Canine Disc Competition
It’s All About the Dog!
An excerpt from Disc Dogs! The Complete Guide by Peter Bloeme and Jeff Perry, Co-founders of Hyperflite, Inc.
Polls have shown that the primary reason that people participate in canine disc competitions is because their dogs love it. Sometimes we lose sight of that simple fact as we become more experienced and more active on the competition circuit. Winning and losing, in canine disc competitions, should always be secondary to the special relationship that you have with your canine. You are unquestionably your dog’s hero when you take the time to play and have fun together. Winning or losing is simply not something that matters to canines. We could all learn from their example.
Competition organizers and officials strive to make disc dog competitions a fun and challenging activity for both human and canine alike. Competitions are also a great way to meet other people who love their canines. Unlike most canine sports, disc dog play requires of its participants – both human and canine – the same measure of dedication, skill and effort. But no matter how competitive you are, it is important to remember that your canine will love you just as much even if every throw you make isn’t perfect and even if that big trophy doesn’t find its way to your mantle.
Regardless of how much you prepare, or how hard you try, sooner or later you or your canine teammate will have a bad day on the playing field. On those less than magical days, you may be irritated or disappointed in your performance, or your luck, or even your scores.
While it is natural for a competitor to try his or her best and strive to win, it is important to remember why you got involved in canine disc competition in the first place. If you are like most people, you probably were attracted to canine disc sports because there is no better way to have fun with your dog and no activity that your dog will enjoy more. On occasion, there may be a temptation to blame judges when we fail to achieve our goals. Often, with calm reflection, we can analyze our own failings, learn from them, and move on. Not only is judging extremely difficult, it is also a subjective endeavor. No matter how hard contest organizers try to eliminate the subjective element in judging, in the end, human beings are involved in the process and this means that the scores that human judges give you may not be the scores that you or your friends believe you should have received. All parents think their kids are perfect and all dog owners think their dogs are perfect. And, of course, everyone is right. But some people are more right than others and that difficult distinction is left to the judges.
Although rare, there have been episodes of poor sportsmanship at, or after, canine disc competitions. For some, there may be a temptation to unload on the judges when scores don’t match expectations. However, this approach never yields a positive outcome. Typically, confrontation ends the possibility of dialogue with the officials who are naturally less likely to offer constructive suggestions on improving a routine to someone who is attacking them because of a disputed outcome.
A better approach is to visit with the judges after the competition and ask for guidance or tips for improving scores for a future competition. Once you see how the judge evaluated your performance, you can make the changes necessary to ensure success in the future.
Finally, whatever your position on the leaderboard at the conclusion of a canine disc competition – when you demonstrate good sportsmanship, you will always be a winner in your dog’s eyes and in the eyes of your fellow competitors.