This was a disc dog workshop I attended over the weekend. It wasn’t technically an “animal act,” but it did include a demo, so I’m going to blog it anyway. I reviewed Jonathan’s disc dog show at the Wisconsin State Fair last summer, and eagerly awaited his disc dogging workshop. Though Jonathan lives in the St. Louis area, this was held at Think Pawsitive, in New Berlin, WI, an agility trial facility 60 miles from my house.
There were seven in the class: six women and the man who owns Think Pawsitive. All the dogs were good at catching discs, but none had ever competed in disc, and only one woman had started teaching her dog any tricks or vaults. In the class were two Goldens, a Chocolate Lab, an imported working line Cocker Spaniel, a Miniature American Shepherd and two Border Collies. Dogs ranged in age from 9 months to 7 years, with the typical dog being around 2 and having at least novice titles in agility or dock diving.
I had signed up to audit, since I didn’t want to risk an injury to Dash with two performances coming up. But the owner of the Cocker & Aussie upgraded me to a full participant in exchange for handling her tiny and adorable frisbee catching dynamo MAS, “Sport.”
We spent the first day working on the standard backhand throw and four “relatively” easy trick throws that we’ll probably have mastered in another dozen practice sessions. Jonathan also demonstrated some throws that he took 8,000 reps over two years to master. I liked that he taught us throws to give good variation and make for a nice routine, but something where we were able to hit targets at least occasionally after just a day of practice.
NOTE: For those who attended the clinic, I posted a 25 min. edited video showing all the throws that Jonathan covered if you want to see them again. Send me an e-mail and I’ll send you the private link.
The second day, we started teaching our dogs the beginning of “hits” (dog flips off your chest) and flips (dog reaches behind himself to grab the disc) and stalls (dog lands on your back, lap, knee, etc. and pauses there. Everything was done sitting on chairs, etc., so there weren’t any risky moves being done with dogs high in the air. We also had additional practice throwing discs, and enjoyed a great demo by Jonathan and ACD-mix “Hydro.”
Everybody enjoyed the seminar and learned a lot, and I think everybody was very surprised to learn that it was Jonathan’s first seminar. He’s a good speaker and had everything very well planned so that all the dogs would have ample practice time and some rest in between. He kept us from sitting down too long, and mixed up what types of things we were learning/practicing so nobody ever got bored. Think Pawsitive provided an excellent venue, a great pizza-based lunch and even awarded prizes for hitting a cone at the far end of the arena. I hit it on the first throw after they made the announcement. 🙂 And Jonathan gave us each a big and small disc at the end of the workshop too.
I think everybody who attended is eagerly awaiting the next clinic!