 4.03, and the third was 4.12. My team mate who was watching exclaimed that it was “bloody fast”.  Even though i always wrap Jet’s stopper pads and dew claws for protection on the box, even so, he skinned one paw pad and bloodied the other.  Now, i know there is always the consideration that the human recording the time isn’t perfect-but my team mate has always had nice timeing and a good eye. Those runs were so much fun, i was glad i went to practice.

At the end of practice we did some power jumping excersises.  This is where we set up 8 jump in a row and send the dogs after each other in rapid fire, so that the dogs are “chasing” each other down the lane. The handlers are all at the end of the 8 jumps and will catch their dog with the tug at the end.  We did 8 jumps over 10 inches with the fastest dogs, and one green dog. Jet was right after Loki, and on the second run was so fast he was practically clipping Loki’s paws, and completly lost his mind in competition. As he came out of the jumps he continued to chase Loki until he saw me flick the tug in his direction.

I usually dont post on practices unless they are special, and this one showed lots of good things to come from both dogs that i couldn’t help myself.

…later…

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