Sponsors

Dogfrisbee

Animals and sports.  Dogs and frisbees. I like both, so I suppose it’s only logical that I became involved in a big way in dogfrisbee, or discdog as some prefer to call it. Yet it only came about due to a serendipitous series of coincidences. Like so many aspects of my life experience, it was not part of any grand plan, it just happened to happen.

 

 

I first learned about the competitive sport of dogfrisbee in 2007. Lyra and I were having fun doing agility at the time, which is quite popular and well developed in Slovenia, due in part to the influence of Silvia Trkman.  Discdog, on the other hand, was nonexistent. But I was curious to try it, so I traveled to Germany to learn the basics, to Hundesporthotel Wolf in Oberammergau. In lieu of the more usual summer vacation at the sea or in the mountains, I signed up for a five-day dogfrisbee seminar there with Karin Actun in late June and another with Sabine and Marcus Wolff in August.

Somehow I heard about a competition in Stromovka Park, Prague, in July, organized by Jakub Stybr and the Discdog Club of the Czech Republic, and decided to enter.   Much to my astonishment, Lyra and I won both events, starters freestyle and open supermindistance, though we’d only been playing for a few weeks.

Here she is, posing with her winnings (we still have, and frequently use, the Chuckit ball launcher, though we’ve been through quite a few tennis balls since then):

 

Our next competition was in September, at the European Championship in Wroclaw, Poland. Lyra and I placed third in Advanced Freestyle (an intermediate category between Starters and Open), and fourth in Super Pro Toss & Fetch. Oli and I were 8th in Super Pro T&F, and fifth in women’s Quadruped, winning the trophy for Longest Catch (54.7 m).

The Slovenian team at the 2007 EC:

 

The following year Lyra and I qualified for the USDDN Finals in freestyle with a 6th place finish at the 2008 European Championship. She also had the longest catch in Women’s Quadruped, at 55 meters a Slovenian record which still stands at this writing.  Thanks to the support of private donors and the local hospitality of Melissa Heeter, Lyra and I traveled to Cartersville, Georgia in October, 2008, and were thus the first team to represent the country of Slovenia at a discdog world championship, where we were the highest ranking team from Europe that year.

Currently I play with three dogs, in multiple events:  pioneer and now veteran Lyra, who is not quite ready to retire, my daughter’s hugely talented Australian shepherd Olivia, and border collie Bamm Bamm, who entered our lives unexpectedly in 2009 and is by universal acclaim the sweetest dog on Earth as well as an impressive canine athlete.

I love all aspects of the sport, and all disciplines, from freestyle to dogdartbee. I like the challenge of competing in different events since they each require a different set of skills, from the handler as well as the dog. And I love playing with multiple dogs, with their individual strengths, styles, and idiosyncrasies, since it makes me a better handler, trainer, and instructor.

In the five years I’ve been active in the sport, I’ve been fortunate to learn from some top players and instructors. I try to go to 2 to 3 seminars with international experts each year, and give about half a dozen myself, in Slovenia and abroad, to keep passing along to others what I’ve learned. I’m also an experienced USDDN Level 3 judge, and more recently underwent training for judging under the AWI format.

Many people have helped me along the way, but I owe my greatest debt of gratitude to Sabine and Marcus Wolff, who gave me a strong foundation in the skills required to excel in the sport as well as the nicest and best trained dog anyone could ever hope to have, sweet Bamm Bamm.

The success I enjoy is due mainly to the abilities, talents, and enthusiasm of the three dogs I’m lucky enough to get to play with. My primary goal in the sport is to be the player my dogs deserve. I say “my”, but in fact none of them are really mine.  For more about them, and how they came into my life and became my sports partners and companions, visit their pages…