SUMMARY: Knee's much better; others ran dogs last night.Because my dogs go stir crazy, I didn't want to skip last night's class, so I begged ahead of time for classmates willing to run the Merle Girls for me, and actually got volunteers who would run mine in addition to theirs.
I figured it was good practice in case something ever happened during a trial--like what if my knee had gone south Saturday night instead of Sunday night, and I had stayed at the trial anyway?
I tried another handler briefly with Tika four years ago before my knee surgery. Ashley ran Tika in class for 2 weeks and she was fine when he had food in his hands, if a little distracted from actual agility, but at the trial the following weekend, she'd have nothing to do with it.
Last night both dogs actually ran for other people. I got to watch Team Small Dog's Captain and WV each work with both dogs to get their attention and connection, and it's fun to see how talented dog people can work with unfamiliar dogs and pretty quickly start to build some interest.
And it was also interesting to see how the verbals made no difference when the physical handling was spot on. The first couple of runs, I carefully explained their obstacle cues (e.g., "thru", not "tunnel"), but of course when you're running a course, the commands you use normally just come out anyway, and the dogs had no trouble at all figuring out what to do.
I got a lot of teasing because Boost didn't knock One. Single. Bar. all evening with her substitute handlers. And only one push off a rear cross (same problem I have), but mostly good. And for the last run of the evening, Tika made her substitute feel right at home in my shoes by lying there at the start line snuffling around in the grass for dropped treats rather than running, and then by doing the same while in her perfect 2o2o contact (which are things she way too often does with me in class). So I guess she was getting comfortable!
Boost was a little stressy before the runs ("this is different! different is maybe evil!"), but once she was in her sit-stay at the start line and then running on course, she was fine. A bit cautious in places, but blasting along as usual in others.
In short, they were very good girls and I was impressed with what my guest handlers managed with them with only 2-3 runs each.
My knee was much better indeed by yesterday afternoon; I could navigate stairs both up and down pretty normally. I walked pretty carefully, though, trying not to put any twist or torque on the knee, which I kept in an elastic brace all day except when icing. The swelling is pretty much gone. Time to get back to those thigh-strengthening exercises. Sure. Any day now.