Wednesday, March 29, 2006

At last - some dog stuff

My Griffie Roc and I have now entered the Open A ring three times in Obedience competition. He finds new and delightful ways to NQ (not qualify) each time. The latest was the most fun - knowing you're already sunk only 10 seconds into the performance lets you relax and enjoy.

The first exercise is "heel off lead." If you're not into the arcane and exacting world of competitive obedience, just know that the dog's supposed to stick like glue to your left side. And every time you stop, he's supposed to sit - glued to your left side.

We enter the ring. The judge asks if I have any questions as he leads us over to the start line. I don't, he wishes me luck, and off we go. The judge says "Forward." I say "Roc, heel!" and the clock is running. Roc is adorable, wagging, sticking like glue to my left side. The judge says "Halt." We halt, Roc's butt drops like a stone. Beautiful.

The judge says "Forward;" off I go, "Left Turn," no problem. "Slow." I sneak a peek at Roc to see how he's doing. He's not there. I look around. No Roc. He's still sitting at the first "Halt." Heart drops, glance in panic at judge. Call dog. Dog stays sitting. Call dog again. Dog sits. Judge says "Exercise finished."

At this point, I know that our day is a waste of the entry fee - so we might as well get some experience ("Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want") and have fun. The judge, however, has a look on his face that reads loud and clear "This is going to be the longest five minutes of my life."

So, we proceed on to the other exercises: Figure Eight, Drop On Recall, Retrieve on Flat, Retrieve over High Jump, and, last but not least - the Broad Jump. Roc executes every single one - like a champ, like an obedience competitor, like he's actually heard the words before. As we leave the ring, the judge shakes his head and says "Well, he can do the work."

Yes, he can.

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