Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flyball Weekend

Lucy and I played flyball this weekend, running on a veterans team. (It was called the "Geritol Jumpers," not to be confused with the "Galloping Geezers," our other veterans team. I actually did get them confused a few times because they both start with "G".) We didn't even place, but I don't mind.

The real fun of the weekend was getting Pinky accustomed to the flyball environment. Indoor tournaments are very loud and chaotic, with tons of barking and frequent loud whistling by the judges. Some dogs have a hard time getting used to it, so I decided to start Pinky off early. I took her into the building before the racing started, so her first introduction to it was as a fairly normal place. She met a few other dogs and puppies and got oohed and awed over by people (she's a real charmer, helped by the fact that she's darn cute.) I did lots of rewarding attention-to-name exercises the whole time, lest she think any of the environment's charms were greater than mine.

Later we went in while racing was going on, and she was a bit nervous at first. I think the whistles really startled her. I didn't stay in long the first time because I didn't want to overwhelm her. The next time I found a spot near the wall where she could see the racing and the people and dogs walking by, but we also had room to play a little. I had brought her awesome fox toy, which she loves, hoping it would help keep her from paying too much attention to everything going on. It sort of worked--she was interested in the racing, and wanted to greet every one who went by, but I was usually able to get her playing with me again pretty quickly. I let her greet people who showed an interest in her and any dogs who were allowed to greet her, but focused her back on me right afterward with either the toy or the treats. By the end of the weekend she was completely relaxed and happy in the flyball environment. And she's one tired puppy right now.

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