This past weekend, I took a spur of the moment trip to Washington. Dogapalooza was happening at the Cowlitz County Fairgrounds as a fundraiser for the local humane society, and there was a flyball demo. I wasn't originally planning to go, but when a teammate said they were going and said they had room for me, I thought it would be a great way to spend the day.
I picked up Pallo early in the morning and met my teammate in Salem, then we drove together to Longview, WA, arriving at 10 am. There was a farmer's market across the street, which was a fun little diversion while we waited for the rest of the flyball people to arrive. And then the fun started.
First up, I took Pallo over to the "musical chairs" competition. Basically, a bunch of dogs were in a fenced area walking in a circle to music, and the last dog to sit when the music turned off was out. We lasted until the last half or so, but then Pallo decided sitting was stoopid. But, our teammate Chester ended up winning!
Then, we put together a bit of a flyball demo. I boxloaded for one of the three dog lineups. Most of our dogs did really well. They tend to somehow know when we do demos and pull lots of stupid stuff like running around jumps that they would never normally do, but there wasn't much of that. Even though Pallo is retired from flyball, I did bring him out to run in a singles race against Henry, an adorable little tailed corgi who looks a lot like Pallo. Henry had a few "moments" during the singles, but Pallo was his normal reliable self, only spinning on the last of four heats (he did the same in our afternoon demo too, I think 3 heats is his limit before a spin hits).
Then I brought out Koira to do some drills. While she is on Glycoflex Plus to help increase her range of motion and decrease arthritis related pain (check out my blog post last week about how you can try a month of Glycoflex for free), I also am doing some training to improve her confidence.
This drill is meant to increase Koira's drive to the box by placing the reward (me with a tug) at the box. The idea is that she will drive faster towards the box that way. I reward right after her box turn.
So far, it seems like this drill is really helping her. You can see in the video that she double strided in the first run, but then single strided in the others. I did cut out some of the video, and we didn't video all of the runs, but overall, I'd say that by the end she was single striding 4/5 runs. Hopefully we'll be able to stay successful with the upcoming tournament this weekend.
After we did the flyball demo, Koira went over and competed for Best Kisser (she came in 3rd) and I helped a flyball friend with three jack russells bring her dogs over to the lure coursing set up. There wasn't a ton of room for the coursing, so I didn't bring my dogs, afraid that on such a tight twisty course they would injure themselves. The jacks did great, and were kind of terrors while waiting, screeching and hollering the whole time.
A second flyball demo was thrown in there at some point, and I again boxloaded, ran Pallo in singles, and ran drills with Koira. It was actually the second time around that we ran the drills with Koira that I asked someone to video. The first session we didn't have a dog for Koira to pass on the way in, but I think it is a good addition to the drill, since Koira likely will be passing at the tournament, at least some of the time.
The end of the day was the Low Rider race. Pallo is the reigning champ. He smoked the competition in his first heat, and was easily into the finals. The finals was four dogs- Pallo, Henry (the corgi he was running singles against), Chester (the other corgi on my team), and one other corgi. Pallo managed to defend his title, but by the skin on his nose. Henry was a super close second, followed by Chester, and then the other corgi. Against the flyball dogs, the other corgi didn't have much of a chance, but for your average pet dog, he did have an awesome recall.
The day was long, but fun. A long drive home at the end of it wasn't too awesome, but it was nice to get home early enough to relax, take a walk, and go to bed early.