06 June 2011

USDAA DAM Team day in Turlock.

I drove the dogs out to Turlock on Sunday morning for a DAM Team day.

Otterpop ran just fine. Knocked out a bunch of consistent runs. She wasn't running at her peak speed, but she was fast enough to get some good points in gamblers and snooker. She had a pretty good day.

Gustavo had a hard time. He got better as the day went on, but looked so exhausted sitting in the xpen. Maybe I am seeing things about him different now that I know all these things I never thought I'd need to know about his liver. He started out the day freaking out on the teeter totter and running apeshit around the ring into tunnels and off course jumps. I sat down for a minute on the course to see if he'd settle down and run to me before I got him to run out to the finish and find his leash. People comment on how much fun he's having, how speedy he is when he goes off on those zoomies, but it's not the case.

It's more like a panic attack. He just starts doing random things when he panics.

His day got better after that, but his weave poles were completely broken all day long. He looked stressed out. Once he does something wrong, like misses a weave pole entry, the only thing he can think of is to go into that apeshit vortex land. So I was very proud of him for holding it together and I never once doubted that he was trying as hard as he could.

I was ok with how it went. I've lowered my expectations for him a lot, and wonder how much of this is that he doesn't always feel right. It's hard to know. He's been running great in practice and in class, so I think there's more to it than a weird liver disease. But I am worried that it's hard for him to think hard out there if there's ammonia floating around in his brain with the added stress of competition. I've felt that with him for so long, that he has a hard time thinking out there on course. He never felt quite right, like his good self, all day.

It may be that competing is just too much for him. Which makes me a little sad, but I need to do what seems right for him. Gustavo is an irreplaceable, one of a kind, amazing little dog. And I want to keep him that way for as many years as I can.


Anonymous said...

only time will tell. maybe it's the ammonia, maybe not. give the meds and new diet some time. if he is having fun in practice, then he will be ready to kick butt in a trial situation if or when the time comes. if not, as you said, he is still your special little boy. party on, G.

vici whisner said...

The thing about dog agility for most of us is we have the dog we have...and our dogs have the handler they have. In the horse world if your horse isn't suited to what you want, you sell him and get another. Most of us don't do that with our dogs.

The hardest thing I had to face was deciding that agility was not the best sport for my dog. It is why I have 4 dogs. I would never have gotten Fin if Tazz loved agility, or Rocky N Maddie didn't have dysplasia...but Fin has been a blessing and Tazz LOVES not having the stress of competition, just the fun of practice.

So hang in there. The meds and diet could really make a difference, but sometimes it takes some time.


Anonymous said...

First I just want to say that the layout of this post was genius. From the pictures to the prose, I got "INTO" it... and I feel what you're saying. Which I'm sure you write mostly just for you. But I feel this post, big time.

Second, being able to see your dog beyond just a fuzzy housemate that eats and poops and occasionally barks at stuff is the gift of becoming a "team." I have a team mate who is semi-retired due to his lack of enthusiasm. It doesn't make me love him less. And when he DOES come out to play, it's sure a hoot if I can see him enjoying himself. It happens, once in a while. :)
Your love for these pups is very evident. It warms my heart.


maryclover said...

Hmmm why is it that so many supposedly dog savvy people think that a dog zooming around course is necessarily "having fun out there". More often than not it is stress and not fun that they are feeling. But is it really worth explaining that to them? I think not so I just nod and smile and love my dog.

G is one of a kind and you are a great partner to always remember that.