She is simply part of the history of dog frisbee in Poland. It’s enough for us to reveal that only in 2020 Ania Pająk Radomska won in the freestyle category at all last year’s Flying Dogs competition, became the Polish and Czech Champion in the Long distance category, the Polish Freestyle Champion and with her legendary dog: West, she won the Flying Dog statuette Dog 2020. She is also a person who taught more than one player to throw, and her discs speed across the sky like hawks. We talked with Ania about what is important in working with a dog and whether the sports Azores are different from the couch potatoes.
Author: Tamara Filipowicz
Quick association game: you hear the word dog – what’s popping up in your head? What images, feelings?
When I hear the word dog, I picture a friend. I imagine eyes staring at me. I imagine a walk through a meadow or a forest – that is my happiness.
Introduce us your dogs and describe them briefly.
I currently have four dogs. The nasty one is a border collie, Arsi, who is 16 years old and my first dog. Currently Arsi is retired, but I started Frisbee with him, which means I have been training for 16 years! We are currently fighting cancer, so I hope at least a year ahead.
The second dog is also a border collie, Eevee – she is 3 years old and she is competing with me and Albert, my boyfriend. My third dog is Ru, also known as Rurek. It’s a mix of border, whippet and staffy. This is my main dog for the competition, he is now 2.5 years old – I do not know yet when we will debut in freestyle, for now we are learning to find a common language in other competitions. Oxx is my youngest dog. Oxxik is 11 weeks old – he has been with us for a very short time, although I feel as if he has been with us all his life – I’m afraid to think what will happen next, since I cannot imagine our herd without him.
Tell us about what you do and how you help pet parents work with dogs more effectively.
I professionally train dog frisbee – not only do I train myself and take part in competitions, but I also help other people. I teach them how to throw, how to move, how to communicate with their dogs, and how to solve their own problems – because usually when there is a problem, it is human, not dog. I just teach people how to actively spend time with their dog to keep it safe and full of joy – in the end, we do it for the common pleasure.
Author: Alicja Zmysłowska
What do you like your job for?
For all. For spending time outdoors and for not really feeling like I’m working. Thanks to my work, I meet a lot of wonderful people, full of love, adventure and the will to develop – that is also great. I also like it for being able to travel, being on the move.
What is the biggest challenge for you as a trainer?
It’s very difficult to have a good mood at work, and you don’t always want to smile broadly and radiate a positive mood. I have to teach people who come to me tired after work, have their problems and I would like Frisbee to be a stepping stone from everyday life for them. I want it to be a real pleasure and I can do it, but it is often at the expense of myself, my own various experiences and problems.
I had a very difficult situation recently – I was saying goodbye to my dog, but at the same time I had to work so that he could be with me with dignity until the end, so that I could provide him with medicines and medical care. It was a great challenge for me to be happy, ready and passionate in training with people when it was hard at home. Everything else can be resolved somehow, but cutting yourself off from your own feelings and focusing on the people I teach isn’t easy.
Do you think every dog can try frisbee? What precludes starting training?
I believe that any dog can embark on a frisbee adventure if it meets two criteria: first, that it is healthy and I mean many different aspects. Whether there is excess weight, joint problems, or anything else that would make a vet advise against physical activity.
The second thing, maybe obvious but very important, is that he should just like an active lifestyle. If a dog doesn’t even like to walk, doesn’t like to play, and we want to play sports with it, it won’t work. It’s like with a human – if someone hates running, they will not become a professional triathlete, because they will not have the heart for it. There are many dogs who love sports, have a lot of energy, have a lot of fun to play, and for such dogs there is Dog Frisbee.
Author: Małgorzata Frankowska
The most important lesson you’ve learned while working with dogs?
That respect opens all gates. Respect for the dog, its messages, its pace of development, its capabilities. In my opinion, all this gives the opportunity to solve any problem.
Are sport dogs different in everyday life from ordinary Burks?
Personally, I think so, because it is a completely different specificity of work, it is a completely different mode of the day and functioning during the week. It is also a completely different excitability than the one presented by dogs in the block or on the couch. Sports dogs are dogs specially bred to be alert, agile, fast, agile and intelligent. They are dogs that we have to teach to rest, who can work very hard and then recover long after exercise. As a result, they also need special guidance, nutrition, and in addition, they may have various problems in their daily life that other dogs will not have.
What would you like to say to any dog owner who is getting started with Frisbee?
I would like to tell that everything has its time and its place. Properly selected tools and training methods work wonders, you just have to find them first. It takes a bit of time, respect, passion and ease. You have to remember that every dog has its own pace and preferences. Therefore, in my opinion, the most important thing is to work systematically with the right tools.
Author: Alicja Zmysłowska
What is the biggest challenge when starting training with a new dog?
If I have a new dog for training with a new owner, the biggest challenge for them is usually that the person cannot throw yet, which is perfectly normal of course. That’s why I advise you to learn throwing yourself first, because it is a training tool like a clicker or treats. We can teach the dog new things, but we need food to motivate him. If we are teaching a dog frisbee we must have a tool like a good casting technique, especially when the dog starts – this is very important. We don’t want to discourage him in the end.
When it comes to starting work with my own dog, it is always a challenge to develop rewarding methods, pace and training tools. This is an indicator of a good trainer – adapting work to the animal. One dog is slow, another is fast, one is lively, another is athletic, yet another is agile. Everyone is different and you need to remember this and use their strengths wisely.
What should be avoided in canine sports?
Objective treatment of animals. There should never be any exceptions to this rule. I believe that we do dog sports for fun. We don’t have a lot of money in dog frisbee or similar sports – we just do it for dogs because they love it. Of course, we also do it for ourselves: because we like sport, competition, we love spending time actively. However, this should never be at the expense of the animal. If this happens, we should give ourselves serious consideration.
What should a good dog handler be like in your opinion?
Empathetic, sensitive to messages and, above all, willing to develop. This is the most important. If you don’t want to develop, there will be no progress. If you don’t want to learn, you won’t be a better owner for your dog, and I think this is the sum of all canine sports.