Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Coolest Flyball Box in town

Kimi the JRT’s owner, Mr Chan, was busy a couple weeks ago working on a new toy/gadget for dogs and he revealed it at the recent Dogathon event - a spanking brand new flyball box, fully sourced and made locally. Had many humans fooled into thinking it was the latest home theatre speakers from Bose … honestly, it looked that good!

Varnished wood panels, steel contact face with a delightful curve and carpeted as well, this baby is designed to attract all manner of mutts to the fast and furious world of flyball sport. Kimi and I had a go at it and I’m impressed! Tremendous grip, neat ball popping action with looks to match. Perhaps now, with the curved contact plate, the ‘swimmers turn’ maybe a reality for some of us.
Other team members didn’t have enough time to practice on the new box, so we stuck to the old dame for the flyball demo at Dogathon. This 3 year old homemade flyball box was the 1st in the country (courtesy of Jojo and Russell’s owners) and is still working fine, despite looking a little worn at the edges.

If we can get another 4-dog relay team together, then with 2 boxes and 2 racing lanes side by side, the next flyball race should be a real treat.

Good news, Junior the AST has worked out how to step and release the ball from the box at our last session. Now, he just has to fine tune his return over hurdles with ball in mouth. The regular tennis ball seems oversized for his tiny jaws … perhaps a squash ball would be a better fit.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dogathon 2008

Most popular K9 event in town with main event being the Dogathon Race, whereby dogs have to drag their owners in a 2.5km run across the spacious UPM campus grounds in Serdang. Also featuring the highly popular Master Hunt in which dogs have to negotiate a maze to rescue their hapless owners at the other end. Dogs really have to work for this game, for your owner will be continuously yelling your name out loud till you locate them, which can be rather embarrassing in public. My 5th outing at this annual event and after coming in 2nd - 5th in previous races and hunts, we finally hit the big time and took top spots for both in the small breed category. Me mate, Pacco, also came 2nd and 3rd in the same events for large breed, so the gods must be smiling on us.

Unlike previous years, Ms Owner didn’t put in much training for the race. So it was left to me once again to push, tug and pull her across the finish line. Perhaps it was the sight of the water bowl at the finish line which gave me an added boost. Perhaps it was because there were less teams participating this year due to the early morning drizzle. Doesn’t matter really, as I can finally hang up my marathon shoes and retire in peace. Let’s just stick to dog sports and leave the tiresome marathons to humans.

Also nice to see Agility trials being included as 1 of the featured events and the PetnYou gang were proud to run it as part of Dogathon. PetnYou 5th Agility trials saw 27 dogs making up a total of 38 entries, the highest number to date. Jumpers class was popular and saw 21 teams running which bodes well for the sport. Courses set by Penang judges for Novice, Elementary and Jumpers classes were well designed and challenging.

Clean runs were hard to come by in Novice and Elementary. Perhaps we were distracted or overworked by the many enticing dog demos and games on offer that morning. Nevertheless, the trials were conducted in a fun and friendly fashion and you could tell that the trialers and crowd had an enjoyable morning at the agility ring. I didn’t do too well, got an elimination, knocked down a pole, missed the Aframe contact and ended up 3rd in Novice class, only just.

The 5th Agility trials saw a number of notable teams/ achievements:
Tiniest agility dog - Siao Q the Miniature Pinscher standing at barely 8” and taking on 12-16” hurdles with tremendous jumping action.
Youngest handler - Jason n Russell the JRT who managed a clean run and 8th position in Jumpers mini class.
Newbie - Toffee the Poodle winning the Jumpers maxi class in a time of 21.3s
Newbie - Kimi the JRT winning the Elementary mini class in a time of 36.7s
Veteran - Cami the Cairn Terrier extending her winning runs in Novice class to 2 in a row, for trials within the Klang Valley.
Veteran - Odie the Fox Terrier producing steady and consistent runs to take 2nd place in all 3 classes.

To kick off the Dogathon, PetnYou Dog Squad were on show at the main ring, featuring the dog sports of frisbee, flyball, tricks and heelwork to music. The demos were very well received by the crowd, particularly frisbee and flyball as these activities are a rarity in this country. The organizers must have been impressed and they asked for an encore performance later in the day to keep the public entertained, sweet! Mr Owner wasn’t sure whether the Dog Squad were up to it cause we were also slotted to run in the agility trials, but we didn’t let the public down. We also had a special guest along in our demos, Hannah the hyper-Malinois who gave an energetic display of frisbee catching, flyball racing and advanced heeling exercises.

With a fairly large main ring, Cami, Junior, Hannah and I had more space to work with, and our flying leaps, hang time and frisbee catches really got the crowd going. For flyball, we actually had a complete 4/5 dog relay team (Kimi, Angel, Hannah, Pacco plus me), which made it a more impressive demo as we raced down the lanes one after the other. Hannah went a little berserk upon seeing so many frisbees and balls on the field.

Nice work by the Dogathon committee with their impressive props and décor to go with the ‘Astronaut’ theme. Initially wondered what these weird fellas were hanging around for? Heard the humans mentioning they were aliens and robots from another time and place. They didn’t do much except stand around without any expression … but they were really good at staying still. Cami also had a go at the space theme by putting on a TV antennae, which had me in stitches ... didn't want to make her feel bad, so I told her it was so, so her, ha ha!

Dogathon 2008 made it into The Malaysia Book of Records, being the single largest gathering of dogs with > 600 dogs present at the park. Was a swell day for dog sports, games and activities and the Dog Squad is certainly delighted to be associated with such an event.

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