Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Team Players!

We spent Saturday with the Whizzers for flyball practice. Jordan and Magic were in the Starters class and both are now running really well. The purple and green Whizzers tuggy has given Magic a lot more speed on the run back and enabled Jordan to catch him more easily. Lian's husband, Colin, got a nice piccy of them so check out the Knight's blog.

Rupert trained with the team who will be running at Maidstone. Ray and Guy decided to do timings. I usually start Rupert right at the 15 foot marker so we can get him in without distraction. However we discovered he is much faster from the 25 foot. However the ******!!! cocker won't co-operate. He just wants to get all the balls for himself and that includes tackling the dog coming out for their ball. We tried running the team so the bigger dogs came out as he ran in. Size makes no difference, he still want sot take them out for their balls. So back to the 15ft marker and running as anchor dog.

We then had great fun with Guy's agility course. Magic ran the course beautifully. Rupert was his normal self. Messed me around and ran well with Jordan.

I really was cursing Rupert's lack of team play and bloody mindedness.

Sunday we left at 6am in gales, floods and pouring rain for the WAG agility at Minnis Bay. Despite weather we had J's bike. I was really pleased with Rup and J as they ran some complicated courses very well. Rup is now getting the weave entry left and right for himself. However he is now going too fast over the dog walk and missing the down contact. (He's also being bloody minded about it!!!) I might pull him out of agility to repair the run contact.

At lunchtime we braved the weather for a cycle along the beach - well J cycled along the sea wall with Rupert running beside the bike to look after him. I took Magic on to the beach with his wubba. Magic was happily playing when he suddenly saw flocks of seagulls. Now I thought I had spent the last 6 months desensitising him to birds. He now recalls in chase. Not then!!! He raced after a flock of gulls who took off in flight pursued by Magic. They flew quite low and he was able to jump up trying to catch them. In seconds he was literally at least 1/4 mile away and not coming back. He then found another flock of gulls and started chasing them out to sea. I was getting really worried as he was quite far out, not responding to whistle or anything. I was about to take my trousers off....to enter the freezing water. Suddenly I could see Rupert race down the beach and into the water. He swam out to sea in pursuit of Magic and started to drive him back to the shore. Once on the shore he gave him a real "pack" dressing down.

Well, Rup might not be a team player but he does pull his weight in this family. Magic spent the rest of the day shivering in Trover towels being a really miserable little ****. Oh well, it's back to the pheasant run.

Monday Magic started agility training at Surrey Weald with Jordan. He is still getting used to running non verbally but I'm really pleased. Some lovely weaving and handling. He has bold but careful run contacts and is a lovely little dog to handle over tricky jumping course as he looks for direction. At the moment he favours verbal directions but he is starting to follow hand signals. The only problem is archaeological digs for ancient horse poo during runs. He's definitely making his debut in the fun run at C-Side in March and UKA Waverunners. I think at UKA I'll enter him in the normal beginners classes as he can always run NFC if the course isn't appropriate. This means he'll get 4 runs to learn how to behave in the ring. At Waverunners, there will be birds...!!!!!....and the Thames.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


We spent this week trianing. It was fantastic to see Lian Knight with Sing and Sizze who train with us at Pachesham at the Whizzers flyball on Saturday.

Rupert was not his normal self on Saturday as he swallowed a discarded tennis ball he found on a walk and had to go to the vet on Thursday to make sure all the pieces had come out. He was not really focused. I hope that we can help him to run faster back after he gets the ball and to stop running back in. He seems more willing to cross over and not tackle the other dog for their ball or run back in. I found this video taken by Lian Knight on one true media.


Magic continues to enjoy flyball and will be doing his next Starters at Stockbridge at Easter.

His training has been agility. He gets very excited at Pachesham and doesn't run as well as he does at home. His weaving is lovely. Contacts firm. He just needs to gain confidence and speed to go on on his own initiative and not always look for mummy/Jordan. Aww!!!!! The baby!!!

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Dog for Jordan

This weekend we went North to Grantham for the 50th EMDAC BAA show at the UK Arena.

I was pleased with how Jordan and Rupert were running but they do tend to make mistakes and are still finding feet and paws at primary level and advanced juniors.

I decided to teach Jordan how to use his back and one hand to block as there were a number of tight handling challenges/traps on the courses. He's finding this technique difficult at speed. But they came away with a 7th in TFO agilty and a 10th in clockwork tunnels - not their normal speed due to Jordan's lack of confidence.

I'm still worried about Jordan and Rupert in the advanced Juniors with the Grade 5 courses. I am not one to try and get Jordan the best dog so he can win but I decided to see if someone would lend him a more expereinced dog so he could learn from teh dog and have to think less about the demands of the course and the need to get an inexpereinced dog round it. Gemma Miles kindly agreed to lend Jordan Focas. We hoped that Focus would run on body language alone and some noise. We learnt a lot from this!!

Jordan is definitely at the stage where he can handle a large, fast collie as they made a fast flowing start over some tight handling. However they came to grief when Jordan made his noise to get Focas' attention to stop him going in a tunnel. Jordan's oo!!! was translated as go and Focas shot in the tunnel and came out and got really confused to see Jordan's body language saying "back- left". They had another go and poor Focas got really confused - here was a handler whose body language said stop and voice said go. It ended in disaster.

The disaster continued. Jordan then tried to run Rupert like a big fast collie. He put him miles back from the start in a down, so he could do remote handling from the 4th fence. Instead of close to the first jump at an angle with a line of vision and handle via hand signals. Rupert interpreted being put a long way from the first fence as the need for a Calvary charge along a straight line of jumps. An inevitable "e" followed.

I was pleased with the learning from this:

Jordan can never handle a dog he doesn't train with.

The dog needs to be trained to run with Jordan so it runs on body language and his distorted sounds.

We are going to have to get Jordan training with Magic sooner rather than later and get Magic up to the standard for Grade 5 junior courses as soon as we can.

We cannot do what most juniors do and borrow dogs to run so Jordan will have to just run Rupert this year until Magic is ready.

Would a Deaf dog be the best bet for Jordan?

I can't afford it at the moment but with this in mind we are going to have to increase our pack to 4 dogs long term. Another cocker and possibly a Deaf collie that has the potential to go all the way to the top with a Deaf handler. I don't know would a hearing collie or kelpie learn to run with Jordan?

Later that day Jordan was playing at the top of a great mud mountain. Rupert ran up the mountain to play and watch over Jordan. He played with Jordan for an hour. Magic took one look and decided it looked dangerous and I was a better bet with his wubba kong. There is defiantely a unique relationship with Jordan and Rupert and it'll be interesting to see if we can get a partnership with Magic on that level.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Whizzers' Winter Warmer

The New Year started with the Wimbledon Whizzers first tournament. For a team who only formed around Easter last year this was really ambitious - but then Ray and Guy are not faint hearted. The result The Wimbledon Whizzers' Winter Warmer a 2 day open tournament with starters and fun events. This was held inside a massive marquee so the dogs had the advantage of running on grass.
One thing was obvious - it was not a "warmer". Temperatures were sub zero. My car was reading -2 when we went home on Friday after helping set up. Saturday dropped to -4 driving up. Rachel's Hit coffee machines frooze up. The dogs' paddling pools were solid ice. (Great for cockers to skate on (lol!!) Water put down for the dogs to drink frooze.
This was our first flyball tournament after the starters last Easter. The Whizzers were running 2 teams in the open in divisions 5 and 6 and were sharing a Starters team with the Mad Mutts. Rupert was in the Whizzers in division 5 on Sunday - scary for a dog who had only done one starters event. Magic was keen to do a starters debut.
Guy advised me to make it known on the Saturday that I had a dog that I'd like to run in the Starters in case a team could take an extra dog. The Hamphire Harriers were really supportive and Magic joined the Hampshire Hurricanes in the Saturday night starters. It was minus -2 when we started. Magic ran in 3 position and was a real natural. He needs to mature as he has a tendency to bambi hop along to the box and was running at about 5 and a half seconds. He can also run back in as he is still not used to cross overs. We were delighted to come 3rd. Not a bad debut. Thanks to the Hampshire Hurricanes for squeezing in a mad cocker.
Rupert teamed up with Jed in the pairs and it was funny. In the first race we tried with Rupert as start dog and the mad thing ran back in with Jed. The next race we swapped them round and they ran well. The last race was the funniest. Jed dropped his ball and couldn't find it hidden behind a jump so came out a bit dejected. Rupert raced in picked up Jed's ball and raced to the box to get the other ball and ran back happily chomping on 2 balls. After this performance we were really shocked to come 3rd!!!!
As our team ran NFC on the Saturday in division 6, our Division 5 team were keen to do well. Rupert measured as between 16-17" so will jump the 12" height. I was relieved when we decided not to run Rupert as he, like Magic, still needs more practice with crossovers and would have lost us seconds. He can also only run as anchor dog due to this. We gave him the run backs and run ups and he ran really well on those in stimulated conditions and I was well pleased with him running like that in open lanes. I was also pleased that not giving Rupert a run paid off and we won Division 6 with a new fastest time!!!
Ray and Guy decided to run Magic in the Mutt-Whizzers starters team. Sam from the Mutts was really great and I had the time of my life running in that team. It was maaaaad!!! The Mutt's ran 2 staffies about the same age as Magic - 12-13 months. We decided to run Magic as start dog and I feel (unless Ray and Guy disagree) that this is his natural position. He is a joy to run as a start dog. He stands ready, pointing and watching that ball... and flies on the first amber light; racing the other dog adds to his speed. It's also a nice place for a deaf person to run as you just wait for the first amber light and if you make a false start everybody waves madly!!!! Sam stood by to stop him running back up - and at one stage she did an ace rugger tackle!!!! I think we can solve this by me tying a slipper on a tuggy rope and lowering it to the ground when he leaves the run which will be more attractive than tuggy ball. Our biggest challenge was interference from the staffies who couldn't resist running to say hi to the other team to share a few balls! We came 6th having had the biggest laugh with the youngsters.
Jordan had the time of his life with his new best friend, Charlie. That is really what flyball is about to me the people. We left after the Starters in freezing temperatures as Jordan was falling asleep.
I was going to help clear up this morning but we are snowed in!!!
Well, I'm now on a flyball high with Magic who is in love with flyball. Rupert prefers agility.

Christmas cockers

Happy New Year to all of You

Have fun competing in 2009

Magic celebrated his first Christmas and soon got the hang of it!