Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back To School

Hi Internet Peeps!

I have been sooo slacking on pic taking and post posting. We have not been doing as many dog park trips of late. More agility, more walk/jogs. Hard to train with camera. Easy to walk with camera, but only pics of dog asses result.

We had a 3-day trial over Labor Day weekend. It was one of those weekends that make you remember why you do this. It was so much fun! We did really well on Sat and Mon. Sunday was a bit of a wash, but the issues were all obviously handler-related! We had perfect weather, a very well-run trial, and great neighbors. Don’t great shade neighbors make a difference?

And guess who is going back to agility class?

Yes! Short Bus!

I decided to give classes another shot with Miss Kate. I help my instructor with her Beginner class. Kate has been having a lot of fun farting around on equipment after class. I started agility with her about 6-8 months after I got her. It was too soon. She was fine on individual pieces of equipment, but could not handle sequencing. Kate greatest motivator in life is to not be wrong (and, by “wrong” I mean in her eyes, not mine). If she saw what she though was the line and it wasn’t, she would just fall apart. She has a real hard time when she is not 100% sure of what you are asking. The girl does love her routines.

Ohai! I needs mah regulars!

I pulled her back then because it was just stupid. The only thing either of us was getting out of it was a hit to the checking account. I feel different about it now. I feel like we both have a lot we can learn even if we never get to the trial stage. I also feel that I have learned enough to be in a position to help her out more.

Needs help

Those of you agility folks remember the recent Just For Fun v. Title Chaser v. Hard-Core Competitor endless discussion on the Clean Run list? Yeah, that one. Well, my take on that whole thing is the very reason it has taken 3 years to make a stupid – in the grand scheme of things – decision about Kate.

I don’t give a shit why you trial as long as your dog remains your #1 priority. Bucking for the world team? Working on your ribbon collection? Just like hanging out with other crazy dog people? Great, great and great!

I have seen nationally known handlers come out of a ring and completely ignore their dog because a late rear-cross cue caused a spin. Throw leash over dogs’ head, dog walks behind you to go talk to other uber-hander about what went wrong. Gross.

On the other hand, I also know Just For Fun people who continue to run a dog that obviously doesn’t give two flying shits about agility or who are still, after a year of trailing, walking around a ring with head low and tail tucked. When do you make the decision that this activity is just not for that dog? That your dog is not ready? What are you trying to prove? That you can fix your “poor rescue?” Equally as gross.

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want Kate to be that dog.

I don’t want this look.

Like, ever


  1. Have fun with Kate in agility class!

    Buzz is really quick and likes to do tricks at home, but he's nuts to take to class because he just wants to flirt with the other dogs (he so loves other dogs) and search for dropped treats (there are lots). I'm hoping he'll settle down a wee bit as he ages, and my leadership skills will continue to improve; at some point we'll try again, too!

  2. An excellent post! If we really care about our dogs as much as we claim, and not about what we personally want, then we do what is in their best interest for their physical AND mental health. Sometimes that's competitive agility, sometimes it's just for fun, and sometimes it's a completely different activity altogether. Or, if you have lazy old seniors like mine, it's just a nice hike in the park or walk on the shoreline. If they are happy, safe and healthy, I'm happy - and that's what it's all about in my world.
    Thanks for a good read. I hope Kate has lots of fun.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly! Simon is such a scaredly that we're taking agility really slow. He absolutely loves it, but he's so shy that I want to make sure it stays that way. It really bothers me when people are so obsessed with what they want that they forget about their dogs' wishes.
    Good luck with Kate!

  4. Great post! Even tho we had to wait forever for it! :)
    I really enjoy reading about both your dogs. I love Kate and her "uncommoness"! Is that a word? I'd love to see her and Ranger from BCx4 chase a ball together!

  5. Here here! My Border collie is amazing at home and at the barn, but she'll never do competitive obedience or agility. Her gifts lie elsewhere-- namely being calm and watchful around the barn and at horse shows. I can take her anywhere and she's completely reliable. Not only that, but helpful too.
    Thanks for the post.

  6. I admit that on at least one occasion I have left the ring and cried - like at Regionals, where we effed up, and those 10 of those 25 lost points were the difference between podium placement and not. But I still tried to play with my dog afterward! And with some distance I realized how stupid I was being - it's a game of jumps and climbing shit. What a dumb thing to get upset about!

    OTOH, I know at least 3 people who run dogs that regularly stress out and leave the ring, or shut down. Why do they keep running these dogs? It's painful to watch.

    I am blessed that two of my three dogs love to play the sport (Woo is totally useless) and continue to excel despite my ill temper and easily frustrated personality. I will probably retire Tweed mostly after Nationals next year, which makes me sad, but I'd rather have a fit and healthy senior dog for many years to come than a gimped up old dog that I made play for way too long.

    have fun Kate!