Race Game Day

How much fun can dog days be. It never ceases to amaze me that dog people travel miles and kilometers to entertain themselves and their dogs at competitions that result in some sort of kudos for them and their dogs, and we at Dog Sports Rotorua, do a day such as today and I for one come home absolutely buzzing.

Race one was a beginners recall game and the winner out of eight dogs was my old staffie x bitch, the 13 and a half year old Midge. Wow...

Race two was a new game for seniors about turning at the tunnel and coming back, and was won by my boy Chan the Sharpei x. Which wasn't surprising as none of the senior club members had decided to attend today. However, all those dogs who played that new game and their handlers had a riot. We all laughed and laughed.

Race three was a beginners recall again and I ran Fae in her first ever 30 meter run, she lost, who cares, Becki-boo lost as well, but two red ribbons out of four was good odds for me.

Because I am a dog trainer and because I often have to work with challenging dogs, my own dogs and the fun of just doing games are often on the back burner. I absolutely love Race Game Days, they are the only time I get with my dogs, no pressure and just huge fun. We run a sausage sizzle, so my tummy gets filled, everyone who comes has a good time. Wonderful to see Lois and Dodger there today, and Astro and Dave won the Race Three beginners narrowly from Dodger.

Sandy and Julie brought Lucy the Kelpie X that I train through the week, and she did really well. I was just delighted they brought her. It is so hard to get owners involved in dog handling, they feel so at a loss and embarrassed about their dog's inabilities, and today we had dogs leaping the centre cloth and playing together, and running in the opposite direction from the race and all sorts of just amazing and funny things and everyone laughed with each other. O h God it was fun.

I persuaded Rose to run Miska, it didn't go too well. Miska was quite scared, but it is all about handling and Miska the rescue GSD has issues in her middle age. You always have to be open to failure. Failure is a good thing because you can see what is going wrong, with bells on. It is easy to have all the answers and harder to work with love and strength to achieve for you and your dog.

Sharon Mear has struggled with Axl forever, Axl really tried today and he is learning that his posturing is a bit of a waste of time, Unfortunately Sharon does not understand Axl's posturing, but maybe soon it will happen.

Gloria's Bear was the life and soul of the party, jumping the centre cloth often and playing and running with anyone that would play and run. On the other hand, Ted the pup worked quite solidly and I think he has the thing to do it all for Gloria, let's bloody hope after what Gloria has been through with dog ownership and all she wants to do is play the game.

Race Game Day is Karen Prichard's baby, it is her organisation, she brings Blue the Large Munsterlander to play and he has a lovely time, Rosslyn our Dog Sports Club Captain brings little Lucy the mixed breed terrier to bark her way through every round. Lucy is not as young as she used to be but she still manages to get a bit of enthusiasm for her run. John and Colleen came with Abby and Buddy, their border , a GSD who has never seen a game in his life. But he did it and Abby did really well in the senior game. Emily and Yiayia worked solidly which is in spite of the fact that this dog gets absolutely no training to play the game Em expects her to play. Bit of a shame really as Yiayia could be a fantastic games dog, but she is unsure.

If I missed anyone I am apologetic, but I was disappointed that some people turned up after 11.30 and it is just not possible to organise for them once we have started to pack up. The numbers were not great for this day, these are community days not money making days. This truly is grass roots dog training and it truly is a marvellous way to spend a Sunday morning.

Raewyn Saville.