SUMMARY: Because there is crying in agility.
Boost got a Super-Q!
It's one of those things that I'd just about come to accept that would never happen, that we'll never get the 2 more Super-Qs that we need for her USDAA championship. That I might retire her (or anyway move her to performance) and never get that championship.
And today was particularly bad:
- Gamblers, not taking obstacles, several, in fact, and in the opening. And no way, of course, that we'd get the actual gamble.
- Standard, not taking obstacles, knocking bars, a complete melt-down.
- Pairs--we were spot-on perfect. Why can we do 10 obstacles perfectly over and over? But not a complete course?
- Jumpers, not taking obstacles, knocking bars, a complete melt-down.
So I wanted to pack it in and head home early, especially since my back is not doing really well. And talked to Boost about how maybe she'd like to become a herding and nosework dog.
I mean, really, she's 8 and a half. Many, if not most, dogs, move down a height into the Performance group by that age, where the counting for a championship resets and starts all over.
Plus, 112 attempts at Masters Snooker, and out of all of these, we had earned one Super-Q. One. One of 112 attempts. And that one was 2 years ago. (oh, interesting--2 years ago exactly plus 2 days ago.) And she's getting older and it feels like we're getting worse, not better.
And the day had been SO bad, so really very bad, I mean, we did not even come close to completing all the obstacles--let alone successfully--on three of four courses. But I paid for my entries, plus I'm on score table, so I talked myself into staying and not scratching Boost from Snooker.
But the snooker, yikes. Three or four reds, your choice. A very wide circle of obstacles with a three-part #7. And everything was jumps jumps jumps. Yeah, well, we knock bars and we do refusals at jumps, and I did not have the heart to try to design a course with 4 reds or with very many points, because it was pointless anyway (given all the jumps in the course and given how bad our day had been). I just picked nearly the simplest circle with only 3 reds, not much in the way of high points at all, because at that point in the day today, I needed to have a successful run far more than I needed a Super-Q.
I didn't even bother to watch anyone else's runs or look to see what kinds of scores people were getting, because I had given up on getting a Super-Q today.
So we did our simple run. She ticked the 2nd bar but it stayed up. She ran past the 3rd red but I was able to get her back to it and over it without knocking it. On the closing, the distance from 2 to 3 to 4 was so wide and so not-obvious to the dog and I was so slow that I called her back to me after 3 and we kind of hobbled our way to #4 before continuing through the rest of the course. I figured that we were going to run out of time, but it didn't matter because I had picked a small, simple, wimpy course that wasn't going to be a Super-Q anyway, so I didn't push things. Took the time to tell her that she was a good girl for holding her A-frame contact near the end (the only thing that wasn't a jump on the whole course).
Got over the last jump and, wow, we had successfully completed an entire course today! It wasn't entirely pretty, but it was legal and it mostly worked, and the buzzer went off just after that, so we just made it in time.
Feeling happy that we did it, but kinda sad, too, that I had to give up my hopes of a Super-Q just to be able to feel good about doing a very basic course.
But you know what happened. Everyone tried to get four reds and lots of points and crapped out. So our little piddly simple run left us in 4th place, and there were 4 Super-Qs. I could hardly believe it when I went to check our score. I thought that I had to be misreading it. But, no, there it was, in black and white!
And I cried. So happy.
But. There's this little thing about operant conditioning--the most successful way to get a creature to continue repeating behaviors to get a reward is with RANDOM rewards. So I've just been randomly rewarded for attemting Snookers by earning a Super-Q, which means now I'm back to thinking, oh, wow, it just *might* be possible for us to get that one last Super-Q and a championship.
Not sure whether to be happy or sad about that random reward. But, for tonight, I'll take it.
Everyone had cheesburgies for dinner.
Both dogs finished their kibble before they finished their cheesburgers. Very strange indeed.
Boost got a Super-Q.
** Technically Tika did not Q in pairs because we ran Veterans pairs, which is a just-for-fun competition, no qualifying scores. But our score was plenty good enough to have qualified in the regular divisions, both dogs ran well and clean. And technically we were the ONLY veterans pair, but we earned that first place anyway!