Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zen & the Art of Flyball Training

*Warning, this is about flyball, a weird dog sport, ignore if you are not a dog person!

I like flyball, I love training for flyball. So simple, yet sooo complex a sport. However I get a little too invested in things I can't control. So in an effort to stop bitching and achieve more balance in my life, I've adopted a Zen approach to flyball practice. I will not yell, except for my dog or emergencies. I will attempt to stop being bossy. I can not control things, so I must let go of my desire to manage & push practice forward. Ohhmmm. Ohhmmm. Repeat after me, patience is a virtue. It's not one I particular espouse though, so I'm trying to embrace patience!

This goes along with my general philosophy of flyball training, slower is better, at least as far as training goes. I think it's important to train the dog, not the just take the dog to the training. Looking at each dog's differences & making the training fit the dog's needs is important, and I'm not sure how to convey that importance to others. I love the tiny details that go into getting the most out of the dog, I love that I've been patient with Nikki & Betty. The clicker has worked phenomenally with both of them. Even when Betty was flaking out I figured if I just parsed down enough of the training & was patient she would come along nicely. With Nikki, the clicker helped shape a nice crisp turn & helped her know exactly what I wanted her to do. I'm really looking forward to the next tournament & hope I can actually get her running in the lineup. We'll see how her passing practice goes. And if not well she'll just keep improving and becoming more enlightened! I'm also anxiously patient to see if Betty's big advancements means we can start adding in more distractions for her.