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Everything posted by ZoZo

  1. I've been working with my BC Jinx for three years to get him out of his box slamming tendencies. I've never seen a dog that had this problem as seriously as he did, he could be very reckless at times. He's very fast and he gets pretty excited. As mentioned by others, props and good use of them are essential. You should always use them in training. With help from a great trainer in our club, we've finally seemed to have found a combination of things that has helped turned the tide and is finally paying off in a good, safe turn. Lots of close box every week has been essential (he's always been great up close, it was the full runs where he fell apart) as well as lots of practice at different distances. At practice we keep changing the distance so he can't predict where he will be next, starting up close and working back and up again. This has helped keep the good turn up close becoming the good turn further back. Jinx uses an 10 inch practice jump 12 inches from the box with a three white plastic rain gutters ducted taped together and alternating black tape wrapped around it diagonally to resemble a sort of warning sign (which sits right in front of the practice jump). It's been a long, haul. At times, I wasn't sure if he'd ever really get it, but it's finally all coming together- he was in a tournament a couple weeks ago and ran like a Swiss watch all weekend. It was a great feeling to see him do so well.
  2. Like low quality human foods, salt is added in large amounts to increase "flavor" and is also helpful as preservative. Often listed as sodium chloride. My understanding is that there is plenty of salt to go around in non-processed foods for humans and animals and that large amounts are not really desirable.
  3. A small stun baton is a great idea, the noise alone is scary enough to deter most!
  4. I found the barking at flyball tournaments very disconcerting at first, now there is a whole part of my brain that pretty much ignores it. Sometimes I put in ear plugs. Almost all the tournaments we go to are outdoors and that is much better than indoors. I would never encouraged my dogs to bark, I always try and keep them as quiet as possible when they are crated at tournaments right up until the race is starting, but all that barking just comes with the sport- my dogs absolutely love flyball to bits, they love to race other dogs, they love to tug and they go bonkers thinking about it. The very idea that they will be racing or even practicing, gets them incredibly excited. If we're at home and I say "hey, who wants to do some box work?" They almost mug me trying to get to the door and be the first one outside. When we take them to practice, they start barking a block before we pull into the parking area. Obviously, if your dog is super excited, they will be running faster and be driving more than a dog that's indifferent or otherwise not very engaged with what's going on. Anyway, some of the handlers that scream are really much more annoying than the dogs.
  5. We've also had good luck with vrbo.com in finding a place to stay. We took our first real dog vacation a couple weeks ago and had a great time. It took me a while to find the perfect place in the location we wanted, where they are actually pet friendly as opposed to pets allowed with hefty fees (I hate that). We ended up at a small cabin in the woods near Lake Tahoe, CA. The owners were quite happy that we were bringing our two dogs and it cost less than most hotels in the area (most of which had a one dog policy, grrr). A fun adventure, the dogs didn't even mind the 9 hour drive each way. Jinx ponders the sublime beauty and serenity of the lake-
  6. We have a border collie on our club that does this as well that already has 3 years of tournament experience. She will spin occasionally, stop, look at her owner, sometimes go and complete the run, sometimes not. She is not a habitual spinner, that can be dangerous and I'm not sure if that can be fixed. That is a tough problem and will take effort from everyone to help mitigate. Every dog is different within this specific problem, so your team will need to experiment. Here's what we've done- in practice we tried another handler to run her to see if anything changed (that didn't help at all). We tried getting the owner/handler to hold the dog differently before starting (if she held the dog tighter to her body, it actually seemed to keep her dog focused better). We tried various positions for the dog to run- this particular BC seemed to engage better when she knew she was racing a specific dog, that is, if she was back in the line up, she was usually not racing a specific dog any longer and seemed to go haywire and spin more often. Having her run in first or second position helped and she tended to have fewer meltdowns at tournaments. Most importantly, we've also started to pull her immediately in a race (or practice) if she started to spin and put her in a crate that we have ready right outside the ring. Our back up dog ready to go in at the instant. The idea is to never reinforce the unwanted behavior. They do it right or the fun is over. We're still working on it, but she is getting much better and having way fewer meltdowns. The handler is also doing a better job of getting the dog excited too. The dog seems excited to us, but the handler can sense when her dog sort of hits a wall and looses some of her drive, it can happen quickly with her. It seems weird to me that this happens, as she is otherwise a 100% ready to go crazy and have fun border collie, but it does. A little extra fun tuggie play before the race is helping a lot. As I see it, there are very subtle triggers that cause this dog to spin. You need work through it all, find the triggers and replace them with other cues to keep the dog focused. Keep up the box work with this dog, five or ten minutes of box work a few times a week will make a big different over time and what dog doesn't need a better box turn? Some dogs just need to do it a bazillion times before it sinks in.
  7. One of my dogs had a bad experience with the Lyme vaccine booster shot a few months ago. Both of them got the booster shot at the same time on a Saturday afternoon- Jinx was fine, he had no issues, but Zoey became very lethargic, almost lame by the evening (I had to carry her up and down the stairs) and remained that way until Monday morning. I was worried, but she was still eating and drinking normally, so I figured she would be ok. She seemed completely back to her old self when Monday rolled around with no issues, but I would never give that to either of them again.
  8. They do seem know when the time is near. Zoey knew a week ahead when our old cat, Angie, was getting ready to go. They never, ever socialized before, but a week before Angie died, Zoey just walked up to her, looked at her for a moment, layed down and started to lick the cats fur. She did that everyday for a couple of hours. The cat started to follow Zoey around everywhere. They never liked each other at all before, but Zoey became her very best buddy in her last days.
  9. Yes, complicated is the word. I am astonished at how much more complicated and complex flyball is than I first perceived it was a couple years ago when we started. Flyball training today is different than in years past and getting a good start with the right techniques will be a huge benefit to you and your dog. If you train incorrectly or not enough or spend too much time in one step or not enough time in another step, you may need to spend a considerable amount of time later to undo and retrain (with no guarantee that you will be successful). When some dogs get into a bad pattern (such as a bad box turn), it may be very difficult for the dog to do the correct thing in the ring later. Every dog learns at a different pace. Every dog in our club seems to have a different problem and it really takes a team effort to try and overcome those issues. Finding a good flyball team to get started with is essential. It's a team sport and you really do need the advice and support they offer.
  10. I believe food grade Diatomaceous Earth will get rid of dust mites.
  11. Looks like it's not available yet. The side bar in the link says "coming soon". Their web site says it's still in the approval process.
  12. They do seem very different to me. I have met several very nice Aussies, but I have seen more than a few Aussies in flyball, some previously in my club, that were extremely hard-headed. They often have significant issues in passing where they do not move to one side and allow the other dog to go by and also tend to want to go after particular dogs for no reason. But maybe that's just because all the nutter Aussies end up in flyball? To me, in general, they don't seem extremely eager to want to please their owner all that much. At practice, the Border Collies are usually focused on their owners with adoring glances while the Aussies look to be planning their escape.
  13. Your dogs have great turns! Tempe is nice and high on the box, good job! Flyball can be a wonderful sport for building confidence in a dog. Our over-doer, Jinx has really come a long way since we got him a couple years ago, it's so neat to see how they can blossom.
  14. From what I've seen, those are custom designed & manufactured by the people selling them. As they are sold in such small numbers, I would think it's unlikely you'll find detailed plans floating around for those.
  15. Zoey often crosses her front legs right before we start, it's just some thing that she does, no idea where that comes from. People do notice it from time to time and think it's funny. I was surprised to see that going on while she runs in this slow motion video as I've never noticed that before. I don't think it matters at all. Zoey turns right on the box and she did seem have a bobble on that heat, but not sure. The forth dog is Mia, the Aussie. Her owner was holding her up on the passes as she's a bit of a lane hog (I've noticed a lot of Aussies in Flyball have this trait). In another heat with a close pass, she did push Zoey out of the lane entirely and I had to rerun her. It's amazing how many things can go wrong in flyball. This tournament was a little strange as we ran an untried line up. Zoey and Mia had never passed each other before and we had not done any practice with these two dogs passing together (grrr). Not the recommended way to go into a tournament, but we had to deal with what we had. All we could do was hold up Mia slightly and run as clean as possible. As is turned out, that worked out well- our team came in first place in our division Saturday and Sunday!
  16. No, no, not the pet people! Just kidding. Actually that would be me. Our small team is mostly pet people too. That description still makes me laugh because when I started flyball I used to think that all flyball people were pet people!
  17. Hmmm, in the run back? I didn't even know that was a problem. As you can tell, about all of our training and tournaments are on grass. We've only done three tournaments on mats- that's an incredible luxury in Southern California. I wonder if dogs that run on mats all the time build up a tougher carpal pad? My other dog, Jinx, has the same problem, well he has lots of problems, but it includes wearing his pads on the box as well.
  18. Quite the opposite, Zoey doesn't slide at all, she has a great turn. The problem is friction of her dew pad on the box surface (high strength rubber matting)- if I don't tape her with vet wrap or use the boots (which are much easier), she'll start wearing off the dew pads by mid morning at a tournament and start bleeding. She runs mid to low 4 seconds and is going at a pretty good clip when she gets to the box. Dogs that skid into the box (not a good thing) are usually doing so with their rear legs & paws.
  19. Hey Dana, thanks so much for helping out and making the trek to OC! People really pitched in and volunteered like crazy all weekend to make everything run smoothly, it never ceases to amaze me. We were lucky with the rain too, it was a monsoon here yesterday. Greg
  20. Hey flyball fanatics, here's a fun, slow motion flyball video from the weekend where our team put on a tournament in Irvine, California. My border collie, Zoey is running the third postion. I don't know who took this, except it was a friend of someone on our team. He was using a camera that can do 1,000 FPS! It's very different seeing it so slow and at this odd perspective. I'm letting go of Zoey at 40 feet from the start line, so you can't really tell distance in this. Flyball Slow Motion
  21. Aside from any medical issues, my BC, Zoey, was almost a year old before she began to notice a ball or frisbee, so that's probably not too strange in itself. Likewise our other guy, who we didn't get until he was 3 or so, had no interest in toys, balls or frisbee, but seemed to learn all that from the other one in a short time. Now they are both fetching fanatics.
  22. I would consider building your own if you are at all handy. This was the first box I built and I have to say, it's not too bad. I used a jig saw and basically backwards engineered the design from photos I found online and specs from the NAFA rule book. It took me a while to build, as I had no idea what I was doing and had to figure it out as I went. Not the fastest way, but it's an option if you are determined and want to save money. I spent about $150 for all the materials including a sheet of 3/4" cabinet grade plywood. The club I'm with uses the Premier boxes also. If it were up to me, I would not use these. Personally, I find that they are too heavy, very difficult to load (not everyone in the club can load it!), expensive ($1,100.00 is lame) and hard to trigger by small dogs. They need repairing every couple of years and that's not cheap either.
  23. This dog off leash thing is a big pet peeve of mine. I may (or may not) break the law every single day with my dogs off leash (not allowed in my local park or school). But if I did break the law, or thought I was above the law, it would only be because the law is stupid. There are also no dog parks in this city, or an animal shelter, so no surprise there. One of my neighbors (he's about 55) was actually chased by a cop one evening in our local park. He had no leashes with him, so he ran to the elementary school next door and hid in the bushes with his two dogs for 30 minutes in the pitch black until the cop got tired of routing around for him! No offence to police folks, I know they have a job, but harrasing otherwise law abiding, tax-paying citizens for letting your dog off leash, at night, in an empty park is 100% ridiculous. Anyways, our sheriff department has since redeemed themselves. I've been doing some flyball practice at another local park early each Sunday for a few months now (I didn't bother to check with the city, I know that's illegal also since a dog would need to be off leash). Last week a sheriff guy shows up and I'm thinking "how am I going to talk my way out of this?", but he was totally cool, he was only doing a routine walk through to make sure everything was ok (this park is somewhat isloated). We was curious what we were up to and we showed him what flyball was about and how fun it is. He thought it was great, told us to have a nice day and was on his way.
  24. Sounds like a great event and a good weekend for something fun like this! We'll be going for the flyball.
  25. Our female always seemed to have a sensitive stomach. She never acted sick, just had bad diarrhea. Blood work and tests for parasites always came back negative too. It was becoming expensive and frustrating while our vet didn't really have anything to offer except antibiotics. I started putting a small amount of food grade diatomaceous earth in both our dogs kibble everyday (which I read about on this board) and she's been fine for six months, which is a record for her. It is great stuff.
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