Wednesday, July 19, 2017

WW: Terrier Racing

Terrier racing is a sport similar to lure coursing or straight racing, in that a lure and/or plastic bag is attached to a line and dragged across the ground for the dogs to chase. Terrier racing is different in that the dogs are run in groups of up to six, are loaded into start boxes, and end in a dive through a hole after the lure. The first dog through the hole wins. Terrier racing can also be over jumps as well as flat ground.

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In the back of these photos, you can see the start box (the green outlined thing). It has mesh on the front of the doors, so the dogs can see the lure and be ready to break out of the box when it opens.

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Over jumps is the same, except jumps made out of cloth covered foam are added. The jumps are soft so that if a dog hits them, they won't get injured.


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For both over jumps and on flat, the dogs end going through a padded wall that has a small hole in it, big enough for one dog to fit through. First dog through the hole wins. Since this is terriers, sometimes there can be disagreements about the entire process. Because of that, dogs are required to run wearing muzzles.

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Like the rat games, terrier racing is a fun sport to do with a jack russell, and most of them naturally take to it (though training on box loading can be pretty important for many dogs).

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ratting

Back in June, I went with my friend Tara and her dogs to a Jack Russell Play Day in Washington. The idea of the play day was to get a bunch of terriers together and let them do terrier things. On the list was Go to Ground, Barn Hunt, and Terrier Racing (both flat and over hurdles).

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Working the rat


I took Ptera along to let her go crazy doing terrier things, and she had an absolute blast. Go To Ground involves the dog having to go through a series of wooden tunnels to find a rat, which is actually outside of the tunnel, visible through some wooden bars. The dog is then supposed to "work" the rat, attempting to get at it, for a specific amount of time. The difficulty in this sport is that some dogs realize that the rat is outside the tunnel and will refuse to go in, or will come back out and go around the outside to find the rat. The tunnel can have multiple turns and be a decent distance. Ptera absolutely loves Go To Ground, and I can set her up a few feet from the tunnel entrance and just drop her to the ground, and she dives straight in. Because it was a fun day, not an actual competition, I was able to take some time with the help of the volunteer running that station at the time and get some pictures of Ptera. Obviously the wooden tunnels make it a hard sport to photograph, so the only real pictures are either at the beginning, going into the tunnels (which isn't super interesting) or at the end, working the rat through the wooden bars of the tunnel.

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The rats, by the way, are totally bored by this. They are people's pet rats who are brought out for events like this and Barn hunt, and so they are treated very well. None of them cares at all about the dogs. You can see this rat above actually has its back to Ptera, and you can just tell it thinks the entire thing is a little strange but no big deal.

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I love her crazy face


Barn Hunt practice was also super fun. I ran Ptera in a Novice and an Open type set up (this wasn't a fun test or anything, just a practice for people doing Barn Hunt). She did great, and indicated really strong. We also tried a Crazy 8's set up, and didn't do so well there. I think that with all of the rats in Go to Ground and Barn Hunt, and the terrier racing, she was hot and over excited. But the volunteers there also humored me so I could get some pictures of Ptera doing Barn Hunt. When I run my own dogs in these things for real, I never get a chance to get photos, so this was a perfect opportunity.

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Bite that tube

Watching terriers do what they were bred for (in our structured, for fun only way) is a super fun experience.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

WW: Crating Space

Our crating space this past weekend at the Muddy Paws tournament. Our new banner (yay! we look like a real team now!), our white board with team lineups and race numbers (waiting to get filled out for the next race of the day), and our dogs, waiting patiently and not-so-patiently in the crates, with all of our random crap piled on top. Cleaning up at the end of a tournament always involves me wondering where all of this damn crap came from, and why do I need all of it at every tournament.

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Our crating space

Monday, July 10, 2017

Another Flyball Weekend

We just got home from another great flyball weekend.

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My little girly


There really is so much to tell I don't know where to start.

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Starting. She is intense


Apupalyptic took first place in our division for the first time on Sunday, after missing first on Saturday by a single tournament point. The second place placement on Saturday was the best we had ever done, and it literally came down to the last race of the day it was so close. We were ecstatic. To follow that up with a first place the next day, a super solid first place where it was decided even before our last two races, was amazing. I've never been super hung up on tournament placements, but when we realized that it was possible that we could place so well on Saturday, it was a great feeling.

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I have to say, though, regardless of placement, this was just a great weekend. It really felt like everything was coming together. We have an awesome person dedicated to boxloading for the team while his wife runs their dogs, and the consistency of having one person reliably do that job is awesome. The dogs are all really getting in the rhythm of flyball. They are running consistently, they are getting great at passing each other reliably, and we are able to just assume that they will go out there and do their job, and they do it. With so many new dogs and new handlers over the past year and a half, it is great to see the team coming together into something solid, and something successful. Winning our division was at least partly random chance, by being seeded as the fastest team in that division, rather than the slowest team in the next one. But I feel that even had we come in dead last in a faster division, we would have ended the weekend feeling just as thrilled because of the sense of teamwork and things coming together properly. We had a few titles earned this weekend too- Angus is brand new, and earned his FD and FDX (he just started flyball at the very end of January this year), Addie earned her FDCh-G, and Stella got her FDCh-S. We're well on our way to having all of our dogs titled and working towards the big ones- FM and beyond.

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She almost looks brindle here- but really she is just sunbleached from laying in the yard


Ptera ran like a rock star, earning something like a thousand points for the weekend. Koira ran okay- she was slower than at past tournaments by about half a second, and she bobbled her ball a few times. Once, her ball split in half when she squished it right out of the box, and she dropped it there without bringing it back. A few times she bobbled- I always prefer if she comes back to me rather than chase those stupid racquetballs all over the place, as it is safer and less chance of collision that way. Unfortunately her entire team was doing much the same thing- running a bit slower than normal and having more silly mistakes than any of them normally did. We didn't get many points for the weekend. But, Koira had a great time, as did Ptera. As did I.

This is my favorite way to spend a summer weekend. Or really, a weekend any time of the year. I wish there was a way to make this my job, and make this my life.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017