26 November 2013

At agility practice, which we still do, indeed.

Since we are adrift without agility goals, maybe it would seem like no practicing, full anarchy, agility gone feral. This is surprisingly not true. We practice and go to class, and we practice like we mean it. Most of the time. Agility is still a thing for all of us. A real and genuine thing.

We go and practice early, just as the ice melts off the contacts. This is how we start out our precious day off. Monday is a trip up the mountain for one hour on the field. One hour that is only for us. We have done this for a long time, and I believe that we will still do this far into the future. This is a thing I cannot know, but a thing that I believe to be a true fact. That and we have to stop at Trader Joe's on the way home.

Otterpop doesn't get to do hardly none. Agility isn't good for her legs. You see the right one dangling along every so often, and the left one goes skip skip skip. But it is good for her brains, of which I know for a fact she has extra. So out we go, to test drive drills of my invention, and to practice gambles of the Eleventh Degree. You know. They're harder than Tens. Her gambles go to Eleven.

Otterpop likes to go fast. And Otterpop likes to go the hardest way. This is a fact of Otterpop. Just let her do it. You don't have to do nothing but throw the frisbee at the end.

Gustavo practices everything. Skills and drills and turns and running on a straight line to the next thing where he might need to actually TURN. Extension to collection. Collection to extension. Oh the practice teeters, be still your beating little hearts. He has the focus of Eleven, until yesterday when we practiced he didn't, when I was about to step up to the line and he spun and ran off into the forest, down the cliff bank to the creek, in a blinking eye instant.

I had to whistle more than once, something that never happens when the agility is removed. And deers or bobcats are added. And then he went to jail. When we are walking, he understands the sin it is to chase deer. When the deer come to agility, all bets are off.

Jail for Gustavo means Ruby does agility. There are a lot of big waving arms, she only has to clear a pole set on the ground. Ground bars and tunnels only on the tiniest courses in the world. Ruby does agility until she terrifies me with her speed, or until she bashes into something. Bashing and too fast at the same time is inevitable with her. Ruby is quite a sight to behold, sure wish she had more. u agility is very, very short. We do some heeling. She plays with the toy. Life is good if you're Ruby.

Gustavo in jail means Otterpop gets more turns. I have learned a lot about Otterpop's agilities over the year since she makes only occasional guest cameos at dog shows. One is that she truly loves to work at a far away distance. Two is that if I set up experimental sequences for her, little psychology quizzes of handling and equipment, she will always prove me wrong.

Gustavo and Otterpop are polar opposites on the field. Gustavo will chase me and go where I go. If I make an error, so does he. Otterpop runs with a belief in her mind, a belief of where my mind is telling her to go and a fair amount of disregard for where I point. Otterpop does agility like a magician, and Gustavo is in it for the chase.

When the penalty box is over, Gustavo gets sprung. We do easy things, long leadouts with stays then chasing. Do you know that when we practice, he will drive for the teeter totter, selecting it above all else on the field? A sad but true fact, but happy in a way. There are some teeters for which he has a sincere, deep in the heart, love. Since we have no goals, we can view this strange but trueness as happy. When we're done, we go do a forest loop, and everybody runs some more.

1 comment:

Sobaka said...

Seems to me you do have agility goals, everyone has their program to follow. It's great that Ruby can still participate a little. And of course she can still enjoy a walk to the full. My dog at 17 was also mostly blind but still very fast, and ran into things all the time, but didn't seem to mind.