July 20th marked mine and Zuma’s one year anniversary with disc. One year ago, I was peer-pressured into entering my very first disc dog competition at the Hopkins Raspberry Days festival. Zuma and I were far from prepared, we had only dabbled with disc in the field by our house. Our rudimentary leg vault was backwards, our scoot was wonky and she couldn’t flip. Oh, and nobody told me that freestyle meant you had to bring your own music! However we had fun, we rocked out to “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” and showed the Minnesota Disc Dog Club what we could do. We walked away with first place in both novice toss and fetch and freestyle that day and I was hooked.
I believe my introductory post to the MNDDC forum was something along the lines of how I didn’t really want to get serious with disc training, I was just in the sport to have fun. My real interest lied with agility, disc was a way to waste spare time. Safety was my biggest concern, I would hate for my dogs to get injured in this pass-time sport and be unable to compete where it matters.
Oh my, how times change. I couldn’t keep away from disc, I couldn’t just dabble. This summer has been a shining example of that. The girls and I have taken the summer off of agility so that we can focus on disc. Even in just this season, both Zuma and Zinga, as well as myself, have improved dramatically. Our first competition for the year was last May, it was bitter cold, windy and down right miserable. I lacked essential handler skills like disc management and flow, but I learned from that experience. Our latest competition landed Zinga with a qualifying spot to the Skyhoundz Disc Dogathon Worlds with a 1st place in Bullseye. Before that, Zuma qualified for the USDDN Worlds in both freestyle and toss and fetch. I am happy to say that we are slowly coming together as a team and I am so incredibly excited for the rest of this season.
Both agility and disc have one huge element in common, teamwork. Both sports are geared around handler and canine working together in perfect harmony. Each and every time I see a fantastic example of this, whether it’s a clean agility run on a tricky course or a dropless freestyle routine, I am just in awe at the possibilities of teamwork. Whichever sport I am consumed with at any time, I hope that the teamwork between my dogs and I can stand up to that potential. My goal, regardless of sport, is to show people what can be achieved with a little hard work and understanding.
I’m starting to get the agility itch back again, it was only a matter of time. The last disc competition for this season will be in September, just in time to start getting Zuma and Zinga ready for a winter of agility trials. I’ll just have to cross my fingers until then that they haven’t forgotten much.