Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How to Catch a Border Collie on a Tug

Thank you to Dave Strauss ( who took these photos of Michelle running my Tweak while I was at a wedding that night.

This is a good photo depiction of what it's like catching a dog on a tug during a flyball tournament. I've always wanted to write a picture book!

The Steps

After you release the dog, run up to the line, scream the dog's name as loud as possible and start running away. Remember, don't run backwards but instead run forwards while looking back. Someone said it causes less pain this way. Very important: Hold the tug away from your body!

As the dog runs towards you (don't worry, you'll hear the little pitter patter of feet steam rolling towards you), brace yourself for impact. The dog will propel itself at the tug and with one final leap, take it in its mouth. Remember what I said about holding the tug away from your body? Yes, don't make the crucial mistake of pulling the tug close to your body like Michelle demonstrates here. Those teeth are going to grab on to something and the dog probably has its eyes closed in a final Hail Mary kind of attempt. Trust me when I say the dog does not care if it missed and got your leg/hand/boob/etc. instead. (Hence why Michelle wears hockey gloves in the ring.)

Once you feel the dog on the tug, quickly throw out your other arm in a panicked attempt to save yourself from momentum. It doesn't really work, but it's worth a try. Swing the dog around while still on the tug to try and redirect the motion in a useless attempt to change it enough so that if you do fall, you land on your butt instead of your face.

Once the dog is almost on the other side of you, you can resume breathing. Chances are, if the dog does take you down, the both of you might've slowed down just enough that you won't break anything but instead will just look foolish.

Once all 4 of the dog's paws hit the ground, the chances of serious injury decline. Play with the dog and the tug as a reward for not killing you this time. Do not let your guard down, however, as one quick head shake could quite possibly dislocate your shoulder. Remember to hold on to that tug like your life depends on it because...well, because it does.

Want to see it again?

Slow Motion Replay

Here Michelle is catching Tweak on the tug. She has good form - her arm out to balance the force pulling her forward and the swing of deterring death has already begun.

Sometimes the dog falls off the tug, kind of like when you were a kid and you jumped off the swing while it was up in the air. We're not sure if they do this on purpose or if the propulsion used to launch for the tug pulls them off of it. Watch what the dog does, more times than not, the dog will surprise you.

Here Tweak demonstrates her gymnastic ability by landing in a full hand stand after releasing the tug. Michelle is probably screaming "oh my god" at this point thinking she just broke my dog. Never fear! Those disc freestyle moves come in handy at times - this was one of them. Reposition the tug so when the dog does land it can immediately launch itself at it again. Very Important: Do not hold the tug in front of you as demonstrated. Your asking for your stomach to get a nifty new scar that way. The dog will oblige you immediately and forcefully.

Once the dog lands and launches itself back on to the tug, breathe and continue playing tug like normal. Now is also a good time to pray. Remember, it's not over until you set up for the next heat, which means any number of very bad things could still happen.

I hope you've enjoyed this presentation of "How to Catch a Border Collie on a Tug." Stay tuned for my next presentation titled "How to Wrap the Injury Caused by Not Moving the Tug Away From a Body Part."



Anonymous said...

how do do a re run ? especially if the other side has one also and it is the best 3/5 and you have gone to 5 ? hahahahaha
Jeannie in Nova Scotia :o)

Versailles Rose said...

I really enjoyed this bit of inside info. =)

Dawn said...

Hi Jeannie & Versailles Rose

Thank you. :)

Since all of this happens in about .02 seconds, it's actually kind of easy! Well, easier than catching her anyway. Just say "Ready, Set, GO!!" as quickly as you can and she'll release the tug and book it back up the lane.

Of course, I have to add in that I'm usually running behind her screaming "GO, GO, GO!" until I see her hit the box. At that point my sore and scratchy throat squeaks out a meager yell while, at the same time, I almost dislocate both of my knees trying to turn around quickly enough so she can actually chase me a bit.

We'll be in Montreal in November, wanna give it a try? :)


Eastcoastdweller said...

I'm liking all these photos and new stories on Your blog, lovely Dawn!