Back to Reality

I should really go back and change the title of my previous post. Its embarrassing really. I was all hearts and butterflies and happy agility nirvana. Yeah, well… that was a glimpse into what it could be like. We swiftly and spectacularly fell back over to the other side last night.

I guess it wasn’t a total disaster. No one was maimed or seriously hurt, nothing exploded, I don’t think I offended anyone (other than they may have been mildly offended by having the watch my ineptness)…. But Forest looked at me like I had three heads and was asking him to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “Three jumps in a row? Whats that?” “Weave poles? Never seen ’em.” ” ‘Please don’t wander away aimlessly from the start line?’ I have no idea what you’re talking about.” It was bad enough to the point of me running half a course with the trainer holding his leash. Yeah, it was bad.

I’ve never really thought about quitting, but last night was the first time it crossed my mind. Some of the many things I learned last night—I don’t know how to play with my dog; I am not consistent in my cues, reward system or handling; my dog is very sensitive (kinda was already starting to figure that one out); and that I get really really shrill when I am freaking out (I guess I kinda knew that one too, was just horribly reminded of it last night).

It was embarrassing. I was verging on being very much like the one woman at trials who when I see I immediately go the other direction because she is so wound up, and screaming at her dogs, and has zero control and just looks miserable. That’s probably why I steer clear of her, because I know how she feels. Don’t they say we most criticize the traits we detest in ourselves?

The one observation that wasn’t a crushing blow, actually slightly validating, was that the trainer actually said that he is “a complex dog” and in not so many words is not easy to train. Finally, someone said it. No one else has ever actually said that to me before. I just felt like it was always assumed/implied that I was inept or just not training/trying hard enough.

So I dont know. I am sure I can talk further to her about it. I dont know if I should keep slogging through it with Forest? Apparently my handling skills are horrid, so should I go back to square one with him and actually start over? Or maybe start with Pierre and give Forest a break? I want to ask the trainer all of these things but I also dont want to come off as a drama queen. Maybe I’ll sit on it until tomorrow and try to compose myself into a semi-rational being so I can have a semi-rational conversation…

Ugh.

Fun Match Take 2

Yesterday we drove out to BFE again (ie. Riverside) to run our second Fun Match. First time I coerced my sister into being my wingman, this time P was the lucky accomplice. This may sound tacky to some, but we went out before my grandmother’s wake. I felt a little weird, but at the same time, I know she would want us to carry on with our normal lives, so I think I did it in honor of her. Plus I know she would get a kick out of watching me run around like a maniac with my dog, not too dissimilar to our horse shows from many moons ago… The wake was beautiful, by the way.

So, Fun Match went okay, not as good as the first time. The venue is funny. A rinky dink little place with a lot of, um, “stuff” laying around, but a nice agility ring, plus three seperate practice rings in the back, which is cool. Most of the people I have encountered there are very nice, one woman in particular I have seen both times dotes on Forest. Which is nice, it makes me feel a little less alien from the whole scene. Which I might just be okay with staying that way… we’ll see.

So, theyre not exactly speedy at this joint–I guess its not “fun” if someone is barking at people to hurry up, right?–so we only got two runs in before we had to leave. It didnt go that great. Poor Forest. We have had the worst last month or so–between the move and the holidays and my grandmother’s passing, its been utter chaos and not a lot of stability nor training time. I am wondering if my epic stress levels transferred to the feild yesterday.

Our first run was just short of disastrous. We made the first three jumps, then missed the entrance to the tunnel. No biggie–a few tries, got him through, over the broad jump, then a solid, brave teeter–yay!. Missed the weave poles first time, got them on second, got to the table–then the shiz-nit hit the fan. Off the table and to the tire… and HOLY CRAP A FAMILY OF UM VERY NICE LATINO PEOPLE WATCHING THROUGH THE FENCE  AND OH MY GOD TOTAL MEXI MELTDOWN!!! It was at least 3 full minutes–which seemed an eternity–til I could get him through the tire and up the dog walk. The judge (whose place it is) was extremely nice, helping me out and being encouraging, but man, that sucked. He was barking at those people ala bloody murder and I could not get him to focus on me at all. Apparently we need to work on some distraction for distractions cues. So, we sorta worked through it eventually. Made it up the dog walk, through the chute, jump, tunnel, A-frame (he loves him some A-frame, weirdo), and the last two jumps. P was stunned when we got out of the ring… like “Whoa. That was interesting. Why is our dog such a racist? He hates Asian people too.” Ugh.

Second run was better, we ended up going in the 12″ because we had to get a move on and get on the road. Again in the beginning he was a little spacey. Got him over the 3 jumps–missed the tunnel again–but I know that was due to my horrific front cross this time for sure–broad jump, another great teeter, weaves (first time–yeah!), table was good, tire, dog walk, chute, another horrid front cross by me and almost biffed it but he saved me, tunnel, A-frame, jump, yet another spastic horrible (front/rear?/I have no idea) cross and a save by him. I didnt pick up my paper after to see my score but its possible we may have Q’ed on that one?? Not sure if the tunnel was a refusal or not…

So, poor guy. I feel bad for him that he (and Little D) have had to endure all the mayhem of the last two months. Then again, what is it like for dogs that go to trials every weekend? I assume they must adapt to chaos on the weekends eventually… maybe just with stabillity for the rest of the week? Would love to know.

Hopefully the chaos has mostly subsided and we are well on our way to Mellowsville. We sure as heck could all use some down time.