Monday, August 24, 2009

Sonic the feral bush dog

The process of moving down to the new house has begun. Colin has pretty much settled in now and I'll join him when the new fences go up. Its amazing being down there. There is so much space, there are birds everywhere and it's so peaceful.

The older dogs ran around a lot to begin with but by Sunday were happy to lie around the house while Colin and I unpacked boxes. NOT Sonic. Sonic is fairly calm these days around my house. He occasionally gets a bit hyper when he's running around with Riot, but generally he's happy to chill.

NOT at the new house. From the second he gets out of the car he's off and running. Nothing stops him and should anyone get in his way he simply launches himself straight over the top irrespective of what is in front of him (looking where your going is overrated anyway...) Landing on his feet is optional. I spend most of my time calling his name in exasperation as he comes flying past from any direction looking like he's going to break his neck (or someone elses) at any moment. But he does not care one hoot and I must admit that he bounces well for one so slight. So far his only apparent injury is a graze under his elbow and a chunk of fur removed where he bounced off a timber railing on one of the garden paths (Angel and I thoughtlessly got in his way).

I didn't train at all last week because of the impending move. The weather was also pretty appalling and the Dogs West grounds a lake. I wasn't too concerned about missing some training cause Sonic has been going pretty well.

We had a fundraising trial on Sunday morning and it was a fairly unpleasant day. We were lucky enough to miss most of the rain but there was an extremely cold wind blowing that went straight through you. The bottom oval was still looking like a lake so the trial was moved to the top oval. It was less sodden but because the grass is so much thinner some parts were like a skating rink. I lost count of how many competitors went arse over. Sonic's first run was Open Jumping on one of the worst parts of the ground and with the angles being quite tight I gave up trying to get Sonic around. He was clearly uncomfortable with the footing so I let him pick his own course. Masters Agility was better with Sonic getting through the hardest bits and then going past the middle of a serpentine AGAIN! Guess what I'll be working on this week. Open Agility was a text book run for a nice clear round. Masters Jumping was interesting. He missed my pull through cue and continued on to the wrong end of a tunnel early on. After that I revved him up and he handled the rest of it like a pro. It was a weird day. I wasn't really feeling 100% into it and Sonic felt a bit off. However looking back at the video we both look a lot better than I felt out there. We have a weekend off now which will good. We still have so much to do at the new house, plus get my house ready to move out of.

So my latest training list is, weavers, serpentines and start lines (little bugger was shifting the butt on the weekend. Just when you think you have something sorted...).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weaver wobbles

Last weekend saw our last trip to Geraldton for the year for two days of agility trialing. It was another early morning as Kriszty, Terra, Sonic and I hit the Brand Highway to try and make the first agility class by 11am. Masters Agility, which was our first event of the day appeared "interesting" on the walk through but unfortunately not in a good way. Obstacles were on angles that beared no logic and I was somewhat concerned about Sonic's first foray into the Masters Agility class. Sonic also seemed unusually quiet which I thought wasn't a good sign, but as he'd been in the car since 5.15am not that surprising. As it happened Sonic didn't do too badly but although moving out at a reasonable speed he seemed unfocused and wasn't reading my body as well as he normally would. He also seemed really unbalanced in the weavers and missed both entries on his first attempt as well as banging into a weaver on one run through.

The Masters & Open Jumping classes saw a different judge and thankfully a big improvement in the course design. Sonic had a bit of a break and seemed a bit brighter in the afternoon. I also spent some extra time warming him up to see if I could get him more focused and settled. I'm not sure if that was what helped or not but his Masters Jumping run was fantastic and if not for my poor position on the second last jump, would have been his first clear round in Masters Jumping. Time wise he was about 2 seconds off the class winner who incidently was Kriszty and Terra. Open was a really nice course also but the distance challenge involved layering so I chose to run over the line. This time Sonic was all set to nail the weaver entry but slipped as he went into them which clearly worried him so he stopped and we had to reattempt. Other than that it was a strong run.

That night we all headed off to bed nice and early and I did not hear a peep out of Sonic from 8.30pm through to 5.30am. Clearly he needed a good night sleep! We got to the trialling grounds early enough to take them for a nice walk and give them time to settle. First up again was Masters, followed by Open Agility. Sonic was "up" to say the least and after squawking like a crazy thing at the dog before us was ready and rearing to go. It was a pretty good run with our biggest problem being weavers AGAIN. Sonic totally missed the entry and took another couple of attempts to get going. Next up was Open Agility where we finally achieved our first and only clear round of the weekend. It was a good run with a tricky weaver entry, that although not perfect, we got through.

After agility it was the Masters & Open Jumping classes. We had our judge back who had an affinity for angles that should never be seen on an agility field so I was unsure how the young fella would handle things. Sonic was still nice and fresh, sitting in the car anxiously waiting his go. I was really interested to see how Sonic handled the course as there was a couple of places where he would need to go from flat out to tight turn very quickly. As it happened it was a great run. The weirdest thing was that for the second time we missed the second last jump! Unfortunately I thought he'd committed to the serpentine cue but at the last minute he went straight past. The last event of the weekend was Open Jumping and I think it was the best run of the two days. Sadly he knocked a bar.

On reflection of all the runs the biggest weakness that we had was definately the weavers. When he wasn't missing the entry he seemed unbalanced and struggled to get any rhythm. Kriszty was teasing me that Sonic hasn't been through the novice dog crappy weaver stage yet that most young dogs seem to go through so perhaps this is our time. Clearly I need to do some work with him on the weavers to help build his confidence back up. They have never been his strongest obstacle so guess I'll have to work on changing that. The only other thing that stood out for me was that he was a little unsure of following my body around the course. I could feel him as he landed after a jump shifting all over the place. I really look forward to the day when he can just check in with me briefly and know where it is that he needs to be. But I guess that's just part of the journey that we're on.

This weekend we are back to trialling at the Canine Grounds for the first time in a month. I haven't made it to training all week as Colin and I are mid move to the new house. I took all the dogs down the the property last night and they had a great time running around through the bush. They were all pretty excited. I think they are going to be pretty happy when I finally move down there for good.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday

Sonic is two years old today. It seems like only yesterday that I was excitedly waiting to hear if Sally had given birth. Sonic however still shows no desire to act his age, prefering to behave more like a six month old! I'm very much looking forward to what the next twelve months brings and I know that I'm going to have a whole heap of fun with him.

Photo by Star Creations (thanks Mike!)