Fast times in February

15 02 2011

Gridley again this weekend! This weekend was nice because I was able to get both days off from work and so a full weekend of racing. It was a challenging week for me personally, and I was looking forward to a weekend of fun away from normal routine.

First thing I should mention is that I’m still working on a lot of flyball skills with Jet. Striding and Box work, which helps in both speed and precision/accuracy. Usually I can work both in the same training exercise. Jet always gets a two sided prop in front of the box and 2″ slats added to raise the prop height from 7″ to 9″. This helps get his butt up higher on the box. Then, a large gutter is placed directly to the right side of the box. I always place the gutter on the inside of the prop wing and outside of the hole on the box that Jets ball goes. I find this has been the best to get him to over-rotate off the box so he’s tighter off the box. Then I’m working on his stride. I’m talking about the amount of strides he takes coming off the box before he gets to the first jump back. Some dogs because of their size alone, are good with 2 strides, but some, like Jet, should be taking 3. The reason behind this is it sets the dog up for the striding over the jumps on the return. With only 2 strides, Jet jumps higher over the jumps and can therefore be slower. With 3 strides he allows himself to maximize his stride length on the jumps and is able to run low and skim (run) over the jumps versus actually thinking about “jumping”. You don’t want the dog to think “jump” but think “run” as though the jumps aren’t there. So ive also added a stride pole about 5 feet away from the box on his way back, which forces the 3 strides. Its muscle memory. Then i slowly fade out the use or props. He’s been improving more and more in each field. My goals are a 3 stride every time with a 4 foot over rotate box. The over rotate is important because the dog is set up tight off the box so it’s easier set up for the 3 strides. I’ve been setting this simulation at home.

So Gridley again. Jet team was 5/5 both days in Division 1, and was bottom of the division. Team to beat was a southern California 15 sec team. The goal here was to run clean. And the try to beat the only other team, which was seeded half a second faster than us. Before the race I warmed up jet by finding a nice open field with a wooden fence and tossed him a few frisbees and did a couple box turns off the fence. Then i wrapped his 4 feet. Then it was race time!

Jet got to start his first race. We were against the 15 sec team. Jet was racing another fast border collie on the other team. First heat I had a .100 start delay. Dont know what happened but I think I realized too late which light to release on. Jet was pissed the other dog was a tad bit released in front of him. He flew down the lane and ricochet off the box. He ran a 4.2 with my crappy start delay. A true time of 4.1 minus the delay. Good boy Jet! The second heat I got my act together in start and did better with a .34 start delay. Jet blazed down the lane and whipped off the box so fast. He over rotated so beautifully it looked like he was trying to fold himself in half off the box. And strides were perfect. He ran another 4.1! And then the next race, him and the other dog ran an exact time of 4.208. That’s the kind of racing we love, fast and down to the wire! I was so impressed jet was remembering his box and striding. He continued to run 4.2 in addition to the 4.1s and a 4.3 at the end.

Second race he was running in the pack, 3rd spot and ran several 4.3’s with a pass and I had 2 to 3 foot passes. He hasn’t ran those times in the pack since he was sick. His box was holding up all day and I just kept warming him up prior to racing. He had a few races where he did 2 strides instead of 3 but they were minimal. He had maybe 2 re-grips of the ball at the box and 1 small bobble on Sunday.

Riley was running part time and doing a great job bringing her ball back to 40″ each time! She got flagged once when one of our dogs left his ball at the box. Riley went down, saw the tennis ball and hit the box, released her ball, touched the tennis ball and then took the her ball instead! She would rather have her squishy ball than a regular one. The judge doesn’t know this and thought Riley got the previous ball and flagged us for re run. I think we made time with the rerun but not sure.

On Sunday Jet ran 4.2 and several 4.3’s in start and continued to run low to mid 4’s with a pass in the pack. With maybe 2 exeptions on his stride he ran like a well oiled machine, flying off the box so fast and over rotating so beautifully he seemed like he was twisting himself in half. He was launching for the tug and growling and dogs ran by as he had his prize. He was all riled up and very competitive.

Second to last race of the day Jets team ran a 17.6 and amazingly we placed 1st in division 1 both days, even being bottom of our division. We were fast enough to win when we needed to and clean, especially when it counted. Our other teams won 1st in their divisions on Saturday and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sunday. I personally achieves a 0.00 start myself!

It was an amazing weekend, I’m so proud of my dogs and being part of this team of great people and dogs and help build our successes as a team. I hope we have the same great time in our NAFA tournament next month!

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