Sunday, April 15, 2012

Agility Trail Thoughts

Pixel and I ran in an agility trial this weekend. First time since October. We've had minimal training- a few league nights over the winter and the odd short training session here or there. I went with no great expectations, except having fun with the princess, and to hopefully scrape off some rust before regionals.

I certainly felt rusty. lol. Slow motion really. Partly due to the deep sand footing, and partly to the fact that I wasn't as mentally into it as I needed to be. We ran in 6 events, and came home with no Q's. But we had fun every run. She was pretty speedy, bouncy, and even bit me twice. I'll take that as a sign of a happy Pixel. We had a bobble in almost every run, and over time in the two that were clean... Refusals seemed to be the theme. Pixel has struggled off and on with wrapping a jump- sometimes I think she has committed and rotate, only to discover my cute little dog did not take the jump. lol. She also cut behind me on a serp to a push thru- first time ever. Watching the video it appears that I took my eye off my dog. For shame. ;) Oh, and I guess not doing the dogwalk in a few months means she has forgotten how to target.... Our list of stuff to work on for regionals grew 10x over the weekend. lol

Here are two of our runs thanks to Jolene- a standard and jumpers from Sunday.

Regardless of no Q's and the odd blips I thought we did a good job on the courses this weekend. Gail (the judge) is pretty tricky and there were lots of lead outs, backside of jumps, and interesting angles. Pixel handled the challenges well and only once did I make a bad handling decision. I felt like my mental game improved over the weekend, and my connection with my dog was solid. So all in all a good job! I am happy with Pixel, and with myself.

I brought all the dogs with me on Saturday- they stayed benched in the van but they each got to come in throughout the day, and we had a nice walk on a deserted country road. For the first time Wicca noticed there was agility- real agility, and wanted to play. So much that we had to leave the building before I had a breakdown. It was so hard at the beginning, but it has been getting easier. She has come to agility with me a few times over the winter, and she came to the seminar with me a few weeks ago- she was happy just hanging out eating stuff. Until yesterday. Geez. I wonder why it is so hard. I mean, all along (her whole agility career) I've been saying that I will have to retire her young. You'd think I'd be over it by now. But all I can think about is I wonder what she thinks? Why she can't play? Does she think she is being punished? It was heartbreaking to see her at the trial, pulling to the ring. Ugh.

Watching some people run dogs that are lame, or a little off, makes me jealous. Why can't I do that? How do they deal with the guilt of running an injured dog? I can't comprehend that at all. And it happens all the time. A dog with a slight limp- maybe the owner doesn't see? I feel guilty when Wicca jumps off the couch, or bursts into a zoom in the yard. Don't get me wrong- there is nothing I'd want more than to have her back next to me in the ring- I miss it incredibly so. But I am not willing to hurt her. Sometimes though I'd like to be like some other people and just give my dog a dose of metacam and let her play. In my heart I know I couldn't do it but I would be lying if I didn't think that once in a while.

Sunday I left her and Boone at home. Brit and Vito made the trip again though.  Brit came in and worked a bit. She is doing so awesome. I adore her. We did some heeling, some stays, some tugging, some stands, and lots of visiting. She met some long time facebook fans, and jumped up and wiggled and did her happy dance for them. It was pretty cute. Mr.Vito came in and played with me! And socialised. I was very proud of him. He was comfortable almost right away, enough that he played with me. That was a good feeling. Vito is so strange, but really is the cutest dog ever.

I loved being able to go home each day. Today I was home by 3pm!!! I had a walk with the dogs, a nap, and then laid around the rest of the day. Now of course I am not tired. lol.

I've got a busy week ahead- some sheepherding, and obedience lesson, and some demo fun this weekend. Lots to look forward to this week!

Re-reading the post before I publish it, I realise it sounds like I was pretty upset about Wicca. I was, but I'm fine. She's fine, all is good. It helps to write things out- I've always been that way- my blog is like my therapy. lol.


Taryn said...

Just know that you are doing right by Wicca. That's more important than either of you playing agility.

Wilson, although not a total nut about agility, does miss it (esp. since Jimmy gets to do it!), but I would rather him have hurt feelings than physical pain!

onecollie said...

I believe our blogs are therapy fpr us, it helps to write down what you are feeling , at least for me.
Sorry I put Snooker run instead of jumpers run on your video!, I was tired :)
I am sorry Wicca can't play anymore,that must be so hard on you, I know it is :(
Tate is one of those dogs that has a slight limp on & off, but I let him play once in a while. I think as long as you don't do permanent, painful damage let them play. For Tate he LOVES agility, it makes him feel young. their lives are so short so I want him to be happy.
You are a great handler, one of the ones I like to study :( creepy I know, your dogs have fun & it shows, even the princess with her no Q's.

onecollie said...

PS your post says trail :)
I suppose you were on an agility trail though :)

WigglyZack said...

I know when I am having problems with Zack and feel upset about his health, it helps me to blog about the way I feel. I think it definitely helps to get things off your chest no matter was the reason. We just love our dogs that's all.

Elf said...

This is a hard thing to figure out, for sure. I struggled with that with my old Jake, with his arthritic back, tried to retire him and he did more than merely pull to get to the ring, he sulked in his crate, wouldn't come out, wouldn't engage, wouldn't play at all when he realized that he couldn't do agility. I lasted through maybe 3 or 4 agility trials before I unretired him and just had him do like one run a day. Then he'd be happy.

I think a little about what *I* want when I'm injured and what I'm willing to put up with. Sure, I'll do the exercises, i'll rest (well, some), but really I just want to get out there and do stuff and if my knee and hip hurt each time I do it, well, bummer, but its *what I want to do* and I will be miserable if I don't do it.

So I try to balance that thought with the thought that the dog doesn't understand about injuries or rehab or the consequences or all the things that I do understand.

So, I am not one who immediately takes my dogs out of play if there's some sign of soreness. I try to identify what it is and what effect is has and how they're feeling about it. I have pulled my dogs from competition on the day of, blown off entire weekends worth of agility entry fees because I felt that running them was a bad idea. But sometimes I don't.