Monday, June 20, 2011

Gettin’ Dirrty Redux

Another weekend spent playing in the dirt.

I have to admit, when we first pulled up to the facility after an annoying hour drive in the drizzly fog my heart sank a little and I started wondering what horrors we had signed up for.  Attractive on the outside it was not.  Mucky muck, flies and a horse tramping around. And smelly.  

But actually, the arena itself was quite perfect for agility. No dust. Did anyone else notice that? I didn’t, not until I went to blow my nose and…nothing!  Amazing.  Nice surface for running too.  I didn’t think so at first, but I certainly didn’t feel like I spent the weekend running on concrete or quicksand this morning. Plus the whole bonus of a roof, considering it decided to rain and be disgusting, as is the norm lately.  So… good choice, ACTS!

(But can we do something about the ungodly amount of spiders please? It was like Arachnophobia meets Eight Legged Freaks meets Air Bud or similar movie with smart dogs.  *Shudder* Too bad I can’t use my worker vouchers for therapy…)
To be fair though- I think my first impression may have had something to do with my overall lack of desire to be showing at all on Saturday.  I don’t know what was up with that.  Maybe just a case of the blahs. Not enough serotonin recently?  Anyways, my attitude was a bit off, therefore we were a bit off as a team.  The Dog was a good girl, I think she had fun anyways, but by the end of the day was looking at me like she seriously thought I needed to get it together.  Ok FINE.

Sunday I was much better.  I figured out by the time we got there that I was running dumb and making my teammate crazy.  So one kick in the pants later and we were off.  Sunday was a good day; we both had fun, all the better when we have fun together.
So, recap. Positively positive things of a non-quantifiable manner:

*The Dog felt extremely loose this weekend. I don’t recall the last time she stretched out as well as she did going into the first run.  Full extension on all parts.  She retained that throughout, which gives me warm fuzzies. Further fuzzies because I could tell she felt good. Does this mean I’ve seen the last of the shoulder thing? Who knows, but we may be on the right track.

*On the subject of feeling good, she had just lovely happy contacts. I think her Aframe performance is a huge indicator of her physical status and her Aframes were great. Maybe missed one- none called though.  Her teeters were nice and not sticky or fly-offy, and her dogwalks…ahhhhhhhhhhhh… Sigh of joy.  Remember, I had no expectation, so I just about hugged her when her first one of the weekend she ran up…across… and off.  Not full tilt of course (baby steps!) but constant movement without hesitation.  And imagine my surprise when she did it again… and again… and for every dogwalk, all weekend long. Holy. Crapola. And you can bet your best dog that I marked the HECK out of those dogwalks. Click/Treat me.  The beauty part is (yes, there’s more!) that I actually get ‘why this weekend?’ and not last time.  Watch out, Dog, I’m starting to understand that enigma that is YOU! Mu-wahahaha.


Positively saddening things:
*WEAVES! ARGHHHH! Do we work them? YES. In all manner of scenario? YES. Do I reward them? YESSSS.  But issues persist.  I’m still weeping over her amazing, perfect gamblers run yesterday, amazing right up to the point where she bailed out of the poles at 10 at the end of the gamble and then ran away in shame.  Clearly, she knew it was wrong- I hadn’t even registered it yet so she couldn’t have been keying off my reaction. So why not just stay in? And why not even try to get in the poles in the first place? Grand Prix was a big ol’ NQ after a weave refusal- she just made a big circle, walking though them at pole 6 or so. Um, hello Dog, I think you missed something.  Wa.  

All things quantifiable:

0/2 in Gamblers- Wha?? I don’t think that’s ever happened.  I’ll just take this to mean that we are getting better about being a team and it isn’t so easy for her to be Independent China Traveler anymore?

2/2 in the Steeple rounds- also not sure she’s ever been clean in both rounds before.  4th in round 1, 2nd in round 2- just behind White Dog, who wanted to prove to her mother that she isn’t old yet.  The Steeple Q was number 25 too, so that finished her Silver Tournament thinger. 

4/4 in Snookers- no, it wasn’t a special Snookers-palooza Trial.  I just ran all three girls yesterday.  My plan on day one was unrehearsed, nonsensical, and spontaneous, and naturally didn’t go over very well, so I worked hard to find a fun but pointy plan for the Dog on Sunday. Success!  So much so that mom handed me the girls and Success! Success! I think that may have been the most fun I’ve had in that class to date; The Dog was driving and mind-reading and for once we both ran all out the entire time, which was really fun. She did take a bar for our first color in the opening, but would absolutely have won if not for that- her time was blazin’! Really, a first for us on a few levels.  Black Dog did the same plan and was very good; I think she ended up winning despite the hairy start (Stay? Em, no. STAY. Em, NO. STA-ok, we're going! YES!). White Dog did a crazy improv plan, but she did it really well- even got her Aframe.

1/1 Pairs and Jumpers-3rd in Jumpers, very nice run for The Dog- she absolutely loved the course and put out great effort for the last class of the weekend.

1/2 Standard- first bar down on the first day, but a nice run from her. It was a bit trappy; I gave her a lot of trust and she handled it well.  Day two was a lovely run, very snappy and clean. She even won, which is worth mentioning as it’s another ‘first ever’ moment.
The Pup had a great time too- she learned how to bark at dogs when they run and how to tug her leash psychotically when she gets that excited. She also was exposed to a barn for the first time and actually was really well behaved- I thought for sure she’d turn Total Terrier but she did well on heeling and trick work despite the atmosphere.  Despite all the fun she’s maintaining show etiquette…mostly… and is still not screaming her head off when in her crate.  Still waiting to see how long that lasts…
Showing for just one day next weekend. Let’s see if I manage to get the mud off anything before then. I am too scared to go through anything now though- I keep thinking a spider hitched a ride back with us and laid eggs in my rain coat or something.  

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