Friday was day one of the Cape Cod Kennel Club agility trial. We played FAST and Time 2 Beat. It rained. It didn’t rain. I won something in the worker raffle. I learned how to do the volunteer position called gate steward. In fact, I soloed. I asked to shadow someone, and after about five minutes, she had a conflict and needed to go walk the course in the other ring. She asked if I’d be OK, and I said yes (after all, how do we learn but by doing?), and I was. Or if anyone complained, it wasn’t to me.
In the morning, for FAST the official score was really different from the exhibitor copy of the score sheet, but I’m not looking for Qs so I didn’t question it. AND, I didn’t question it because after the class two, yes, TWO, complete strangers told me how happy Chico looked on course. Qs, shmoos – my main agility goal is a happy dog.
In the afternoon it started to rain like crazy right after they finished building the course for Time 2 Beat. When it was our turn, it wasn’t raining anymore, but there was standing water on the course. Chico probably thought I was nuts, but he went out there and gave it the old college try for me. The second obstacle was our trialing nemesis, the weave poles. And, sssllloooowwwlllyyy, through puddles, Chico did all twelve of them. That’s the first time in ages, simply ages, that he’s been able to do the weaves the first time at them, all the way through, in a trial setting. Go figure, huh? There was one other refusal, and we went over allotted time – none of that matters even the tiniest bit to me because in addition to getting the poles . . . after the class, the assistant scribe stopped to tell me how happy my dog looked on course.
Meanwhile, back at Eva’s Garden, the farm produce is now part of an FDA food certification program, and dogs are no longer allowed in the gardens or green houses. Lots of chances to practice down-stay for long duration and at good distances.
And Dogger is in residence. Dogger is crazy about Chico. Dogger, they say, usually ignores other dogs if they aren’t interested in him. And there’s one dog, Livingston, who comes to work here with his human and he simply cannot be near Dogger. Dogger apparently hates Livingston as much as he loves Chico.
Dogger wants nothing more in the world than to play with Chico. He invites Chico to play about six ways from Sunday. Fake left, go right. Stick butt in Chico’s face. Play bow. Cocked head whining. Giant smile and wagging tail. And when Chico says he doesn’t want to play, Dogger backs off. He tries again, he backs off, he tries again. And when Dogger didn’t back off far enough or fast enough, Chico went at him in what I thought was a pretty serious way, saying, I imagined, pretty awful things. And Dogger did not rise to the occasion with violence. On the contrary, Doggers reaction seemed to be closer to “Oh, OK, friend – so this is you play. I can work with that.” Chico, of course, wasn’t offering to play, quite the contrary in fact. But Dogger doggedly refuses to believe that Chico has bad intent. Dogger’s no pacifist, his reaction to Livingston shows that. What is it about Chico that has Dogger working so hard for approval/affection/whatever it is he wants from Chico?
I’m going to try to get some video of the two of them together.