16 November 2010

Hola Gustavo! Y el sueno de una mundo sin la tabla del diablo.

So there is Dexter, the friendly serial killer. You know what he needs tables for, right? So he can saran wrap his victims down to them, and then stab them through the heart with a giant knife. Before he cuts them into little pieces and puts them into Hefty bags and into the back of his Ford Escape. Not the hybrid kind.

And severed heads on platters. How are they always served? On tables.

The table. A piece of furniture fraught with doom and destruction and oh so complex.

So in dog agility, we have this table. The dogs get to run around their course and jump their jumps and climb through and over and it's oh so fun, but then have to stop for 5 seconds and lay down quietly. It's like police state enforced nap time. Shivering, quaking, clenching, staring laying there, until their handlers say OK and off they go to scream around some more.

I have good table karma. I think I'm pretty good at teaching my dogs the table skill. Jump up and lay flat right away and you get treats. It's not rocket science, I think it's one of the first things I taught all of my dogs. Otterpop has a great table, super fast on and holds on tight. Ruby used to have trouble skidding off of it, but then clambering right back on, until I stopped doing any tables with her at all because I think a lot of her table crashes, duh, she couldn't really see them. Beautiful, perfect Hobbes vibed off my good table karma for a couple years, mysteriously laying down on tables for me but not Rob. One of Gustavo's good foundations skills was his table. Right on, little buddy!

Then my good table karma seemed to get moldy. Just around the edges. Hobbes, not always happy to lay down on the table. Sort of like, maybe you are going to saran wrap me to the top and really, I could just stand here and border collie stare at you instead. Actually, I'm pretty sure it's just the way he says he loves me, and the less he lays down on the table means I am his favorite auntie. Table karma there, rotten to the core.

Gustavo's tables are biorhythm mood ring bellweathers of weave poles. And probably zombies. When the biowaves dip below the prescribed dosage, usually when a pole entrance is missed, he goes under the table. And sometimes on top then back under and on and under and on and once this happened about 6 times til I grabbed him and excused ourselves. Good poles? Our beautifully trained table shines, he wags his tail on it and lays lovely and still until his release.

He had a table meltdown on Sunday. I had to carry him off and out. Yet another attempt at Advanced Standard, foiled by la tabla del diablo. He had a refusal at the poles earlier in the course, but came around and completed them successfully, so I thought we were in the clear since the table was near the very end of the course. But it wasn't to be.

The rest of the day, he was over it. No more tables, of course, back in the Masters ring. All the lovely tableless classes of fast running, focused listening. He was happy as can be and had some awesome runs. Lots of great poles! What a good boy!

When we went to practice on Monday, on a beautiful sunny day in the forest, my thought was we would put some dineros in the table bank. Unfortunately, turns out to be one of those not so good banks. Timber. The table was el fuego. Burning ember hot of evilness and any time he came near, away he dashed to the fence line, not able to look at me, no treat good enough to entice him, not even a zip loc baggy holding roast beef. Actual purchased meat from slaughtered cows not able to entice him near that table. And the more I pushed the issue, trying to cajole and entice him, the more he went weirdo freakout on me, the point of him entering his I Don't Know You state.

To quote Gustavo, "I don't know you or your little baggy of meat. K Thanx Bye."

It was that kind of practice. Tables are the devil. I felt bad for him, and we packed it in and went for a walk in the forest instead.


Elf said...

You've probably done all this, but--have you tried going back to the table flat on the ground to start with? If he plays with a toy, have you played with him on the table--lots and lots? Done his favorite tricks on the table? How about feeding him his meals on the table?

team small dog said...

The horrible table of the devil just started yesterday, so yep. Sort of like when the teeter totter was so horrible and we borrowed a teeter for the driveway. Now we need to find a driveway table and make it his buddy again. He is a far way from all those fun and joyous activities on the table right now though, because yesterday, he would not go anywhere near the table. Not even close. Porque EL DIABLO!

Jodi,eh? said...

Now I'm no table expert here, but what about having a crazy team small dog party on the table (sans Gustavo) and not allowing him on the table? All team small dogs get food and toy tugging on the table, except G-man. My Terv once had a see-saw fear and the more I tried to make her like it, the worse it got. Slowly, she started showing some interest and I would push her off, playfully. Eventually, she decided that she must get on the see-saw, and I didn't let her. She now loves them. I thought you needed a feel-good story.

team small dog said...

This is a great idea, Jodi. We did this when Gustavo had a similar fear of teeters-the other dogs got to play on the teeter in the driveway and he had to stay behind the gate. Then I did similar to what you're talking about with your Terv, slowly but surely. And would let him just run away for even touching it. I suspect we are going to start from square one like this with the table now. Why he decides these things, not sure. But off we go on a new project.

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is not in any way useful to dog agility, but I love Dexter!!!! Well, the show anyways :)
Kelly garver