Evening my lovelies! Now today I want to talk about something very exciting with you… Disc Dog! It’s something I’ve had my sights set on for a little while but honestly, I’ve had no clue how to go about it. Luna has always liked frisbee’s, so I thought she’d love it from the off. Aurora however, whenever I had thrown a frisbee in the past she would always wait until it hit the floor before trying to collect it. Of course I’m not the kind of person to say “Oh, it’s just not for her”, I knew that it was me being a dummy and not knowing what she needed to show her how to do it correctly! Remember 99% of the time, the problem is the handler, not the dog! I thoroughly believe in that saying, you can teach a dog almost anything, you just might have to completely switch things up (in most cases, I know there are the odd exceptions).
Now I’ve been friends with the wonderful Sputnik the Sighthound for a while as many of you will know. When I saw Emily and Spud had made an awesome new friend who was teaching her how to get into disc dog, I of course had to meet this new friend. Said person is the super talented Sian and The Wonder Collie’s! They are incredible! Picture proof!
I got to spend a whole day with Sian, Storm and Ellie as well as Emily, Spud and Lady. We had such a lovely time, first out for walks to make sure grumpy Luna would accept everyone – which she did! Although she seemed to like obsessively herding Lady; a collie herding a collie, fancy that. We had a few points in the day where Lady was trying to herd Luna while Luna tried to herd her, then on top of that Storm trying to herd to the two of them! It was a sight! After a long morning walk it was back to the house to chill out and eat lots of food – we all appear to be large quantity consumers, was nice not to be just me for a change. And then out for the afternoon for some disc fun, training and photo’s! Firstly I got to watch and photograph Sian with Storm and Ellie, they really are awesome and left me gobsmacked! I then got to watch Emily with the lovely Lady and Spectacular Spud show off what they know. Spud showing the world that the sport isn’t just for Collie’s. Sian gave me lots and lots of tips and told me off for being silly and doing things wrong. She’s not really a bully, she’s lovely but to the point and doesn’t beat around the bush which I like! I needed to hear these things, and made her aware that Luna’s bloody brilliant but I can’t throw a tennis ball into a swimming pool, let alone a frisbee. I have been given lots of things to learn, teach and practice which I am so grateful for! Thank you Sian! Hopefully she’ll deem me to be not entirely useless and will come back and save my girls from my lack of co-ordination again.
As Sian is so awesome at disc dog and already competes and performs all over the country, I thought it would be nice to have a little interview with her. I scribbled out a few questions that you guys might like to know the answer to, so I hope you enjoy this.
Q: How did you first hear about disc dog?
A: “I actually first saw disc dog through some accounts on Instagram and instantly fell in love! I knew straight away it was something I’d love to take part in one day when the right dog came along!”
Q: Did you find a club to train with initially?
A: “When I first started out in disc dog there was a grand total of two other UK disc doggers, so no. Everything I did when I started out was all self-taught, or us following advice from disc doggers around the world I had contacted for help. However, now that the sport is growing in popularity and therefore opportunities, I would highly recommend finding classes or a workshop to help you get into the sport!”
Q: How long were you training before you started performing?
A: “The length of time I had been training all of my dogs before they started performing differed a lot – obviously every dog is different so I really took it as a dog-by-dog basis! Storm and I had been trick training together for around five months before his first performance. It was much harder with him as neither of us had a clue what we were doing when we first started, we really had to learn everything together! Never the less, he didn’t let me down and started me on the path of performing! Ellie was much different to Storm (probably helped that I actually knew what I was doing with her, thanks to the experience with Storm) and successfully did her first performance after just two weeks! And at Dog Fest no less – talk about being thrown in at the deep end! Little Jet was the most complicated one, because trick wise he was easily ready to perform after just weeks of being with us. But behaviourally it was a different story, with his reactive nature. He’s a good case of needing to know your dogs limits and not pushing them to get what you want. After a long nine months he successfully did his first performance and I couldn’t be prouder!”
Q: Now that you have been performing regularly, how often do you train with each of your dogs?
A: “During the height of the show season, rather than planning sessions I tend to prefer to find opportunities and just incorporate tricks casually into their routines (such as on walks or while they’re having ‘play time’) to keep them fresh and stop it becoming too tedious for them. Storm will do almost no planned training in the house, Ellie will do a few frisbee sessions a week to make sure she stays in top form, but Jet does regular sessions as he isn’t performing yet and still has a lot to learn! Once the season starts to wind down we generally do 1/2 short sessions a day.”
Q: What’s your favourite thing about performing?
A: “My ‘job’ means I get to go to amazing shows and meet some great people, then go into a ring and play with my favourite dogs…what isn’t there to love?!”
Q:What’s the worst part about performing in a ring, if there is a bad part?
A: “I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing as such since it’s all part of the job, but as anyone who works with animals knows, they have their *cough* moments. At the end of the day, you are only half of the team, and its all too easy for your dog to just stick two paws up at you and bugger off! And in those times there’s not really much you can do but stand there and watch, or take a bow if it’s a really spectacular fail!”
Q: If someone wanted to start training disc dog, how would you suggest to go about it?
A: “Make sure your dog is fit and healthy first off – it never hurts to be given the all clear by a vet! But disc wise, find a classes or a workshop you can attend, ask people for advice (the disc community is a very friendly one and people are always willing to help each other out!), or find someone who’s style you like and just try it using YouTube videos/social media platforms as your guide! Obviously safety always has to come first, and never push your dog (or yourself) beyond your limits. Oh, and most importantly, always have fun!”
A massive thank you to Sian again for answering these questions! I sure know how she feels when the dogs occasionally “stick two paws up at you and bugger off”. I’m sure they do have days like us where they just think “Get stuffed, I’m not in the mood for that.”. Also a huge thank you to Emily for taking all the photo’s of me and my girls! I’d love to share more of our Disc Dog experience with you as we learn along the way, let me know if you want to hear more about it and whether you want to know how I have taught what they know up to this point!
The girls PitPat readings went through the roof! I was sure to use their activity monitors to make sure that both Luna and Aurora did not over-do it during this super fun, activity filled day. Ever thought about an activity monitor for your dog? I find them super useful, and just to note this little section is not sponsored by them in any way, I genuinely think they’re fantabulous! Go get your own PitPat here so you too can ensure your pup is doing enough/not too much every day!
We’ll finish off with a few more photo’s from today. I hope you enjoyed this post! Don’t forget to leave a comment, like and subscribe if you enjoyed it!