Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Introducing… Practice Dog!

One of my longest running, most basic goals has been to get the Dog I run with in practice to show up at shows.  Consistently.  She’s shy… like Punxsutawney Phil. Sometimes she peeps out for a run or two, maybe even a whole day, but I don’t usually have the pleasure of her company for an entire weekend.  

And for an entire three-day show? Pfff.  Fogedaboudid.

I’ve said it before though, that girl usually ends up surprising me.
This past weekend was the MAC 3- day, the last outdoor show of the year for us. All three tournaments plus the full load of Master’s classes.   The Dog had 16 runs and in every last one she was… herself. Her REAL self.  Practice Dog!

Why now? I dunno.  The weather was AWESOME, that probably helped. The courses were really fun and engaging, so that was a plus.  I’m sure the work with training for food and making practice more like a show setting had something to do with it too.  I’ve been trying O so hard not to worry about her though.  And I didn’t this weekend. At all.  Que sera, sera and all that.  

Hm. I guess we’ll just have to go with a multitude of contributing factors, eh?

Anyways though, 16 runs, so obviously time for a mega mix montage recap:
13/16 clean runs
One naughty pants off course (Grand Prix of course, why wouldn’t that curse continue?)
3 bars down (2 mine, must remember to stay clear of the takeoff zone; one hers, lazy feet into chute)
Two really missed dogwalks
Zero missed Aframes
Happy teeters all over the place
50/50 for weaves (one missed exit, flippy flopping between fast and slow performances)
Placement in most classes
Silver Standard title thinger
An unprecedented TWO clean Steeple rounds, finished up 2012 qualifiers for that
Team qualifier checked off for 2012 as well
#2 for 22” dogs in Team for the day.

The absolute BEST part was that for the first time The Dog ACTUALLY RAN SOME DOGWALKS!!!                For REAL! IN PUBLIC!  She started out day one AMAZINGLY, offering a running performance in every class.  Yeah, she super missed one of them bailing off the side but that was unavoidable at this point because of where we are in training (had to baby-sit a safe entry and was REALLY far behind).   Subsequent days were much more hit or miss. I think the reversed schedule on day two resulted in some tiredness on her behalf by the time she had to do one and I know she won’t really run them if she’s at all tired. Day three was a little worse but the course designs were much less friendly than day one for sure AND there was undoubtedly some more tiredness.   But I don’t care. She did it, she can do it again, and it’s getting there!! I’m so proud. When I watched the video I pretty much cried.

…I can’t believe my happiness is that tied to a hunk of metal, wood and rubber…

Here’s the montage of dogwalks I managed to get recorded (again, sorry, no kicky 80’s montage music):

The second best part would be all her terrific standard runs.  We’ve been working SO HARD on bringing together a whole course in practice.  Even the Grand Prix run was stellar aside from the part where the curse touched us.  Both of her regular standard and Team runs were fast and happy and included all the elements I’m looking for- nice weaves, non sticky contacts, and an auto drop on the table where applicable.  I see room for time improvement on some turns, but it’s so nice to see her digging in and having fun.  (Hmmm… probably why the turns were wide to begin with… I was watching the pretty doggie having a good time playing!)
Some standard runs…

OK, the for real best part was how much fun she had.  I enjoy seeing my happy dog. Sometimes she looks like she’s going to barf when we go to the line.  But this weekend, when she got going, whatever was on her little furry mind sort of melted off.  And whenever we finished she ran over to me like “OMG!!! Did you see that, I am awesomeness, HIGH FIVE!” Yes, Dog, you are total awesomeness!
BTW, The Pup would like everyone to know that although it sounded like it, she was not being brutally and repeatedly axe-murdered this past weekend. That was called CHEERING, haven’t you ever heard of CHEERING???  Psh. Philistines. 

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome!!!! Yay for happy, confident dogs! She really looks great!

    I didn't get to see much of the masters rings between working and running on the starters side. And honestly I wasn't sure who you were anyway until I watched your video :P I don't know any of you USDAA people!