Thursday, April 25, 2013

FitDog Friday: Whippet Nationals

On Sunday, I did some volunteering at the Whippet Nationals lure coursing event. Now, this is an event where you will never see a fat dog. All of the dogs were totally ripped, with huge muscles. They were all able to run the 700+ yard course two or more times in a single day, and were still raring to go. Even the Veterans classes (dogs 7 years and older) are full of in shape, healthy dogs.

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My dogs do lure coursing themselves, but since neither are whippets, they didn't get to run this time around. They came along and spent the day in the car, with a few frisbee breaks throughout the day. It doesn't happen often, but man, my dogs looked scrawny and under muscled in comparison to pretty much every other dog.

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I spent the day working the paddock and taking pictures. Working the paddock basically involves making sure all the dogs who are on deck (about to run) are accounted for and ready with the right colors on, and everyone knows when they need to get their dogs ready to go.

Not all of the dogs run with muzzles, but some of them do, for various reasons. The dogs on the Wordless Wednesday post were all about to run or just off the course, which is why they have their muzzles on.

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Possibly the best part though was the whippet puppies. Because, seriously, who can resist a whippet puppy.

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And of course a picture of the Best Of Breed. Since it was a whippet only event, Best of Breed was the same as Best of Field. This little girl is seriously in shape, totally loves lure coursing, and was a total sweetheart as well.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Fun Filled Weekend

We had a really fun weekend. Saturday morning started with a few hours at the local farmer's market, followed by a visit to a local agility trial. I'm tired and sunburned from the rest of our weekend adventures, so thought I'd just do a quick share of some of my favorite photos from agility.

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Agility April 20-1707

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Friday, April 19, 2013

Fit Dog Friday: Box Turn Training

Once again, I am working on retraining Koira's box turn. You may recall the series of pictures I posted last Friday of Koira's box turns at practice. Well, I posted only the good ones.

What I didn't show was the series of Koira's less-than-stellar box turn.

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Flyball Practice April 2013-1531

The prop (the rain gutters taped together) in front of the box is there to remind Koira to jump up onto the box with all four feet. Without it, she tends to just slam the box with her front feet, grab the ball, and run. For a lot of reasons, this isn't a good thing. At least one out of every set of five runs, Koira flubs her turn, even with the prop. I have been trying for, quite literally, years, to fix her turn.

This week, I think I may have made a breakthrough. Of course, I have thought that before, and things have improved, but this time, I think it may really be the key to getting Koira tournament ready. I'll share all the details if it continues to work. But let's just say, I am hopeful.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Home Alone

Yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post was a series of pictures that I got using my GoPro camera set up to take photos once a minute when I left for work. I knew Koira was restless and occasionally destructive in her crate when I was at work, but I wanted to see exactly what she was doing when I was gone.

That series of photos was a bit of a wake up for me. In the entire series, Koira was laying down less than 1/3 of the time. The rest of the time was spent pacing, stress panting, digging, and chewing on the bars of the kennel.

Now, I want to mention that Koira used to be just fine in her kennel. While I have never taped her before, the evidence in the kennel showed me that she used to pretty much just chill out when in there. No messed up bedding, no damage to the crate, nothing around the crate disturbed. That changed last year when Koira's shoulder injury put her on rest to the point that she was going bonkers. It appears that her stress with the kennel appeared at that point and has not left. We'll be playing a LOT of crate games to attempt to fix that problem.

So, the next day, I decided to do the same setup- have the GoPro take pictures once a minute while I was gone. Only this time, leave Koira loose in the house. Evidence has shown me that Koira will shred some items and will get into the trash or any available food when I am not home. I generally lift the trash can onto the counter before leaving the house to keep her out of it, and make sure there is nothing else for her to get into. But, in the view of trying to keep my dog as stress free as possible, moving the trash wouldn't solve the problem. I wanted to see how stressed Koira was while I was gone if she was loose in the house.

Answer? Not at all. She spent the entire time sleeping, just occasionally changing positions.





Monday, April 15, 2013

ToughHound All Sports Dog Collar Review

A few months ago I was approached with an offer to review the ToughHound All Sports Dog Collar. However, with Koira's metal allergy, this collar isn't something I could use in my house. Instead, I offered to have a friend of mine receive the collar and do the review as a guest post here on the blog. I told Nicole to really put this collar through the ringer and test it out. Here is her review:

Muzzy the Whippet playing on the beach

So Fly guest blogger Nicole here, with a review of the ToughHound All Sports Dog Collar. If you'd like to purchase one for your dog, these collars are available through this retailer: 

I found the ordering process to be straight forward, and the fit of the collar is true to the measurement I provided (with extra holes for adjustments). I like the ocean blue color I chose, but if I ordered it again, I would probably go with the more visible neon green, sunshine yellow, or fall orange. 
Muzzy the Whippet playing in the ocean

I've had this collar for several months now, and it has gone on many adventures. I love how the collar still looks, feels, and fits like it's brand new! The color has not bled, or faded, and the polycoated nylon webbing band has remained strong, but also soft and supple--easy on my Whippet's coat, even after weeks of him wearing it around everywhere. The collar is quiet (no jingly tags), the stainless steel nameplate has no rough edges, and it all sits smoothly against his neck so it hasn't caught on anything.
Putting the collar through the ringer

I custom ordered the collar's nameplate for my Borderjack, Razz, but quickly realized this would be the perfect collar for my Whippet, Muzzy. There are some fun fonts you can choose from when you order, and the nameplate is large enough that you can include plenty of contact and/or special health information about your dog. I only wish I could order a new custom nameplate for Muzzy without having to order a whole new collar. I think $30. plus s/h is a fair price, however I know many of my friends and colleagues won't buy anything from a supplier who also offers electronic collars. If that doesn't bother you, I do think this is a quality product overall, and I certainly would not mind having a few more around!

Muzzy the Whippet with his ToughHound collar

Razz the BorderJack

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fit Friday: Flyball Practice

With life settling back down a bit, and the kennel cough outbreak now a thing of the past, we are back to doing flyball practice on Thursday nights. Last night, I was lucky enough to get one of our team members to take some pictures of Koira on the box.

Flyball Practice April 2013-1511

She is doing really well with her box turns. You'll notice we still have a prop in front of the box (in this case, a totally white stack of rain gutters). Unfortunately, she seems to need the prop to keep a good turn. Fading the prop is proving very, very difficult.

Here is a whole series of the same turn. First, she jumps onto the box

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Then lands on the box solidly with all four feet, catching the ball

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Then she pushes off, hard, ball in mouth, to come back down the lane of jumps to return to me and her tug.

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Very proud of my girl. And, she has a great time playing flyball, even if her box turn gives me a training headache sometimes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Can't Hold Her Licker

We went both dock diving and lure coursing this past weekend. While I love getting those elegant sports shots of the dogs, sometimes, Koira just can't quite hold her tongue.

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Lure coursing, tongue curling

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Dock diving, can't hold her tongue

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sunday Fun Day

So, on Sunday, I decided my housework and such could wait a little longer. After all, I had skipped all that stuff to go up to dock diving on Saturday, what was skipping it one more day to spend Sunday afternoon lure coursing?

I think Koira was a little overly pleased by this decision.

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And even more so when she got to run.

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Even better, Pallo got to come out and play too. Unlike dock diving, Pallo thinks lure coursing TOTALLY ROCKS!

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Pallo even had a super duper proud moment, when the lure operator misjudged how fast those stubby short little legs were moving, and Pallo was able to actually catch the lure before it came to a stop. Such a proud prancing boy.

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Did you get to do anything fun over the weekend? Have your dogs ever tried lure coursing? What do they think about it?