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2014 AKC Nationals

We are now home from our big east coast trip. Our first stop of the trip was in Youngsville, NC. Jeff gave a disc dog seminar there and we got to finally meet Brett(Muse’s Breeder) in person plus other extended doggy family members, Sara and Rave and Katherine and Skye. It was a lot of fun and I’m sure Jeff will talk more about the seminar. For now I am skipping to AKC Nationals.

First it was really cold in Pennsylvania! Glad we moved. The first night there was brutal. Slayte ended up with bad diarrhea the first night there so we didn’t get much sleep. He had an accident in the RV right after we went to bed. Thursday morning I fed him just a little bit of freeze dried pumpkin and water and he threw that up.

Thursday, I ran Enzo first in T2B. He was having a great run until the teeter where he got called for the contact and then I rushed the weave entrance and he ran past it. Next was Slayte’s T2B run. I was worried he wouldn’t run like himself or that he’d poop on the course! No need to worry, he was his normally pushy self and broke the startline. That caused me to be out of position and a bar down but good news was that he was fast and happy to run. Next he ran JWW. There was a big choice to turn left or right at the 3rd jump. Right was a hard lead change for the dog and left was considered safer and smoother for the dog. I picked safer but still messed it up. I probably should have trusted Slayte’s physical ability to make those difficult lead changes. The right turn would have been more logical for him. He was pretty amped up though so who knows.

Friday was Enzo’s JWW run. He had a really fast run but took down two bars. His time would have put him in about 8th place. Here is the video from that run.

Slayte ran standard and we had a few faults. He had a bar down, missed the aframe contact, and I pulled him off of a jump that I didn’t support enough. He did well with the tricky part at the end though.

Saturday’s standard course was bad news for Enzo and his running dogwalk. There was a 180 turn back to the chute after the dw and an off course jump sitting straight ahead. Enzo did a flying leap off the DW and went right over the off course jump. I’m definitely over the running DW but not going to change it again for him at this point in his career. Slayte’s Hybrid run was his last chance for a clean run at his first nationals. I really wanted to make that happen so I could see how he compares to the other dogs in the 20″ class. I could tell that it was a good course for him. He was the 453rd dog to run so I had time to watch a lot of dogs run throughout the day. I knew that anything in the 28s range was fast and under 30s was good. Slayte was really fast and efficient. He pretty much didn’t put a paw out of place. As we were coming down the last line, all I could think was please hit the aframe contact and he did it solidly! We finished the run and he bit me a bunch times and I looked at the time, 27 something!! Wow!!! I couldn’t believe it! He ended up placing 3rd in a class of 443 20″ dogs!

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Amazing! This was not something I expected in any way shape or form! Here is the video:

Sunday morning I had my last run of the weekend with Enzo’s Hybrid. So maybe Enzo can have a kick butt run to end the weekend too…Or not. Enzo basically went feral in that run. He knocked the third bar, blew by the weave entrance, flew off the teeter and then wouldn’t come in on the two serpentines at the end and blew by the jumps. We got out of there pretty much right after his run. The weather was going downhill fast. The rain was really coming down and the temperature was falling. It would have been fun to watch some of my friends run in challengers and finals but we wanted to get on our way down to GA to visit family.

So nationals didn’t go quite as well as I would have liked but getting 3rd place with Slayte in Hybrid was one of the big highlights of my agility experiences so far. It really showed me just how good he really is and that it is just up to me to get better for him! Since that run was just so awesome, here is another view:

I was going to have Jeff take a better pic with the real camera but the weather sucked so bad on Sunday, I didn’t want to deal with it so this is what I have.

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Oh and we are pretty sure that Slayte is going to be a baby daddy with Muse’s mom Emo! We’ll post a page with more info once puppies are born.

2014 Norco UFO Local and D-Tour

Saturday was a very windy UFO local competition. It was one of the worst competitions ever. 9 EZ-Ups destroyed. I had one hit me in the back when it got blown over. It was combined with 90 degree heat. Despite the terrible conditions, Muse finished 2nd overall on the strength of a 13.5 point toss/fetch round.

Sunday was the D-Tour qualifier and we had much better wind conditions but was even hotter. Throwing for the competition was mostly cross-wind, so the throws weren’t helped and were probably hindered. I was about 10 yards shorter than normal. I got to play with Ellie’s Preston and Wiz along with my Muse. I won the Men’s Pro division with Preston, 2nd with Muse and 3rd with Wiz. A sweep! My longest throws with each dog were in the 60-something yard range.

All 3 are qualified for the D-Tour finals. I’m not sure if I’ll be going or not. My range is about 70 yards which is decent, I just don’t enjoy it like I do freestyle or even toss / fetch. Of my dogs, the only one that seems to enjoy distance is Enzo. Tooney is too old and Muse / Slayte really don’t seem to care much for it. Muse is starting to show more interest and is starting to “get it”. Muse used to just run out 20 yards and act confused because she didn’t see the disc (since it was waaaaay out in front of her). She would then speed up but often times it was too late and she would barely get to the disc and miss it most of the time. She doesn’t do well when she has to run discs down and usually tips them. The good news is she was trying hard to catch them, she just didn’t have the timing or coordination at that high speed to catch. Now she seems to know when we are doing long distance and appears to just go-go-go from the start and makes it to the disc much easier to catch them consistently.

2014 Vegas Competition – the good and the very bad

The 2014 Atomic Blast Off is a disc event we always enjoy going to. This year it was a two day event with a discdogathon on Saturday and UFO local on Sunday.

Somebody broke into our RV on Saturday at the competition. They stole our credit cards and hit Enzo with something that cut him under his lower jaw. It was a bad situation and I was pissed off to the point I was ready to kill somebody. These dogs are our lives and I would protect them with my own life. The Vegas crew along with their team vet Casey were helpful and were able to get anti-inflammation meds and antibiotics. Enzo is doing better now. We competed with him before we realized he was injured and was awesome and even placed. He is one bad-ass fucking dog. I don’t want to talk about this more because it makes me want to go hunt down some criminals. I’m done with it.

Saturday was the discdogathon which includes 5 games. 4 of them are toss and fetch type games using 1-2 discs and the last is freestyle. It was WINDY. 20mph? It’s hard to estimate, but it was enough to destroy several ez-ups. Enzo placed second in freestyle despite having a hole in his jaw that we didn’t know about. We didn’t get video of his round, but he was amazing in the nasty wind. Slayte placed 2nd in bulls eye with a great round considering the bad wind.

My highlight Saturday was an event I have told people multiple times that my dogs are not fast enough to win or do well in… time trial. It pretty much is the fastest dog that wins. Muse won the time trial with a 19.x second round. It may not seem THAT great for a time trial (as winning times are usually more like 17 seconds), but consider the facts. There were lots of teams competing. The Atomic Dog team alone consists of a horde of about 1,000 crazy fast flyball dogs. During her round the wind was at its worse (20+mph) and I threw into HEAD WIND for the round. Yes, that is nuts. But with the tail wind, the dogs either couldn’t catch up to the discs, the discs were going too fast or the dog had a huge outrun after the catch. I was pretty much the only person that threw head wind. I sent Muse around and IMMEDIATELY threw the disc (didn’t let her lead out!) hard and with a shit-load of hyzer. The disc went out to the 20 yard line and just hung there waiting for Muse. The wind was so bad, I made the 20 yard line by literally inches on both throws with a hard throw. I never practiced this, I never planned it until right when I decided to throw that direction and walked to the line. Despite it being such a simple game and something I never practice or really care much for, it feels good to make the correct decision and throw the discs exactly the way I wanted and having Muse perform perfectly. A combination of good decision making, good throwing and an even better dog resulted in me winning an event that quite honestly I never thought would happen. I am proud of it!

Experience goes a long way in any dog sport or any sport for that matter. My experience with understanding the down-side to throwing with heavy tail wind for an event like this and having the experience, confidence and muscle memory to be able to throw a light disc in strong head wind without warming up for it first made all the difference.

Jenn got to play with Emo (Muse’s mother) and Tooney in the games and had a good time. Emo is a really intense dog and we have to return her to North Carolina in the next week and we’ll miss her a lot. She has been a joy to have even if just for a short period of time.

Saturday night we went to Gordon Ramsay’s Steak with Tina and Ellie(Gator). It was the best place I’ve ever eaten. The beef wellington is as good as he claims it is. Just amazing!

Sunday was the UFO local and we had more fun. Enzo pimped out a nice freestyle round as did Muse. Muse only had 1 miss! They both finished top 5 and got good UFO points. Slayte’s right rear leg was bothering him again during my freestyle round. I am probably going to stop doing freestyle with him so that he can focus on agility. Agility is his main sport and maybe he’s just not able to physically do 2 sports at a high level or maybe something about disc puts too much stress on his body. We will probably just put him into a toss and fetch mode for the foreseeable future. It is disappointing to me because it’s so fun doing freestyle with him but it’s not worth risking his health or his agility career. He is acting confused around the house because he keeps thinking he should be playing frisbee and tries to get the discs out of their hiding spots, but I am not playing with him. After Jenn does AKC Nationals, I’ll start doing toss/fetch with him again.

Muse:

Enzo:

2014 Disc Dog Goals

As I do every year, I come up with a list of goals for the year, then review at the end of the year to see how we did. I plan to work towards these goals with practice, hard work and determination. I don’t just hope that the goals will happen, I put in the effort and make them happen.

For myself:
* I want to develop and perfect a 2-handed throw that I’ve been tinkering with, that should look impressive with Muse’s freestyle routine.

* Make a new backwards staker under the leg throw I’ve come up with consistent. If it works, it’ll be pretty awesome.

* Add air brush variations and improve consistency.

* Body roll improvement.

* Continue to work on strength and conditioning. Elliptical trainer, hiking, biking, throwing practice, strengthening / stretching are the ingredients.

* Qualify at least two dogs for both the AWI and UFO finals.

Tooney:
* I want Tooney to still be competing when she turns 12 at the end of the season.

Enzo:
* Make modifications to his freestyle routine to simplify things a bit and make him more successful. Focus on what he does best, medium distance throws.

* Get more consistent at being a top toss and fetch dog. Despite having a toss and fetch win in 2013, Enzo overall wasn’t as strong as he was in previous years.

Slayte:
* Place at a competition during the year.

* Develop a mature routine that includes more medium and longer throws while keeping his focus.

* Improve at toss and fetch. In 2012, he was excellent. In 2013 he started jumping more and was missing a lot. This year I hope to get him the practice he needs to improve.

Muse:
* Win a major competition during the year.

* A perfect freestyle routine in competition.

* Win two toss and fetch competitions.

* Get 5 40 yard throws off in a minute toss and fetch every time (or almost every time). She does this more than half the time right now, but I want to see it at least 90% of the time.

2013 Disc Dog Goals recap

In December 2012, I wrote a blog post with my goals for the upcoming 2013 season.  Here are the goals I set and the results:

Goals for Myself

* Master the forehand throw to a point where it is nearly as reliable as my backhand, especially in wind. A change in grip may be in order.
Accomplished! I made a modification to the grip and practiced it several times a week. It became a go-to throw in my freestyle routines.

* Develop another difficult move / throw such as a type of back roll, kick or something similar.
Accomplished! Initially I was going to say I failed at this goal, but then I realized I took an existing throw, added a lot of color and magic to it and it became my signature throw for Muse.

* Ability to throw consistently over 65 yards.
Accomplished! In four distance competitions I competed in, I was throwing near 70 yards in all of them. Pretty good for no distance practice. I improve my distance throws by working on my 40-50 yard throws and getting the technique better at the shorter distances. It translates to the longer distances.

Goals for Tooney

* My goal is for her to be able to compete the whole year or at least most of the year.
Accomplished! Tooney was awesome this year and managed a perfect freestyle round, made the UFO finals and performed the final freestyle routine of her career at 11 years old.

Goals for Enzo

* My only goal for Enzo is to remain healthy so that he can have a long career.
Accomplished! Enzo got pancreatitis and was very sick for a while, but recovered and never missed a competition. He also got attacked/stung by a bunch of yellow jackets at a competition and he still went out and performed the same day (once we determined he was going to be OK and no reaction). He was solid all year and had some of his best rounds ever.

Goals for Slayte

* Unlike last year when I had big plans for Slayte, this year I have one simple goal. By the end of the year, Slayte is putting 100% effort at competitions.
Failed. The only reason this is a failure is because I wanted 100% effort. He’s not quite there, but he did great this year and had two freestyle rounds with only a single drop! I no longer have worries about him. He doesn’t have the problems he did in the past.

Goals for Muse

* She has shown some distractibility in public. By the end of the season, reduce the distraction level to near zero.
Accomplished! This was not an issue at all, but early on we weren’t sure!

* Get 5 throws at 30+ yards in a 1 minute toss and fetch round by the end of the season (even if not recorded at a competition).
Accomplished! She usually gets 5 at 40 yards, so she easily achieved this.

* Score 17+ in a toss and fetch round.
Accomplished! Again she easily beat this. She had a lot of scores over 20.

* Develop a full 2 minute freestyle routine.
Accomplished! Sounding like a broken record… she not only developed a freestyle routine, but was consistently one of the highest scoring teams.

* In competition, have an 85% catch ratio freestyle round. Honestly I don’t think this is realistic to expect for a young puppy, but it makes for a nice challenge for me to be able to throw discs good enough for her to catch that successfully!
Accomplished! She had two perfect rounds at the UFO finals. ‘Nuff said 🙂

* Develop the ability to catch highly complex and difficult throws that the other dogs are unable to catch. I think she has the ability to do it. My goal is to put 5 of these throws into her routine.
Accomplished! I incorporated all of my toughest throws that other dogs were unable to grasp and she does it with ease. I completely exhausted my repertoire of advanced throws with her.

* Consistently catch butterfly throws. Currently she is 50% at best. 90% is the target.
Failed. WHAT? Muse failed at something? Yep, she’s not good at them. I work on them every day with her and she’s still at 50%. I’ve given up hope she’ll ever be good at them, but I will still keep doing them with her in practice.

* Place top 3 at a local competition or top 5 at a major. Again, this is unrealistic but makes for a fun goal. Her best shot is at a Skyhoundz event.
Accomplished! She placed in the top 3 in most competitions shortly after she started doing freestyle and won several of those competitions.

Well, there it is. 2013 is in the books and it was a great year for us, especially the spectacular Muse. I managed to get 12/14 for 86% success. Quite honestly I felt we would end up much lower than that because I put a lot of lofty goals in there for Muse. She was successful on nearly all of them.

Soon I will put together and post my goals for 2014!

2013 Disc Dog Summary

I got this post in a few hours before we begin 2014! 2013 was the absolute best year of disc doggin’ I have ever had. There were many new things that happened for us in 2013, the most important being the beginning of something very special with the newest addition to Team Furrari, Muse. The general theme of 2013 was the year of Muse, but early in the year she wasn’t even competing and the other dogs all had great successes.

Tooney: She had a perfect round for the first time in her career at the age of 10!!! She also qualified for the UFO finals and performed her last round of freestyle there at the age of 11.

Enzo: Enzo proved he is still at his peak. He was invited to the Purina IDC in Las Vegas (thanks Todd, Tracy, Benny and any other Purina people that have supported us over the years!), which was a blast. He also finished strong in several competitions and finished 11th for the year in the UFO.

Slayte: LG started the year struggling. He was stressed out, his teeth were bothering him (his canines were replaced with titanium) and I wasn’t working with him in a way that would allow him to enjoy himself. I changed what I was doing, we fixed his teeth and he had a great time and finished 21st in the UFO final rankings.

Muse: When she started competing, I felt she would be very good at toss and fetch, possibly one of the top dogs in the country. Early on she was exceptional at tracking and her catching skills were almost as good. She had good speed and a small jump. I wasn’t expecting that in her first year she’d not only be doing freestyle, but actually mastered everything I was able to throw at her (remember, she’s a puppy, so I had to keep her freestyle routine safe). To my surprise, and delight, she is BETTER at freestyle than toss and fetch. When she started doing freestyle, she got faster, started jumping and decided she will go out and catch virtually every disc I throw. I love every aspect of disc dogging, but freestyle is where my heart is. She won numerous competitions including the California State Championships/Best in the West. She finished 5th in the UFO World Cup standings.

Here are my top 10 moments from 2013. The word that will show up most here is “Muse” and I can’t help it, she is an amazing canine athlete and was my best dog of the year:

10. Enzo finishes 2nd at our UFO Major
9. Muse wins our regional Skyhoundz D/A competition
8. Tooney perfect round of freestyle to start the year
7. Enzo invited to the Purina IDC for the second year in a row
6. Muse wins the Pacific Coast Canine Disc Championship
5. Slayte is “cured” and is now having a blast competing in disc
4. Muse records two perfect rounds (out of three) at the UFO Finals
3. Muse finishes 5th in the UFO World Cup Standings
2. Tooney final freestyle round of her career
1. Muse wins the Crusty Classic (California State Championships/Best in the West)

I will review my goals for 2013 and post my goals for 2014 in my next post. I can’t wait for 2014! Enzo is running strong, Tooney is still doing toss/fetch, Slayte is going to have a lot of fun and there is one word that will describe Muse in 2014… Dominant. Muse is 17 months old now and is learning the more advanced portions of freestyle with vaults and flips. Her new routine is pretty awesome, it won’t disappoint!

2013 UFO World Cup Finals

We went to the 2013 UFO World Cup Finals and all 4 dogs were qualified in the open division. It was exciting to be able to play with 4 dogs in the finals. It was difficult, physically, as I had over 20 rounds!!! Can you believe it?!?! 3 Days of disc doggin’ at its extreme! Muse, of course, was my top performing dog.

Tooney had her retirement freestyle at this event at 11 years old. I did not throw very well for her, but she made up for it with a nice round:

Enzo and Slayte both had some nice rounds. Enzo finished 11th in the World Cup and Slayte 21st. Here are two of their rounds.

Enzo:

Slayte:

Muse was amazing at the finals and finished 5th in the World Cup. She was only 14 months old at the finals! Going into the finals, I told Jenn I really wanted to try to have a perfect round with her because I felt she had it in her. I would have probably had a couple of perfect rounds during the year, but in two of those routines, she missed a specific throw in both of those routines (the flamingo throw). I decided to modify the throw so I could throw it more consistently and the results were as good as I could have hoped. TWO perfect rounds at the finals! Having a perfect round is exceptional, but doing it 2 out of 3 rounds at the finals is truly remarkable. I feel like I’m the luckiest person in disc doggin’ to have what is probably the most consistent disc dog on the planet! The fact that catching a disc is by far her most favorite thing in the world to do and her super sweet personality, what a perfect disc dog she is!

Muse perfect rounds:

The long distance D-Tour Championships also took place at the UFO Finals. Muse qualified with Ellie in the Women’s division and with me in the Men’s division. Ellie won the Championship with her dog, Preston, and managed to get 2nd place with Muse! Ellie is going to be awesome in 2014! For me, I had 2 of my longest throws EVER in a competition. Unfortunately, Muse tipped both of them. She would have ended up very likely with at least a 2nd place finish if she caught either of them. Despite that, she still caught a pretty long throw which probably put us in 4th place, just outside of the placements. The official results are not posted yet, but it was very likely near the top.

Here are my favorite moments of the finals:

1. Tooney final freestyle round of her career!
2. Muse 2 perfect rounds!
3. Muse 5th place overall UFO World Cup!
4. Slayte having some great rounds at the Finals!
5. Enzo finishing 11th in the UFO World Cup! (Ellie and Muse 2nd in D-Tour almost made the list…)

The 2013 disc dog season is over and my 4 awesome dogs finished it off with some of their best performances of the year. I plan more blog updates to sum up some things from the season and other various disc doggin’ thoughts. Who knows, maybe Jenn will eventually post a blog update on agility. She still does it… I think….