01 March 2010

Otterpop and the physics of distance=time.

Me and Otterpop had some quality time together yesterday taking a class in the forest from one of our favorite agility pals, Jim Basic. We usually drive over the mountain to take a lesson from Jim, so it was very exciting to have him drive over the mountain to our friend Kathleen's forest backyard!

The class was called Advanced Distance Seminar. This is our agility pal Marcia and she is showing some Advanced Distance with her dog Ariel. My non agility friends, usually when you do agility you do not have to be far away from the things you want your dog to jump over and run over. You just face where you want to go and point a lot with pointy little fingers and it generally works out just fine. But sometimes, you have to be far, far away, mostly because of the monkey on my back named Gamblers, and because of this, we have to teach our dogs Distance.

For some people, this isn't such a big deal. Art runs slow and has this teensy tiny, speedy little Papillon dog. And doing stuff at a distance, totally easy for them. Possibly is his bright blue hat. Or this guy is one heckuva dog trainer.

Jim can talk about distance with his eyes shut. It's his thing. Although Art looks skeptical. Jim took notes on us after he set up sequences. He thought he was going to write notes for me and Otterpop that said, "Laura and Otterpop are STILL gambling failures and haven't learned anything from me at all and are fired from being my students." But ha HA! Jim! Boy did I fool you! Because, raise your hand right now if you were there, and you can back me up here, that we did every single exercise (ok, except my spaz attack at the a-frame) without death defying screw-ups. Who is raising their hands?

NOBODY? I am not kidding here! Ask Jim next time you see him. He will probably say, it is unbelievable but it is true, Otterpop does Distance. She is a physics wonder! Distance=Time! The voice speaks but the body shouts and Laura's body has learned to HOLLER and Otterpop knows where to go now, far away! You will just have to trust me on this.

It is curious, though, that we still do not get Gambler's Q's. Right Jim the other Jim?

Becky does not even know us. She has a very cute dog named Freddie and lives in Southern California. I was all, HI! My name is Laura and I do not EVER get gambler's Q's! She was very nice to me all the same. Maybe if you know her, give her this photo because I thought it was a nice photo. I felt a little guilty when we left because I was just driving down the street to the forest to take the dogs for a lovely walk before it got dark to the biggest redwood tree and she had to drive all the way back to Southern California.

That's Linda in the foreground and that fluffy bit is her dog Echo. Linda feels my Gambler's pain. Me and Linda are sort of on the sisterhood of we keep plugging along trying to get those Gambler's Q's. Mardee is in the background. Mardee gets Gambles all the time with her dog. That's why she is just hanging out there in her clogs and not running.

I guess this is where you would like to know what we learned. Good god. He had us out there running around non stop for 8 hours. I was exhausted. I ran Otterpop every single run and hopefully did not take years off her crummy leg but it was just too much fun not to. I have 8 pages of notes and drills and diagrams with little arrows and so forth that say things like "DUH! ALERT! ALERT!" and "DON'T FORGET TO PRETEND IT IS A REAR CROSS" and "BE SNEAKY ABOUT CONVERGING HELLO SUBTLETY". Perhaps I will share these with you, or perhaps not until I start getting those Gambler's Q's.


Kathleen said...

I'm raising my hand! I saw O.P. (as Jim calls her)run every exercise beautifully with great distance and confidence. Great job, Laura and Otterpop! I know those Gamblers Q's will be coming in mass quantites from now on.

Unknown said...

I know Becky and Freddie! I miss you Becky!!! I will send her the photo and the link to team small dog.

Also, can't wait to ask Jim about Otterpops awesome gambling skills. I'll see him this Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, please PLEASE share your golden nuggets so those of us far, far away can gleen knowledge before our dogs give up on us.

Kat L from Michigan

team small dog said...

I'm glad someone raised their hand! We have proof, now we just have to keep trying to do distance at a dog show.

Yes Wendy, send Becky the photo!

If I can start getting gambler's Q's, I will share chicken mcnuggets. Golden ones. I did try a couple of the hard exercises with Gustavo (who likes distance, a little too much) yesterday, using our pal Robot, and they worked great. Robot is a good distance partner.

Becky said...

Hey Laura! It was great to meet you last weekend! Otterpop was quite a star...I would never have thought that distance work was any problem for you guys! It was a great seminar. I have pages and pages of notes with things to work on!

The drive home was long, but definitely worth it!

Hope to see you again. If I come up that way for a trial, I'll look for you on Sunday!!


Natalie and my papillon said...

I hope I have an obstacle course like that in our back yard. My dog would surely love it.