Oh no wait, that’s me!
It’s blowing and raining out there like a sum b and I just cannot muster up the cojones to take the beasts out in that mess AGAIN and wipe down 28 muddy paws AGAIN and do ANOTHER load of mucky dog towel laundry. So we’re staying inside.
This executive decision makes Piper ANGRY.
Fortunately, she is relatively easy to placate with peanut-butter-on-a-spoon.
Unfortunately, I am pretty much out of peanut butter. Which makes her angry all over again.
I feel her pain, for I too am angry. Well, not angry so much as irritated, frustrated and demotivated. And it’s all because of Dexter.
I’m back in that place where I hate doing agility with this assinine, rocket-fueled, hay-for-brains dog again. And I hate it here so much! But it seems to be our go-to residence, and all roads lead back to GAH THIS DOG SUCKS SO MUCH WHAT DID I DO IN A PREVIOUS LIFE TO DESERVE THIS AND WHY AM *I* CURSED WITH HIM?!?!
After the fiasco/ last place finish that was Regionals in the early summer, I took a step outside myself and had a good hard look at what we were doing and tried to figure out why we aren’t getting anywhere. Was I putting too much pressure on him to succeed? Possibly. Did I expect too much from a 2 year old dog? Could be. Did I push too hard to advance him along? Mayhaps. So for the last 6 months I have had no expectations of Dexter, no expectations of success, and just tried to enjoy playing with him in class – no trials, no milestones, just trying to bond with my insane dog. BUT YOU CAN’T BOND WITH INSANE. *ahem*
I went to our last trial a couple of weeks ago with some expectations, I admit it. I expected that my THREE year old dog could run a frickin’ Starters course with reasonable success. I expected that he would not take a jump out of commission with his frickin’ face. I expected at least one clean run after bloody months and months of work, sweat and border collie/rocket kickback dirt and slobber in my face. I mean really, I don’t think a clean run in STARTERS, for crying out loud, is too big an expectation for a dog who has been doing some form of agility for almost three freakin’ years.
For all the good it did me, I may as well have run TWooie.
Hey, is that kind of comment really necessary?
But really, come on! This dog has has every advantage – foundation puppy classes; clicker training from 8 weeks old; 2X2 practice on my lunch break every day; attention work and flat work; one jump exercises … the list goes on (but I can’t remember it all, cuz I’m old now). He still can’t hit his weave entry 80% of the time and/or pops out of them to jump up and down in my face barking at me, he still takes jumps that do not exist – or if he’s feeling obedient, jumps that exist but are not part of the course – and he still just makes me a seething ball of teeth clenching rage! AGH! And most frustratingly of all, he REALLY LOVES THE DAMN SPORT. Oh cruel irony!
At class this week I could only make the first half, as I had to speed across town to participate on a symposium about cats in my city.
Ah yes, a symposium about me. This is wise. Perhaps are you are not as hopeless as I’d first thought.
So I had to squeeze both dogs into one hour of class instead of two. Jumped Springaling out of the truck and ran her through a pretty difficult and technical course with not a foot out of place.
You remember Spring, yes? Adopted from an animal shelter at ~one year of age; she ended up there after being found locked in a cat carrier with no food or water in the middle of an empty field in the hot summer? Was so anxious that she soiled herself every time I stepped out of the house without her? Didn’t know a single command? Peed when I looked at her funny? Didn’t garner interest from a single applicant because she was so weird? Was deathly afraid of the teeter? Has been taking agility classes for six months only?
My nose tastes good.
Then I jumped Dexter out of the truck and after about 10 minutes, really wanted to run him over with it instead. We literally could not get past the third obstacle. He took other jumps instead of the one he was supposed to. He ran around me in a circle staring at my knees like they were going to break into song. He did the weave poles instead (and did NOT get his entry) and halfway through them jumped straight in the air, raced back to me and hovered about two feet over the dirt floor and went BARKBARK in my face.
I am demotivated by my dog, I admit it. I’m out of ideas.
Actually, you’re out of peanut butter.
Look – I don’t want to make The World Team. I’m not trying to smoke all the competition in the 26″ class. I don’t aspire to be anything other than a reasonably decent handler who is a good partner to her dogs. And I can’t be all that bad. I mean, Tweed and I did win Regionals this year, and that was no accident.
Ah sweet victory … how good it tastes!
I even put a MAD on Piper, and that was, like, impossible. Because she is a terrible, glued to my knees and feet agility dog.
I’m about to get ANGRY again!
But there has to be some balance. Dexter is not a baby dog anymore. He’s a grown up dog who has been destroying the game of agility for me for nearly three years. As much as it pains me, I’m |thisclose| to just calling it quits with him, and finding him something else to do. It pains me because he almost has the trifecta of Agility Dog Excellence – he’s got Heart, He’s got Courage … too bad he doesn’t have a f*ckin’ BRAIN.
But I have a toy! It’s a really long squeaky crocodile. And it’s mine.
It makes me sad.
Things I really don’t want to hear about my rant are the following:
I lost my agility dog to cancer/accident/age/alien abduction last year and I would give anything in the world to play with him/her again. You should be grateful you have a healthy young dog to play with etc. etc. I know all this. I too have lost agility dogs to age/retirement and death. I grieve for them but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to kick Dexter in the nutsack some evenings.
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Sure, I hear you … but seriously, who goes on a journey without a reasonable expectation of arriving somewhere at least kind of awesome? If my journey with Dexter was not through a war torn country full of land mines and muggers, I might be able to enjoy it a little.
There are more important things in the world than agility. Yes, this is very true – but I _am_ talking about agility, after all. Not world peace. And Dexter would somehow ruin that too besides.
Mostly I am just ranting (with cleverly interspersed photos). I know there is no good answer to any of this, except for “stop playing agility with Dexter.” Which I just may do.
Well phhhbbbllltt on you then.
I just kind of think that my hobby should be fun. Dexter makes it un-fun, sometimes. Lots of the time. Pretty much all of the time. Stupid athletic dog.
*kicks the dirt*
On a more fun topic, it never fails to amuse me how gleefully fascinated TWooie is by peanut butter on a spoon.
Whereas Pfeifer was concerned that it was some kind of trick.
Are you sure about this?
But was then delighted when it was just plain old tasty.
Stupid Dexter couldn’t even get the peanut butter game right.
I’m going to buy some more peanut butter and try it out on my new cat, Cyrus.
I adopted Cyrus from my work. He came in as a little kitten and because he was black and therefore “boring” he basically grew up in the shelter. I tried to market him to every single adopter that came in, because Cyrus is AWESOME, and after months of failed efforts, I fell victim to the hype I created and brought him home. And he is the sweetest, coolest, bestest cat in the world.
Unless you are toilet paper on a roll. Then he just sucks.
I have no suggestions for the frustration Dexter sends your way. However, with regard to toilet paper massacre, some suggestions are: Try putting the toilet paper in a smallish box on the floor or on the tank, put the toilet paper in one of those plastic boxes that has a clamping lid, try making a wooden ‘frame’ big enough to hold a roll of toilet paper and hang it on the bathroom wall where you can reach it when engaged in your normal activity there. Best of luck.
Emily Hurt says
Like I’ve said before — I have a dog EXACTLY like Dexter. She just turned 4 in November. Thankfully I have other dogs to play agility with while I let her sit and marinate/mature. She still plays frisbee and hikes/swims with my other dogs, but I don’t trial her. She had puppies and they’re all SO awesome…but she is still a retard. She can actually hold her brains in her head in training on occasion, but I’ve vowed to just take a year off of spending $$$ entering her in trials. I haven’t run her in about 6mo, and plan to run her in Jumpers ONLY, three days in a row, at the New Years trial. I’m running her daughter (who I am certain will be beating her out of Advanced) and my 6yo Tweed-like steady Eddie girlie. I figure even if her 1 run a day is TERRIBLE, I’ll have plenty of GOOD runs with my GOOD dogs to make up for it ;-) So maybe just take some time off?
My 6yo girlie had her ADCH at 25mo, and was the youngest ADCH, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, and is a few from Platinum. My 11.50 girlie is ADCH-Plat, LAA-Plat. My crazy dog’s daughter is already in mostly Advanced classes after a couple of shows. I teach agility. I’d say my crazy dog had all the legs up in the world insofar as agility is concerned as well. Yet…I get this:
http://youtu.be/Oad5pB89osI in shows.
Which prompts training like this: http://youtu.be/glaH1FyjJSc ;-)
I suggest just letting Dexter’s brains marinate a while is all :)
I had to let me JRT marinate for 2 years (ages 2-4yo) before she decided she wanted to play some ‘gilities. Time heals all agility woes, to some degree ;-)