Friday, September 26, 2014

Flyball Turns

Last night at practice, and at practice last week, I spent time concentrating on Koira's turn. I have a feeling I will have to spend time working on her turn regularly for the rest of her life.

The last tournament we were at was two weeks ago, and by the end of the weekend, Koira's turn was back to being almost non-existent. I think a big factor in that is that we had been missing a number of practices and running in line ups at the practices we did make it to, often with no prop due to not having enough people available to place a prop. Combined, all of that caused Koira's turn to degrade before we even made it to the tournament, and the tournament just crushed her turn the rest of the way.

Lab-4920
I have no photos of Koira doing box work recently, or of her at the recent tournament. But this is a photo I took at our last tournament.

Last week, I tried out a new prop in front of the box. It is a clear plexiglass prop that fits right up close to the box really nicely, and is really hard to see even knowing it is there. I combined that one with another plexiglass prop that is set next to the box on the side she turns toward, to help keep her turn fast and tight. I worked her up close quite a bit, doing snap-offs without the props, then with the props. Then I moved back one jump at a time, giving her more speed going into the box, this time with the prop in place the entire time.

Shadow Iron Dog-4942
Again, a photo of a dog at our last tournament. This one is Shadow, and this run gave her the points needed to complete her Iron Dog, meaning she has been successfully running flyball for ten consecutive years.

This week, I started off the same, doing snap-offs with no props. Then I added the props and had someone else hold Koira back behind the first jump and release, so I could still reward right after the box turn. That worked well, so I had them hold Koira back before the start line and release her. I didn't have time to get to the other side to reward like I do for snap-offs, but while standing on the side toward which Koira turns, I tossed her tug down and over for her if her turn was reward worthy. It seemed to work out well. One of her turns was horrible and exploded the props, but the next two were nice, so I had them take the prop out from in front of the box (leaving in the one to the side) and her turn was nice. We put the prop back in, did one run with a really nice turn, then took the prop back out for the next repeat. We ended on that next one, which was an absolutely gorgeous, fast turn.

I am hoping that by doing some heavy box work in the next few weeks that Koira's turn will hold up at least somewhat during the tournament in the middle of next month. If only we were allowed to run with props, her turn would be awesome! Of course, that is the challenge.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hiking at Walton Lake

To see the rest of our trip posts, check out Paddleboarding at Walton Lake and Camping at Walton Lake.

Walton Lake-0079
At the trailhead (photo taken with my point and shoot camera)

We only stayed at Walton Lake for two nights, but went on a few different hikes in that time. The one we did multiple times was the path around the lake itself. It was a mostly gravel path that stayed close to the water and followed the edge of the lake all the way around. Near the day use area on the opposite side from where we were camping, the path is actually paved for a short ways for wheelchair access. The entire path around the lake was probably just under a mile long by my best guess, and we did it multiple times each day there.

Walton Lake-0071
Taking a water break

On Thursday and Friday we also did one longer hike as well as the lake path and spending time on the water. We chose different paths each time, but both were similar terrain through the woods on narrow but well worn paths. Being so close to a campground, I am sure those paths get plenty of traffic (and we picked up a good deal of garbage left behind by other hikers while we were hiking ourselves).

Walton Lake-0064
Showing off their boots on a log

Since the area we were in can have bad cheat grass and lava rock, I had the dogs wear their boots on our Thursday hike, and had Koira wear hers while on the lake path some of the time, since it was gravel and she is pretty tender footed. Luckily, I saw no sign of cheat grass even away from camp, so for our Friday hike the dogs got to leave their boots back at base.

Walton Lake-4708
Dog boots back at camp, between hikes.