Ok so where did we leave off? Sutton Fields in May, well since then we have attended 5 competitions, of course there is no way I can remember the details of each comp, so instead i will give an account of each dogs progress. We will start with Harry.
Harry made his Open debut at Sutton Fields, running all day faultlessly, since then he has gone from strength to strength, he did have a few hiccups in the beginning, running out and sometimes stealing balls from the other lane! But, he has overcome all of this and is now what i would call a reliable Open dog. He started running at around 5.8-6 seconds, but is now getting faster and faster and averaging around 5.4, which is excellent. Harry has competed at 8 tournaments and not once let us down, he gained his Flyball Dog Award on the 25th May 2013 at Ryecroft and has stacked up a total of 545 points! Go Harry!
Summer is our next little superstar, being an 8" height dog she has big shoes to fill, Summer made her Open debut at Drax as a stand in for Digby! No easy task, and blow me she ran paw perfect and even managed to get the team doing 18.64, which is incredible for such a small dog! She then went on to do the next four comps without fault, however at Ready 2 Fly competition, there seemed to be remnants of a dead bird in the arena and poor little Summer just couldnt focus, we tried our best but the Spaniel nose just couldn't be tamed, we went NFC in the end and at the last race we put Summer in and she completed, good girl Summer! Summer now has 385 points.
Amber has now done 5 competitions, her debut being in Top Team along with Summer when Digby went lame, she ran like a star and didnt put a paw wrong. She then went into the Hunters team, affectionately named the "Baby Team" as it consisted of; Harry. Summer, Chance and Amber, all of whom had gone through starters and into Open together. Amber has always been a little hit and miss when it comes to flyball, but she shocked us all when she ran all day in a four dog team, no problems at all, she then went on to do another and another, clearly we were getting way ahead of ourselves as at her last competition she decided she couldnt possibly go all the way over those 8" jumps and then all the way back again, so decided to run out! We tried our best but she just wasnt having it, so again, we went NFC. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Amber has decided she just doesnt want to play flyball, not even at training, so for the time being she is taking a break, she will be back in the near future, but for now our little Barbie needs a flyball holiday! Amber has gained 430 points.
Chance, the last of the "Babies" Chance has come on in leaps and bounds and looking to have real potential as a fast dog. Chance has always had to run last dog from his first go at training, if there was another dog lined up he would stalk them all the way out of the lane and if we dared to send another dog at him, he would chase it, so last dog it was! Chances little blip, happened to be ball dropping, sometimes he would spit at the box, sometimes it would just fall out of his mouth and sometimes he would spit half way, Emily had the genuis idea of trying him with a squishy ball and fingers crossed it seems to be doing the trick, no more dropped balls! Chance is able to run over any height all day and is now even able to do wide changes, huge improvements from him and hes getting faster every day, well done that boy! Chance now has 635 points.
Calluna, where do we start with Cally?! She is a little ball of burning red energy! Sometimes lacking focus, but never lacking drive! Calluna has finally made her Open debut at Darley Moor in July 2013, she is a great start dog, however, it seems this leaves her too much time to watch the other lane and often results in her chasing and running out along with interference, so for now Calluna will run 2nd/3rd dog. She has had an amazing start running consitantly 4.0-4.2. Calluna has now joined Chasers as a permanent member! Calluna has 455 points
Lyriq is our newest Open dog, making his debut at Anglesey mid week show in August 2013. Lyriq had not been without problems, he was obsessed with the box and refused to run back down the lane, after tirelessly doing run backs and recalls we decided to remove him from the box altogether, fortunately, whilst running in starters, his other team mates were also not at the point of needing the box, so we decided not to even put it in the ring. This is what did it, Lyriq now was running up AND down again with his ball and coming back for his tuggy, after three starter competitions and 3/4 training sessions, we decided to reintroduce Lyriq to the box and it worked! All the way there, turning on box and all the way back for his tuggy! Lyriq is now running as a fully fledged Open dog, running 13" all day as start dog in his first competition, fantastic!
Lexi is our last and currently only, starter dog. The progress she has made has been amazing, from being totally distracted by all the commotion of another lane, wanting to chase other dogs, not wanting to recall, I am pleased to say Lexi is now running up and down, even having a dog run in on her without blinking, she is turning on the box and coming all the way back to her Dad! Mike gets frustrated with Lexi, not least because he is faced with a bunch of collies who generally take to flyball without issue, so is constantly comparing Lexi (GSD) to them, not a good idea! Each dog is an individual and the ones who make us work hard are the ones who REALLY make us appreciate what it is to train a dog to do flyball! Lexi will be in Open very soon!
Now for the more experienced dogs:
Mia, she came back to us after her mum finally finished all of her exams, it was a shaky start for her, running out, not turning on the box and sometimes not even bringing the ball back, Mia is a sensitive soul and if something upsets her (no matter how small it seems) it can set her back a lot! Mia has now made a full come back, running all day over her own height (13") and running perfectly all day!
Tes, she is still going strong, but has had a couple of hiccups with ball spitting, hopefully this is just down to us having to mix teams up a little and will disappear once she is back with her regular team mates!
Billy, after MONTHS of hard work, retraining his turn, Billy is finally back in Open. Billy had the most atrocious turn, and was beginning to look dangerous, for safety we pulled him out of Open racing and decided to teach him to turn the opposite way. Billy came back at Anglesey weekend and made us all proud! (Good job really, seeing as Amber has decided one Flyball dog is enough in one family!)
Digby; we have had a few problems with Digby, his "head-bobbing/lane blocking" seemed to be getting worse, the only dog on Chasers that we could send into him was Bracken and even she was starting to back off, losing us precious time. Jasmine and Inca would refuse too run into him and simply ran out! So with much regret we decide to take him off Chasers and put him on Seekers, where Winchester could run into him, Winchester is much like a steam train and will pretty much run into anything, lane blocking or not! Doing this meant Darryl and I could spend more time focusing on what he was doing, try to figure out how to stop him and also work on Gails starts. This so far, is working well and the pair of them are becoming more consistent.
Jasmine has also got her "mojo" back, after losing confidence with running into Digby she had started running out quite regularly, now that we have swapped things about it seems to have rectified itself with little training and she is now back to doing consistent 4.3s and below
All other dogs have been very much the same, still running well and gaining points and placings. We are now all geared up for the National British Flyball Championships 2013!! Teams will be as follows:
Chasers: Bracken, Jasmine, Calluna, Inca. Lyriq 5th dog (Current seed time 17.12)
Seekers: Digby, Winchester, Neville, Tes (Current seed time 18.33)
Runners: Kane, Skye, Mia, Honey (Declared time of 21.43)
Hunters: Harry, Billy, Summer, Chance (Declared time of 21.71)