29 August 2011

2 Whole Days of USDAA with Team Small Dog, the whole long saga of it all.

USDAA Trial. Two whole days. I sure like this going to 2 days of dog show business. Good thing next weekend is our big Bayteam Regional and it is going to be for 3 days plus an evening. It requires playing a little bit of hooky from work, but isn't that what normal people do? I'd say going to dog shows is right up there with digging for minerals and alien hunting in Death Valley. That is a pretty high honor.

But what do the dogs think about this?

I would say Otterpop would give it mixed reviews. Based on how excited she was on Saturday, but growly and wearing her asshat on Sunday. Weirdly, she was speedy in one ring and not the other on Saturday, the speedy part resulting in a very aggressive superQ and some just plain old good runs. The not speedy resulting in us both frustrated. Sunday, she was not so much feeling it. You know, like fast enough to Q, fast halfway through the run but pathetic and sad off the startline. The thing that makes me CRAZY.

Gustavo on the other hand, what a happy, jolly weekend he had. A couple of Q's, a couple of runs with pilot errors resulting in the theme of his weekend, wrong side of the tunnel. A theme I can live with because it's not the Vortex of Weird Meltdown. Many sets of weave poles, correct sides of tunnels, all out running dogwalks, stuff like that. And great, focused listening. I was super happy about Gustavo all weekend and he marched around relaxed and happy to enjoy everything he did.

As usual, Otterpop vexes me. A vexing vixen of vex. I went into the weekend thinking that this might be her last trial, except for occasional guest appearances. I don't want to be one of those shrieky ladies dragging her sad dog around.

Oh god. I just realized. I think I might be one of those shrieky ladies dragging a sad dog around. At least when she does that asshat startline even though just seconds before she was barking her head off and demonstrating all of her tricks at rapid fire speed before the timer machine says GO.

Except then she pulls out of her ass a couple great runs here and there. Draggy sad dog becomes so fast off her line in Snooker that I just went into a very Seveny opening and she ran like how she runs at home. She did this off and on on all her runs on Saturday. And then flipped me the bird and had really shitty starts on Sunday in everything except for a late afternoon Standard run.

What a weirdo. I continue to have no idea why she does what she does.

I ran my friend Terry's dog Heath in Jumpers. I think we won it. So fun to run a perfectly trained, uncomplicated, fast border collie. I like just getting in there and running. No weird Otterpop head trips. No fear of vortexes. Just fast running. Thanks Terry and Heath.

We also had this great scientific experiment. The Trial Bosses decided to hold a fun match at the end of the day on Sunday. The trial was small enough that we were done about 2pm and set up a fun match in one of the rings. Genius. Do-overs galore, and a lot of people brought their young dogs out for a spin. Super fun.

What did this scientific experiment show me?

Otterpop runs brilliantly at a trial IF I bring her frisbee in the ring. Even at the end of a long, hard weekend when lots of other dogs are pooping out. Frisbee produced at startline brings out The Real Otterpop. Damn you, Otterpop. Although it was fun to have one really good run with her. Even if it didn't count. Otterpop gets lots of Q's. I don't like a lot of them when she's slow and would gladly turn them in if I could have frisbee Otterpop any day.

Gustavo does perfect tables and poles and teeters and pretty much just does it all if he gets a reward in there somewhere. It was super cool to be able to reward him on the teeter and on the table in what had been the show ring all weekend. Maybe there are Standard runs again in his future.

After this weekend, I think there might be. I know we'll have set backs again, but he I just felt like his brain was clear. No ammonia, no damaged cells. No panic attacks, no weird insane vortexes. He may not have racked up the Q's, but that is so not a part of where I'm trying to get to with him. Somehow I have been able to let go of the want to get Qs and titles with him. I just want him to run beautifully and happily and really, really fast. I think the errors will sort themselves out when that becomes consistent.

It was great to meet some new friends this weekend, and we are looking forward to the big Regional next weekend and so many of our out of town agility pals coming! See everybody there, and let's all hope The Real Otterpop decides to attend and that Gustavo continues on his happy trip.


andrea said...

so glad you all had fun! Congrats too :)

Elf said...

Gustavo looked great! Otterpop looked, yeh, puzzling! And thanks for the photo of Boost looking fast! I have an otterpop photo that will probably be in tomorrow's post.

jodi Altman said...

If I am reading correctly between the lines, the week-end sounded successful. Congrats on that achievement and another special congrats to speedy Boost and Ellen.

Marquand said...

You looked great to us, but our view may be clouded by our deep reverence to the Goddess of Team Small Dog and the recently crowned Queen of Recycling!
Seriously though, you rocked and were so encouraging to your 4-footed friends. We enjoyed making your acquaintance. Marq and Rebecca Cheek + Lucas and Rico Suave

team small dog said...

Otterpop is indeed puzzling. Each run with an a-frame, she'd pause at the top to take a good hard look at the judge. Each run, she'd be flying around just outside the ring gate ready to run, then, even when I tried to blur the magic barrier between having fun at the gate and being inside the gate, go sad. Although on about half her runs, this time would burst off the startline and the other half, sad and mopey as if I beat her regularly...but yeah, successful I think since half were the Real Otterpop?

Definitely Gustavo!

Awesome to hang out with you Marq and Rebecca! Hope to see you in the Norcal again soon!

Melanie said...

What about bringing the frisbee to the gate and then after each run have a fun game of frisbee? Somehow transfer the value of the frisbee to the agility that earns it. I'm sure you know this but just throwing it out there.

team small dog said...

Thanks Melanie.

Yes, this is a huge issue, the frisbee. I have tried hiding the frisbee, dropping the frisbee, leaving the frisbee over there, etc. For years. Absolutely the reward after running is the frisbee. After a good run! I even sometimes still, will run her out to a strategicaly placed frisbee for insta reward on a fast startline. Although probably not so much as I should because, my competitive self! Those fast startline runs, she usually wins.

I practice exactly like this too, we drop the frisbee over here, we go get it to play with after the run, and I try to rarely hold it when I run, so we practice exactly like how it should go at a trial, but to no avail. I hide frisbees at strategic places on the course where I think she will be really fast. When she practices, it does seem that the value is trasferred off the frisbee to running.

It is a really hard pattern to break. I am always open to good ideas!