would like to take this opportunity to tell you about my dog and how
we came to be involved in Flyball.
I actually bred Cameron
myself (a black Labrador) along with his 7 brothers and sisters and
they were all sold at 8 weeks of age. The people that bought Cameron
were a mature aged couple. Everything seemed right at the time. Yes
they had owned a Labrador before and yes he would be allowed in the
12 months later we received
a call from them. Could we please come and collect the dog, he was
neurotic and paranoid and their vet had advised them to have him put
Well hold on a minute.
Of course we will always take our dogs back but before we go to any
of these drastic actions let's try to resolve the problem first.
the fact is it isn't really worth it. We're going on holiday overseas
for 10 weeks and for the cost of putting him in boarding kennels we
thought we would just buy a new pup when we got back."
Fine we'll be
there to pick him up this weekend!
He was neurotic and paranoid
and grossly over weight. I took one look at him cowering away from
me and thought what happened? And what am I going to do with him?
I remember driving home and thinking maybe the vet was right.
It took only
a few days for him to start trusting us and getting used to our lifestyle.
At the time we were extremely busy with other projects. We had newborn
puppies, and were obedience trialing and training our own dogs - Cameron
had to learn to fit in. And he did. We learnt quickly that Cameron
does not like to be ignored.
Once we had gained
his trust it was time he started school and socialising with other
dog's and people. This was where my Mother stepped in. She has to
be the most patient (or stubborn) person there is. Tell her this dog
can't be fixed and she will show you it can.
To start with
all she did was walk around the edge of the obedience classes not
actually entering in the class. Every time anybody tried to approach
him she would tell them to ignore him, he had to find his own feet.
If he panicked at something she just acted like it had never happened.
By 6 months there
was a huge improvement. He had lost all the excess fat and was much
fitter. He was also able to be part of the obedience class, although
he still baulked at any form of contact from strangers.
It was at this
time that our club had a visit from Eric van Zuyden, Nicole Kendt
and friends from the AFA. They were giving us a Flyball demonstration
and some tuition. We had brought Cameron along for the socialisation.
It was never our intention
to try him at Flyball. But it soon became obvious Cameron had other
ideas. When he saw the other dogs playing with tennis balls it was
just too tempting and we soon realised we had found a bargaining tool.
(He had to face his fears if he wanted that tennis ball.)
With the help
and support of his fellow teammates, and the sport of Flyball it didn't
take Cameron long to get over the majority of his fears - after all
there was more important things to worry about - like getting that
Cameron has now achieved
his FDX title and is on the way to achieving his FDCh. He has also
taken on the challenge of training for the obedience title C.D. This
is proving difficult, as there is a Stand For Examination involved.
Of course it doesn't help in training when the Flyball equipment is
set up a few feet away screaming out for a good time to be had by
all!. Cameron will suddenly dash off from a sit stay unable to control
himself any longer . I just laugh.
After all Cameron wouldn't be the dog he is today if it wasn't
for Fyball !