Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Catch up...

We've had a few flyball competitions since our last update, including Drax where we had a line up of Lucy, Brooke, Jet and Murphy and managed to run a fantastic 18.57s and I know we had room. The best thing was that we were consistent all day long, each race we were 18.80s and below, only slower if we actively held off. We won the div after a few close races, but our speedy black whippet brought it home for us every time.

Next competition was Bakewell last weekend, after a string of disasters we ended up with a very mixed team of Buddy, Dylan, Bailey, Jet and George. We did however win the division, but it was hard fought and definitely close racing. I think my favourite moment was Jet racing a JRT when she ran anchor. The JRT was at the jump closest to the box when Jet went through the start gate. She still beat it back, good girly.

I'm really pleased with Jet's flyball at the moment, she seems to be in top condition and running like a star bless her. We've been putting the jump in front of the box at training to get her position on the box better and it seems to be working:

Agility wise I'm at a bit of a loose end really. Jet is an absolute star at training, very fast, keen and responsive. I know that she is capable of running at the higher grades and I know she can win out of grade 3, I watch dogs in grade 4/5/6 and think, heck, Jet is faster than this and I know she can do the turns. When I get to competitions, I get so het up about needing to win out and worrying about whether she'll be quick enough, that it all falls to pieces. Jet is a sensitive soul on the sly, and she starts lip smacking/yawning on the line and doesn't want to play with her toy etc. I know it's 100% me, and even when I sit there and focus on just chilling doesn't work....I get in the queue and see a fast dog go and I'm like "oh no, we'll never win this now" and it all goes down hill from there. I know that I need to stop being like this, but somehow I just can''s so frustrating, and being frustrated makes me even worse!

Therefore, I have come to the decision to have a break from agility until Christmas at the earliest...enjoy training Fly on the weekends and flyball with Jet. Leanne has offered to take Jet to a few agility shows, and I know she enjoys running for her so she's booked in for a few over winter without me. Hopefully next year I'll be a bit more chilled, probably with Fly to worry about at this stage lol.

Just flyball training this weekend, and then back to uni!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

7 Things...

Stolen from various blogs. Firstly 7 things you may not know about me, and 7 things you may not know about my dogs.

1. I was born two weeks late, if I had been born on the "correct" date, I'd have shared a birthday with both my Mum and my Nan.
2. I am super competitive with everything that I do, in fact I hate how nasty it makes me sometimes!
3. Every day of my life at uni I ask myself am I on the right course (and occasionally I get the inspiration to say, yes, you are).
4. My next dog will be a dark faced border collie (but I've said that twice before)
5. I have 2 bedrooms at home, and they're both tidy right now (shocker).
6. I am a massive geek on the subject of conditioning.
7. I'd really love to specialise in sporting dogs or sporting dog nutrition.

My dogs:
1. Jet used to be a massive fatty as a puppy/juvenile, in fact I may have to post a photo one day.
2. Poppy is featured in the Tia Greyhound Rescue Book, talking all about her flyball/agility.
3. Chip used to be called Chester. The rescue suggested that we call him Terry because he was chocolate/orange, I personally find it hilarious and call him Terry just to wind my Mum up. Tehehe.
4. Whisky is actually Kennel Club registered as Whirlwind Whizzer.
5. When Jet started flyball at our old club, she was terrible and I stopped taking her to beginners cos she was just so bad!
6. My first ever dog was a little whippety-terrier cross called Bobby. Looking back he'd have been an awesome heightdog, lol.
7. I'd quite like to take up obedience again with Fly, she is set to have some lovely heelwork.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Also a bad blogger...

...But a bit more recent than Fly at least!

It's been a busy few months. We have competed at EMDAC in the British Open Championship (2Es, way to go!), then at Rotherham Flyball, then Dinnington, Scunthorpe and the British Championships. No exciting news from any of them, but Jet is running much better at flyball. She was really good at the champs and at training too.

She did loads of agility on Anglesey...she taught agility "Jet style" to the High Flyers, who I think all had a go at running her. The "OMG I actually have to run with her" look on their faces half way around the course was great. She was great for them too, you'd not know she was mine, totally focussed on whoever ran her.

My concern recently has been that Jet hasn't had the oomph in the agility ring that she does at training. I think I get nervous, and it passes onto her. We were at Dashin Dogs today, totally solo - nobody there that we go to shows with regularly....which I think was a good thing. I focussed so hard on being calm and playing loads in the queue with her (even though it took some real enthusiasm as she looked totally disinterested for some reason) but she was off and got really hyper and less worried. She did three stonking runs speed wise, just little mistakes - a wrong tunnel entrance, I cue'd her wrong in another course and the finally I pulled her off a all me. But I was very pleased!

Anyway, probably more Dashin updates soon!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Jet's turn

Not sure how well this will play, but a video that Leanne kindly took for me.

I'm pleased with it in some ways, she's neat and it's fairly effective but not technically perfect (or that good!). Some more work to be done, as I feel she can push off more than she does. This is probably due to her being a bit too low on it, but she's also hitting with separate paws. I must bear in mind though, that this was when I wasn't too happy with how she was running, so maybe if she did have an underlying injury it's related? Anyway, she was a good girl at Rotherham and was back to her old self again....having rested for a good few days!

She'll be off to boxwork bootcamp soon anyway, so we'll see soon how she does ;)

P.S. It appears that blogger makes videos reeeeeeally slow. Will upload to youtube too...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

One of those mixed sort of posts...

Well this is one of those posts where there are about a million things I think I want to talk about, and it will go one of two ways; you will either have to contend with reading masses of waffle, or I get bored and summarise quite shamelessly. We will is our week...

I went to Doncaster with my Mum to captain and generally help out. My little team were super and Lucy, Kim, Stripe and Chip clocked 20.03 (although it has to be said, Chip did put in a fairly crazy fast run!)! Even though it was getting hotter, they were staying around the 20.90-21.20s mark most of the day - fantastic! They came 4th in the end, but similar to Rotherham, they probably should have won the division - tiny mistakes, lights by fractions.

Jet's turn at Doncaster, running in div.3 on a declared time. We had our super subs from the second team, in the form of Dylan and Buddy. We ended up coming 3rd. Jet ran all day, except for 2(?) legs and when she ran lead in the last leg of the day, she wasn't great. For the rest of the time she was ok, and had some good runs, but she hadn't run over 14" for quite a while. It was hot I guess, but I came away feeling like Jet wasn't quite herself. I had her checked by Kath just to be sure there wasn't anything wrong in her opinion...nothing. I think sometimes I am maybe just a bit harsh on the poor dog.

Away from flyball and back to agility, I found out on Monday that Jetly has qualified for the British Open Championship class at Asfordby in July. I had no idea, but a few weeks ago when she got her two wins she amounted enough points to go through - who knew! Anyway, according to Leanne, there are jumping/agility rounds, just like a real champ class. It should be exciting anyway!

I came home from university for the night, partly to have my hair done (good god I feel BLONDE!) and also to bring back some junk....oops, I mean very important items of high value. Having clearly lost a few brain cells with my hair going several shades lighter, I thought it might be a good idea to go to agility with Jet. First off, we helped Emma with one of the new beginners whilst Leanne did some work with my Mum and Chip before the weekend. Seeing as we were very quiet (unusual at the moment!) I decided to bring Fly down to soak up the atmosphere....goodness me she was driving me mental! "Arhooooo" and throwing herself about like a total monster watching Chip. That and trying her damnedest to throw herself over any jump we walked near, safe to say she was put away before Jet came out.

Jet did some nice work, she was neat and tidy, but her seesaw wasn't great. To be honest, her seesaw needs work, but I just haven't had the time. In the ring she doesn't seem slow on it and *touch wood* never flies it, but at training she's quite creepy. I tried everything from quick release to having Leanne with treats at the end, throwing a toy....she just wasn't having it. Ok, she did marginally improve, but I didn't want to push it and put her off completely. She did a couple of reasonable ones, so she got a lot of praise and left her at that.

Back to university, oh I do love motorway driving....almost as much as putting petrol in my car everyday...grrrrrr! Well, to be honest, I do really like driving, I just hate paying for bloody petrol. I saw that we had 4 hours of lectures of behaviour and hoped that it would be interesting...and it really was. It was a bit of a revelation to be honest, as a lot of what I thought I knew was pretty much send out of the window. All four hours was on dog behaviour and it was great, but it really did make me think. Anyway, through one thing and another I have come to the conclusion that Jet is actually quite an anxious dog at home. Everything that I thought was confident about her, is probably actually a diffusion behaviour...I make her worse with some of the things I do. I don't want to bore anyone with the details, but it definitely made me think. I keep considering getting her a DAP diffuser, to try and ease things as well as me changing? Answers on a postcard.

I came back from uni for the summer, all my stuff packed into the little car. I arrived just in time to set off to flyball training. I did some stuff with chasing Jet off the box, but she kept ball spitting the little git. It was kind of like the toshy thing, and I had Jane release her and me running after her....she was quick, I'll give her that, but she spat her bally out every time. Hmph. I asked Jane if I could train her over 14" as I felt she was struggling a bit with it, she was good and her box was nice but she slowed quite quickly. I'm in two minds about this really, as she is a very fit dog. Now, I keep asking myself, is she a) unfit (unlikely!) b) struggling with 14" due to her stumpy legs (possible, but she did a season of sub4.6s over 14" not too long ago!) c) just not giving it her all, as she was running lead and needs winding up d) has an underlying injury. I feel like I'm so totally overanalysing (congrats if you're still here....welcome to my musing!), but I think it's possibly option C, as she just doesn't get wound up going lead....

However, I can't help but feel like there is something else. I watched Jet walk as she got out of the car when we got home, and there was just a small amount of stiffness in her right fore...she also occasionally skips one of her back legs. I don't know if I am being overly keen, but I keep thinking she's maybe just one tenth lame. I have kept her on yumove (double dose after training) and she wears boots, and she is checked regularly by Kath! I have recently changed her leg supports to some which we bought from the USA, as her Dog Boots Active ones have lost the stickiness of the velcro. I will revert back to those after getting my Mum to re-velcro them. Might be worth considering.

Anyone still reading now will think I'm totally neurotic, which I am. Also, anyone that knows me will know that I'd never ever tell/show to Jet that I wasn't pleased...she's my little sweetie.

This weekend we have Dogs Unleashed and on Tuesday I drive to Bristol to meet up with Nat for the Euros....exciting times!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Rotherham Flyball

Very tired so not too much to say. We were there both days, on saturday to captain/scribe and on sunday to run Jetly. Ghost came 2nd in div.4 in the end having declared a time and run with Lucy from the second team - we ran 18.84s, so not too bad.

Nat also let me have a go at running Faith in division 2, she was fantastic and I really enjoyed running her - she said I can run her in Belgium now too - eek how exciting!

Division one was amazing to watch, with Live Wires running 16.63 over 13"...absolutely amazing stuff.

Fly enjoyed herself too...

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Midland Counties

I finished my exams on Friday (woohoo!) and whilst incredibly tired, I was very happy to be driving back to Huddersfield that evening. My parents had set off to go on holiday that morning, so Leanne kindly looked after Jet for the day....after a satnav-led mystery tour, I arrived in Meltham at 9pm.

We were having a weekend off flyball and had been persuaded to do agility at Midland Counties in Chesterfield. On Saturday, I was totally out of it as I was exhausted from 4am-1am days of revision, and made daft mistakes. The first run was Primary Tunnel Teaser, she had a nice run but was very wide (me forgetting how early to call her), then she ran around a jump so needed taking back. In the end she was 1.8s off the winner (who was Dylan, so we can forgive her for not winning it hehehe), so I'm pretty confident she'd have done well in that class. Her second run was Primary Agility which I made a total hash of, but her contacts were lovely - including the aframe she ran behind me and did! I had to laugh....

Next run was Primary Helter Skelter, Leanne and I decided to have a bit of a swap, so she ran Jet and I ran Dylan. Poor Dylan was a bit confused, and although he did some very nice bits, he just had to check in with his mum a few times. Jet on the other hand was fantastic, she didn't care about me and just wanted to do the agility - she did a super run but got E'd three from the end...she was the fastest thing I saw go around anyway!

The final run was Primary Jumping - a massive course with some close work too. She set off like a bomb and did everything really nicely. I can only think we wasted fractions at a pull off the tunnel but she was fabulous and won the class....!

Sunday was full of yet more "if only" runs. In Primary jumping I slipped and fell (!) but she was fantastic, and had we not had that massive blip in the middle I think we'd have won that too as she was only 3.5s off the winner even with me floundering on the floor for a while. Our next run was Primary Agility - we were a bit messy but she won! Yey! We won't go into what happened in TFO....but she had an awesome run in Primary Circular Jumping, shame about the pole! She was 23.80s and the winner (again, Dylan!) was 24.98....clearly they just felt the need to equal out their wins!

We had a good weekend all in all, with 2 wins and I feel like she could have had a few more with little blips ironed out. So she's halfway to Novice after just one show....and one win away from her BAD fingers crossed for Dogs Unleashed!

Congrats to Leanne and her gang on their various wins, Jane & George on their two clears and Katie & Bonnie with two clears at their first show!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Ravensknowle Farm

Well, a very quick update as I'm in the middle of my revision!

Jet was brill last weekend :D. It was a blisteringly hot weekend in Pontefract, so we had cool coats at the ready and plenty of water on hand. Barneys (Norah, Brooke, Jet, Murphy) were in division 2, seeded on 18.56. We were a bit unlucky in a few races, losing legs by an inch or dropped balls. We did pull off an 18.25s though, which was fantastic! All the team were running well, but I was so pleased with Jet as it was so hot and she didn't waiver at all - still as crazy as ever and not noticeably slower at all, fantastic for a black dog in the heat.

Nothing this weekend but revision for me and training for Jet! Midland Counties agility the weekend after!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

What was I saying about her box?

Look at that stray left foot! But then I suppose a good turn isn't always a four footed one, on the plus side she is tight and looks to be getting a good push off too, with a pretty nice angle coming off it. Bless her, good girly....even if you do have a stray paw. There were a few photos in succession so I could more or less see exactly what she did on it (I won't show them all...the camera isn't kind to my poor girl!) and on the whole I was pretty double hitting.

Ravensknowle this weekend for flyball, then exams....(which the dreaded revision has started for already!).

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Dinnington Flyball

We've never been to Dinnington before, but it was a nice venue and it was pretty easy to find. Jet was racing third in the ring, so a bit more of a leisurely start to the morning. We were racing in div.1 with Norah, Brooke, Jet and Murphy - George still out due to injury. Those 4 had run 18.56 at Drax, on pretty good ground, but Julie had convinced us that we had to go in and give it our all. Christine ran Brooke and her changes were cracking - her and James seemed to get the Brooke-catching down to a tee. Jet ran ok in the morning, she didn't seem to be completely herself but it wasn't helped that her ball was put in the wrong side a few times! Easy mistake to make I suppose though, and she got back into her stride. Luckily, we only had 2 in the morning but it was getting quite hot and the rings were on a fair hill. We didn't seem to have really got it together!

When I got Jet out for a wee over lunchtime, she did some quick boxwork as Jane had it out for George. She was fab, throwing herself on and off as usual, and I think this really helped as in the afternoon she was fabulous - like a different dog. I was really pleased with her and the runback was clear for her so she was really chasing me back. After two losses in the morning, we managed to win one against demons and took Tyne to a nailbiting five legs - just a light for us in the last leg. We also took a few legs off Brigg too! We managed a best time of 18.57s in the afternoon, so not bad at all as the teams we took legs off had been doing 18.1/20s in the morning, so we know there's more in us yet! We ended up 6th, but it was fantastic racing.

I also captained Barking. It was Lucy, Chip, Buddy, Buffy and Stripe in a seven team div and initially seeded sixth on 22.19. I wasn't sure how they'd fair as it was a lot of racing to ask any of them to do, and it was a hot day, but we were going to give it a go. First race in, I told them we were against the top seeds and were going to have to really push it and scream their dogs back...Buddy was out for this one. Well they all ran fabulously and did 20.84 over 14"!! We lost two in the morning, but went on to win another 4 and they were around mid21 all day - maybe mid22 with no Lucy at the end of the day. A lot of other teams must have been running quicker as there were a few high 20s times - all very close to the 20.50 division breakout. They came a fabulous 2nd in the end, I was dead pleased cos they were all amazing!!!

At Drax I'd been eyeing up Rotherham's new box, made by a team member of theirs. An interesting twist on the hybrid idea ( and when Kath said Jet could have a go whenever she liked, I decided to take them up on it. When Barking has finished, I got her back out of the car (with a quick warm up) and took her to Rotherham's camp. I did a few "go box" with just the jump in, and she got a few "wow"s - lol - the on/off motion is second nature to her she does so much chute work, really driving off to the ball. Then we had 3/4 with the ball in and Kath released her while I chased her off. Finally we did it without the jump and she turned just the same. She was fantastic, and she got lots of lovely comments, it made me realise that maybe I should stop being so harsh about her turn - it is fairly good, especially for on a boomerang, and it was nice to try her on a more upright shaped box.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


Well Jetly is taking to our new addition pretty well, she's so good with her and plays so nicely. Sometimes Fly needs a bit of a telling off though, if Jet wants to sleep for a bit. It has made her so much more eager to please though, she watches my sessions with Fly, intently watching from behind the gate looking as if to say "I can dooooo that!!!".

We had Drax last weekend, Jetly was a good girly! We hit 18.56s, but were unlucky in a few and came 6th in the end. I also ran Charlie for Dog Friendly, and they came 2nd in their division - he's great fun to run.

I passed my driving test and was a very lucky girl to receive a car for my 21st birthday, so Jetly and I will be going on a small trip to see Sarah and the gang this week. Then the revision starts!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Introducing Fly...

Introducing the newest member of our family, Fly!

I've looked at collies for the last year, and a few litters just didn't work out and weren't meant to be. I'd just about given up, when I heard about this litter of border collie x whippets. It's a cross I've always fancied, but never saw them come up - it must have been my lucky day.

This of course is Super Jetly's blog though, so Fly has her own blog now:

We've also come across a few other whippet x collies that we'll be following for a bit of inspiration. Namely watching the Stretch x Flare litter make their flyballing debuts in the USA ( and we'll be eagerly awaiting the arrival of TnGs collie x whippet puppies.

I'm really looking forward to training her, but first and foremost letting her be a crazy puppy.

I have to finally say a huge thanks to everyone who had to hear my whinging and musing whilst looking for puppies, and those who helped me look for "the one". Too many people to mention, literally - thanks guys!

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Leanne very kindly took some photos of Jetly at training, here she is (pretending she's a pro...)

And I probably shouldn't admit to having bought this...Mum says "the words money and sense come to mind"....but I'm not sure why :D

(It's a towel...with the excuse that it's for in the car I've yet to get)

Friday, 9 April 2010

HnH Photos

A few pictures from over the weekend :)

Jetly and her winnings:

Ominous much?

Here are some photos courtesy of Action Replay Photography (yes, yes copyright but I wanted to post them!)

Showing you her gallop up the dogwalk:


Jetly coming through....

I think personally, she looks in fine form at the moment! :D

Hare & Hounds Day 4

Right, this four-day write up business is killing here goes *briefly*.

She did a cracking agility run but unfortunately got E'd pulling through a gap...or should I say not pulling through a gap and back jumping! Then she had the most amazing jumping round which I'm pretty confident she'd have won (and I don't often say that :O) if she hadn't wrapped the wing right instead of left, two obstacles from the end. It was full Jet speed and neat. Next time!

c1-7 jumping was a nice course by Jacqui Tarn, it wasn't too hard but also wasn't just a blast round. I kind of walked it (but was too excited to hear that High Flyers multi team had just done was a bit distracted in awe!) and thought we could give it a go. We ran just before the end of the class, she ran it nicely and I left her to do lots of it on her own (lazy handler), but on the homeward straight of five jumps, I was a few jumps behind and she spun to look at me, barked at me and then eventually straightened her up and carried on. She ended up 24th, which was a shock as it was a very botched run!

c3-4 jumping was a very easy, blasty course. I left her in a four jump wait, and she flew along the start, we just wasted lots of time towards the end when I kind of forgot what I was doing. It had been a long 4 days! She came 14th with a time of 19.9s and the winner was 18.something? She'd have been much higher up the placings had it been smooth.

Final run was c1-7 ABC Jumping. There were numerous very speedy beardies, kelpies, aussies, lurchers, labs and crossbreeds that Leanne and I spotted over the weekend - so I didn't really think we had a shot at this. When we saw the course was very simple, no weaves and just a blast around tunnels and jumps I thought we had even less chance. Anyway, she ran the course really well, she was super. The only niggle was at the end when she had to do a rear cross (recurring theme?) and she slowed up a bit for the last jump. Anyway, to my amazement she came 2nd! The winner was a G6 dog that was only 0.4s ahead of her (and I think we wasted that!), and third place was a the girl was good!

Overall, I was sooo pleased with Jetly. I felt like we could give anything a go at least, and in some cases she did really surprise me. I was super-pleased with her weaves as she got them lovely every time (except once, day one!). She was letting me layer in obstacles and send her on like an absolute pro, plus she was going at a fair speed too. Her contacts were lovely and she was definitely up for it every day. Good girly Jet!

A few well dones! Firstly, well done to Cat and Gypsy on their placings in G3 and their 4th in Juniors. Also well done to Leanne and Dylan who also broke into the top 3, and had numerous other placings along the way! Jet had fun chilling in her caravan with Dyl...clearly they had words with each other whilst there!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Hare & Hounds Day 3

No courses this time, as it's taking too long!

Sunday the classes were thankfully back on and Jet was ready to go, as ever.

First run was 1-3 Agility, well we were out of it from the start as she was sooo wound up on the start line, she flew her seesaw. The rest was lovely though, apart from putting the brakes on for the dogwalk up-plank - but so did every other dog in the class for some reason. It was very odd indeed!

Doc's 1-3 jumping was a nice course, but I have no idea what I was doing. I'd walked it (along with possibly 8 other courses!) and when I lead out for her wait, I had a total mind blank. I got to the wrong side and released Jet, only to realise I didn't know what the hell I was doing. She did the top bit beautifully though, which was a send on for a few jumps and back to the tunnel. Good crossbreed, bad handler.

1-7 agility was very straightforward and I was interested to run it. Unfortunately Jet's only fear in the world (strangely of people with things on their heads that aren't hats?!) surfaced as the scribe had a pair of rabbit ears on. Like it did at Doncaster with the reindeer antlers, she couldn't take her eyes off the scribe and kept turning back to look at him. Strange dog, we have tried getting people to wear all manner of hats and I thought she was fine...back to the drawing board.

Bad runs out of the way - phewww!

We did have some good runs on Sunday, honest. We watched June Burrow setting up her Grade 3 Jumping course, and she explained to us that she was improvising because of the ground conditions. She ran her young dog over it a few times and we got to walk it just before lunch. It was an interesting course, with only jumps and tunnels but the opportunity for lots of poles. Jet ran it beautifully, she was running full Jet speed and was so tight around everything. I was sooo pleased with this run. When we'd done, June shouted over "that was absolutely lovely". At presentations I had no idea, where she'd come and eventually they read out 2nd place and it was us!! June remembered my "little black dog" and said she thought we'd won it. It turned out she was only 0.06s behind the winner...close or what!

The second semi-successful run of the day was another agility (g1-3? I'm not sure!). Anyway, this was immediately after the terrifying c1-7 run, so I was paranoid Jet was worried and I was feeling a bit on edge. We wound Jet up and she was a happy bunny again. She set off nicely but I really pushed her dogwalk and she missed the contact...oops (I didn't put her back on, as I didn't want to flatten her after said previous run!). I carried on, but was very wide with a pull through as I layered in a few more obstacles than anticipated. I held her aframe and seesaw too. I was shocked that she placed 24th with 5F, and would have been 4th, even with the holding of the aframe/seesaw/wideness. Not bad Jetly...

Will add Monday asap!

Hare & Hounds Day 1 & 2

With so much choice over Easter shows-wise, and no flyball, we eventually chose to make the trip up to Barnard Castle. The class choice was huge, Jet had 5/6 runs each day, plus juniors with Cat.

Her first run of the show was junior agility. I was a bit iffy as to whether I should inflict her on Cat for this run, as first run she can be a bit crazy. After watching a few dogs run, I decided they should just go for it and went and got Jetly. They were both ace, it was an elimination but only really because I hadn’t walked it with them! She was a speedy girl and was running on ahead brilliantly.

Next run was 1-3 jumping (I’ve put the courses up on here). It wasn’t my ideal first course of the weekend for us, as it involved tunnel discrimination and I was adamant we’d mess up. Anyway, she set off brilliantly and skipped the last pole of the weaves(!!!). I’m not quite sure why, but the rest of the run was beautiful and she was so smooth – it was the best I’d seen any dog handle the tunnel entries.

We followed it up with 1-4 jumping, which was an easy course but I didn’t leave her in a wait long enough. It was a jump, straight tunnel start, and I wanted to cross in front of her. She set off faster than I expected and there was no way I could do what I wanted to. We kind of wrote that run off a bit as I handled it in a kind of improvised manner!

Doc’s Graded1-4 Agility was next up. It was a nice course, and I thought we could give it a good go. She set off nicely and did a beautiful dogwalk and lined herself up nicely for the seesaw. I was a bit over cautious with her weaves but she was fine. I handled 12-15 more or less from the end of the weaves and then ran to meet her at the Aframe. She was a little bit wide around 19 but she had done it clear. She then proceeded to jump up at me in joy and whack my tooth, so she had a good play of tuggy with Leanne whilst I stood in pain going “ooowwhh”. That was the first run in a long time where I went out really wanting to push her for the win; usually I go and just want a nice clear and some consistency. I’m not quite sure what came over me lol! Anyway, she came 3rd (30.14s) and the winner was in 29.96s, so it was very close. I was also shocked to see she’d have placed 2nd in the grade 4 part, and the winner was in 29.95s.

Our last run of the day was Rosie Pearson’s c1-3 agility. The classes were running through really quickly, and I must admit I missed walking the course. I stood and watched the class for a while, watching to see how people with similar dogs to Jet handled it. My first concern was 4-6, as I wanted to be on the left of the dogwalk and I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to cross. In the end I did manage it between 5 and 6 with a front cross. I did however nearly fall over 6 – not that Jet noticed. My next concern was 9-15. I wanted to be on the right of the weaves as firstly her reading of rear crosses needs a lot of work and secondly on the other side I thought she might think I wanted her to go into the tunnel after the weaves. I was very brave, and as soon as I know she’d clocked the tunnel, I ran to the dogwalk side of 12 and kept my arm up to ensure she went over 11. She hit the weaves and did the rest cracking! She maybe hesitated a bit on the aframe and I know the dogwalk could have been faster, but she ended up 5th! Not too bad as the classes were huge.

Last run was juniors with Cat, this time jumping. She was a good girly again, but kept looking at me on the line. However as soon as Cat lead out in front of the jump and told her to wait, she was focussed and was fixated on her. She did some lovely weaves and a nice run with a couple of little mistakes!

Saturday was a total washout! We woke up and looked out of the caravan window and thought noooo. The show organisers said they’d wait until lunchtime to see what happened, but unfortunately by about 9am it wasn’t getting any better and they called the whole day off. A few people left, but the majority did stick it out I think.


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

"My" new toy..

I was lucky enough to be entrusted with the university's camera to take some video of box turns for my dissertation. I was free during div.1 at Rotherdrax so unfortunately they became victim of my filming for the whole day.

The camera takes 600 frames per second and shows the videos in slow motion. It's amazing to watch, and a real eye-opener in some cases. Here is the star of the day, Super Millie from High Flyers. :)

(I say "my" new toy meaning the camera, not Millie!)

Easter so far...

Well, it's been very odd to be back at home and not at uni. I must admit I haven't done quite enough (well...any!) work so far this week. My parents have been redecorating the whole house, and I've been...ermmm...not doing much at all. It has been a welcome break from work, work, work at university though. I really must do some dissertation tomorrow.

For lent, me and my uni friends always give something up. Last year I gave up chocolate, this year I decided to give up chocolate, bread and biscuits! While I was doing this, I figured I may as well go the whole way and eat more healthily in general. After the first week it has been pretty easy and now I've lost the best part of 2stone. So, on the health-kick I appear to be on, I decided to take Jet on a run on the canal...

I went against the idea of running with her on a lead as she pulls like a small train as it is, and I could imagine the chaos. We found a relatively non-muddy bit and set off for about 15mins or so. Jet was ahead of me, going at not much more than a trot (oh the shame) and would have a sniff while I flailed miserably behind her. Anyway, she stopped to sniff and I kept going past her. Next minute...where's Jet? I soon see the crazy black thing precariously balanced on the edge, contemplating going in for a two ducks. She does keep me entertained!

We had agility in the evening, she was surprisingly a very good girly! We had a couple of mistakes but her weaves were amazing and she was listening really well. Leanne very kindly stood with some treats for her on the aframe to really drive her worked very well as she flew over the apex every time and later in the session I was giving her treats on it randomly too. We also worked very briefly on her cross behinds which she is really struggling to read at the moment for some reason. We did have progress by the end of the night though and she was getting much better. I guess we'll see at Hare & Hounds.

Forgot to say in my Rotherdrax post, Jet was seen by the McTimoney Spinal Therapist, and our friend from Rotherham, Kath. She has nothing wrong with her and Kath said she was in fine shape and brilliant condition, so I was very pleased. I like having her checked at the beginning of the season, mid-season and at the end too. I know some people don't full believe in the technique, but I can't see it can do any harm, and if nothing else she gets a nice massage.


A long while back (September 2009), I wrote a review on Yumove for Agilitynet, and it has now been published on the site.

I thought I'd post the link on here, in case people haven't seen it:
Yumove Review - March 2010

Sandrine Farr also wrote a review, so Ellen combined the two of ours together, which is a brilliant idea in my opinion as you get to see too sides.

This review is truly my honest opinion, sometimes when writing something like this you feel the need to "big" a product up, but I haven't here at all. This is a product I 100% believe in, the people who make it are extremely friendly and helpful too - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Jet has been on Yumove since last September, and I can honestly say I have seen a huge difference in her. I hadn't even seen a problem with her in the first place! She's also on their Salmo-Pet Salmon Oil and her coat looks great. I'm very proud to say she looks in fine form right now.

Just one point though to be careful of, the tablets smell an awful lot. This makes them irresistible to some dogs, and I know of two pups that have eaten over 100 in a sitting after stealing them *cough*Jive *cough* Yogi.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Flyball Dog Fitness

Well, I said there’d be some observations.

On the BFA Webboard (and spilled over to Flyball Fever) there is a huge debate about the points system. I like points, but I don’t love them to the point of obsession. I’m not going to write about this anyway, as I think a lot has already been said and I’m totally exhausted from reading the emails. However, there was an interesting point raised about “flogging” dogs, and their fitness. Here I’m not disputing dogs being “flogged” it just made me think about general fitness.

A real pet hate of mine is dogs that aren’t fit enough for what is being asked of them – probably to an extent in agility too. Ok, there are always going to be reasons why certain dogs aren’t fit. I can accept that sometimes dogs are recovering from injury or coming back from having litters, and sometimes there are constraints on the handler from working long hours or terrible weather (as we saw over Christmas). However it makes me really sad when dogs are expected to do a whole day’s racing when they’re nowhere near prepared for it. Sometimes there is a noticeably huge difference in times by the end of the day as dogs start to struggle, or are continually re-run. To me, not having a go at anyone, I wouldn’t like it if I was asked to run a marathon having only prepared by having a jog around the park every day. Perhaps I’m just very lucky in the fact that my Mum is in most of the day and does lots with our dogs while I’m at university – and I probably wouldn’t be saying this if my situation was different. Again, I really don’t want to seem like I’m lecturing anyone, but just sharing what I know.

Anyway, being a self confessed geek on this topic, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share what I know. I’ve spent a long time looking up different ways of keeping dogs fit and various theories on the best way to do it. I’ve referenced where I can, these aren’t all my ideas, but I apply a lot of them to our dogs. I have to say though, our dogs can still get a lot fitter, and hopefully now we’re approaching summer and I’ll be back home, I can try even more with them.

Firstly, I have to say that the texts I highly recommend are by Dr.Christine Zink. She’s written three fantastic books; “Conditioning the Canine Athlete”, “Jumping from A-Z” and “The Agility Advantage”. By no means do I agree with everything she says, but she raises some very good and interesting points. Some of what I know is from her, but there have been many contributors.

I won’t write too much, as the references and follow up links are there for you to see, but here goes:

There are four major types of exercise for the sporting dog;

1. Skill training – this is the actual training for the sport itself. For example it might be full runs or boxwork in flyball, or any form of agility

2. Strength – this isn’t weight lifting! This is exercise that involves the dog accelerating and decelerating over relatively short distances, and in some cases pushing against a force. A good example of this would be retrieving or running up hills. This may also involve exercises which they have to use their muscles when stationary or not moving much, for example playing tug, begging or crawling.

3. Endurance- this is more long term exercise and is usually when dogs travel at the same pace continually for an extended period of time. For example 20mins trotting is appropriate, as is 10minutes swimming. In her book, Zink mentions how retrieving from the water, or getting in and out often is more of a strength exercise.

4. Proprioception – this is the awareness of the body, and the position of the body in space. Some dogs don’t have a clue where their back legs are, and how to use them, so this is useful. The purpose of these exercises is to make dogs more aware of their bodies, which will really help in both agility and flyball. Exercises include walking through ladders, backing up, walking over piles of jump poles (arrange randomly and the dog walks through the gaps), and walking over various surfaces. The important thing with these is to make the dog do them SLOWLY. If not, I know Jet would quite happily try and charge through a ladder and do no end of damage to herself!

All of which are important for flyball and agility dogs, but in different proportions. Zink shows how flyball dogs need to focus on strength exercises, and similarly for agility dogs with slightly more endurance. At first, when I read this I wasn’t really convinced that flyball dogs need to focus mostly on strength. My argument being that in a day, dogs will do an awful lot of running and you want them to have stamina and I figured that meant endurance. However when speaking to my tutor (a biomechanics specialist) about all of the above, he questioned why you would want to do lots of endurance. His argument was that rather than doing flyball all day at a continuous pace (like us jogging), you want them to run their fastest and recover quickly, in order to run their fastest again. This made a lot of sense and translated to interval training in humans. In my opinion however, a mixture of interval and endurance can’t do them any harm.

Interval training, briefly is bursts of high intensity exercise with low activity or rest in between. For dogs this would involve doing strength training in blocks, and allow for recovery in between each block. For example you might ask the dog to do hill reps (release the dog to run up the hill – to someone else or a toy) 6 times and then walk around and let them recover and do more strength training once they’re recovered. You don’t have to keep the strength training the same each time; you could do 6 hill reps (recover), 10 retrieves (recover), and 10 retrieves from the water (recover). This would obviously depend on where you walk – but it’s worth bearing in mind. It takes 48hours for muscles to fully recover from this type of training, so probably better not to do it the day before a competition, or to do it every day.

One final interesting point is from Nancy Gyes, who is a founder of one of the top agility schools in the world, Power Paws, and has also represented the USA at the FCI World Championships:

“As an instructor I often see students for private consultation to fix some kind of specific problem. Often the handler is interested in having the dog perform a course or specific obstacle with more speed. I always find it shocking when I get the answer to this question, "How often every week does your dog exercise at a run?" Typical answers range from "once or twice a week in agility class and competitions", to "never, he is a couch potato."

If your dog is not running at full speed while jumping, or performing obstacles, then you need to "take it to the ground". You cannot start any kind of a program to develop quicker ground or contact speed without first beginning on the "flat".”

This is very interesting, as basically I think she’s saying if your dog doesn’t know how to run full speed on the flat, how will they do it effectively on the flyball or agility course?

The overall key principle that comes up again and again is that no two dogs are the same! Each dog is different and may need this adapting slightly differently to get a good balance between stress and inactivity. You know your dog best, but these are my ideas from being a canine conditioning geek.

The Agility Advantage – Dr.Christine Zink
Conditioning The Canine Athlete – Dr.Christine Zink
Animal Physiotherapy – McGowan, Goff and Stubbs

Saturday, 27 March 2010


I love the Drax venue, so when Rotherham was moved there I was secretly quite pleased!

Jet was in Barneys with Norah, George, Murphy and Brooke. The morning racing was rather a disaster with our team somewhat resembling something from Wacky Races! George wasn't quite right, and Norah was spinning running against the two(!) empty lanes so it was understandable really. In the end we did 18.90 (with 0.25s start, so really 18.65), so not too terrible but I know we can go much faster. Jet seemed to run really well, I was a very pleased owner! Her box was neat and tight, mainly as I was shouting her before it and she was coming back nicely. They came 3rd in the end.

I had the posh camera with me to take some high speed shooting of the box for my dissertation. Luckily I was free during div.1, so I was able to film loads of turns there. It was a good draw really as there was High Flyers and Live Wires on uprights, Rotherham and Dream Team on hybrids and finally Cleveland and Cheshire Set on boomerangs. It meant that I could compare all of the boxes pretty equally. I started off focussing on Flyers for Kristian, but then Live Wires and Rotherham asked if I'd do a few more of them too, so now I have many videos to distribute. It was amazing to watch them back and see exactly what some of the turns (that look pretty neat and fast in "real life") actually look like. Live Wires looked absolutely amazing and ran 16.70 (0.1s off the British Record), and congrats to the High Flyers too who did 17.10s (with no Badger).

I boxloaded for Chip and the Nights who came 4th, and captained Barking who came 4th as well, after a tough draw.

Finally, thanks to Sharon from High Flyers for making Jetly her supercool new pink boots! :D

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Well, it's been a while since I've written anything, and I realised that I miss reading things back. Also, lately I keep making observations and I'm dying to put it yes, you will suffer it.

A very quick update, when reading other people's blogs I can never be bothered to read really long posts - so perhaps I'll keep this short.

Uni is hectic, my dissertation into injuries in flyball dogs is going great though, I love it! I'm well over the word count though, but I've been able to borrow the high speed shooting SLR to capture some footage of dogs on the box. Did some playing with Jet with her, when I put the ball in I realised her turn needs some tweaking. Good job I have my expert (boxwork obsessed) sources to rely on.

Flyball wise we haven't done much, we competed at Gap Farm and Doncaster (where I was an emotional exam wreck!). We haven't trained much due to bad weather and agility, but Jet is doing well, she seems to get quicker and crazier. I've found shouting her before the box is making her turn much neater as well, so that should be interesting to see what difference it makes to her times.

Agility we have done a couple of shows, Jet has picked up a few top10s in Grade 3 with some not-so-spectacular runs. She went to Waldridge Fell with Leanne in February and apparently caused chaos - but no change there really. We've got Hare & Hounds next weekend for 4 days with loads of classes. I'm camping with Emma in our caravan, and Cat is running Jet in juniors (poor girl!).

In February I went down to Bristol for a few days (mad -me?) and stayed with Char to go to the Smart Clinic for a seminar. It was a fantastic weekend, great seminar and I got to see Nat too! Yey! Also went to Crufts for all four days (again - mad!) with Leanne, and spent a fortune.

Just broken up for Easter and in the process of renewing my passport for the Euros with Nat in July :D Very scary stuff! "Rotherdrax" this weekend!