a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Gearing Up For Agility

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Gearing Up For Agility

SUMMARY: Mentally, at least.
Yesterday was been odd. I printed the running order lists for our three-day trial, which were just posted, and with each one, the dread grew of trying to run a run and go clean or get a Q.

Why dread? Dunno. I had fun running my dogs at the Sunday Funday last weekend. I don't usually dread that sort of thing. Just my growing ambivalence about agility, growing on both ends, maybe, because then I started thinking about Tika and Top Ten points and the excitement reappeared, tinged by that dread.

You know, the "I can't do this! I'm incompetent! I haven't been practicing! Our last trial was a disaster because I made so many mistakes! I'm not capable of having a top ten dog, even in performance! I know what our issues are and haven't done anything about them! Boost can't BUY a Q! Tika comes up sore so often (although not since last fall, knock on Aframe)! Tika won't get any of her contacts! I'll forget the course! I'll do something stupid in Snooker! I'll miscue the gamble! Bars will be knocked everywhere! AuuuuuughhhhH!" sort of dread.

I'm working on letting it goooooo, letting it gooooo, breathing deeply and closing my eyes and relaxing my shoulders.

Because usually when I'm running my dogs, I'm not feeling anything like that. (Only when trying for, say, that Last Dang Super-Q. When I *DO* do stupid things in Snooker.)

So, to perk myself up, let's think about the possibilities for titles this weekend:

  • Needs 3 Super-Qs (Snooker). Chances: 2
  • Needs 4 Jumpers. Chances: 2
  • Could finish her Standard Champion title with one more Standard Q. Chances: 2
  • Could finish her Tournament Bronze with 2 Tournament Qs. Chances: 3 (GP, Steeplechase, and DAM Team)
Tika (PDCH! Doesn't that sound better than APD?!):
  • Man, she really cleared the slate of possible titles this spring!  Need to get more Qs in all classes to get close to more advanced titles.
  • Top Ten points: There are two chances for each of the Top Ten-counting Masters classes this weekend, with 9 or 10 dogs in her height, except for Snooker with 11 or 12.  With the 9 or 10, only the first three places get top ten points (5, 3, and 1); with 11 or 12 (hoping none drop out), top four placers get top ten points (7, 5, 3, and 1). So there are opportunities to advance at least a little. If I just relax and don't think too hard about it.
[Note 1: Top Ten update: Per the USDAA site, up to but not necessarily through two weekends ago, Tika holds steady at 3rd in Jumpers (! the bar-knocking dog! who doesn't so much any more!), and dropped to 4th in Snooker,  9th in Standard, and 11th in Gamblers. ]

[Note 2: Top Ten Competitors: Other dogs who are currently in the top 25 in one or more class or who have been in the top ten in years past who will be competing against us this weekend: Brenn, Hobbes, Chaps, CateE, and Gidget;  I don't see Kash, Apollo, Crash, Kipper, or Bling entered this weekend, so the field isn't as tight as it could be.]

And there you have it. Things to look forward to. Or things to ignore so that I can just have fun running my dogs and being out in the beautiful weather with my friends (151 of them, 6 named Linda, 5 named Lisa, 4 named Laura) and their canine companions  (214 of them, 3 named Dakota, 2 each named Ace, Annie, Epic, Maddie, Sweep, and Trek; among them, 98 Border Collies, 23 Aussies, 18 All-Americans, 11 shelties,  and 9 Jack Russells).  I'll run at least 16 runs per dog (out of 2079 for the weekend), competing under 2 different judges (not the 3rd one for Starters/Advanced).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!


  1. I feel your pain. Im going to a trial this weekend and Im kinda having that same dreading feeling. Maybe not dread, more like whats the point. I love training my dog but we cant say on course if our live depended on it. 16 excellent jww course and not one Q. Ugh. O,yea and she wont get on the table in standard. LOL. I havent done any table work since April 9th, hoping that me just letting it go for a while will help this problem. We'll see...... Diana

  2. I get that dread feeling too, usually with Lucy since I don't know if she'll be playing the game with me that day or trotting off to the side of the ring to eat grass. There's always something, eh... Hope you have a nice time this weekend filled with good weather, good friends, and great dogs!