Its one of those things like... if your significant other was cheating on you, would you want to know?
If you had one year to live, would you want to know?
Well, maybe not THAT serious, but you get what I mean. Those hard questions that make you chose between blissful ignorance and a reality that requires your attention.
For me, I always say I'd like to know. Lay it on me; tell me everything. That way- even if it's not good- I have a chance. I can do or not do, but there is a chance.
Even still, today I'm wondering if I'd rather not know.
Yesterday I had The Dog in for an appointment with a very knowledgeable vet in regards to agility ability. I had some general concerns regarding her shoulders (that dang ding again!) and wanted an overall evaluation of her performance ability. She is becoming a far more solid dog in terms of mood and speed predictability but some things still make me wonder- is everything ok? Knowing the type of learner The Dog is, by now we should have steady weaves. There is very little reason her Aframe should vary in performance. Yet both of these obstacles change weekend to weekend. Hmmm. Put that together with the ding and our recent discovery that she should basically live at a chiropractor and you get: Questions. So to the doctor we went.
Answers are hard. We found that the shoulder ding was healed, but due to overcompensation she was experience some strain and pain in the other shoulder. OK. Acute. Easy enough to rehab away. The rear end though had some surprising discoveries. I've always known she was a bit tight in her muscle structure, but without a real point of comparison I didn't realize how tight. And how potentially damaging that is. It all makes sense, and it explains a lot of quirky things she does, but still was surprising to hear. I've always regarded her as a 'good' jumper- but it seems her form is less than ideal for the long haul. While I won't get into a debate on what does or doesn't make for good, safe jumping, I will admit that there is a need to at least build her ability to extend if for no other reason than to lessen the chance for possible injury (which at this point, sounds pretty high).
I won't say I wasn't upset over the results- there was a lot of initial "MY DOG IS BROKEN!!!" but I'm doing better now after speaking to some people who've been there and then some. I didn't get the impression I have to stop working her (in fact, my homework insists on a lot of retraining) but still felt so guilty running her at the beginning of the day today. Then it seemed a bit silly. She is careful with her body in agility. I always do my best to control for extraneous variable. She would rather run than not and I'd rather keep going than stop too. I have, as I said, homework, so there is a plan of action. I've made a choice to do in this case that I feel good about.
And it seems really, REALLY silly after our second run in particular. She's running well. She had fun. Her jumping isn't as bad as I thought- she can extend some and she certainly isn't slowing down. So I'll take it as yet another skill to train in the name of The Project.
Evidence that she's probably not broken...
But also, evidence that there IS something that needs some fixing.
As far as how today actually went with all this on my mind, she did qualifying in Standard and was in fourth, and qualified in Novice Fast too. I would HOPE that my Silver Gamblers Dog would make it through a tunnel and a jump but YOU NEVER KNOW! Jumpers, the first class, went poorly. The fact that I was worried she- the"ticking time bomb"- would explode led to some passive handling. Combine that with me thinking it was a nice easy course that I could assume her path equaled DOOM. Oh, yeah, also I had recently been training some distance tunnel sends. That equaled extra DOOM. She took off like a shot on the easy start, and completely missed my passive rear crosses, instead ending up focused on the tunnel pulling her far off course TWICE. It was all bad bad bad so I walked us off. Not mad at her in the slightest- some times it just can't be salvaged. My mindset was wrong from the get go and she was just playing the wrong game (if that was Snookers I'm sure she woulda ROCKED it). After that I got some input, hit reset and we were good to go.
The Pup (who detests second billing) is anything but broken. (If you don't count her teeth falling out like MAD.) Here's her most recent ST e-course video.
Her heeling is spectacular. I will never teach heeling another way (bold statement, but I don't know how anything could have better results?). She is progressing on her side 2o2o and pole grabs too. Also a clip of her skateboarding- she prefers to leap onto it and ride it, so I'm making her go slow and actually push along. The best part is her cik/cap turns. She does know the directionals and is coming along pretty ideally, I've been told. Fun fun fun!
I had an 'official' measurement on her today- 14.75". The judge of measure thought she was quite likely to stay under 16" at this point. Fingers crossed. So very, very crossed. For both my girls!