20 December 2011

Holiday cheer and so forth-shopping and shouting and lessons people in feather boas teach us in how to train our dogs.

Me and the dogs had an awesome practice yesterday. Really, really fabulous. All listening all the time, fast running, contacts hit, hard skills worked on, sequences run, frisbee played, really, I could go on and on. A practice like they all should be. I did write down notes, but I won't bore you with the details, because it's holiday time and we're all in a hurry.

We had one of those days where my dogs were shining stars and I was a shining handler and nobody could do any wrong. I had to just slip that in. Sorry if you were in a hurry.

My friend Mary brought her dogs down for me to run. It went ok. It got very complicated with one of them, a dog who I need an instruction manual to figure out. I am a simple person, and I'm used to simple dogs. Run fast, yell loud, point straight. Very basic stuff. When things get complicated, I have a hard time. I like simplegility.

One of the problems I had was that I was wearing my nicey nice voice. I have that smalldog chirpiness when I run dogs. I say Yay a lot. I call them Sweetie and say Good Dog! all the time. I reward, reward, reward. I play ball. I give treats. I like to be the fun auntie. Works with most dogs, but not all.

Some dogs like things a little more rough. Gruff. Grough? And speak French.

Something to work on as I expand my horizons. Be a little meaner and a little more French.

After my great morning of agility, the penalty was, I needed to go Christmas shopping.

I am a bad shopper. I hate crowds, I don't know what to get, and mass consumption in all it's forms exhausts me. My husband, ace shopper of excellence, coaxed me out downtown and used his high tolerance, voodoo consumer magic to do most of the Christmas shopping on Sunday. Everybody needs a Gary. But there was a little bit MORE that required a trip to the mall in San Jose.

I live on one side of the mountain, agility practice is part way up the mountain, San Jose is on the other side. It's like another country over there over the hill. There is immense bravery involved in Christmas shopping over there, but me and my awesome dogs were up to the challenge. All they had to do was sit in the car. I was the one that had to enter the mall. Thee Mall. It's that kind of mall. Where palm trees glisten, and drivers listen, to screaming and honking and horror instead of carolers in the snow.

There was traffic insanity. I used patience. There were cops directing drivers into the parking lot. I used patience. They had gloves and whistles. I had my dogs. There were a million cars looking for spots. I was but one with the flow. There was a car in front of me waiting for a spot forever. I used patience some more. There was another car in front of me waiting for a spot forever. I used totally even more patience.

Then a girl comes running across the parking lot and stands in the middle of the parking spot that the car in front of me was about to pull into. It was one of those tight parking lots, with barely room to breathe. I was breathing, and the dogs were sleeping. Well, except for Gustavo, he doesn't sleep in the car. I think he was working on his breathing with me.

The car pulled up to the girl, and the driver motioned for her to move.

The girl clutched her arms around herself, and shook her head. She looked up and down and sideways, and didn't budge.

The car in front of me REALLY pulled up to her, like an inch away, and motioned for her to move. Girlfriend just kept shaking her head and stood her ground. Her spot.

Mutha-flicka.

That car-less girl was owning the parking spot. She was pudgy and had on nice jeans and a fluffy scarf kind of thing wrapped around her neck, those kind some people use for dog leashes, like a feather boa. Even though it was 70 degrees. Festive Christmas shopping-wear. A serious contender. She just stood there in her spot in the parking lot of mayhem chaos, shaking her head until the car in front of me, that had been waiting and waiting and waiting for that spot, rolled down it's window.

I rolled down mine, too.

The girl called out to the driver that she saw the spot first. I couldn't hear what the car driver said back. I am going to guess something like, Uh, You Have No Car. Parking spot girl held her ground and shakes her head again, and says, "No way."

Cojones!

I don't know who she was saving it for, she was out of her happy ho ho gourd if she thought she could stand there and let irritated parkers squeeze by in the procession of hell lot until whoever she was saving it for rolled along.

I pulled up closer, and yelled out my window, "HEY!"

She looked over.

"SWEETIE YOU ARE HOLDING UP TRAFFIC MOVE YER GODDAMN ASS OUTTA THE WAY NOW!"

I might have said it sort of mad. A little meaner than normal. It was very, very easy to do this, and I think this was how I was supposed to get Rocket to give me his toy. "OUT!"

Sweetie pie looked at me freaky bug eyed for a second, then scrammed. Just like that.

Not sure what it was exactly in my Tone, but it was enough to send her trotting away from whence she came, somewhere in the vicinity of Macy's or Safeway. The car in front of me got the spot. You are welcome, car.

And then instead of parking and shopping and ho ho hoing I drove straight out of the parking lot and fled straight home back across the mountain and didn't go Christmas shopping at all.

The end. With added bonus moral of the story, maybe this will help me running Rocket, and at least I didn't get out and start moving towards her and possibly face Christmas season arrest for parking lot chick fight. I think remainders of the holidays I stick with happy chirpy voice. Really the end.

10 comments:

vici whisner said...

Totally awesome story. The reason why I shop online. Perhaps if I went out into the shopping parking lot, I too would learn to be a better handler....or end up in jail.

Mary said...

Rocket liked playing with you. That is why he was not outing on a soft *one-time* whisper-voice "give."

Also, possibly because I forgot to mention that his "give the toy back" command is "out," not "give." And I kept yelling at you to yell at him to give the toy back to you if he didn't give it to you the first time.

He really is quite simple. He has about 1/10th the voice-commands that Ariel does, but, well, I guess I should write down who knows which words in what language.

And tone. Hmm. Yeah. There is a tonal thing. Warm, steady-tone "good" means keep doing whatever stationery thing you are doing and a treat will be delivered to you on a fairly generous schedule.

Hi- pitched cheerleading sort of too loud for the whole 22 acres here voice "Good Boy! Good Boy Good Boy! Whose The Boy!!!! Good Boy Good Boy!" is party-down streaming encouragement for all moving acts somewhere within range of criteria, but reward is only in the form of the fun-ness of agility, itself.

Maybe I should change "Good Boy!" to "Bon! Bon! Bon!" so as not to confuse tonal differentiation of reward/no reward signal. Of course, then he might think he's going to get a bone.

Hmmm. Maybe I'll fade the voice commands all together, for both dogs, since it is a little hard to remember who gets what word. Ariel hates it when I tell her she's a good boy.

Anonymous said...

you are so ready to take on the zombies. can I stick w/ you when they come?!

Tash

jodi, eh? said...

That's an uplifting Christmas story which proves that even happy chirpy small dog voiced agility handlers can move a stubborn pudgy nice jean and fluffy scarf wearing but out of touch with reality parking spot thief when they want to.

A nice diagonal rear cross is gonna feel like a breeze.

Did you hear that Bob Barker is paying for our Toronto Zoo Elephants to travel to California to be saved from our cold weather? I'm sure Bob could get Rocket to drop a toy with one "out"....

Elf said...

Well good for you! Of course someday if I send a passenger running to save me a spot (which BTW I have never actually done to my recollection) and some belligerent dog trainer from over the hill tells my passenger to scram I might think differently, but normally I'm completely in your camp on this one. So, good for you!

Anonymous said...

sounds like it was getting real in the san jose mall parking lot and your steel got sparked a lot.
quote paraphrased from a rap about getting real in the whole foods parking lot...
glad you got out while you still could.
valpig

team small dog said...

Oh wow. I think dog agility is turning me into a thug.

Terry A said...

thank you, thank you, thank you for continuing to share your life w/such excellent humor. we all need a lift during this crazy time, i always love what you write and look forward to reading it. peace out, girl!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I wish I could have been there for this one ... I don't know how you have such crazy things happen to you all the time!! I sure needed a good laugh, thanks for providing it today! (Yes, I am again a few days behind in reading your blog!)

Beth & Lexi

debbie in socal said...

Just love the parking lot story.