Over Memorial Day weekend, we attended a four day long training seminar with the trainers of Pawsitive Vybe. This is our third year attending the PVybe camp.
If you are not familiar with PVybe, it's a dog training studio that was founded by two sport dog rockstars. They are positive trainers and they focus on, well, everything. PVybe is HQ'd in New York, however it currently has branches in North Dakota, Wisconsin and Florida as well.
The focus of our camp this weekend was Disc Doggin (K9 Frisbee). It's kind of become our 'survival kit' to make it through the long Minnesota winters. We have something huge to look forward to every spring!
We worked on a ton of things over the course of the weekend. But the one that stood out to me the most was actually a very small thing. In learning this sport and playing with Frankie, I was unintentionally making things very difficult for us. At last year's camp for instance, we didn't have a Scoot. A basic, relatively simple move that has your dog do a 180 in front of you and back up through your legs from front to back. So Apryl worked with us using treats and from there we traded the frisbee until we had a Scoot. Well, in order to keep getting the scoot, I would scoot her, then automatically turn to the right and toss a disc out in front of me. That was her reward, as well as a setup for a throwing sequence. So this year, as we worked on new Scoot moves, it was discovered that now I had conditioned Frankie to always come out to my right, making it difficult to take this setup move and apply it elsewhere. It was very frustrating for me (in a good way).
Another example is the 'Go Around', where I signal Frankie to run around behind me on my right and come flying forward from my left. This was the very first 'trick' in disc that we ever learned! So for the last four years, when I signal a Go Around, a disc is going to be thrown in front of me. That has just always been the case. So when Ron wants Frankie to Go Around and then immediately do a Leg Over, it's almost impossible to break her of this habit that I spent four years creating.
To sum it up, that small thing is learning how to break up things that I've engrained over the years. Frankie can be a tough cookie to work with sometimes. She's incredibly smart and insanely driven for the disc. But after enough repetition, she will begin to see the shortcuts and she will not hesitate to take them.
For this upcoming season, I've laid out my goals.
#1 - Perfect my vaults and rebounds
#2 - Create a freaking routine!
For the past three seasons, I've relied completely on my brain. And that hasn't always worked out in my favor. I tend to 'wing it' when we step onto the competition field. While other, more successful disc doggers can go out and I can tell you just about every move they will make and the order in which they will do it. That's called a routine. And the nice thing about routines is that once you have one, you are no longer 'winging it'. I'm tired of winging everything. My anxiety over competing has only increased every season, not subsided as I'd hoped. My confidence is not building as I gain experience.
I learned much. But now I need to figure out how to put it together.
Overall it was a great weekend! I felt like we had tiny breakthroughs and now we're ready to disc dog for real.