11 July 2007

Clutter and Gambling, together at last.

There's Magnolia. She's a deer fortune telling booth that is dry docked in my garage. We used to call the garage the Studio, connoting an artist used it for working in, then during the Former Artist period it became coverted to a garage. Now it holds things like the bikes. The house paint. The tools. Magnolia. The horrificly heavy, antique wood couch that didn't fit in the front door from my parents when they were selling their house. I just felt like putting that picture in, since I have been on mess patrol and run around my house at night throwing stuff away into brown paper bags.

I just signed the dogs up for a Gambler's Seminar with Jim Basic. He is my favorite agility teacher, he is Power Paws, along with his wife Nancy Gyes. I am so lucky to have him just 45 minutes away in San Jose. He is one of the top guys teaching agility anywhere. Both he and his wife are big high muckety mucks of championship winning at everything. It's next Sunday, all day, and will likely be hot and full of people with fast border collies who are already good at gamblers.

We are not talking poker game or how to better pull the slot arm in reno.

Gamblers is an agility event or "game". The object is to go around a course, taking whatever obstacles you want, as fast as you can in a short time period-usually 25 seconds or 30 seconds. Each obstacle has a point value, and you want a lot of points, so you make up your course accordingly. This is usually fast and furious with some oddball courses designed to max out the points. At the end of the time period, a whistle blows or there is a buzz from the electric timer and you have to complete a fixed sequence of about 4-5 obstacles from a distance. There's a line of tape on the ground you cannot pass. The trick is that dogs like to have you somewhat near them to do a sequence and you have to either sort of trick your dog to think you are right there, or have such a perfectly trained dog it easily handles sequences at a distance.

I fall into the somewhat tricking your dog category, although we are both working on the perfectly trained part.

Ruby actually has an accumulation of Masters Gamblers Q's now. I never thought we would get it but somehow we did. We miss sometimes. Otterpop still runs in Advanced, and needs to Q out to move up to Masters. We have a hard time getting the Q's because a lot of the time Gamblers is only held on Saturday and we hardly ever show on Saturday, so when we do run it we really need to get it!

Master's means you are working from like 30' away. It seems far. There are some that, when I walk the course, make me feel like the biggest loser knowing Ruby will never get it. And then she does. And there are some that, when I walk the course, I think, oh yeah. We have this one. We have practice it a million times. Then I make some kind of error like turning away too quick or moving my hand, and in that flash of a second, I pull her off the thing and that's it. No Q.

Otterpop doesn't even like to be an inch a way from me running on anything at show, but if she's in a fast mood and flying, she will. So her gamblers Q's have been dependant on how she is running that day. If it's a slow day, forget it. I need a bit of strategy for her, making up a course of obstacles and moves that don't make her nervous so that she's fast and speedy when the whistle blows and I can send her off away from me and she doesn't feel Sad and Abandoned. Poor Otterpop. Agility is a game of moods for her.

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