25 August 2010

Oh, hi readers, you can come back now because today we're talking about dog agility with a side of dog agility.

We have 2 weekends of dog shows coming up. Whole, entire weekends. Since I had no vacation this year, my big vacation is taking off 2 whole Saturdays! And going to 2 whole dog shows! Can you STAND the thrill and excitement of my life?

I hear the sounds of silence. I am actually VERY excited. I have gone to very few whole dog shows ever in my dog show career. I am a Sunday only pansy ass competitor most of the time. I waltz in on Sunday mornings, all la la la la la, totally skipping up the hill from the parking lot, when the hardcore and grizzled old full weekenders are wandering around, scowling and staring down and mumbling. Now I get to scowl and mumble too!

This weekend coming up is a plain old USDAA trial, and the weekend after is the Bay Team Southwest Regionals. A day of team, and 2 days of everything else. This is a really fun trial, and agility that many days in a row? Skort wearing mayhem. And sunscreen. And sun hats. Mayhem where SPF really matters.

We have some rough edges on the dog training front to smooth out, and have been practicing when we can. When usually equals not enough but better than nothing.

Fun and educational practice topics include:

Otterpop, you are so damn fast and blast off the startline so beautifully and do the most INSANE gambles when we practice and run so fast and turn so tight and you are being heartily rewarded for these skills so they translate to the show ring, please, please, pretty please. Otterpop, if you could run in the show ring for these 2 shows how you run when you practice, my dog agility lady credentials will go to capital letters. Otterpop, like this-Dog Agility Lady.

Is that an educational topic? Me and Otterpop get esoteric with our capitalization sometimes. Otterpop usually speaks in ALLCAPS. I am just asking for First Letter Capitalized from her. It should be easy.

Otterpop if you can just get one more SuperQ you will have an ADCh and forever, never, ever, ever have to jump 12" again. Oh, and a pairs Q that is a screwup of my record keeping and never running in pairs and please, please, pretty please let it not have a spread because she cannot jump 12" oxers anymore.

I probably shouldn't let Otterpop know I'm typing things like pretty please. That is no way to approach the Final SuperQ. Again, a quandry of capitalizations, like how you spell out ADCh. Agility Dog Champion. You are SO FREAKING close to being a champion, and yet so far away, Otterpop, when you turn on the stink eye in the show ring. Feel the LOVE, Otterpop. How do they do that in Peter Pan? You know when Tinkerbell, who is just a flashlight but I think has cancer and is about to die of dead flashlight batteries and the audience claps their hands because they BELIEVE? Can everyone clap their hands for Otterpop? So she feels the love? And runs like the wind?

I am desperate here. Are we off topic? This is desperation. No longer fun and educational. Just pathetic. Let's move on.

Gustavo and his running dogwalk, little training snag. The snag is, at 100% full speed with me running 100% as fast as I can when it's in a sequence, his footwork changes and sometimes he misses. I have been gathering exact proof of this with my tiny video camera. I burrow it down next to the yellow and after his turn, we all gather around the tiny screen in a huddle and watch his feet. Me and Gustavo. We discuss. I am backtracking to starting on the top of the plank and letting him blast down from there 5 times for every entire dogwalk because we see the good footwork there. So far so good. I am worried between the new rubber dogwalk surface at the trials and so many days of trialing, there are going to be misses at the dog show. I will keep up my game face and keep working at it.

Gustavo's hard weave poles. And weave poles in a gamble. It's the journey, kittens and these are looking good but a work in progress. The next 2 weeks have different weave poles-the dreaded 24" poles. He saw these once and could not weave. He was younger, and less sophisticated in the ways of the world then. Our fine intentions of getting to Power Paws where we could practice these this week just frittered away into life. We are going commando at the trial.

Gustavo bringing back the frisbee. A work in progress. Frisbee FREAKS him out as a dogwalk toy we have learned. You know what he likes for his dogwalk? Robot. Gustavo loves Robot more than anything. I bring along Robot.

Gustavo and his friend Table which isn't a friend for tap dancing on or climbing under. Ever. You just don't do that to your friends. I have been laying Table on the ground with no legs so it looks weird in preparation for the Rubber Table of Poison he will see the next 2 weekends. With it's sidekicks Rubber A-frame and Rubber Dogwalk and perhaps, most horrible, Rubber Teeter Totter.

Think nice thoughts for Gustavo, basically. This could be a hard couple of weekends for him. Everyone LOVES the rubber. They're all, he'll LOVE the rubber. Gustavo is deathly afraid of cigarette lighters. Sometimes he forgets who I am. He might not love the rubber, is all I'm saying. We're just going to pretend like it's the same old same old and carry on.

Gustavo, if you just run like the wind and stay with me and act like you know me the WHOLE time, I will be happy. You will be happy. I'm sure of it. I will protect you forever from cigarette lighters and teach you to love the Rubber. Which just sounds skeevy now, I've typed it so many times. Maybe because I said it had no legs.

Ruby has been practicing everything those guys practice. With no poles or a-frames. I think she loves her life. Also she always brings back the frisbee even though she prefers her tiny tennis ball. That's just the good sport Ruby is. I wonder if I subbed her in for Otterpop at 8" would anybody notice? You guys can't tell them apart can you? Ruby likes to run fast. She just has that little problem of can't see where she's going exactly. Keep her off the a-frame though, and out of those pesky, face wacking poles and the jumps teensy tiny and she does pretty darn good.

So, fun and educational, eh? You feel educated? You feel fun? Not? So sorry. Play again next time.


Jen Lindsay said...

Hey Laura,
If you want to get Gustavo exposed to some rubber like surfaces before the trial, maybe try some of the spongy, grip shelf/drawer liners. I picked mine up at Bed Bath and Beyond and use on a board to work on running dog walk training. It works really well and has nice grip for the dogs - should be easy enough to try out on your table so Gustavo can be exposed to a new surface on an old familiar friend. You can get the liners at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.

maryclover said...

Feeling fun, educated and you kept to your word and talked all agility all the time. Nothin' wrong with that!

Anonymous said...

Our dogs run on thin stall mat type material at one place we practice and they haven't batted an eye at the rubber chip surface. Even our greenie beanie dogs. So, can you rig up some running fun on some stall mats? Might help:)

team small dog said...

Very good ideas!!! If we have a rubber disaster this weekend, come Monday I am finding me some rubber!

agilityfoot said...

You're not making it three weekends of trials? What about VAST, Sept 11/12? Come on, you can at least drive over on Sunday.

team small dog said...

You are right, I probably will drive over for Sunday at VAST. If I remember to send my entries...