A lot of stuff happened in 2011
In January, I took Pallo on a trip to Southern California to run in the Orange Crush flyball tournament with The Usual Suspects. Pallo ran iron dog (every heat), in 80-90 degree weather, on grass, and achieved his personal best time of 5.0 seconds, which still holds today. We also spent some time exploring the Redwoods on our drive down and took off down to the Santa Monica boardwalk quite a bit. It was an awesome week of sun, warmth, and fun with old friends and new. Koira stayed home with my mom and got fat.
Also in January, I made the switch to raw feeding for both of my dogs, which means we are about to reach the one year anniversary of one of the best decisions I've ever made.
In February, we enjoyed some snow and I had the awesome opportunity to attend a flyball seminar taught by Touch N Go, the current U-Fli world record holding team. The seminar was amazing, and I learned a ton about not the broad overview of training flyball, but how to fix the little things like striding and box position.
In March, I moved back into town with the pups. Koira started having a mystery limp, which ended up going away after a visit to the chiropractor. I also taught the dogs to use a touch-stick and worked on the basics of flyball with them. Koira did full flyball runs for the first time in over a year. Pallo had a very unflattering picture of his butt posted all over the internet.
In April, I took both dogs and tried out lure coursing for the first time.Both dogs loved it and I had a great time as well.
In May, my camera broke. I bought a new fancy camera to try out, but ended up returning it because the action pictures weren't very good. I ended up, instead, picking up a cheap used camera on Craigslist, which I have been enjoying since then. We also went to a few more lure coursing practices, and Koira was making a good deal of progress in flyball, learning all over again how to run in a lineup.
In June, I went a little crazy with the macro mode on my new camera. Koira started running faster to the flyball box without any hesitations or spinning around to look at me instead of running- I think this was the point she really started enjoying playing the game. I taught Pallo how to "line up" between my legs, and posted my first training video of that.
In July, Koira ran her first tournament in a year and a half, since the previous January. She was a rock star, earning her FD and FDX titles that weekend. Very proud of my little girl. We also did our first disc dog competition with Pallo and Koira at Da Vinci Days, and watched the parade in the rain. If you add in some more lure coursing practice, a backpacking trip, and a day at the swimming hole, you pretty much have our month of July (plus a July 4th photo shoot, of course).
In August, I started out with a Flyball Training Series that has continued for a few months. We also went to a second Disc Dog competition, did some more lure coursing, had tons of fun with flyball, and Koira learned how to play with sprinklers at the park.
In September, I started doing some Monday Meal Plans to help prepare for the week.We also took a trip up to Mt. Hebo and played the lost hiker for a search and rescue dog to practice finding. I spent a ton of time at the park all month picking blackberries by the bucketful (some of which I still have in the freezer for enjoyment throughout the winter). We also did both a flyball demo and a flyball tournament in September, during which Koira was a rock star!
Moving on to October, the dogs both went to their first lure coursing competition. Each competed in two CATs (Coursing Ability Tests), and both of them Q'd twice, earning some pretty ribbons. They now need one additional leg to get their CA (Coursing Ability) titles. We also headed to a flyball tournament in Washington, where Pallo went an entire weekend without once dropping his ball early (yay!), and Koira ran really nicely but showed me that she needed some serious work on her box turns. I also rescued an old, broken dog and fostered him for a few days until he could go into Senior Dog Rescue. In addition, I posted a tutorial on braiding your own square fleece tug toys.
November brought a friend of mine to flyball practice with us, who happens to be a photographer, getting a chance for a few decent pictures of the dogs (though with the lighting, decent was about the best to be hoped for, with good or awesome requiring a bit more lighting set up than we had spur of the moment). I worked a lot on rear end awareness and pivot work with the dogs, and started videotaping Koira's turns at practice to help fix her turn. We also took a trip to the beach right at the end of the month that resulted in probably my favorite picture of 2011.
December has been pretty mellow as far as the dogs go, with me working more and no flyball tournaments on the horizon. Koira's box turn is getting much better, and we may have found the magic set up for getting a good turn with her. Koira had her fourth birthday, I made collars for some craft shows, and we started obedience training. Chester the flyball corgi came to visit for a week and a half during Christmas, and I took the dogs to our first fun match.
Hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year's Eve!