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Sunday, March 24 2013

Fae the Fat Fairy learns Agility Episode 17

Well you know I am still plodding along learning Agility but I had a whole four days without the Boss. Me and Julie and Midge got left at home while the Boss took Boo and Chan to Hawera for the Taranaki Masters Games. They came home with a gold and a silver. Chris and Boston and Bootz went too and Bootz won Bronze. One day I gotta do this stuff so I don't get left behind any more.

Don't get me wrong I love my pal Julie and she loves me and we lie on the bed and watch TV and work along together looking after the ducks and chooks. There is no rush with Julie and I like that. I never run away when I am left with Julie as I have to keep an eye on her in case she needs me.

Anyway when the Boss got home she was straight back into training dogs again, me included. She tells me my weaves are improving. They are in a straight line now but bent out and on Saturday at the Club I did them the same width I do them at home and the Boss was really pleased with that. I am pleased she throws my ball and I can dash off through the sticks and pick it up and run back flat out and play with my tug toy which is my squeaky football from Uncle Bruce the Bassett Hound man. It's my favourite.

Today we did NALA and now that I am 16 months I was allowed to do the Veterens course which was done by my sister Midge in under 29 seconds. I don't know what my time was but I did all the stuff and there were 13 bits of it and it was fun. At the end I got to play with my ball and tug toy again so that was great. I got to run the Flygility course as well. It had the A frame with hoops in it this week and I learnt that at last week's Flygility class so that was easy. The Boss ran it with me to make sure I did all the things. I missed one hurdle, deliberately as I was going toooo fast to do it. I think so anyway. He he he. The Boss laughed as well. She said I made a good effort and we played ball and tug at the end again. I was pretty exhausted having two days of Agility stuff in a row. Chan, Boo and Midge were tired as well so that's okay.

Right now I have to stop this blog because I can hear a Rat in the Kiwifruit. I need to go out and bark at it and make it frightened so that it falls out of the Kiwifruit and I can kill it. I got one last week this way. Look out Rat here I come. yapayap yap a yap wowowowo yap yap

A whole week has gone by now and we did Agility things nearly every day. Monday is my favourite. On Monday I go to a class run by the Boss called Play to Learn - nothing serious. There are now fourteen dogs in that class and last Monday we did contacts, so that meant we had all the contacts out of the shed. The A Frame, the dog walk, the cross over and the seesaw. We did them all on really low so that nobody could fall off and hurt themselves. We all learnt all the contacts in groups of four and then we had a competition at the end to see who was the best. Both the Cocker Spaniels were the best. I probably was the best best, but I am not allowed to compete with the other dogs because the Boss sayes I have an unfair adsomething. The German Shepherds are amazing as they are so big and the planks of the contact equipment are so narrow. I love Shepherds, I was born where there were beautiful Belgian 'Malenois' Shepherds . My best friend is Miska, she is a German Shepherd. They are different but sort of the same. I love their BIG.

Next week we are doing stick games at Monday night class. This is preparation for weaves and is real fun. I am looking forward to it. We always start Monday night with 'Control' so all the dogs get to know each other and settle down and work without running off and doing other doggy things. We do heel work and stays and recall in that class as well. It takes about an hour and a half to get through the workload with 14 dogs. The winning dog gets a green ribbon. GREEN IS GOOD. The boss told me to put that in. Tuesday night I do beginners Obedience. I really like Obedience, I don't have to run around so much and there is lots of staying and downs and things and I like that, I can just sort of doze through it. Also my friend Coco comes to that class and she is a real dag. Coco pretends she doesn't like the other dogs in the class, she barks and hackles up at them all, but it is just her way of having fun really. She is a German Spitz and she is very precise about where other dogs should be. 'Don't you come too close to me, you get back get back go on go away' she yaps and then she gets tired of it and when she does her heel work she doesn't yap at all. Her heel work is just so beautiful. She trit trots along. She is very pretty and thin, a kind of micro model dog really. She does make me feel fat, but she likes me, I don't think she feels threatened in any way by me and it does remind me I should resist eating all that chicken food that is out in the paddock so I too can be thin like Coco. I can but try. All the dogs in Monday night are new dogs to the Club and some are even younger than me. Tuesday night Obedience is dogs who have been coming for quite a while. When we get the lights up and going we will do more Obedience later in the evening which will give people time to go home from work and get to class. Then we will have more new people coming in.

The Boss is working on an Agility Ribbon Show for new entrant dogs. Sort of like Kennel Club Ribbon but with a course for people who have never done any training before to come and give it a go. The winners will still get ribbons. There will be two Elementary Courses and two Starters Courses and one Novice Course. It will be in October/November and should be great fun. Maybe by then I will be able to do a whole course as well. I haven't even looked for a bunny on the course for the last three weeks, I get so busy trying to do the hurdles and tunnels and things, I actually forget the Bunnies. Here it is Easter as well. Oh well Happy Easter Bunny everyone and remember that Jesus was no Bunny and it is his special holiday too.

Thursday, March 7 2013

The end of Summer Flyball tonight.

Since daylight savings kicked in at the beginning of October and with the exception of two weeks over Christmas New Year, we have had Summer Flyball on Thursday nights from 6p.m till 8p.m. We started with a raw bunch of 16 dogs and retained 12 for the whole season. Those who had done Flygility formed the Senior division and all the rest were Juniors.

We set out to teach the dogs to race against each other. The gear is minimal four fly hurdles in each lane, one box at the appropriate end. No catch nets not centre cloth. Why did I choose to do this. Well I watch dogs being unable to regroup back to the flyhurdle when they muff the ball at Flygility and I figured that if a dog knocks the ball all over town they need a good opportunity to get back on track. This has worked well with all the dogs orientating back over the first fly hurdle very well. Without a centre cloth the dogs had to learn that there was a dog running just over there and get on with it. Most of them have got that idea going as well. We started out running the lanes 20 meters apart and now we are back to about 8or 9 meters.

Flyball is actually faster than Flygility even when you put the bends it so it has given our good competitive dogs fitness and speed by keeping it simple. We can put the weaves in and sometimes the tunnel and make it complex, but no Agility hurdles are in Flyball. We can run teams with Flyball and we can do single lane work when the numbers are low because it rained or it is just one of those weeks where everybody is very busy.

One of the great upshots of this regular eventing is how good everyone gets at box loading, timing runs, starting and judging and keeping the results board up to date. At the start of the season everyone was shy but now everyone just pitches in which is just terrific.

But what actually made the nights was the sausage sizzle. The whole flyball night is a fundraiser for the Club and succeeds in raising about $800 per summer season (this is our third). We light up the barbie at about 5.30, cook the sausages and onions and put them in a casserole dish on the back burner and everyone comes along and helps themselves to bread sauce onions and sausage. It helps us to get through that 6 till 8 p.m. bracket where everyone is a little bit peckish. Sometimes someone brings biscuits. Like tonight, chocky ones as a treat.

The outstanding dogs, who win or score well take home another one of those purple ribbons. Purple ribbon rewards will be handed out at the AGM in early April. We have all won a few over the season for one reason or another. It is a great fun night and the dogs have progressed hugely from the start of the season. We are very lucky to have dogs of a high calibre in this group as it makes the juniors push for higher standards of training. Judy Casey and Tui are a joy to have at the top of the class as they are also ranked 2nd in NZ for Nala Flygility. But Chris Hutchings Boston and my Chan don't let Tui get away with much. One of the challenges is the 100% catch rate from the ball box. 10 out of 10 balls gives you a nice reduction in your overall times for the night, so everyone tries to get 100% Judy and Chris have risen to the challenge and the some of the juniors such as Maddy and Bella are knocking on the door with regular 70 and 80%. Janina's J and Poppy are both capable of 95 to 100%. My point is that the ball catch is the difference between winning a round and losing a round.

All in all it has been an outstanding season and we will now concentrate on bringing all these happy Flyballers up to NALA Flygility standard over the winter. They are all up for the challenge.

My heart felt thanks to Chris Hutchings for taking over the barbecue and buying the goodies. It is extremely hard to do this kind of fund raising on one's own. It has been a team effort this year and I am truly grateful for that. Bring on the next summer flyball, I have dreamt up some new challenges for the next season. Thank you to all who participated..

Raewyn

Wednesday, February 20 2013

Moving the Dog Club

For the last four years we have had a dog training club running from the Rail Park in Ngongotaha. For many and various reasons the Rail Trust and the District Council did not like us being there. When we first moved there we had 19 dogs and about 14 handlers. Now we have close to 40 handlers and about 50 dogs in various stages of development and playing various games. This growth caused huge anst to the Rotorua District Council because we did not have Resource Consent to train dogs in the middle of the Ngongotaha Township. Either in panic or out of some form of pique the Rail Trust decided to rip up the Memorandum of Understanding they had with us, while claiming we owned back 'rent' and did not pay for 'events' that they thought we were holding. Basically I think they were worried about us being there without Resource Consent. There was nothing in the Rail Trust Consent to allow Dog Training so it may not have been in their best interests that we were there.

Every month without fail we paid the Rail Trust the contents of our 'koha' box. We asked every person coming onto the grounds for training to make a gift to our money box and this was paid to the Rail Trust. We never paid 'rent' as such as we understood their lease to the crown specifically disallowed subletting by the Trust. So anyway we needed to find a new home. I came up with several ideas most of which fell short of reality. For example, the Rotorua District Council had no intention of letting a dog training outfit set up on any of their many rural and suburban reserves. So it was a matter of finding private land again, that the Club could afford.

The Stock Car Club at Paradise Valley was one of my suggestions. On first look this does not seem like a very exciting venue, however, they have allowed us to park our Shipping Container of gear in a prominent corner, we have water at a tap - right there. They are happy to help up get power back on to our container so we can make a cuppa and heat the soup in winter and turn the light on on dull days, but best of all they want to help us get a night flood light so that we can do evening training through the winter months. This is just awesome. What is good about the stock car grounds is that it is mostly a huge parking lot in grass and dirt. We couldn't hurt it if we tried. Everyone can drive right to the ringside to train their dogs. They can work their dogs out of their cars. The dogs are comfie, we are comfie as we can sit in our cars to take five and eat our lunch or whatever. Wonderful. The toilets are more than adequate. Tonight the 20th February 2013 we had our first training night for Agility at the new grounds. It was absolutely spectacular. The scenery is just gorgeous, the peace and quiet are superb, the space is just massive. Training was fantastic, what else can I say. It looks like we have a great future ahead of us at this venue. It isn't cheap for a small group. $250 per month, so we have to beef up our funding arrangements. We have made the Koha from the old venue into a compulsory $2 green fee payable once a week. If you train twice a week it is just $2. So far our calculations are holding up and we will make the grade with this. The big issue is wet days no training days, so we have to have a couple of fundraiser things every month just to help us feel secure. We will continue with Flyball which makes about $25 per week after expenses and we may hold a raffle or two each month. Just little things that make $50 here and $50 there.. When we needed money at the start of the Club 7 years ago, we used to cater brilliant morning teas and charge $2 for a cuppa and whatever yummy morning tea things were brought in by Club members. This was very popular so we might need to re-institute some of these things.

As the Club Trainer I am very relieved that we have found a home. The biggest thanks goes to Christine Hutchings who has moved and shaken this whole fiasco. She has applied herself to the limit. Her committment to the Club is just the greatest. She sets a brilliant example and if the new Committee get on board Chris' enthusiasm then we will truly have a Club that is going places. The Resource Consent from the District Council was not the easiest to obtain and it cost us something short of $900. Which truly is a lot of money for a small club to pay for the right to train dogs at a country venue where the land owners and the neighbours had agreed that we were suitable tenants. We did wonder what the District Council had on its mind, charging this kind of money to a community organisation, in particular an organisation that takes responsibility for training some of the district's difficult dogs and acts as a support group for all dog owners in the Rotorua District whether they are members or not. In particular we have had a number of 'hard to train' rehomes from the Rotorua District Council Pound. But to Chris for her perseverence in the face of a quite negative set of circumstances, I can but say thank you again from the bottom of my heart. If she had not done the hard yards to get us moved, I doubt the Club would have survived.

So here's to the future of Dog Sports Rotorua. A truly alternative style dog training organisation without ties to the NZ Kennel Club, with a place for every dog and assistance for all dog owners. It is Flyball night tomorrow night. The first one at the new venue. I just can't wait. It truly excites me to be the games organisor for Dog Sports. See you all there...

Raewyn.

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