30 August 2010

The time Team Small Dog went to all the days of the SMART USDAA dog show, Part 2.

Two days in a row of running as fast as we can with our dogs? Trying to explain to them when to jump and when NOT to jump, get into the tunnels and the poles and all that other stuff we do at 100mph? On a beautiful sunny day with ocean breezes moving through a scenic horizon? And all our pals hanging around doing the exact same thing?

We're all pretty lucky, all us dog agility people. You complainy dog agility people? Hey, life is good. Like the shirts that an awful lot of you are wearing say. Get some perspective. I don't have one of those shirts. I was wearing a Grandpa Goes Fishin' style cowboy shirt and my dinosaur shirt today. But I was thinking it.

For two days straight, I had fun with dogs. I did nothing to stop global warming or clean up the oil spill and I feel a little bit like a heel for this, but I worked hard to help put on a good dog show. What can I say. I could get used to a life of leisure activities. Otterpop ran like a champ, Gustavo ran like the wind. We had bobbles here and there, they got some Q's in some things and in some things they didn't. I wasn't any less proud of them. Although I forgot to ask anyone to video my runs and I think I ended up with stains in my shorts pockets from the handmade dog crack treats one of my friends was selling canopy to canopy from a picnic basket. Minor moments in a great day. The glaciers are still melting but I did pull a lot of aluminum cans out of the trial trash cans.

At some point in the afternoon, I was planning Otterpop's SuperQ strategy (which I did manage to screw up, although we had a VERY fun time doing so) and thinking about how to fix the running dogwalk contacts Gustavo missed (the rubber contacts had him flying off that end like I've never seen before although we had a VERY fun time hauling ass across those dogwalks), and I was sitting there with one of my favorite agility pals. Who besides being a very accomplished champ in agility has also written my dogs their own jingle. He'll sing it for you if you ask. He's a jingle master. Someone was obsessing on some thing or another, and retraining this or that, and he said to them, "You know what you should try doing? Just have fun with your dog."

That's the kind of day we had. Beyond fun. Otterpop had some of the best runs she's had in a long time. I ran her in fewer classes, and I think she just felt great. She's slower than Gustavo for sure, but she zips around like she does, and she gets exactly where I want her to go, every time. That last SuperQ will come someday. I'm trying to let it go. It should have been today, and it would have except for one of those dumb mistakes I make.

I like running Otterpop and Gustavo back to back. Just how those running orders work sometimes. They both hang out ringside, their Uncle Rob or another friend holds one and I run one and then come back and exchange dogs and run back out with the other. It's actually pretty fun to do, but I don't know that I focus as well on whoever runs second since I run them so differently. I believe this is mental management, and at some points during runs I think my mental state is all technicolor animation weirdness. Like Tim Burton and flying monkeys happen for a second, and then you took the fatal wrong jump. Something to work on.

Gustavo had some beautiful runs, and some where I felt like I was running damage control on a flying bullet. He had stressy weave poles by the end of the day, and by the end of that snooker where he had to fly back and forth over the a-frame 4 times in a row (that's right kittens, 4 reds and 4 sevens. Team Small Dog is NOT messing around in snooker) he seemed a little frazzled. His mental management slides into the realm of Tim Burton, too. I understand this and we just keep working away at it because we both think it's fun.

We have a long ways to go. I do dumb things and my dogs could be trained a lot better. Gustavo may be in Advanced Standard forever while we're working out this new kink in the rubber dogwalk contact. But we work on this, maybe in our own somewhat bonehead-sometimes-backwards way, but we do. We go back to the drawing board on those dogwalk contacts starting now. Because next weekend, we go back and do this all again-this time for 3 whole days for the Regionals.

1 comment:

Elf said...

I know I know. I try to have fun with my dogs. I'm so lucky that I have two to run and they're both healthy and like doing agility.