a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Thursday's Class and Excitement

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thursday's Class and Excitement

SUMMARY: In which Human Mom has pain, Boost runs with her sister's handler, and some people have lots of enthusiasm.

When I arrived at class last Thursday evening, the weather couldn't have been better. Still daylight at this time of year (O!, that it would be like this all the time!), neither hot nor cold, shirt-sleeve weather, a beautiful evening.

And when I did a warm-up run with Tika, my lower back muscles hurt so much that I could barely trot. I warmed up even more, and lay on the grass and did various fix-the-back things, and the back eased off, but still felt the aches in my knees and foot. Why do I do this, go to class like this? (Well, that's meant to be rhetorical, but I'm always one to answer rhetorical questions-- (a) dogs seem to like agility (b) it gets us all out of hte house and doing something active (c) I'm in denial about my ailments.)

Boost and I are having very very few runouts or refusals in class these days, and the few times that we do, I have an instructor to point out why what I thought I was doing wasn't what i was actually doing. This is why I'm supposed to videotape myself, so I can see what I wasn't doing on my own every time. Bah.

But the bars still come down.

By the end of the class, I just couldn't run any more. T-Cam's mom (T-Cam/Boost have the same parents) seemed delighted at the chance to run Boost for the last run of the evening. This is the second time they've done a run in class. Last time, several weeks ago, Boost was very uncertain and followed Silvina around the course only tentatively, then ran to me as soon as possible. Both times, S wooed B with treats, since Boost wouldn't get into playing tug with a "stranger" (someone she's only seen in class every week off and on for 8 years, you know). This time, Boost went with her willingly and even eagerly, and stayed with her all the way through to the end, and wanted to stay with her after S dropped her off with me! (Dang, why are S's freeze-dried liver treats better than my freeze-dried liver treats?) Boost still held back while running, but not nearly as much as last time. And they had a couple of refusals while Boost watched S so very closely, but S figured out how to fix it the next time around.

S is so happy and enthusiastic with her dogs, and with mine, too. I try to emulate people like her, who have so much energy and excitement with their dogs and just don't let up, but wow, it's exhausting for me! She's not unique among top dog handlers; so many of them are so very good at making their dogs feel special and excited and supercharged. If I do that at their level for a couple of runs, I'm so burned out that I'm ready to sleep for a week. I'm certainly better at it than I was when I started back in 1995 (gasp). But I'm basically a mellow, reserved sort of person even when I'm excited or happy. You know the stereotypical really excited person, who jumps up and down and claps their hands? I would never be that person. If I won the lottery, I'd most likely grin a lot. I might even high-five someone, or pump my fist and say "Yesss!" For me, that's very excited.

Anyway. Wish everything would get better spontaneously. Because as it is, now I have an excuse for not practicing with Boost to fix our agility issues, whereas before I had no excuse, just didn't do it.

Ah, yes, well, this is all so typically me. My dogs are wonderful and I love them dearly. How can I resist that bright-eyed, sharp-eared Tika stare over the desk, saying "Come ON! Let's GO!" She doesn't care what or where, just let's move it! So, guess I'd better move it.

See y'all later.

[Stands up. Tika pumps fist, says "YEsss!"]


  1. Ha! Yes, guilty as charged, totally one of those happy-happy people. I fit well with my breed :)

    1. That's excellent, Molly! Dogs respond SO well to that. If you have any extra, send it my way.

  2. So sweet. You do it because you love your dogs and your dogs love agility and the circle continues.