Monday, November 7, 2011

Never say never

I had a pretty busy weekend with a lot of clients. So yesterday afternoon I treated myself to some fun for me. There was a Flyball tournament in the area that friends were attending to sell their awesome toys at. (Check out The Smiling Frog Pets for some super cute Christmas toys!!) Since I had never been to a flyball event before I decided to swing in. In case you have never seen flyball in person I have a warning, it is LOUD!! I took ear plugs with me because chaos is not my thing. Even with ear plugs it is a noisy place to be. I nabbed a few photos but most of them look like this:

Yup, lots of blurry fast dogs. So I grabbed a video so you can get a better idea:

I can honestly say I highly doubt I will ever be a flyball person. I just can't deal with the noise. Avoidance of chaos is one reason I prefer to see clients one on one privately instead of doing group classes. However I can see why people do flyball. All of the dogs I saw were deliriously joyful. I missed seeing one of my friends dog run. She is called a height dog. (the shortest dog on a team which is who they base the jump height on) She is the cutest terrier mix named Xena adopted from a shelter. That is something I do like about the sport, all types of dogs are welcome. You can see many other photos from the event on The Smiling Frog Pets facebook page. (Xena is there too!)
From there I took Jenny to the big city of Portland for a Freestyle clinic. I joined a group called Dancing Paws that my training friend Nancy Freedman-Smith of GoodDogz Training is a member of. Remember that demo I helped with at Woofstock? Yeah that was my gateway moment. Now I have to admit, I never thought I would be interested in freestyle. Dancing with dogs? No way, I am way to serious for that. Well it turns out freestyle is really just tricks strung together. I love the challenge trick training can offer. Jenny loves to work and I don't always get to walk her as much as she needs so this is a great way to prevent boredom for her. And you know what? It is FUN!!!
It is a great group of people with an interesting mix of dogs! We had a golden, a standard poodle (I think), a smooth collie, a border collie mix, a frenchie, a doberman, an italian greyhound and a terrier. I'm not sure who our official leader is but the clinic was taught by Diana Logan CPDT of  (you can find her freestyle videos on youtube at Clickerdoodles and she has a facebook page as well)
The clinic was on lateral moves specifically and Jenny and I made a nice break through. I have some tweaking to do but we've made a great start. Here is a video of it. I got greedy trainer syndrome though and didn't stop when I should of and we both got frustrated. You can see how her first couple of passes were excellent. I am using body language "pressure" to get her to move so I will need to fade that out eventually. It turns out that pivot work I did for Rally had other uses!

Here is another trick we have been working on. She goes around a prop on one direction and I go in the other. I freeshaped this after seeing it on Pam Dennisons shaping video. Every once in awhile she would start going around and then come around into a heel position at my left making a figure 8 move. To fix it I rewarded it anyway BUT when she went around the pole all the way correctly I gave her two rewards. It worked. She stopped giving me the figure 8. Tonight I upped the criteria so she had to go around it twice.

Unfortunately from doing rally her default is to sit at the heel position. I need to work on getting her to stand as a default instead. This is another trick we are working on. She puts her feet on mine and then I move forward or back. It is a bad angle but you get the idea.

Will I ever compete in this sport? I dunno. I would say probably not but as I've learned sometimes you don't know where a journey is going to take you. At the very least I will be having fun with Jenny and maybe even entertain people along the way. It will certainly help keep my training skills fresh and challenge me. What's not good about that?
Have you ever done something you never thought you would? If so how did it turn out?

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