We went to our third NAFA tournament today. I got up at 0230 in the morning to pack and get the dogs ready for the day with grandma as babysitter. Beebe and I left at 0400 for the 3.5 hour journey to Abbotsford, BC, Canada, passport and vaccines info in hand, for a 0730 start time. I brought our brand new training toy, a raccoon tail braided fleece tug that she goes gaga for, almost as much as the penlight (which sadly broke during our last race). She really enjoys the sensation of real fur in her mouth. It issomething that really stimulates her prey drive, as her speed dramatically improves when this comes out. Good thing I came prepared.
We had 6 races of 5 heats each, and for our team, that was a chance to earn 1-5 points for each heat given that we are not focusing on speed. Beebe enjoyed the outing, but it was still a very rigorous day. That’s equivalent to someone running 30 sprints relay race style while jumping hurdles, all in one day. She gots lots of rest time and walks in between races. It never got above 35 degrees there all day, some snow piles still.
We came in 2nd and 3rd in our division out of 4, and Beebe earned 40 points, giving her a grand total of 104, which means she is the newest Shiba Inu Flyball Dog Excellent (FDX)! Only 396 more points until she is a Flyball Dog Champion! That will take us at least 4 tournament days if we manage to improve our times and coordination as a team, but all in all, our main focus is to have fun and we do not want to be a speed team.
She recieved many positive inquiries from other teams and some of the judges. Most people have never seen a Shiba Inu Flyball with good reason as there are only 4 dogs actively running in the sport, and my Beebe is one of them. They remarked how nice it was to see non traditional breeds enjoy the sport and do well in it. Flyball is something that can be enjoyed by nearly every breed, but it’s usually Border collies, JRTs and Aussies (or their mixes) who dominate the sport. NAFA does not want to be perceived as only something those limited breeds or mixes of dogs can participate in. I think that is similar in a sense to the Standard Poodle always winning the non Sporting group; it gets pretty boring when you know what will happen.
We made a haul! In addition to getting some toys, flyball decorations, super premium food and treats from Go!, we won a rafle prize too. The bed may be big enough for puppy for a while, but I think the old Pom guy Buddy would appreciate it more. There is a chew hoof, organic shampoo, tennis balls, a travel cup, plush squeeky toys, frozen yogurt cups for dogs, and Nature’s Miracle wipes. Also someone threw in some tear stain remedy, but none of them need that so I will give it to my vet Clinic.
Now everyone is tucked in for the night, happily chewing on prizes. Beebe is exhausted and had an ice cream cone at the drive thru for her efforts. Grym is in the kitchen with a new tennis ball, and Buddy is sound asleep in the other room with grandma. The Christmas tree in the living room is letting off a warming glow, and the Sheebs are one happy little family.