A Ballistic Racers Flyball feature set to air Tuesday night, June 24th, at 10:30pm on #SDLive directly after Padres Live on FOX Sports San Diego.

#SDLive airs one show a week. The show continues to re-air throughout the week, so you have several chances to catch The Ballistic Racers Flyball feature! For example, the show will air Tuesday night but then again Wednesday morning at 11:00 am and 4:30 pm. It will also air over the weekend.

Normally #SDLive airs as scheduled, but during baseball season the shows tends to air an hour of so after schedule depending on how late the Padres game goes. Last week #SDLive aired at 11pm when it was scheduled for 10pm. For now, though, anticipate Tuesday 10:30pm, Wednesday 11am and 4:30pm.

Enjoy the show!

Brian and Joanne

One of the best finds for any type of dog treat is the “Cadaver Bar” (canine dog treat bar) at the Zoom Room in Encinitas. They have an exceptional assortment of high quality exotic dog treats. The stainless steel tables attractively displays large glass jars filled with tasty treats for your dog. Your canine buddy will love the unique treats such as kangaroo jerky, duck feet, fish skins, tripe twist, etc.

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A real plus about the bar is being able to create your own “custom” treat bag for your dog. Rather than purchasing a bag of mass produced treats from a local pet chain and finding out that your dog won’t touch the treats, the Zoom Room allows you to create your own custom bag. The selection and quality of the products are amazing and your dog will just love them. Whether your dog is a canine professional in flyball or agility, or just the best dog in the world, you want to give him a special treat. As for a gift for your favorite canine friends, treats from the Zoom Room are a must!

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The Zoom Room has the best selection and best prices in town for high quality treats such as cod skins and duck feet starting as low as .99 cents. There is always a knowledgeable and friendly staff member who is available to answer any questions about the treats, products, dog toys, and dog food. Not able to get to the store? Not a problem, the staff is able to make up your own “custom treat bag” and ship it to you.

When you go there, tell them Zoom sent you. Woof, Woof.

Zoom Room
1331 Encinitas Blvd.
Encinitas, CA 92024
858 848 9666

We love racing at tournaments but we also enjoy many other events we do with our team. One of our biggest demonstrations we participate in is the Escondido Humane Society’s “Paws in the Park“. Demos are a great way to educate the public about flyball but are also a great way for new dogs to get accustomed to a tournament-like environment.

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Sometimes a few weeks before an event we are asked to make an appearance on TV. This helps to promote the occasion and generates enthusiasm among our team mates. Tuesday March 11th was one of these special days. We were asked by Katie Woolsey of the Escondido Humane Society to join her at Channel 6 on the “San Diego Living” show. At the station we ran an abbreviated one jump course with three different breeds of dogs being represented, giving the public just a taste of the fun of flyball.

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We had such a great time as you can see from the pictures and video working with Laura Cavanaugh (Channel 6), Tiffany Frowiss (Channel 6) and Katie Woolsey (Escondido Humane Society), and of course our dogs.

Brian and Joanne Matsumoto
Ballistic Racers Flyball Team

With the recent recalls on commercial dog treats another option of providing tasty, healthy, treats can be found in your own kitchen. Homemade treats can be made for even the most budget minded dog owner. Easy to make, nutritionally balanced, and minimum cost to make. The biggest advantage is the treats are freshly made and not contaminated with deadly bacteria like the recently recalled commercially made treats. You’ll enjoy being a canine chef & your pups will love you for it!

Yams, sweet potatoes, baby carrots, apple slices, and frozen green beans are favorites of our canine friends.


Dried Yams & Sweet Potatoes
Dried yams & sweet potatoes can be made in a gas oven. Thinly slice (1/4 inch). Place single layer of the yams on a cookie sheet. Leave in the oven for 8 hours. The heat from the pilot light will dry out the yams. Turn over the slices so both sides will dry out evenly. Leave in the over for 4 more hours or until the slices are dried and crispy.  If you don’t have a gas stove you can purchase a dehydrator. By drying food yourself will save you 80% of what commercial dog food companies charge.


Baby Carrots
Slice the baby carrots lengthwise into 4 sections.  Stir 1 tsp of chicken baby food into  2/3 cup of warm water, and mix thoroughly.   Add the fresh carrots. Your dog will enjoy the refreshing drink with crispy carrot slices.


Frozen Green Beans
A tasty treat straight out of the bag. This is a good treat for dogs watching their waistline.


Rice chips Easy, no fat, low phosphorous dog treats.
2 tablespoons of Mochiko sweet rice flour (for cookies)
2 tablespoons of water
extra Mochiko for dusting pan (sweet rice flour)

Put  2 tablespoons of Mochiko flour in a small glass bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of warm water.  Mix until consistency of  bread dough.  Place dough on floured wax paper and  kneed until smooth.  You may need to sprinkle more rice flour to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands & wax paper.  Spread dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a floured knife, cut the dough into desired shapes.  I like to cut the dough into 2 x 1/2 inch strips.  I then round the edges.  Place sheet in the oven, and let the rice dough dry out for 24-48 hours in a gas oven, using the warmth from the  pilot light.


Winchester Wafers (By Mandy C)
2 c. Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour (Gluten Free)
¼ tsp. Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum
6 oz. Medium Bananas, Mashed (approx. 1-1/2 bananas)
1 tbsp. Raw Honey
2 tsp. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Preheat oven to 315º.  Mix all ingredients together well (I use a food processor).  Flour surface and roll out dough to desired thickness.  Cut with appropriate sized cookie cutter for dog’s mouth.  Bake for approx. 40 min. (turning cookies over after 20 min.)—or until golden brown on each side.  Cool thoroughly before giving to your dog.

Since these cookies do not have any preservatives, only keep out a few days worth at a time.  They may be frozen for up to 3 months.


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Now that you’ve read my review of Control Unleashed, you may be wondering why exactly, does Control Unleashed work so well?  If you’re like me, and enjoy knowing the nuts and bolts behind things, you will find the following article by Chrissi Schranz very informative.  This article originally appeared at http://poodle-power.tumblr.com/post/61746514573/neuropsychological-foundations-of-cu-training and was written by Chrissi Schranz (Full member of Association of Professional Dog Trainers).  It is reposted here with permission of the author.


CU [Control Unleashed] works wonders to not only ease the life of overnoticers, overreactive or anxious dogs, it also provides a foundation for every single working or family dog out there. CU trainers stress that attention is a skill that can and should be taught separate from other tasks. Attention, focus and the ability to calm herself down are key skills that help a dog navigate her life – be it as a performance dog, a family pet or a dog adjusting to life in a big and busy city, to mention but a few.Anyone who has tried CU on their dog will agree that It works. But why does it work? Knowing about the underlying neuropsychological procedures will help you understand why CU training is so effective and enable you to design your very own tailor-made CU exercises for your dog rather than just following “recipes” developed by others. Furthermore, I hope that this article will show that CU is not just a fuzzy hit-and-miss training philosophy that will work for some dogs but not for others. Rather, it gives you and your dog a toolbox to influence your dog’s neuropsychological wiring, so to speak, in ways that make it easier for her to cope with the environment. And last but not least, it may help you to better understand your dog.Neuropsychological implications of the threshold

CU devotees know to always work below threshold, that is to say to lower criteria to a point where we can be sure our dog will succeed, and to avoid causing over-arousal. For example, when working with a dog-reactive dog, we’ll keep our distance to other dogs. Rather than “flooding” him with the company of another dog, we’ll stay at a distance where he’s not worried. Depending on the individual, that may be the length of a soccer field, across the street, ten meters or two meters. For a dog suffering from separation anxiety, this means we wouldn’t leave her alone any longer than she’s comfortable being alone. Depending on the individual, that might mean 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes or two hours.

The threshold is the point where a dog overreacts – e.g. the distance where where the dog-reactive dog starts lunging, jumping into the leash and barking, or the time after which a dog suffering from separation anxiety starts getting worried and working herself up.

We can look at the threshold as the frontier separating “thinking brain” from “instinct brain”, or as the line separating cognition from emotion. Below threshold, the actions are controlled by reflection and conscious decisions. Over threshold, the emotions take over and reactions are automatic rather than deliberate. Whether an action is based on cognition or emotion depends on whether it is dominated by the cerebral cortex or an area of the limbic system called the amygdala. Both cerebral cortex and limbic system deal with environmental stimuli and work together when causing the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that generate a response. However, they are inversely proportional: the more active the cerebral cortex, the less active is the limbic system, and vice versa. Depending on which area dominates the reaction, we either get a predominantly cognitive response (limbic system is dominant) or an emotional response (amygdala is dominant). That is to say, when we work below threshold, the cerebral cortex dominates behavior and we get a deliberate response; when working over threshold, the amygdala is dominant and we get an overreactive response.

These are important points to consider in dog training. Working below threshold, a dog will be able to take in and process information, learn new things and pay attention. Because his actions are dictated by the cerebral cortex, he’s in a receptive state of mind; an ideal training condition and, moreover, a state of mind that lets your dog relax and be comfortable.

On the other hand, a dog who’s over threshold is subject to behavior triggered by the amygdala. His responses to environmental stimuli will be emotional, indeliberate and unreflected. In this state of mind, it is neurologically impossible for a dog to think clearly, to process information “objectively” and to take in new tasks. A disobedient dog over threshold isn’t stubborn; rather, his brain and hence behavior are dominated by the amygdala, while the cognitive cerebral cortex is blocked. Rather than getting mad at her for failing to listen to your cues in a distracting environment, you should ask yourself how you can change the environment/lower criteria in order to enable your dog to get back in a cerebral cortex state of mind and succeed.

Acute stress causes high activity in the amygdala. The dog’s body prepares for fight/flight/freeze/flirt, and training, attention or obedience become neurologically impossible. This is why the common practice among dog trainers to ask a dog to perform among all kinds of conditions in all kinds of situations from the beginning is counterproductive and doesn’t tend to work. Effective training starts well below threshold and only gently and slowly raises criteria. With mutual trust and practice, the threshold recedes. You may then raise criteria at the same speed the threshold withdraws, but never cross it.

2. Why targeting lets your dog stay in “thinking brain”

What do you do if your dog is reactive in a situation you can’t or don’t want to avoid? How do you get her threshold to recede without flooding her with stressful experiences?

Leslie McDevitt suggests targeting in order to get your dog to focus and make it easier for him to stay in his “thinking brain” in a distracting or stressful environment. In this context, targeting means turning environmental stimuli into cues. This could be tactile targets such as getting out of the car and (A) targeting the door to the training facility, then (2) targeting the dog’s crate, and then (4) targeting her mat etc. With the help of intermediate targets, a seemingly long and distracting path is broken down into little steps that are easier for the dog (or human) to take.

The targets could also be visual, such as using scary things as a cue to play the “Look at That” game and earn treats.

Indeed, by means of targeting strategies, overreactive dogs are more likely to stay calm. Neuropsychologically speaking, why is that?

If a dog’s attention and focus are held by a well-known game, the cerebral cortex dominates his response. As mentioned above, cerebral cortex and limbic system are inversely proportional, and the activity of the limbic system is kept low when your dog operates from his “thinking brain”. Keeping the cerebral cortex going in stressful situations helps your dog to cope with them rather than going over threshold. Targeting games are a very effective way to accomplish this: the distracting environment itself provides the cues for the cerebral-cortex dominated behavior, and the more you practice, the more you accelerate calm default behavior.

An example: Phoebe knows hand-targeting. If we’re about to cross a busy street, she sometimes gets excited and wants to chase cars: for her, the cars are a trigger causing action in the amygdala. One strategy I use for dealing with this is that I ask her to target my hand with her mouth while we’re waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green: touch my hand on the floor, in the air, next to you, behind you. Phoebe likes the touch game, and it keeps her focused on me rather than the traffic. Also, the more often I play the touch game with her in this situation, the more she’ll get used to not lunging towards the cars. While focusing on my hand, she peripherally takes in the traffic without getting emotionally glued to it, and while this experience is repeated every time we play the touch game near a busy street, she gets desensitized to the traffic trigger. Nota bene: in behavioral therapy, desensitizing only works as long as you stay below threshold!

I bought Control Unleashed about a year and a half ago, when my training had hit a wall and it seemed like nothing I did worked for very long, if at all.  In my case, I was dealing with a rescue dog who had some wonderful accomplishments behind him, but he had developed some pretty intense phobias along with generalized anxiety which required that I give him a long break from flyball and agility while I figured out what to do, because clearly, what we were doing just wasn’t fun for either of us anymore.

During this break from all dog sports, I delved into every  book and dvd imaginable.  The one book  that changed my dog’s life the most was Control Unleashed, by  Leslie McDevitt.  I also found it of great benefit  to  watch Leslie’s DVDs:  “Game Demonstrations-A Foundation Seminar” (4 DVD set), and “Control Unleashed- Game Demonstrations” (3 DVD set).   Being able to read the book, then actually see Leslie work with dogs of various personalities, to observe the individual responses and nuances in the dogs’ body language, and to  be able to observe the precise behavior Leslie was clicking for, was invaluable to me.  These DVDs are available at Clean Run in many formats, from eBook to  video on demand for individual  exercises.

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Control Unleashed provides a series of structured exercises or “games” which you do with your dog.  The exercises are simple and easy to learn, but surprisingly effective.  Dogs enjoy and respond to these games quickly, because they are fun and rewarding.  They get totally absorbed in the game, deepening their connection to the trainer.  In fact, when given the opportunity (in fact, told) to “take a break” from the game and be a dog (e.g., sniff the grass, check out that garbage can, etc. …) the dog often chooses to continue working instead.

Why are these games so effective at creating a focused and confident dog?  Well, for many reasons.

First and foremost, they  create a safe and predictable routine in which learning can take place.  It is very critical that  the dog is always doing the exercises and  playing the games “below threshold”.  This means that he is not  barking, tucking tail, freezing,  lunging, staring, stiff,  or “locked onto” the object of his concern (aka the trigger) in any way.  A good distance is where he notices the presence of the trigger, but it isn’t overly consuming his attention.  Your dog still notices that you are alive and is able to work with you.  He isn’t “zoning” or as Leslie McDevitt would say, “off riding the unicorns”.  This is the perfect training distance.

However, what is the perfect training distance one day may not be the perfect training distance the next day. The next important thing you must do is learn to “read” your dog.  Kind of like when your best friend is able to look at you and say, “Something’s bothering you, isn’t it?” and you haven’t even said a word to them.  They know what you normally look like when you are happy and relaxed, and they can recognize minute changes in your demeanor.  We must learn to be keenly observant of our dogs’ body language, because only then can we honor the relationship, the team partnership, with our dog.  And like any friendship, the more we respect each other’s needs, the closer we become.  And truly, isn’t that what we all want?  A close working partnership where our sports dog craves the mental stimulation and connection with us?

The book is clearly written and easy to read.  I found myself using many bookmarks, and referred to it over and over as I would work with my dog to learn a game, then move on to another one.  Control Unleashed games are simple yet powerfully effective, and  would make a valuable addition to anyone’s dog training shelf.  Whether you want to get the most out of your performance dog or just deepen your relationship with your canine best friend, Control Unleashed is the way to go.

Max is a southern boy for sure. His sire is from Alabama, his mother from Georgia and spent his first year and a half with us in Mississippi. His litter was bred for show competition, but he’s showing them all that he’s more than just a pretty face. He’s a true southern gentleman when he takes his treats during training, but watch your fingers if you offer him liver! This and his increase in running speed has earned him the nickname ‘Liver Man’.

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Max takes the hurdles of Flyball like a boss, but refuses to jump onto the couch or the bed. He prefers to sleep on the floor at your feet, or in his den (kennel). He’s definitely not a cuddler.

His favorite toy to bring his Daddy and Mommy at home is his raccoon that he’s had since he was five months old. Unless his Kong is within reach. Then he’ll bring it to the first human he sees and demand peanut butter. You’ll know the demand because he will stare at you as if he’s willing you to do his bidding.

By Melanie Gloede-Moore

Ballistic Racers Flyball Team put on an excellent flyball demonstration for the Polo spectators on Sunday afternoon July 7th 2013. The crowd watched and was amazed to see training techniques and various line-ups with all sizes, shapes and breeds of dogs. Many spectators had never seen the sport of flyball, a relay race for “Man’s Best Friend”.

Ballistic Racers even had their own Polo player on the team, Linda Drabova, with her dog Indie. Indie is one of the “height dogs” on the team. He and all the other small dogs on the team play a very important role, by keeping the height of the hurdles down.

It was a fun and enjoyable afternoon with a smile on every face at the Polo Match in Del Mar!