Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Noob's Guide to Flyball: Chapter 3: Letting Him Fly a guest blog by Matty

The hardest part for anyone running a dog in flyball is trusting your dog to do his job.  This can be twice as challenging (i imagine) if you haven't participated in or witnessed the training process and are running someone else's dog.

Ok so for the third installment of my noob's guide the executive decision was made (Lex) that I should talk about “letting Dem fly” … which is still something I have to actively think about during tournaments. In a nutshell what this consists of is that while I am lining up with Demo and waiting for my cue to send him on his way, I hold him by the hips. It’s the easiest spot to hold the kid for how he lines up. What my horrible habit is with this is that when I let him go I don’t just let him go, I push him a little bit too.

Now the initial thought here is one of a push start, like an extra boost for him. Bueno, right? WRONG. What it does in all actuality is it slows him down because while I AM pushing him forward I am also holding onto him that much longer than I should be and that in turn slows him down and adds time on to our starts. No bueno.

One of the peeps on the team, Lori, told me I was doing this and told me how to release Dem properly. Essentially it was as simple as actively thinking about what I was doing while I let him go. I wasn't supposed to be pushing him, but just pulling my arms away from him so I could “let him fly” as she said.  So its something I have to constantly work on whenever I get the chance to with him.  It’s one of those things I have to mentally check myself on every time we race (one of many) and if I push him then either Lori and/or Lex will for sure call me out on it. I don’t think I've ever had a race where one of them wasn't present.

That’s a shot of me letting him fly,  and as you can see Demo is a good 7-8 feet away from me already and I’m taking off at my jog/sprint after him. Zoom zoom.  
I wish I had a picture of me pushing him from when I starting this addiction but I didn't have anyone to take pictures then and I really don’t want to have to push him on purpose just for photo’s sake.

For those of you who are proponents of the “push” method and not the “fly” method, please consider this. You wouldn't push a car while the driver is flooring the gas pedal would you? And yes, Demo IS that fast… I mean his name is Demolition for a reason, come on.

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