In fact our second team is nearly ready for their first race. We've got some pretty great up and coming dogs. But as with all dogsports there are lots of training issues that pop up. Just when it seems we've got one thing covered they give us something different!
Because of our "learn as we go" approach we took with No Nonscents we are trying really hard to make sure that we've thought of everything and proofed for all sorts of things BEFORE we actually race a new team.
It was pretty hard to be "the newbies" that first time. Our first few races especially were pretty horrible. Crossing over, no fetching, no scenting- just a gong show really. lol. We did get better- but it took lots of training and trial and error. (and we did annoy some of the other teams..)
Here is a short list of things that the No Nonscents team learned the hard way. Because of this the new team should hopefully not be as rough the first few races...hopefully! lol
Be Flexible. We learned that sometimes we had to run dogs in different spots, or not at all based on who was running in the next lane. With some exciteable dogs on our team we had to be sure that they remain focused and on task- the best way to do this was to race them against slower dogs (and not a sheltie. lol). We still always try to keep in mind the dogs preference (i.e. Kort doesn't run well last), but we are much more flexible now. We even practice in different orders etc. so that the dogs don't become too patterned to the same dog ahead and before them.
Don't be afraid to ask for help! When we first started we didn't really know the rules well (they are hard to understand!!) but some really awesome people from another team helped us out. The explained that we could help our dogs out by forfeiting a race and running down with the dog if it was neccesary. As long as it didn't become a habit it is okay. We were careful to do this only if we had to, and only once the other team had finished (which was often the case anyway! lol). This really helped Gyp overcome her "at the box nerves." There are some nice people in this game- you just have to look for them! (You can usually tell by the smiling faces!)
Proof, Proof, and Proof some more. Really we were not ready to race our first race. Our dogs had never raced against anyone but each other, and Due South. We had never proofed the whistle, or the excitement of the dog show setting, or switching sides!!! Switching sides almost did us in! lol. Our dogs had no idea there were TWO lanes. lol.
Are we really ready? Taking a good honest look at where our dogs were we knew that maybe they weren't quite ready...lol. Poor Gyp got thrown in way before she was ready- in her typical fashion she did figure it out- but at the cost of her confidence (which we've rebuilt). Things to look at in relation to being ready- how accurate is the dog? how focused is the dog? can the dog recall past other dogs? does the dog want to play?. does the dog have the stamina??? With these questions to ask ourselves with the second team we will hopefully have a good idea if/when they are ready to race.
when we are ready the Full of Nonscents team is going to be a force to be reckoned with! We've got some pretty cool dogs who are raring to go!!!
Here are a few photos from a practice a few weeks ago. Thanks to Paws on the Run Photography for the great pics!
|This crazy dude is Nitro.|
|Crawford the flying corgi. He is fast and accurate, but lippy. ;)|
|Miss Reliable. AKA Karma. Karma never makes a mistake...|
|Indy- an ex-flyball dog who has plenty of speed and is learning the nose part|
|Brit. Who is piecing things together...|
|Rocky- the crazy corgi who is just learning stuff.|