Monday, June 27, 2011

Delusional Illusions...

...of power.

That's what I have here. 

I say I'm the Leader, but it's a funny joke. Hahah, see how we have a laugh at that?  

Some bloggers are smarter that others and realized this fact long ago: The dogs, seriously, are in charge. 

I'm but a pawn whose main functions are Toy/Food Supplier and Medical Bill Payer.  

Well, maybe not a pawn. I doubt they have any serious plans around my use, so I can't quite rate myself a pawn.  More like a lackey, maybe. 

Anyways, I came to some conclusions after thinking a LOT on the drive home Saturday from the TIM USDAA show; some about being a slave to the dogs and some about the dogs in general.  It was a two hour drive...each way... so believe me this is all well thought out. Me and Myself had a pretty good dialogue and really hashed out some points that have been up for discussion for some time. 

One: The Dog is not the simpering sack of stress she so often claims to be.  

Two: By presenting herself in that manner, she has enslaved me with RULES, leaving her completely the boss. Wiley minx. 

Three:  Outside agility is simply not our best friend anymore. 

Four:  I need to be a better "cookie" for The Pup.

To expand...

First, The Pup.  I love that she has a lot of joy for everything. She is a very happy dog, free from any mental hang ups at this point. Nothing gets to her, nothing brings her down and when she wants something she is going to go for it. But we have a slight issue with some hedonistic tendencies. I know she's a baby and has typical baby ADD and part of it is that I give her a lot of choice in doing what she wants and the other part is that she likes everything therefore wants to choose everything.  Up until now it hasn't been a huge problem- but then she bolted to go chase a doggie while we were working recalls. That shouldn't happen. She needs to pick me when we are working.  So I'm going to be more amazing I guess.  I'm also going to have to limit the social stuff a bit more, or at least put control to it.  She's young, maybe there is still time before she thinks she is TOTALLY the boss?? 

Here, I am making my job as Food Supplier work for me!
Which brings me back to The Dog.  I've decided that yes, she has some anxiety, but I also think she is A Girl Who Knows What She Wants. I believe her anxiety is pretty much centered around her Type A desire for perfection. But I am really starting to get the sense that some of the odd behaviors she throws are signs of a stubborn dog not getting her way.  Before the scales were more tipped in the direction of Must Be Perfect, but now I think it's tilting the other way and to an extent I'm being buffaloed.  

Example: Before in Snookers, I had to have a perfectly clear plan- pretty much a normal course- for her to do well.  If she couldn't tell where we were going she'd plod along looking worried and if I repeated something too much it stressed her out ("What, did I do it wrong before? Why else do I need to do it again???").  Now, I do still have to give her lots of information, but can  get a nice run from her even with a kooky plan.  BUT one of her "new rules" is not allowing me to turn her away from the course.  With growing frequency, if I try anything that makes away from the equipment she turns it into Custer's Last Stand.   And since I obviously want to have nice runs, look at the clever way I would be forced to comply once again with her rules!

But now that I'm on to her, I think I have a few ways to get a grip back on Leadership duties. Of course, it's all good for her since it will result in tons of rewarding for being biddable and not stubborn, but nothing wrong with a little win-win.  Plan one is to steal the 1000 toy tosses idea. Not sure who came up with it, but it's just a way of making myself accountable for rewarding more while at the same time getting her commitment levels up. In general, I think I can let go of the idea that she is a soft little thing and start having some more expectations. Sensitive yes, soft no. I'm fine with some of her rules- no start line is fun!- but I think she needs to start meeting me part way. 

As for the last thing, about the great outdoors, she just can't maintain in the heat. I've always known she was a little intolerant, but it's so apparent now that I've been doing some compare/contrast (bringing out my mad grade school skillz).  So we're going to limit outdoor shows, either less classes, one day only, or not going to bother. And I'll try getting her on some energy boosters too.  This is another "rule" I'm ok with. I don't particularly enjoy running in the heat and while she loves rainy cold days I can't say I am either a fan or able to predict those. 

So yeah. Believe me our one day entered provided a lot of evidence to these conclusions.  The Dog had a lovely Gamblers run first thing (in cold weather) where I only asked her for her favorite things (straight lines, contacts and tunnels), followed by a clean but weirdo Standard run (HOT; had to start with icky weaves-against her rule- and so then didn't want to play until we made up on the table, where she tried to give me kisses...AGAIN! Then was a bullet. Weirdo). Grand Prix was clean and extremely efficient, loved the course, but down a notch in the heat from where it could have been. Then abysmal Snookers run where she got mad and stopped playing when I (ah-HA!) asked her to turn away from the course right off the bat.  1-7- TWEET.  I declared that I was unhappy by not letting her get the ball AND making her watch while I ran Black Dog.  One would think that a super squishy soft dog would not bounce back from that 'extreme punishment,' however it wound her WAY up so our last run was an amazing one in Jumpers (again, cool weather and her favorite type of Jumpers course). She made straight lines out of all the serps- yee-haw. 

Really, it was pretty easy to come to the conclusions I did. Maybe the two hour drive home was a good thing.  Though the dogs disagreed and started screaming half-way through it- only to be appeased by chicken nuggets.

Nugget me, Slave! 
See, they are so the boss of me. 

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