Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Flyball Pet Peeves

There are a lot of gushy warm-fuzzy things I love about flyball, but these aren't some of them:

Mad or distracted handlers who don't reward their dogs during racing. 
It really drives me nuts when people false start or bad pass, yell "ARRRGHHHHH" and slap their head, then proceed to shlep back to the runback area and sulk, while their dog tries to figure out what he did wrong. Or when people are too busy watching the other team race or talking strategy with their teammates to pay any attention to their dog at the other end of the tug (if they're lucky enough to have a dog that will STAY on the other end of a dead tug).

Teams that scream at each other during racing. 
It's supposed to be a fun game, right?

People that register their (known) mixes as purebreds. 
I know of three or four different people who have registered their mixes as purebreds. I'm not talking about somebody adopting a dog that looks just like a border collie from border collie rescue then registering it as a border collie -- I mean people who know exactly who their dog's parents are and lie when they register the dog with NAFA or U-FLI. I assume they're doing it to gain a competitive advantage in the Multibreed/Variety division (since you can only run one mixed breed on your multi team), but in some cases these dogs have also risen to the top of their "breed's" points lists. Come on, is the game really that important? I don't understand  how people who do this can actually take pride in their accomplishments.

My dog's stress diarrhea at tournaments. 
As if I need anything else to worry about at tournaments, right? I've discovered metronidazole and use it religiously, but it's not always 100% effective. I'd like to publicly apologize to anyone and everyone who has been hit by my dog's flying poop. 

Teams that intentionally freeze out other teams by making them wait in the lanes.
I know that most delays are caused by ring conflicts, general cluelessness, or innocent banter, but there are a few teams that make it part of their strategy to make other teams wait. At the U-FLI championships a few years ago, we sat in the ring for about 15-20 minutes waiting for the other team to show up (and they are notorious for playing the Wait Game). They had been racing in another ring so were given a little time to run and put their dogs away and give them some water, but they stretched it out an unbearable amount while our dogs sat in the ring and stressed out and barked. In fact, I ended up walking my dog all the way back to his crate on the other side of the building and waited there until I saw movement in our ring.

People who run their dogs with a collar full of jangling tags or restrictive harnesses.
I always feel so bad for the dogs that are struggling along in their Easy Walk harnesses or have a bunch of metal tags hitting them in the face the whole way down the lane. How are they supposed to run well like this?

Dogs that are impossible to corral in the runback area.
I had one of these myself (he pounced on every ball that rolled by, and he wasn't a graceful dog) and he was a pain to run. I had to come up with a little system for how to catch him and hold him in between heats. So I'm totally sympathetic to those of you who have a similar challenge and are trying to get a handle on it. But if your dog is zooming around the runback area, chasing anything that moves and causing a safety hazard, you need to work on this! And judges, you need to warn them! It seems like when it happens in the runback area, it doesn't get enforced that much.

People who don't say "Good race" afterwards (unless they win).
If you're on the sidelines struggling to hold your dog and put his leash on, you get a pass, but you can still call out "Good race!" in the other team's general direction. 

Not setting your jump heights until AFTER warmups.
I'm sure all the teams I've run with have been guilty of this numerous times, but it's annoying when somebody else does it. 

Overuse of NAFA's registered trademark symbol.
It's one thing to use it next to the NAFA logo (appropriate) or in the first mention of NAFA's name in a press release or something (appropriate), but it's totally distracting pretty much everywhere else. I've seen NAFA documents where there was a ® symbol next to the word NAFA every time the word appeared. Ok, ok, we get it! You're registered! 

Clueless box judges and line judges.
This one is tough, because at least the people in the chairs are volunteering and helping out. But if they don't know what they're doing, it can cost you the race.

Hotels that charge pet fees (especially fees PER DOG).
I've been hit with pet fees the past few tournaments that have added $20-30 to the total cost of my room. I crate my dogs in the room and am really careful to leave the room nice and neat, but it doesn't matter. Those are the times I wish I had an RV...

I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface here. This might be a 10-part series. ;)

What sorts of things drive you guys crazy?


Kate said...

I belong to a team that has become known for what people call "stalling". (I call it playing with my dog!) We do take a little longer to get ready in the lane, but I can tell you it isn't on purpose!

Some do it on purpose, and that is definitely a pet peeve of mine!

Anonymous said...


20+ teams, 70-plus races and we need to be packin' by 4 on Sun afternoon!

whachu talkin 'bout?

We're not here to play games with our dogs, git yur points n run?

ever get that feeling?


Linda said...

I am (just today) hearing things about a conflict of interest, illegal use of video footage and a re-write of bylaws which might affect term limits. I don't have the proper knowledge about most of this stuff to do much good except pass this along so others can do their own research and make their own conclusions. Combined with recent happenings leading up to BoD meetings and the subsequent outcomes of some proposals and lack of concrete information about what's going on with the bylaws, these are some heavy pet peeves for some folks.

LisaP, thanks for hosting this blog because I think it is greatly needed in flyball and helps to keep people in the loop :o).


leerie said...

Preach on sista! OK, I must admit I'm ignorant about the ® thing. I thought if you don't use it, you lose it. But, duly noted. Yeah, the poor sportsmanship stuff especially bothers me (and the waiting, period). I find I have plenty of time to reward my dog and get set up and still wait all the time. And yes, re: the "good race." It's easy to be a good sport when you win, it takes a much bigger person to be a good sport when you lose. Thankfully, they seem to be a minority.

Lisa Pignetti Murnan said...

Re: the registered trademark thingie, take a look at this NAFA press release (it's old, but still the perfect example):
Pretty annoying, huh?

Now look at one from IBM:

Or Microsoft:

Imagine what they'd look like if there was a (r) after every single mention of IBM or Microsoft. You don't need to use the registered trademark ad nauseum.

Anyway, i know it's silly, it's just the english major in me going BLARRRGHHHH!

Anonymous said...

I agree re the 'good race' comment that also bothers me but what really bothers me is the dishonesty of some people when registering their dogs breed, come on people, first of all why lie, I really don't know why people think that they can register a dog because it has the same coloured nose as a border collie then it must be a border collie!!!! We have a dog in my region that is registered as a Basenji, there is not one thing Basenji about it, I don't know why they (the captain of the team and/or members of the team) would agree to having this dog registered as a Basenji.

Kristie Pope said...

I'm definitely guilty of the jump heights but only when we are warming up dogs whose jump heights are significantly lower than the team's jump height. I do get frustrated with the mixes registered as purebreds and really think NAFA should do something about it. I could care less about the multi breed aspect of it (probably because my team has never won a regional award) but I think it really sucks for the dogs getting kicked out of the top spots by mixes.
I am also guilty of doing a lousy job of saying "good race". I don't care whether we won or lost, I just got into a habit of shouting "good race" over a shoulder while trying to get Krunch out of the lane before he had a chance to show his ass. I always say it, but not to each individual member and I'm not always sure I was heard.

Anonymous said...

The person that refuses to say "good race" or refuses to shake your hand when offered. NOT because they are struggling with a dog on leash but, because they are still 3 years later a disgruntled ex-teammate. How childish is that? What kind of example are you to your children? ...and you used to make fun of the captain of the team you left for not returning a "good morning"....grow up already!

Kate said...

With an allergic dog, my pet peeve is when people think it is okay to give my crated dog a treat! I have "trained" my teammates, and others think they are being nice, but they are just contributing to a night of scratching, a jingling collar, and usually diarrhea. So, if you are at a tournament with my Golden, do not give her a treat please unless you ask!

Unknown said...

How can you not scream in a building with a hundred excited barking dogs and your boxloader 100 feet away or your pass caller 50 feet away?
Western Canada actually used to be very good about not only saying "good race", but shaking hands too. Shaking hands has decreased, but mainly because of time and logistics constraints.

leerie said...

Ooooh, I've got one...false starts after about 3:30 pm!

Meagan said...

Funny comment about the Basenji! Wonder if we are in the same region. Ha ha. My new pet peeve is squeaky balls. Everyone that starts practice these days wants to use them. Then we have to train them out of it. Remember whe tennis balls didn't squeek! Those were the days!

nickelsmum said...

That's a ditto on the squeaky balls. And a ditto on the lying about your dog's breed - we have one of those in this region, and it chaps my cheeks. And a ditto about stalling in the ring -- a couple of competitive teams in our peaceful region do this. And I'm developing a ditto on the feeding dogs treats without asking, since Nano has allergies.

One of my peeves is teams that don't get their box out of the lane immediately. If our warmup is 60 seconds and your box isn't out until 45 seconds into that... we don't warm up. Thanks. If you're short handed, we get that, but please tell the judge so we don't pay.

One other peeve... I'll probably get nailed for this... people who let their small kids run, bike or skateboard around the tournament grounds. My dog is a really good dog, but those things are almost irresistible to her. She hasn't grabbed in a long time, but it gives me a heart attack knowing there are all these rolling, running little critters in a building packed to the gills with stoned Border Collies. Please, parents -- it's for your kid's safety, too. No point lecturing us about training our dogs better. We try, but ya know? This is a flyball tournament, not a kid's birthday party.

Kristie Pope said...

gryphster, I think we all yell some, and being that Lisa and I are on the same team I doubt she is talking about just using the necessary volume to communicate. I think what Lisa is referring to is downright fighting with your teammates in the runback about who's fault it was that the pass was early, etc. Our team does use some sign language to communicate out there and we yell things to each other as well. We don't, however, yell at each other or argue with each other in the ring. I do find myself once in awhile trying to yell to my boxloader, which is always pointless, and feel like an idiot ofr doing it :).

Anonymous said...

Fun Blog...

My biggest pet peeve - fits into the stall game... but the dog who wont let go of its tug and the owner "tries really hard" to get it out while everyone waits... this happens every single heat!!!

Michell said...

That one team mate who's the primadonna won't ball shag, take stats or box load...even during practice. Ugh!

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Unknown said...

I registered mine as a breed and not a mix because her breed comes before "mix" in the drop down... and she's predominately that breed

I didn't know mix was an option. NAFA should be more clear on their site... it's a lot for a total newbie to remember when registering their first dog. I had no idea about multi breed divisions until I had actually ran in a couple tournaments

Subsequent dogs I registered as mix because I knew better

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