On Saturday morning, I headed over to the annual DaVinci Days celebration, where they hold a disc dog competition with free entries. I've entered almost every year, though sometimes with a friend's dog (the border collie Possum, before she moved away). Even though my dogs have no chance of beating the teams who spend a lot of time practicing, it is fun to get out there, compete, and, of course, watch all the experienced teams.
A few of the more experienced teams also did a freestyle demo during the half time break between the two rounds of toss and catch. It is a ton of fun to watch a good freestyle team at work.
The toss and catch part of the competition is pretty straight forward. Each handler/dog team has one minute in which to gain as many points as they can. The field is sectioned off into different point zones, with the farther zones being the most points. The handler must throw from behind the line; it doesn't matter where the dog is when the handler throws.
To get points, the dog has to catch the disc before it hits the ground. The dog gets an extra half point by catching it while jumping with all four feet off the ground.
I'm not a very consistent thrower. Koira is not a very consistent catcher. I am pretty sure she deliberately bumps the disc back into the air the first time, rather than trying to catch it and hold it. The best way to get her to catch the disc is to do a long, low throw that she can't get underneath of in order to nose bump it back up. I am, unfortunately, not all that good at long, low, fast throws.
For me, though, one of the most fun things is to take pictures of the dogs at the event and then look at them afterwards. Some spectacular facial expressions are captured.
Pallo did not get to come along to the disc competition. He has been off for a while. I'm not sure what is wrong with him. He had a full blood and urine panel done, which revealed nothing wrong other than a few urine crystals (for which the vet said to up his water intake, so he now gets some kibble floating in water a few times a day to get him to drink more). There is no limping or obvious signs of pain or discomfort.
The big thing is really that Pallo isn't being obnoxious. He isn't bugging me constantly to throw a toy for him. At flyball, he has been very off, refusing jumps, running around the course, not even going down all the way to the box, etc. For Pallo, this behavior is very, very strange. Hopefully it is nothing serious or long lasting. We have him on pain medication for now (to try to see if he gets better with it, which would indicate him actually being in pain from something). He is also on leash walks only, crate when I am not home to supervise, but is allowed to be pretty free in the yard with supervision.
That photo above of the little border collie is probably my favorite of all that I took on Saturday. It definitely has the best focus with the dog's eyes and face.
I still say the bloopers photos are some of the best though. As amazing as high jumps and awesome in-the-air grabs are, the bloopers just make me laugh more.
And, to finish off the post, a picture of Koira, taken with my camera, thanks to my friend Nicole. She does flyball as well (though on a different team) and drove down to my town here to participate in the disc dog competition with her dog (her's is that wire haired black beast with the crazy expression). Another flyballer was with us as well, with her two dogs (both have pictures up above).
You can tell that Koira isn't going to catch this frisbee. Instead, as she snaps her mouth shut on it, the disc will rocket forward and up from the power of her closing jaws, giving her the chance to chase it down a second time. We would need to seriously work on that if we had plans of major competition in disc dog. But, I've pretty much decided that as much as she likes this sport, it is just not something I am motivated enough to put time, effort, and money into really succeeding in. We will, of course, continue to head out to the local competitions for some fun!