Monday, September 29, 2008

Puppy Flyball Training, Week Two

Last night was Ezri's second flyball practice, and she learned more new stuff this week to build on what she started last week. We have a set of "puppy jumps" which are flyball baseboards cut down to 3", which is below the elbow height of most puppies (including Ezri). We also have a training board (flat board the size of the box pedal, covered in matting and tape to match the box), extra jump slats, and a training platform (large fixed-angle immovable box-like object with velcro to hold balls), all of which are used in various phases of flyball training.

Ezri's first week of flyball was spent doing two things - learning restrained recalls and learning how to go over a puppy jump. She did very well with the former, although she is more interested in squeaky toys all of a sudden rather than her tug, and thought the latter was pretty fun as well. Her shining moment was picking up a loose ball as she ran back to me and over the jump! The short video I put together of her first practice is up on YouTube.

So last night I started reinforcing the basics and building on them, after a short play session in the puppy room with her buddy Riker (6-month-old rat terrier). We worked on restrained recalls over one jump, then used treats and back-and-forth with another club member to work her up to two and then three jumps. Next up was starting to use the training board flat on the floor to learn the snappy u-motion that will turn into a swimmers' turn off the box later, which I am teaching with a treat lure onto the board and then quickly swung around off the board. Jeff added a small taped-together stack of 1" slats to give her a tiny little barrier in front of the board to get a "hop" on and off the board, and that worked quite well. Ezri quickly got the hang of this and was moving very nicely in a snappy u-turn for her cookies, but wasn't interested in following a ball for the same motion. Finally, we did some more restrained recalls over the jumps, and she's already faster than I am (!) so I have to have enough of a head start to beat her past the last jump or she'll blow around it to get to me faster.

Sadly, this morning was the same as last Monday morning with a unhappy puppy who had messed her crate badly. I am wondering if this has to do with the cookies and excitement/exercise of flyball, since this is two weeks running. She has been really good about crying to be let out for both potty needs, so I'm guessing this was a surprise to her both times. I still wish she would cry, though, maybe I could save having to give her a full bath and hose out the crate later...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Border Collie Genetics

There are three (soon to be four) dogs in my circle that are directly or indirectly from Ignited Border Collies, so today I decided to figure out all the pedigrees and relations of how the dogs are related to each other. The summary of the genetics is listed first, using call names, and the dogs listed are from Heelalong, OffOn, Hidden Valley, Quicksilver, and Ignited.

Trevwen Rock x Cinderglow = Quest & Katie

Quest x Tangent = Trep

Katie x Impulse = Xanth
Xanth x Aim = Jimsey

Brita x Quest = Reddy & Dare

Reddy x Bid = Rua

Dare x Corrie = DareBaby (not born)

Brita x Trep = Dazzle
Dazzle x Race = Indigo

Brita x Jimsey = Prancer
Prancer x Race = Ezri

So there are three dogs (and one potential dog) of interest in there, which are bolded. Ezri is my new puppy, Rua belongs to my brother-in-law, and Indigo belongs to one of my flyball teammates (who may also get a pup from the Dare x Corrie litter this winter). Now for the actual relationships between the girls:

Rua, Indigo, Ezri, and DareBaby are all first cousins through Brita
Rua and Darebaby are second cousins once removed to Indigo through Quest
Rua, Indigo, and DareBaby are third cousins twice removed to Ezri through Cinderglow
Ezri and Indigo are three-quarter sisters and one-quarter first cousins through Race and Brita
Rua and DareBaby are first cousins

Genealogy is fun, but awfully confusing at times...

Cast of Characters

With so many animals in our lives, a cast of characters is in order for those friends and family from afar who do not know our "furry babies" by name or by sight.

Our Dogs

Jadzia - She is the border collie that started the madness! We adopted her from the Seattle Humane Society in April 2003 at just a year old after being abused and abandoned. With time, love, and care she has grown into a phenomenal pet and sporting dog. While Jadzia will never be competitive, she plays any game we teach her for the sheer love of activity.

Curzon - Our second border collie and only male, Curzon was brought home from Hubbard Stockdogs in Bonanza OR in December 2003. He is our playful boy and the light of my life, with his happy grin and "let's play" attitude he will never fail to make you smile. Curzon is just as competitive as we are, and especially excels at flyball and frisbee.

Ezri - Our third border collie and newest addition to the house, Ignited's Ezri Dax is the daughter of Ignited's Santa's High Flyer (Prancer) and Quicksilver's Record Time (Race) born on July 15, 2008. While still quite young, Ezri is showing a phenomenal capacity for learning that even dwarfs what we saw with Curzon as a young pup, and she is picking up new games and rules every day.

Phoebe - The odd one out, Phoebe is a Jack Russell Terrier from the Fleck kennel in Woodinville who has had a rough few years. She was originally discovered by a flyball teammate who worked as a vet tech with the vet who runs the kennel, and was soon adopted out to another teammate who needed a companion. After a few years, Phoebe came to live with us in May 2008 as her previous owner could no longer care for her. She is currently the primary height dog for our flyball club and will do anything for a tennis ball.

The Cats
Onyx - At just nine pounds, Onyx is a sleek and small black cat with a big attitude. She loves to be petted and to watch over the house, but is picky about her attention and can turn in a flash. She was adopted from Purrfect Pals in June 2001 along with her littermate Obsidian.

Obsidian - Large, fluffy, and surprisingly dominant, Obsidian is the cuddly boy who teaches all the dogs who is really boss in our house. He's about 14 pounds and has smacked sense into just about every dog who has lived in or visited our home, yet is a huge cuddlebug and likes nothing more than to be petted and snuggled.

I will post pictures at a later date, but for now you can see photos of the dogs on my Facebook album here.


I have decided to give the blog thing a try, to see if family members and friends will enjoy reading about us. For quite some time I posted on LiveJournal, but I haven't used that account in months and am using Facebook to keep up with most people at this point. Hopefully our family will be interested in reading about our life in Seattle!