|Our ball bucket. We need more small balls, I think.|
First, let me just say, the dogs did great at the tournament this past weekend. We ran in Multibreed for the first time ever, and both Ptera and Koira earned their first two Multi titles (MBD, MBDX). I've wanted to run multi for so, so long, and it was awesome to finally have it offered at a tournament in our region. A teammate of mine ran Koira in her races, while I ran Ptera on the same team on Saturday. Multi was only offered on one day, so Koira sat out on Sunday.
|This is Deebo. He loves flyball, loves balls, and runs like a battering ram.|
What was awesome was Sunday afternoon, for the first time ever, my new club was able to run a lineup of all of our own dogs. I handled Stella, while a teammate ran Ptera. The reasons for it are convoluted- basically, I practiced running Stella, and am the only person who has run her other than her handler (who owns another dog who was on the same team), and she isn't an easy dog to run. So when her handler needed to be in running her other dog, I had to run Stella. Which left another teammate to run Ptera, even though she has never run her before, and this was her first tournament at all. But it all came together and turned out awesome. We ran four clean heats, earning 100 points total for that race for each dog. Our best time as a team was 21.9 seconds.
I did figure out something I've been struggling with for a while, which was how to handle treats while handling a dog. I've always preferred running a dog with a tug toy, and both Koira and Pallo ran great for tugs. Ptera will tug, but she prefers treats. I am not very coordinated, so having a bunch of little treats in my pocket doesn't work very well for me, as I tend to drop them like crazy or fail at being able to get them out in a timely fashion. I happened to have some Merrick chicken jerky that we got from Chewy.com (we got it for free in exchange for an honest review, but we weren't compensated in any other way). The Merrick jerky is so much easier to break into pieces than any other kind I've tried. It doesn't crumble or fall apart, but can easily have a piece ripped off. For me, having a big piece that I then rip off small chunks to use for rewarding Ptera worked way better than having a ton of little treats. We went through about half a stick of jerky per race, which means a bag would last us more than a full flyball weekend- except that I had been using the jerky off and on for other stuff already, so we only had enough for a single day, unfortunately. I do plan on getting some more of it, as it worked really, really well for us.
On Sunday, we had run out of the jerky, but I did have along a big bag of Loki, which ended up working pretty well. I like the stick of jerky because it is a single item that I hold onto and then break up. The Loki is freeze dried lamb and is locally made (I purchased it at a local small business that is great, Animal Crackers). A lot of freeze dried treats either crumble or are too hard to break, but the Loki is the best I have found, as a large piece can easily be broken up easily into small treats. I did need to carry more pieces than with the jerky, but it still worked well, and pretty much every dog loves Loki. Stella especially thought it was awesome.
We may be a #ChewyInfluencer but that doesn't mean we don't also love shopping at local businesses for local products. Chewy.com is awesome, but there is something about walking into a locally owned pet store and finding local products that just makes me happy, so I love to support both.
In summary, our weekend was awesome (despite some chaos that I didn't share), new titles were earned, and many treats were enjoyed.