Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eish, long update incoming...

Yeah, yeah... you can b%tch and moan all you want... I have been TERRIBLE at updating... Dunno, I don't think it was me being lazy... life just seems NOT to have stopped in the past few weeks...

Erm...   Now I have to actually really rack my memory... oh yes, we will rewind to 17 April... National Agility League round 1 and National Dog Jumping League Round 1...  Can't comment about the courses or post videos, seeing as the rest of the country have not run these... I will say this... 'LIFT your damn feet Spaz-moid'... Eish he managed to knock FIVE bars (count them, one, two, three, four, FIVE) on one day... in three rounds.  I was not particularly impressed I have to be honest.  He was motoring, setting the fastest time in two rounds and the 3rd fastest time in the other, which helps STUFF all when he knocks a million bars.

Soooo what we did for the next week is tons of jumping training... well when I had the time, since I was one of the organisers of our Easter event, so for that week I was kind of, little bit, running around like a mad hatter.  We had 57 dogs entered.  That is impressive for South Africa, kay.  Anyhow, so despite the running around, stress, bla bla bla, etc... it turned out to be a really nice event.  And by all accounts everyone really enjoyed it... Now since this blog is about me, me, me.... Let's get back to me.  First event was the Contact Agility Qualifier, on the Friday... I only had about 1 minute to walk the course and... I walked it WRONG... so I had a spectacular round, only to walk off and hear I had been dq'd because I missed a jump.  Boohoo for me, but then sh%t happens...  So Non-Contact Qualifier, I put my all into it and really gave it go.  I had one wide turn, but ended up first or second in this round, which miraculously qualified Spaz for the final (haha, in last spot, but still).

The Saturday we had the Dog Jumping Qualifier, Chaos ran clear in the first round, first or second place.  He had a really lekker round.  In the jump-off however, he somehow managed to go through the side of the tire (which in all fairness was a bit low).  But who cares... I was still a happy camper, since we qualified for the Dog Jumping Final too!  This final was on the Monday.  Chaos had an uber round, except for the fact that he pulled his old tricks and turned too tightly, bringing the wing of the first jump down.  At least it wasn't a bar.

Wednesday we started off with Knock-Out pairs, I just organised this event, first of all, we needed someone there that really knew how the whole thing worked.  Secondly, I am not always into the whole 'fun event thing'... so I save Spaz's energy for the Agility Final.  We had an awesome course and I was looking forward to it.  Chaos went straight over the up-contact of the see-saw... shame, my poor tall boy.  I lost him a little bit halfway around the course and had a super crap turn, but still a very nice round.  Five faults, second fastest time over-all the whole day put Chaos in second place in the large category.  All in all, I was really happy with the weekend over-all... so here are the rounds... please not the crappy taping and missing of half of my rounds can be blamed on the (W)right men... eish.

On a completely different subject, there is a HUGE issue which has been discussed fervently among the agility crowd the last while.  Breeding.  Now I KNOW I am full of crap when it comes to this subject, but I have 4 dogs that give me a reason to be... Initially I was whimsical in getting dogs and never really did my research... Echo and Delta are from pure breed lines and the huge advantage is that they come from lines that have been extensively health tested.  And that they are, clear hips, elbows and eyes.  And with Echo I was even luckier, even though non of his family ever competed in Agility, he turned out to have amazing work ethic and drive, but his heavy structure (which is perfectly acceptable in the breed ring), meant that he retired when he was 8, this way I managed to restrict the arthritis as much as possible, but still, his build is just not ideal for Agility.  Delta has the drive, but no work ethic to speak of. He is an awesome pet, healthy, amusing, mad and always happy, but for not really meant for working.  When deciding to get Chaos, I got a little bit more with the program and I researched the working side of things into the ground.  And he truly does come from brilliant working lines, a good few herding champions in his lines, his build is brilliant for agility and despite the fact that not many of his ancestors were health tested, I was once again lucky and Spaz is healthy and clear in all aspects.  But Chaos is beyond sensitive when not working, especially sound sensitive.  It might have something to do with the fact that his breeder does not socialise her puppies at all, doesn't introduce them to anything, or it might be genetic, as I know his brother from another litter has the same sensitivities.  Regardless, it is not ideal.  Quake was a bit of a last minute decision, but I knew his parents and some other family.  The problem is that I knew that there were a lot of throw back puppies work-wise in these lines but I conveniently ignored this.  Quake, of all my dogs is structurally the most perfect of all my dogs for Agility, but his funny working streak or non-working streak (seen many times in other relatives) hampers the training somewhat.

None of these aspects are technically huge issues and all my dogs do/did agility and loved it and generally do it to the best of their ability, but  I know of various factors that I should not have taken these dogs.  More importantly I personally believe that some of Chaos and Quake's relatives should have never been bred.  Now I am only referring to breeding dogs for working purposes from here on, but this is what conclusion I have come to.  Not all dogs are meant to bred, the select few that should be bred need to be tested and 100% sound health-wise... hips, eyes, elbows, skin conditions, epilepsy etc etc... there should be NONE of this in the lines at all.  Now first of all, I realise that genetically this is not so easy to determine, sometimes a problem will pop up somewhere in the progeny.... at which point you STOP breeding with all POSSIBLE sources.  End of story. To me physical soundness includes aiming for (thus using) builds that are suitable for working.  But this is only one part of it.  Next up is temperament.  Temperament is very much related to environment, I KNOW this, but there is also a genetic factor and then of course the question of genetic memory.  My opinion, if a dog does not have a completely solid temperament , DON'T breed with it. Thirdly of course is the drive factor.  If you are going to work, you WANT a dog with drive. End of story.  Now I realise you can work on drive and teach dogs to play and have drive, but if you are consciously breeding a litter for working purposes you should not be using a dog that does not have instinctual drive. And lastly, drive is not all of working... you need work ethic.  You want a dog that prefers screaming around a course to screaming after birds, other dogs, or random distractions.  A dog that knows when it is time to work and not distracted by other factors.  If you want to breed working dogs and you don't have that complete four in one package, DON'T breed for WORKING purposes and advertise the dogs as such.  Ideally both parents (or at least one) will be proven in the working ring as well!  Often people are willing to compromise on some of those factors and I guess I cannot fault them, but there are a few things that are NOT okay... you DO not breed with dogs that have not been hip and elbow scored or eye-tested.  You do NOT breed with dogs that have HD, elbow dysplasia, CEA, Epilipsy, heart problems, or any breed specific problems etc.  Really guys, health problems in our dogs are NOT to be messed with. EVER, kay?

Okay serious stuff done... thought I would share a day in Volt's training... I am taking my sweet time training him and he is completely mad, which I love... so here goes.

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