Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Practice Day - A Different Perspective

There it is! The space is waiting to be used, and you and your two legged partner are going to put yourselves to the test. A nice little warm up to get the blood flowing and muscles ready for what's to come. The temperature is perfect and there is no wind at this place; that is if I cared about such things at this time. Time's a wastin', so let's get down to business. Your heart starts to beat a bit quicker in anticipation, and your eyes focus intensely toward the task in front of you. Out of respect for the official way to do things, your partner counts down - "3, 2, 1, Go!"

Your muscles engage as they explode with as much power as your body can provide them. You go out hard and are moving as fast as your physical limitations allow. Your heart rate rises and lungs inhale deeply to fuel your body with enough oxygen necessary to continue.

Half way through - Your heart is thumping, but your muscles are still strong. Slowing down is not an option you want to take because there is still much work to be done.

Three quarters of the way through - Your mouth is wide open and dry. Your heart is pounding against your rib cage, and your leg muscles are starting to weaken from the constant output. You fail to notice that two worn down callused pads rip open and begin to bleed. You continue on, ignoring the pain and signs of fatigue.

Almost done - Both your muscles and lungs are burning. Saliva fills your mouth, but you'd love nothing more than a drink of water. Not quite yet though; not quite finished. You feel a twinge where your calluses were reminding you that you may be hurt, but you push through to finish the task. "Time!"

Your muscles are weak, on the verge of failure. Your lungs are expanding and contracting at maximum capacity, yet it seems impossible to catch a good breath. You're done now though, and it's time to rest and recover. Your heart rate and breathing return to normal after a nice cool down and stretch. You jump back into the car and head home for some dinner with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

When you reach home, your four legged teammate greets you at the door, disc in mouth and back end wagging side to side in hopes for his workout to begin. You tell him - "Not quite yet buddy. I need to eat and rest a little first." After dinner you take your dog out to play disc, and he puts himself through the same rigors you just experienced. When you're done with your dog's workout, you head down to the computer and visit to find out what Workout of the Day will be waiting for you and your two legged workout partner tomorrow.

As a discdogger, I feel that properly trained discdogs are elite athletes participating in one of the most physically demanding canine sports out there. It's one thing to know that your dog's physical abilities will lessen as it tires. It's a completely different level of understanding and appreciation when you live as an athlete and experience it yourself. I have been an athlete the majority of my life, but I have not kept up with intense training since my collegiate soccer career ended due to graduation and entering the "real world". I have started a new program to keep myself as healthy as possible. Getting back into becoming a better athlete again, I have been reminded of what we ask our dogs to do on a regular basis. I not only know that my dog will slow down as he tires, but I can relate to what his body is going through because I put myself through it as well. Can you be a good handler and have success without being an athlete yourself? Definitely - you see it all the time. Do you have to go through as intense of a workout as I described above? That's for you to decide. I just wonder how much better teams could be if the handlers could not only perform better themselves, but also relate better to what they were expecting their dogs to do. As much as they sometimes seem like machines, they are living athletes. How well do you really understand what that means when you ask them to perform?


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sliding Glass Doors....Friend or Foe?

Hmmm.....ya, not much thinking needed on this one. DEFINITE FOE!!! I mean seriously......what kind of crazy person thought this one up?!? Saturday we're over at M-Guy's friends' house and I get to play with their female Pit and big male Rottie. It was a pretty sweet set up. There was a big opening in the family room to lead out onto the deck, which then went down to the yard with stairs you barely had to use if you didn't want to. Of course I chose not to. We got to play chase a bunch of times and could bring toys and stuff in and out of the house. I got the other two dogs riled up and into a good wrestling match, and of course being the good dog that I am thought we should take this rough housing outside to appease the humans. I spring free from the other two to have them chase me outside when WHAM!!! This invisible force later described as the "sliding glass door" was put in place so the humans could turn on the "air conditioning". This sliding glass door thing is just wrong. I'm all for running into things, walls included, but there's a technique to it. Full speed, face first because you can't see it coming is not it. The only thing I haven't figure out is who is more insane - the person who invented this messed up object or the people crazy enough to buy them and put them in their houses. H

Friday, August 29, 2008


Okay, so for the most part they are good things. I can usually bounce off them to help me get to where I want to go. The best thing about walls is that it's so much easier to just let them stop you, instead of having to expend all that energy to stop yourself. When you run at them, they don't move and stop you dead in your tracks. It's awesome! Much more stable of a stopping device than M-Guy's legs. The one downside is that I think they are built similar to the stairs in some way. Much like how the stairs are not stationary, the end of the walls called "corners" are not so stationary either. It seems to happen most when I turn around, but the corners randomly shoot out and extend themselves to make openings smaller than the first time I passed by. Not a huge deal until you turn around right as they shoot out into your face. Man does that sting. So my lesson for today when it comes to walls - Aim for the center!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Me Too!! Me Too!!

I couldn't let my friends out in Cali have all the fun, so I made sure M-Guy knew I was ready for that Good Canine Something-Or-Other test by helping M-Gal around the house while he was in Colorado with Wallace and Ajax. I made sure that she knew where one of her socks was by going and snatching it out of the laundry basket. Then I made sure her sandals looked extra clean with a Hector Special Spit Shine. The rug going into the laundry room really needed a beating to get the dust out of there as well. Then I cleaned one of the windows, but that was a little tricky because I had to get up on the desk to reach it. M-Gal kept stopping me from doing all these things like I wouldn't do a good enough job. She had dumped brand new toys all over the place that she wanted me to play with, but I didn't want to play. I had to prove I could be a Good Doggie Citizen thing like all my buddies back in Cali. I was able to do one thing before she stopped me though. The big plant in the corner really needed watering, so I was able to get it free from its pot and bring it to her to make sure she was aware of the necessary attention that the plant needed. After that I got dinner in my crate for a hard day of house chores, and she called M-Guy to tell him all the things I did to help her around the house. M-Guy must have been pretty impressed, because he got back from Colorado and finally took me to take that test. He said I was a very good boy, and that I passed!! Well duh, I'm sure once they heard about all the stuff I did around the house to help M-Gal out, the rest were just details. I got a big rawhide when I got home. It was good. Hey haven't unpacked your suitcase from Colorado yet. Let me help you with that...........

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Is it just me, or do stairs just appear to be still objects? Minnesota Guy and Minnesota Gal always sigh and shake their head whenever I run up the stairs with comments like "Doesn't that hurt?" or "You need to learn how to climb stairs instead of ricochet up them." Whatever! I know how to climb stairs. Who doesn't know how to climb stairs? Not me, that's for sure! What do they expect when the stairs are always moving out from underneath me with no warning?!? At least when I go down them, I can avoid them all together by launching myself from the landing, and striking a sweet pose during my hang time. Yeah Baby!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rise and Shine!

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP - Annoying? Yep, I thought so, too. Especially way too early in the morning after my first night with this Minnesota guy. I sure hope they get more sleep than this on average here in Minnesota. Of course it seems that when they're not sleeping here, they are driving somewhere, and that lets me get some extra snooze time, so maybe this will work out nicely after all. We headed to something called a disc dog competition. Lots of people kept coming over to see me, which is no surprise.......I mean look at me - Who wouldn't want to spend time with an adonis like myself. Only one real pet peeve from the day. Minnesota Guy kept putting stuff up to have my kennel in the shade. But don't worry ladies, he wasn't very good at it and always had a little bit of sun shining in part of my kennel for me to curl up in and catch some rays. Seriously, how does he expect me to keep my bronze god of a body if he doesn't let me soak up the sun? Hellooooooo.....?!? Anyway, it was a fun day. Lots of people rubbed my chest and told me how sweet I was. I met a couple of nice doggie friends, too. They were disc dogs in the competition, but were super nice to me even though I wasn't competing. Not really sure I get this whole disc dog thing. It seems like a lot of work, but at least it's a nice bunch of folks to hang out with. I'm hungry. Hey Minnesota Guy - Where's my food?!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Can Fly!!

Well I've arrived in some place called Minnesota after a crazy ride on something called an airplane. It ended up that this guy I met about a week before the plane ride was waiting for me, and after getting unloaded from this airplane thing, he loaded me and my kennel up in the back of his car. I was getting a little worried because I could have used a potty break, especially after smelling that outside air, but fortunately that guy and the lady he was with stopped pretty soon and let me stretch my legs and do my thing. We stopped at a place where there wasn't nearly as many people around. Probably a good idea. With as many people as were back at that other place, there were sure to be some paparazzi waiting to nab some pics of a big star like me. We never would have gotten out of there for me to do my business; these two folks seem to know what's up and how to handle a dog of my obvious status. Score one point for them. Nature break felt good. It was a bit of a car ride to these folks' house, but I had a couple of chewies in my kennel from the plane. These guys seem pretty cool, so I think it's safe to kick back and take care of these chewies to kill some time on the car ride. Once we got to their house, I got a personal tour of the house. I'm not sure why he felt the need to have me on leash for the tour, but since he was pretty cool about everything else I won't hold that too much against him. The folks said something about this being my forever home. Not quite sure what that means. I have experience with a number of foster homes, so we'll see how this forever home deal adds up to those. I could smell and hear a number of other dogs, but we didn't get to meet. The guy said something about needing to get to bed because we had to get up early for some type of competition. I figured I've been in my kennel for a while, but I could use some nice quiet sleep time from my long trip. The guy put my kennel in one of the rooms and had me go in it for the night. He then came back in with some blankets and ended up making a bed on the couch so he could sleep in the room with me. I have to admit, that couch looked pretty comfy, but my bed in my kennel wasn't bad either, so I guess I can chill here for the night. "Good night Hector" "Good night Minnesota Guy"