Just a game?
Mid throw, as I watched the ball soar through the air it dawned on me; this is more than just a game. Elsa watched the ball with the intensity that she commits to each and every retrieve. No this is more than just a game, this is a sport. Of course it is only a sport if I have my trusty Chuck it; otherwise as I've written before, I throw like a girl. With a Chuckit in my hand I throw like a Rock Star. ;) Has the sport of Chuckit become a competitive sport? I wondered with my next throw and would Google it once I got home. The sun was getting warmer so with a couple more throws we headed for home. Once home I sat at the computer looking for the Chuckit competitions but found none. Perhaps it is still an underground sport and has yet to appear in the mainstream performance field like agility, flyball and disc dogs. Or maybe it will stay with the weekend warriors in the parks and fields as they spend their time together with their dogs.
Competition - rivalry for supremacy or a prize.
There you have it; to be the best. Competition is a funny thing. I am a pretty competitive person; that said I am not into competitive sports or activities. When Tilley was in her prime we began a life of Frisbee. She became an amazing disc dog and we even dabbled in the competitive world of disc dogs. After only attending a few competitions I decided that it was not for us. Even though I thought that Tilley was beyond spectacular and would love for the world to see what she could do; it wasn't much fun for her or I. Too much standing around waiting for her turn to play. But it's not just the competitive Frisbee sport where this happens; no it is all organized competitive sports, both canine and human. If your strive to be the best and win the prize drives you and you don't mind waiting then you will love official competition.
But for me and my dogs I prefer to just have fun. More of it and less standing around. I could have entered into many different competitive fields with Tilley; she had drive to boot. So I learned early on that the canine competitive world was not for me or us. But, I love partaking in many different sports with my dogs. I tend to watch them as they grow and show a natural desire to do a particular sport and then we indulge in that. For Elsa it is retrieving; like Tilley but different. Elsa has a clear desire to run along with her drive, so the sport of Chuckiting fits her to a T. Because she loves to run and I don't I have worked hard on my throw; sending that little ball further and further for her to chase.
Elsa has learned to listen for instructions and is tracking more precisely with each outing. She's got huge drive which can be tough to work with when you are indulging it. But once you figure out your dog's drive and how it works specifically the possibilities are endless. Elsa watches my body direction intensely so that she knows exactly which path the ball will take as it is launched. I regularly adjust my direction ever so slightly to keep her on her toes. I may ask her to run out and then down before the ball is release; or I might just let it go. Then there are times when I have her go around; control is the secret. Control is what makes it more than just a regular game; formulating more of a performance game or sport.
As I watched the ball land and bounce once before Elsa caught it I smiled thinking that she would probably win the gold in a Chuckit competition. Her goal is always to catch it on the first bounce, as was Tilley's. But on the next throw that day she missed it which sent her on a mad scurry of an intensely driven pursuit of the ball. With it finally in her mouth I realized that miss would have been a disappointment in the field of competition. But there with just us as her spectators we smiled at her drive; beaming with pride at her quest to succeed.
We may not compete in an organized sport but we most definitely are a performance home. Furthermore, you can bet when another dog and owner show up at the park that we up our game. ;)