06 September 2009

So how's that fancy dog show working out for you?

Here. Enjoy some fluffy chute pictures I took during the Grand Prix while you hear my tale of whiney whingey woe from the dog show.

Otterpop stood there on the startline. She comes prancing over there from chasing her frisbee and flying over a practice jump. She's ready. She's leaping around, she's tugging on her frisbee. All perky and happy and dog agility face on. Barky and frisky and feisty and focused. We put frisbee down on the score table, go out to that startline, and she stands there, motionless.

I've walked, I have a plan, I'm ready, we're going to go out there and ace that Masters Standard course. It's going to be a good one. I can tell. She's been practicing this, she's been running fast and furious and we're ready to go out there and compete against all these good dogs. Lots of speedy short dogs from all over California and Arizona and I dunno where else here and we're gonna see how she measures up.

And she cocks an eye at me, and gives me this eyeball that says, F*%k You. Looks me dead in the eye, and right there on the startline gets back at me for all the mailmen I don't let her eat. All the barking I put an end to. All the times I demand the stick back. If Otterpop had fingers, that middle one would be slowly unfurling, right there on the startline, as the robot voice from the timers goes GO.

Go. She just stops. And gives me the icey cold stare of a sociopath. Or at least a sullen teenager when you take away the crackberry and the car keys. Not sure which is more dangerous.

Revenge. REVENGE. Revenge by horribly embarrassing me and taking all the fun out of our run because I just pull her out of the ring because I cannot bear to run her when she isn't trying, when she's just dialing in something other than everything she should be. It freaks me out and she knows it and she's found my hole. The dog show is valuable to the human lady and if you really screw up the dog show, you will stab the human lady squarely in the heart and ha HA! Because Otterpop is NEVER quiet and NEVER motionless and NEVER slow except for now, in dog shows and ha HA STAB through the heart.

And then an hour or so later Otterpop goes on to win Masters Gamblers and earn another precious Gambler's Q. Running gleefully and steady and no problem handling that hard to handle line from so far away. The crowd goes wild because, good god, that was OTTERPOP that just got that gamble! I am freaking out of the joy of it all. I just imagined that whole revenge scenario. Too many Clint Eastwood movies. She's a good dog and she tries hard and we just got another one of those Gambler's Q's.

And then later on in the day, right before Steeplechase, the look comes back. That says, I HATE YOU and I HATE DOG AGILITY and I'll show you. Tries to walk through some weave poles and I run her out the back side of the ring and don't even look back and carry her out to the car to sit there because I don't even know what to do with a problem like Otterpop.

So that's how the dog show is going. Kind of like that. That's Kathleen. Her dog shows don't go like that.

Gustavo had some fiasco earlier in the day. A sloppy mayhem run, followed by a run with a jaunt right out of the ring to a guy feeding treats to his dog out of an ice chest and how could Gustavo pass that up? All the other dogs did, but not Gustavo. That's just my bad training and my Gustavo. Followed by a win in Snookers that included having to do a teeter totter. He looked at it, he hesitated, I told him he could do it and he did. So he's fine. Not great, but not terrible. Just Gustavo. Inconsistent. Very inconsistent.

Otterpop had a good pairs run Friday night. Her partner made a fatal error and that was that. Hobbes had an exciting pairs run when I ran him with Rob and his other dog. I think they got 2nd of all the 26" dogs. I was just happy he didn't go running after them on their part of the course. I had a 5 fault standard with him on Sunday, but it was a good run. Hard course. One that I had been very much looking forward to running Otterpop on if she hadn't flipped me that bird off the startline and gone to the dark side. Seether. We're both still seething.

Raymond and Tater in the Grand Prix. Tater and Ruby go WAY back.

My friends and dog consultants act baffled or won't tell me the truth of what they think. Ask if she's hot? Spooked? Sore? Maybe they have dogs that won't do the dogwalk contact at the dog show even though they practice every day and never miss at home. But no one knows what to do with Otterpop.


Kathleen said...

Oh, Otterpop, why must you torture Laura so?? Now be a good girl tomorrow and run like the wind.

Good for Goo getting that VERY tough gamble!!! Way to go, Goo!!

Nice picture of Annie and me. Perfect timing getting that shot coming out of the chute. I didn't know I got my feet all twisted up like that when I ran.....

Anonymous said...

TSD Coach, I feel your pain! You are not alone! I also have a 12" dog who can beat the Big Time Teams on a good run, but then on other runs she mopes around the course like I am carrying an electrified cattle prod. :( Sometimes I know for sure what is causing it, like fall/winter-weather trials where people are crowded around the sides of the ring in big puffy jackets. Sometimes she is hot, and even though she will run around in the backyard at 100mph when it is 100-degrees out, she doesn't feel like giving it her all for whatever reason. And sometimes, who knows?!?!?
She has been doing agility for 4 years, so this is not a green dog thing, this is just How It Is. This is a rescue dog who plugged in all her brain synapses all criss-crossedly and haywire before I could get to her and make sure she didn't turn out all schizo. I'm still always brainstorming, and trying to come up with some new ideas on what to do, always trying to keep it super positive and feeding into my dog's obsessive frenzy that can so easily tip over into Seether.
Haven't found the greatest solution yet, but just wanted to let you know that you AREN'T ALONE TSD leader! I know exactly how disappointing it can be sometimes, but keep plugging away! If I ever figure out the magical potion to multiple-personality brilliant diva syndrome, I will come back here asap and share the awesome secret.