14 May 2007

Dog show duJour.

This last weekend started at 4:30am, the time I had the clock set to. Luckily, Timmy had to go out at 3:30am, and I never went back to sleep, so I didn't even need to hear the alarm. Thanks Timmy! Ruby loves to get up early for agility-she knows that's where we're going and sort of runs around the house while I'm getting ready in general excitement. Otterpop, on the other hand, gets into bed with Gary and I have to drag her out of there when it's time to get in the car. Timmy just gets confused as to why everyone is up in the middle of the night with him.

We get into the car at 4:45, ready for the exciting and fast 2 1/2 hour drive ahead of us. The dogs go automatically asleep. I have 2 travel mugs of coffee ready. Ipod plugged in. Car has been packed all night. I have even started making my sandwiches at night due to forgetting my sandwiches (I hate dog show fat food) too many times.

This week's show was in Elk Grove. Somewhere between Stockton and Sacramento. There are many cows and a prison near by. I have to be alert not to miss it's freeway exit. If I drive extra fast, I can get there in about 2 hours. I love my ipod so much-that has made dog agility Sundays that much easier except the drive to Elk Grove has a lot of weird radio zones where it doesn't work as well (it plays over FM radio on a magic thing) so my This American Life episodes become unlistenable at some point. I only wish I could talk to my ipod so I didn't have to look at it to find new things to listen to. It's possible I can and I just don't know how.

I got there before 7am, found a perfect place to set up, and set up my little camp. It was hot, so I brought my tent thing and put the dogs' xpen and crate underneath. I put a ugly green shade cloth over the whole thing for Otterpop (escape artist) and so they don't have to look at dogs walking back and forth all day.

They both had 5 classes each, although I ended up scratching Otterpop's last jumpers run of the day in the heat. Otterpop had one great, fast run inside the covered arena. The rest of her runs were just kind of lackadasical-she sort of lopes around then wants to go play fast with her frisbee. At least she isn't barking at judges anymore. I think she is still a little stressed out about being in the ring without her toy, and I think it will go away with the right kind of training. I just have to figure out what that is.

Ruby was on fire. Her first class it was bad onfire though, because she was flying off of contacts and running every which way. She settled down to good and controllable fast later on, won a couple classes, got a couple Q's (Qualifying score) and then started hitting bars by the end of the day. The bar hitting is disturbing. This was at a lower jump height, and she still takes off long enough at top speed that she just jumps thru them.

Otterpop Q'ed in everything, and actually won all her classes as well, but the competition at her level in CPE is pretty low so it's not saying a whole lot. No one believes me when I tell them she is the faster of the 2 dogs. Otterpop never lopes anywhere. Except in the dog show ring.

We made it out of there around 5pm and were home by 7:30ish. It might seem insane, but I really love these dog shows. I don't have many friends at them. I am shy and also I have a hard time relating to most of the ladies there. I sort of hang out on my own, work a lot (if I'm not running, I am working at a ring) and run my dogs. I love working rings and watching all the runs. I am considering becoming a CPE judge at some point, although without a practice field to make up courses with, it would be a challenge. CPE has a lot of heavy ranch type ladies with hard working dogs and who smoke and wear all dog themed clothing in plus sizes. A lot of tightly curled gray hair. A few Pat types-there are definitely a lot of lesbians in dog agility, CPE has the Pat type ones that are easy to identify sex of though because of the sports bras visible under t-shirts in the heat. And hot it was, in the 80's. Ruby used to not run in the heat, now you just show her a piece of chicken and tell her that's waiting for her if she's fast, and it works like a charm. Otterpop isn't quite so easy. She's a little more complicated than Ruby.

Ruby has her neurosis, but is pretty cut and dried. She just is a worry wart. Otterpop, on the other hand, is a hard dog to figure out sometimes. She is plain old stubborn. Ruby wants to do the right thing but can't always manage it. Otterpop does not want to do the right thing. She pushes buttons. She is a brat at heart. Timmy is just Timmy, and he doesn't have to go to the dog shows. He stays home with Gary and has pancakes and sleeps in.


pluckyfluff said...

man laura- it sounds like otter pop is the dog version of sea biscuit. sea biscuit looked funny and was an ornery brat at heart and nobody believed that the speed was in there. until his trainer cracked the code...figured him out. i am fully confident that you can crack her code! you are not only a little-dog trainer but a horse trainer too...so you have it coming from both sides. maybe otter pop is sea biscuit re-incarnated? .....just in time for dog agility to go big time!


team small dog said...

Yes, it is a matter of just cracking the code. I have a secret decoder ring somewhere that I can use. Thank you Lexi, you always know what to do!