a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: The Agony and the Ecstacy

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Agony and the Ecstacy

SUMMARY: Another USDAA weekend under the belt.
(Photos by Erika Maurer.)

What a weekend.

Weather was perfect.

Friends were fun.

Both dogs were healthy and happy and eager to be running.

Tika picked up 6 more Qs towards her LAA Platinum (out of 9 Qable runs), pretty good work. Now only 26 to go. Even eked out a Snooker Super-Q somehow, and a first place in the second Snooker (although not a Super-Q). And a 1st place in Steeplechase Round 2 (made easier by the fact that we were the only team who ran in our height class).

Both dogs qualified in Steeplechase Round 1, and both brought home a little cash from Round 2! That never happens! (Together, the amount almost pays for one dog's entry into Steeplechase. But that's not the point.)

Boost did not knock one. Single. Bar. In. Eleven. Runs. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Very very happy and I don't know what to credit that to. Someone joked, "is she on drugs?", and I said yes, but just antibiotics--oh, and hydroxizine for itching--and suddenly I had this flashback to some other weekend where she didn't knock bars and was on some kind of drug and I wondered whether that affected anything. Wish I could find supporting info for that memory. Will have to figure out how to search for it among all my posts. Jeez, it would be terrible if the only time she ran that well was when she was drugged up somehow.

Boost's contacts were all perfect.

She and I had some amazing runs. Including:

A Jumpers Q!!!! That's 5 and her Jumpers Master title! I thought I'd never see the day!

So, yeah, there were a lot of very, very happy things indeed.

And then, there was the agony.

The Jumpers run that Boost did perfectly on and then, 3 obstacles before the end, I put my front cross in the wrong place and pushed her past a jump. Augh!

The Snooker run that we did the opening perfectly and really fast and then, on the spot where I knew I'd have trouble (threading between two jumps to get to the correct one), I tried pulling her to me and it didn't work; she went off course. (I ran Tika after that and, instead, did sort of a front crossy thing and it worked much better. Sigh.) So another handling error.

And then ending the day Sunday:
  • The Standard run that was perfect and gorgeous and fast and driven and we were flying and doing all these complicated things with perfect execution-- except in one spot where she was ahead of me going into the chute, which fed into a jump right in front of her and she ran towards it but then turned back to me to see where I was before going over it--refusal! Right in front of her! And I was running towards it! And saying "Go! Hup!" Why why why why why?
  • The Grand Prix run that was A-MAZ-ING through 18 of the 20 obstacles, I was running on air, it felt so astonishingly world-champion-like, to the Aframe, where she was stopped perfectly. Only 2 jumps to the end.  I calmly walked through a front cross so that we could do the last two obstacles in a nice smooth arc, released her--and she was so busy looking at me that she never even looked at the first jump, which actually saved her because the judge didn't call a refusal when she almost backed into it her way towards it. Finally went over it, but then, running straight at the last jump, she got so busy looking at me AGAIN that she kind of peeled around in front of me and pushed backwards past the plane of the jump, and so we DID get a fault, on the last *@&*!* jump! Why why why why why? 
  • The Snooker run that we did the opening perfectly and really fast and got through 4 in the closing and all we had to do for #5 was run in a straight line and I did and she was so busy looking at me that, when she realized there was a jump in front of her, she dodged around it! Why why why why WHY? I was there to work it, my line was perfect, my feet were in the right direction, I was running through it, not stopping... Auuuuughhhh!
And those were my last 3 runs of the weekend, so those are the ones that really stick in my head, even now, 4 hours later. I just don't understand. I can't think of anything that I did wrong on those, and I don't understand why those jumps were any different from any of the other more challenging obstacles we'd done all the way through the rest of the courses--those were the *easy* bits in each case!

Of course I have no video to analyze.

Deep quivering sigh.

Oh, my beautiful Boost, it is SO nice when you run fast and well and take obstacles and I can run and be there to work every jump, but why does it suddenly fall apart like that? People watching me said that maybe I was too excited, but actually in both those cases I felt completely calm because those parts were almost gimmees. And I really don't believe that I did anything wrong on any of them, and no one identified anything specific that I did in any of them.


I am trying to bask in all the amazing runs where Boost and I did 95% of each run correctly and fast and accurately and like an actual masters level champion winning team. And the lack of bars down. And the Jumper's title.

But that Thing that I don't understand, that Mysterious Why, will drive me nuts forever.


  1. Sounds like an awesome weekend to me. Id probably faint and fall over dead if I ever got more than one Q in a weekend. LOL I didnt even read the stuff that we wrong in your blog. I want to keep your awesomeness (is that a word?) in my head. Great job!!!

    1. Thanks! I almost added a note in the middle saying that if you didn't want to read again where I whine about not understanding why Boost does refusals, you could stop there. I didn't put the note, but you stopped anyway. You're smarter than I am. :-) I feel more forgiving this morning.

  2. That was so amazing! Even with the stressed out last runs...and you have to accept that you'll never every know for sure...only the dog gods know..and they rarely share.

    1. Thanks.

      I'm sure you're right, but I'm likely to be railing against it to the end of time.

  3. Love that photo of Tika! Big congrats on Boost's Jumpers Q and NO bars.

    As I was reading the start of your paragraph about drugs, I was having a déjà vu moment, and then to read your next bit about your recollecting something like that in the past -- well yes, I can definitely agree that there was something about that here on your blog in some earlier year. Can't remember if it was a lack of bars or that she was running smoothly, taking obstacles in front of her, but definitely remember something good in conjunction with the drugs...

    1. Exxxxcellent, we've established that I'm not dreaming it, so it's probably actually worth my while to try to track it down.

      INteresting that you'd remember it, too.