a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

Friday, August 31, 2012

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

SUMMARY: Boost's jumps and weaves; Tika in general.

Well, Thursday night's class was interesting for the Merle Girls.

Back up a step.

Last weekend, Boost handled beautifully, as if runouts and refusals had never been an issue. But, out of 12 runs, Boost knocked 10 bars. Ten! That's, shall we say, excessive. And although her weaves, which have been really excellent for several trials now, were perfect on Saturday, on Sunday out of 4 weaves, she missed one entry and, on another, popped two poles early.

The weaves were nuts, because I've been practicing weaves and not much else lately. So we might just be in another one of her sine-wave cycles (I should plot it out sometime) of not knowing how to do weaves.

The bars were nuts, so I actually had the energy and determination to do bar-knocking drills at home three days this week so far.

So, in class last night: Boost popped out of the first set of weaves FOUR times IN A ROW! Jeez!

But she continued her awesome running style from this weekend--nice run after nice run after nice run, just the way I always imagined it would be with her.

And the entire evening, she knocked or ticked only ONE bar!

Hi C-Era Interstellar Propulsion: Always a challenging border collie.

Tika, meanwhile, had a pretty nice weekend of competition: Qed 6 out of 8, and missed Qing in each of the jumpers by one bar, which has been unusual for her since she moved to performance. She placed 2nd in both Steeplechase and Grand Prix, which is pretty good for an 11.5-year-old dog.

But in class, all kinds of things went awry that I'm assortedly attributing to her not hearing well, possibly her not seeing well, and me not being fast enough to compensate for what always used to work well. After each of our garbled runs, I wondered how we ever manage to Qualify at all with this kind of handling and confusion.

Now, if I stop because we've gone astray in class, she *immediately* goes into "I'm looking for treats somehwere in the grass here" mode. She used to do that quite a bit when she was a young dog, but not much at all for several years. I'm taking it as a sign of stress rather than her really being naughty--I think she really doesn't understand what I want and probably doesn't understand why I'm not SAYING anything (do dogs realize that they're going deaf?).

Anyway, everyone presents challenges, including myself. Last week in class, I felt fleet of foot. This week, legs dragging. What's the difference? No idea.

Soooooo we might do a few more drills today and tomorrow.

This weekend, Friday through Monday, is the Western Regional Championships, and for only the 2nd time since 1995, I'm not going--well, except that I gave in an signed up for just the first two classes Sunday morning: Jumpers and Snooker, hoping to get that last Snooker that Tika now needs for her PDCH-Gold at our home club. If I don't stress out too much about it, which I'm wont to do.

So, if any of you are there, I might see you during my brief appearance Sunday morning. Otherwise, good luck at whatever you're doing this weekend, and have a great time.