Well it has been way too long since my last post!! The boys and I have spent most of the winter working on our RDW and getting my hip flexor strain under control. Spent many weeks in physical therapy and the gym to strengthen my muscles around the strain which has really helped quite a bit. The hardest part of rehab was not being able to run the dogs. The good news was that it forced me to not rush my RDW training. I could not run the entire length of the DW so I only worked the bottom ramp for weeks on end. I used a manners minder to reward at the end of the contact behavior which worked great. However when it came time to remove the manners minder I had mixed results with Zip and Zorro. Zip has more drive than Zorro so he continued to run through the end of the contacts, he slowed just a bit but I am hoping with more time and confidence his speed would improve. Zorro, who has less drive started to turn his head to look for me and then would jump off the end. After a few frustrating sessions, Zorro started to slow way down so I decided that I maybe removed the manners minder too soon with him and went back to using it and he is getting his confidence back.
Dasher has been dealing with a toe injury since February. This has been equally frustrating and confusing. I have been giving him time off and he seems fine then we run a little agility and his toe starts to give him trouble. Much to Dasher’s dislike he has had more down time than agility time, he also does not appreciate the “icing of the toe” after we play.
Our first trial back was Paws in Motion in Swedesboro, NJ. I was a little nervous going in not knowing what Zip’s contacts would be like and knowing exactly what Zorro’s contacts would be like. I was also hoping Dasher’s toe would hold up. The boys did pretty good for our first time out for the year. Dasher’s toe seemed to be holding up and Zip did not miss any contacts. His first few were a bit slow but by the end of the weekend I was seeing improvement.
Here is one of Zip’s runs by the end of the weekend, his frame was a bit high for me, but still in. His DW has gotten speedier on the down by this point.
This is one of Dasher’s runs from Paws in Motion. Getting us a much coveted GP Q, plus a bye to boot!!
By the end of the weekend I was feeling pretty good. Zip’s contacts were improving, Dasher’s toe was holding up and my leg was feeling great. I knew Zorro’s contacts needed more work but I was happy with his confidence in the ring otherwise.
We have attended a few more shows this spring and the boys have done great. This past week was our most hectic yet. The WAO team held a two day team practice and fundraiser, came home for a few hours to do laundry and repack then held out to the Mid-Atlantic Showcase and Regional then leave directly from the show on Sunday to a two day seminar with Anna Efiert. Although extremely hectic we had an amazing time. Team practice was great, incredibly tough courses but it made it that much more sweeter when we got something right. The fundraiser was great, we offered run-throughs to anyone who wanted to show up and the team members in attendance gave short written critiques on each run. We had over a 100 runs in a couple of hours, kept us very busy but I think everyone enjoyed it.
As we approached the regional Dasher’s toe started giving him trouble again. After much debate I opted to scratch Dasher from the team portion of the competition. I knew David and Ria (Advanced Canine) would be at the show so I hoped they could take a look at Dasher and maybe I could keep him in Steeplechase and Grand Prix in hopes of getting byes for Nationals. At this point I was not too optimistic as I was thinking the toe could be broken since it still had not healed. Since I was on the road non-stop at this point I did not have the chance to take him to the vet for an x-ray. I would just wait to see what David and Ria had to say. Ria was able to work on Dasher Saturday morning before Steeplechase round one. The good news was that is was not broken, yay! The bad news was it was severely jammed and practically immobile. She was able to loosen it up and lasered it and gave the ok to run him in round one. He did great considering how little work he has had. Dropped the first rail but luckily fast enough to squeak into round 2 the next day. After the run he was a tiny bit gimpy so Ria was nice enough to take another look and did another laser treatment and I iced the toe and gave him an anti-inflammatory. The next day he seemed great so we ran in rounds 2 of Grand Prix and Steeplchase. Dasher had a great GP run but missed the A-frame contact at the very end of the run. My plan was to front cross the frame but I think I started my front too soon, as he was coming down which caused him to look at me, bring his head up and then pop off. Bummer, no GP bye for us! Next was Steeplechase finals. I didn’t want to push him, wanted him to hit both his A-frame contacts. If we went fault free we should be fast enough for a bye. The run did not start out great, it took my eyes off him for a second and the little bugger broke his start line. If it wasn’t the finals I would have stopped right there, but I was bad and continued on thinking this would not end well. Usually if we start a run this way it goes down hill from there. Luckily this time it didn’t. Dasher stayed calm and focused, hit both A-frame contacts and ended up in 4th place with a bye! Yay! Here is Dasher’s Steeplechase finals run:
Zippy had a phenomenal weekend. He his team ended up 5th overall and he was first coming into the Triathlon finals. He was having a great Triathlon finals run but unfortunately I sent him over the third to the last jump the opposite way so no podium for us in that class. Zip made it into Steeplechase finals and we had a bye into Grand Prix finals. We ran Grand Prix first and he put in a great run. There was a tunnel discrimination at the end of the dogwalk. Since we were new to the whole running dogwalk thing I was not super confident we would get the correct end of the tunnel. I also knew I could very easily pull him off the DW early if I called him too soon. Luckily Zip is way more gifted than I am and he did great. He ended up winning the Grand Prix! Here is his Grand Prix finals run:
The Steeplechase finals course was next. It was a fast running course and fairly straight forward, I needed to be ahead of Zip in certain areas so the challenge would be not to pull him off an obstacle while trying to get ahead for the upcoming obstacles. Little Zippy ran great! I knew there were other very fast dogs in our class so I wasn’t expecting a win just hoping for a bye. When I saw his time it really surprised me, he was really flying! After all the dogs had run Zip was still in 1st place! Wow!! Winning both Grand Prix and Steeplechase at the Mid-Atlantic regional was more than I could have dreamed of!! What a superstar!! This little dog never ceases to amaze me.
We left the regional floating on cloud nine!! Dasher and Zip earned 3 out of 4 byes with some tough competition, not too shabby for the little terriers!!
The Anna Efiert seminar went great. Had some challenging courses and some really good feedback on how to make my lines more efficient. Any time we can shave off the clock is a plus. The boys will have some much deserved time off and I will get cracking on my travel paperwork for Belgium. Want to make sure all my ducks are in a row!!
Here are a few more runs from the weekend, just for fun!
Zip Team jumpers:
Dasher Rd 1 Steeplechase, the puppy cannon under the A-frame was scary!