Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Small steps & victories

Last year at this time, I was celebrating. It was right after the Paw Power Blues Agility Trial, where Dax and I earned our first-ever qualifying score. We went to the same trial this year, but no celebration.
Success, with Dax and my agility career, is measured in non-traditional ways. The trial before this one, we were whistled off the course (not a good thing) six out of six runs. This time - only two times out of four! A 50 percent improvement!
I've learned so much working with Dax. She really loves playing agility - she just doesn't understand the game of competition. She just doesn't seem to "get" that we're working together and all distractions (the photographer in the corner, the bar-setter in the chair, the judge in the middle) are to be ignored - not greeted like old friends.
I'm not nearly as nervous now as when I started - and it's practically impossible for her to embarass me in public. Whatever havoc she manages to make of the agility course - I'm not going to let it bother me.
I'm a much better handler than I would have been had Dax been an "easy" dog. I appreciate the tiny victories - we may have made up our own course, rather than running the judge's, but we finished and we had fun.
Of course, driving home for two hours in traffic on Sunday night, I wasn't exactly in this "count your blessings" mood. I have to thank Susan Garrett, whose name agility people know well, for her blog post: There are no ordinary dogs.
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