Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bark at the Park 2016!

We are finally back from Bark at the Park in Lancaster, California. This annual event crams the maximum amount of dog fun into a single weekend. I enjoy it a lot because it draws both serious dog sport people, and average pet owners. I was there to help run Tired Dog Good Dog's lure coursing program. American Diving Dogs hosted a dock diving competition. Disc Dogs in Southern California held a disc competition. Do More With Your Dog did a tricks demo. There were flyball demos and agility demos. Southern California Working Snow Dogs had an urban mushing booth. Doggie Fun Zone set up their...thing. There were contests of all sorts, from best trick to best singing dog, and vendor booths too!
On the Lamb Zip chases the lure
Sisci Godzilla, Zip, and I tried out a few of the activities together. Godzilla and I have been trying to get the hang of urban mushing for a while, but she's just not ok with the concept of pulling and having anything follow behind her. Zip, on the other hand, is fearless. I figured I could probably harness both of them up together, and have Zip convince Sis that this whole setup was ok.

The urban mushing booth had harnesses in every size. They also had a two-dog line to attach to the scooter, and a neckline to attach the girls together at their collars. Sure enough, Zip was quite happy to run around with the volunteer holding the leash and me on the scooter. Sisci Godzilla still wasn't totally convinced, but she was a lot more comfortable with the whole concept. Progress!
lure coursing fun run

Dock diving wasn't quite as successful. Despite both being tennis ball crazy and avid swimmers, neither of the girls took to it right away. We signed up for practice diving time with the instructor, who had me start by rolling the tennis ball down a ramp and into the above-ground pool. Zip was happy to walk down the ramp into the pool and grab the ball, but then she was more interested in swimming laps than coming back to shore for another round. According to Godzilla, that pool eats little cattledogs. She wouldn't set foot in it. Apparently several other dogs refused to jump that day, so maybe they knew something we didn't.
Zip wins first place in the 2016 Crusty Classic Novice Class
One week prior to Bark at the Park, I threw a couple of discs for Zip. She caught my terrible throws, so I figured we had better enter the disc competition the following weekend. We entered the Novice Toss and Catch competition, which involves throwing discs a certain distance and having the dog catch them and bring them back. Each round is timed, and you only get a minute to throw your disc.

I showed up early, got lots of disc-throwing pointers from the people in charge, and practiced as much as time allowed before the competition. It was super windy out there. In the first round, Zip caught one disc and Godzilla did not catch any. In the second round the wind was even worse. Godzilla still didn't catch any discs, but Zip caught five! I wasn't expecting to do anything at the competition other than have fun with my dogs, but Zip and I placed first in our class! Sisci Godzilla and I scored no points at all, but I'm told we were fun to watch. I always walk my dogs out of any competition like they just won the entire thing, no matter how we did.

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