On Sunday, Chico and I went to an AKC trial and we were on fire. Chico was confident and happy, Annie was running well, we stayed connected. Our Jumpers run was fast and wildly inaccurate, with numerous off-courses, we earned an elimination, but I told Chico he did a perfect job of running the course we made up.
Our Standard run earned us our first Q at the Excellent level in Standard. We’ve gotten three Qs at Excellent in Jumpers, and have been working at Standard for just about as long, and we finally managed to do the course that the judge designed. It isn’t that we haven’t had fun, and done some really strong work on Standard courses, it’s just that we couldn’t put it all together in one run until this weekend.
Watch and see how happy and confident Chico is on the start line. Maybe because there’s no Annie trying to lead out here. Oh, no. My dog, when on this start line, is facing the peanut gallery. I’m going to engage him and touch him and get him all rilled up and then I am going to take off running with him.
And son of a gun, it worked. Twenty seconds under the standard course time for dogs his size. Clean, qualifying, class-winning. When we run like this, I can see places where my handling can be improved, but for so long life has been about project “happy dog in the ring,” I have made myself satisfied with runs like the Jumpers run where I at least had a dog when I got into the ring. Sometimes lately Chico has been like a bunch of wildflowers clutched in a child’s sweaty palm for an hour or so – wilted. Not on this past Sunday.
Next weekend we’re going to Sugar Bush Farms trying the Team games in USDAA again, this time with a partner who is interested in the freedom to try the risky moves that she wouldn’t do if her teammate was working for Qs. Since I am working first for fast and happy, and after that for accurate, it seems like a match made in heaven. Both the human and the dog that comprise the other half of our team are aardig* and it feels like it is going to be fun. I’m going to not care if we Q**, I am going to get my dog pissed off and rilled up on the start line, and we’re going to do our very best every run. To inspire our devil-may-care antics, we have named our team “We Don’t Give a Flying …” I don’t think, however, that we’re going for matching t-shirts like some teams do.
And I’ll try to do a house project post this week because the house has actually been taking up most of my brain space the last couple or three weeks. Where do the outlets go? How big is the pantry? What tile? What light fittings? What decking material? Will the shingles meet in a basket weave at the corners of the house or do you want them to end at corner boards? What about trim around the windows? They told me it would be one decision for every dollar I am spending, and right now it sure does feel like that.
*Aardig is a Dutch word, hard to translate, but some of the words given as a translation are affable, deft, funny, good-natured, and likable.
**After Sunday’s Jumpers run, I said, “Oh, it’s OK, we’re never going to Q again, my dog had fun and ran well, that’s what matters.” Then, of course, we were on fire and tore up the course in Standard. My brain is a funny place.