|Barked: Sat May 25, '13 7:25pm PST |
|Ember was a rescue - Literally walked into my life and I kept her, no planning whatsoever. I started flyball classes to get her exercise after my 12 hour work day, figuring I would get the added benefit of sorely needed distraction work.
Our flyball team has some spectacular oddballs, including one of 3 Clumber Spaniels in the nation, a mini Dachshund, 2 Chihuahuas (although one can't compete on account of being too small to trigger the box)... It was a bit of a joke to get a Husky on the team, but no one seriously thought my incredibly reactive, fairly dog aggressive Siberian with no ball drive, who absolutely could not be off-leash, would ever actually play flyball.
But she liked it. She liked it so much, that she started making huge progress that transferred to the outside world. After a few 6 week class sessions, she was starting to go off-leash in the classroom, with other dogs on the sidelines. Her socializing started to improve. Things kept getting better, and she kept having fun, so I kept bringing her to class.
There were a lot of plateaus. Picking up a ball was a big one - but still, she was happy, so I kept at it. It was still a long time before I realistically thought she could compete - and even then, a lot of the time I was working toward it just for the hell of it, because the work to get there was good for us even if we didn't make it.
Last fall, in the last tournament of the year, we stuck her in as an alternate when the team was losing anyway. She needed the experience, and managed to earn her first few points. Our first tournament this spring, she shared a spot with another "green" dog and earned her Flyball Dog title. Next tournament, she held her own position and ran alternate for a senior dog on another of our teams and earned her Flyball Dog Excellent.
She's really still a "green" dog... Her times are all over the place and on the slow side. OTOH, we don't have a height dog to keep jump heights down right now, so she's been running 12". Our team doesn't compete often, as we all have busy lives outside of the sport... Plus there aren't that many tournaments close by. We'll be on the court again in July. Very much looking forward to it.
My Vance did run agility, but because of structural problems he could not handle competition heights for his size. We joined a "for fun" agility club and he ran against the toy dogs without speed in mind.
I'd like to compete with Fox, but I have not found a sport or activity that suits her yet. We've dabbled in agility but she tends to psych herself out and shut down easily. She abhors flyball. Obedience of any sort is really not her thing. We'll find something eventually...
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