|Jumping over 1, 2, 3, FOUR hurdles!|
During our first two flyball practices Athena has learned how to jump over hurdles, turn over a hurdle, jump on a wall board and back over the hurdle, and pass another dog. Athena is very much a tug loving dog, so she's thrilled that her reward for doing anything at flyball practice involves tugging.
|Practicing turning over a hurdle|
To be honest, we are flyball rookies. We really don't know much about the sport and therefore have no idea if Athena is good at any of the elements of flyball. But, I've got to say that I am majorly impressed with Athena. We went into the first practice thinking that she MIGHT jump over one hurdle at the end of the 6 week class. I can't believe that last night we saw her jump over FOUR hurdles in a row AND jump onto the wall board and over a hurdle. I think with the right training Athena could be a serious flyball competitor.
|Me showing Athena how to jump over hurdles|
Except that there's just one problem.
|Athena keeping her eye on her doggy friends|
Athena is a social butterfly and flyball is not a sport for dogs who have trouble being calm around other dogs. She wants to play with all of the other dogs so badly that she FREAKS out when she sees them having their turn to run. We are the ones in the class with the annoying dog who barks and whines in the crate the entire hour and a half.
|Get me outta here! I want to meet that doggy!|
During last night's practice we attempted "passing" another dog off-leash (I lure Athena towards me with a tug toy as she runs past another off-leash dog who is being lured by their owner.) Apparently other dogs are WAY more exciting than me (even when I'm using my high pitched squealing voice) because Athena darted towards the other dog in an attempt to play with them each time we tried to pass. This is definitely a no-no for a flyball dog.
|Other doggy running, oh my!|
So, if we ever want Athena to actually compete in flyball we have to get her social butterfly-ness in check. I am currently reading Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed in an attempt to find some strategies that may work to keep Athena's attention on me rather than on the other dogs.
Do you have experience working with a social butterfly? What have you done to keep your dog focused during dog sport training and competition (or just in life in general)?