A week of milestones, friends!
Whiny, wandering Winter has decided to become a member of the family (no, I do not mean I am keeping him) this week and has finally moved in, both body and mind.
The first piece of baggage to go was the leg-lifting. He put that sucker down and has virtually stopped peeing in the house altogether, with only the occasional lapse when he feels he needs to let TWooie know he doesn’t care for his shit, and pees on the ottoman. It has only happened twice in about 4 days, so I consider this a massive improvement. He is no longer confined to an XPen and his belly band has been washed and put away … he wanders the house freely without his diaper on :)
The next piece of annoying luggage to get put in storage was Run Away From Food Lady. I spent days saying his name and shoving tasty cookies in his mouth if so much as an ear flicked my way, and snuzzling him and scritching his chest, all of which he realized he likes a whole heck of a lot. His long line tied around my waist eventually got dropped on the ground, and was then shortened to a regular leash dragging in the dirt and today, for the first time, the leash came off altogether and he didn’t go anywhere! He hung out with the pack and checked in often for yummy liver brownie rewards. He even was racing across the field toward my landlord when I sang his name and he did a mid-stride about-face, and came barreling back to me as fast as his stumpy little legs could go. Success!!
But the most exciting milestone was that this afternoon, for the first time, he initiated play with another dog that was not laced with sexual overtones. He and his sister/daughter Springaling had a rip-roarin’ game of tag-n-wrassle. The only disappointing part of this was that I didn’t have my phone with me, so I didn’t video it for you all. I will try and catch it on video later this week – if only you could have seen the joy on his little face when he realized that in our family, FUN IS FREE!
It filled my heart with gladness. Which is good, because my heart was black and cold and angry today because, oh so foolishly, I ran Dexter in an Advanced Jumpers at the Leaps N Bounds trial.
YES I know I said I was quitting agility with him. I failed. He was *so* sad when I tried to leave for class without him that I caved and brought him anyway. And he has been doing pretty good at class, staying relatively calm and executing complicated sequences with thoughtful precision. So I thought “What’s the harm?” and threw him in a run. This has painful echos of his stunning last-place performance at Regionals 2012.
I mean, it’s like 18 jumps in a relatively uncomplicated mostly “S” shape. It should have sounded like *feet running/Dexter heavy breathing* for about 20 odd seconds…applause Instead, it sounded like this:
Dexter: ‘THISJUMP?THISJUMP?THATJUMP?THESE4JUMPS?DANCEHERE?TAKENOTHING?TAKEEVERYTHING?BARKBARKBARKI’MTAKINGTHATJUMPOVERTHEREEVENTHOUGHYOUARESOMEWHEREELSEHEADINGADIFFERENTDIRECTION. HAI!!!!”
Audience: *polite silence as they avert their eyes*
My Springaling, OTOH, had a blast today! She got a Q and a 1st place in Gamblers, so she moves up to Advanced. We had another running contact mishap in Standard, and a couple of other boo-boos, but was otherwise lovely because she was having FUN. And her Jumpers run was great, but I overcompensated a teensy bit on one jump and she blew past it as she moved into the pressure of my body. It’s quite an adjustment running uber sensitive Springles after hammer-headed Douchebag Dexter. But she was running with confidence and speed, which was great to see.
I don’t think I will have a dog for Regionals this year, as I’m not sure she’ll be quite there yet, but it’s nice to have an agility dog that is a pleasure to run rather than a struggle.
Also, it was very amusing to have people keep confusing Winter with her as I trotted them in and out of the building. Although they are built quite differently, they have very similar faces, and people who don’t know them well can’t tell them apart until they see them together.
Winter is really a NICE little dog who just hasn’t had much of anything in the way of direction or affection. His neediness and anxiety would drive me crazier if I hadn’t already been through it with Spring, and know that there is a light at the end of that particular tunnel. Someone who is willing to put the work into him is going to end up with a super cool, fantastic, FAST little dog – even under-exercised as he is, he can almost keep up with Spring. I would love to see him in an agility home some day.
The next things I will teach him are a “stay” and to learn to like tuggies and toys. He’s fantastic.
As for Kieren, he is another agility dog in the making. I brought him along to the trial to hang out for a bit, but couldn’t have him in the stands for long because he immediately noticed the dogs running in the rings and stood up on his hindlegs and howled at them like a hound dog. I have never heard a dog make a sound like that in my life!
I love this dog so much. He is kind of an asshole with random other dogs he encounters, and I have not yet figured out which dogs he is going to like and which ones are going to make him pissy, but other than that he remains a crazed demon outside and a relaxed bag of potatoes inside – a perfect off switch. And smart too … he rides in Piper’s space in the truck, which he immediately figured out and heads straight to that door every morning and waits for me to open it. After about three days of me telling him to “watch his tail” and tucking it to the side so it didn’t get slammed in the door, he now checks to make sure his tail it under his bum.
Plus, you know, he’s very handsome.
All in all, pretending Dexter DOES NOT EXIST, I had a fun day at the trial. I was not sure I would, as my day started out badly, with Cyrus the cat sneezing full on *in my face* when the alarm went off. I’m talking an open-mouthed, wet sneeze that required a towel to dry me off, no kidding. Frickin’ cats! *shakes fist*
But Wootie had a worse day than me. Oh, it started off fine – he was having a wicked fun game of Wootie Ball, his new favouritest toy:
And then this happened:
And finally, this happened:
Poor, silly Wootie.
TWooie couldn’t stop laughing. He”s such a jerk.
I’ll post some of Spring’s agility videos on the Wootube Facebook page, so be sure to check it out!
I will begin by saying I’m not a trainer or an agility handler. I just love dogs. So here is my unsolicited advice, which you may freely ignore.
Make a commitment not to trial Dexter for a certain period of time. 6 months, maybe. Take him to classes so he can have his fun and exercise, but don’t give into the temptation to trial him. No matter how beautifully he runs.
If he’s perfect in class after six months, do a trial, but don’t do it expecting to score. Do it for the fun of it. I mean, even if he’s being a total ass and orbiting the moon, Dexter is beautiful at a full gallop. Enjoy his enthusiasm but expect nothing.
My uninformed guess is that Dexter can tell the difference between class and ‘now we’re doing this FOR REAL’ just by your body language, and that trips him into Spastic Dexter Mode. I mean, you wanted him to be your agility dog. Maybe he’s sensitive enough to feel the pressure of that expectation?
Even if you never trial him again, you love the big galumphing goofball. He is going to be part of your heart and your pack. And you can do agility in classes – or at home – just for the joy of it.
I am so confused – how many dogs do you have now? Pls. post group photo – thanks
Hey! What about your long-time faithful fans who aren’t on Facebook? Did I mention long-time fans? And faithful fans? Hmmmn?
So sorry about Dexter not YET being the agility dog you hoped for and hope that with time he will be. I was at an agility trial yesterday where several Master level dogs created a new course for themselves – they were flying around a curve and saw a straight diagonal of five jumps and they were off. It was pretty funny though not to the handler.
Great post as always.
I’m just going to join with Anissa and the “Don’t Compete With Dexter” chorus. Every time I read a post about you competing with Dexter, I see the Spiral of Crazy happening (that’s a technical behavioral term…look it up ). Basically, you anticipate something awful, even if you think you’re not anticipating, you’ve had enough bad experiences that you’re anticipating awfulness. Dexter picks up on your tension, he amps up, you notice him starting to crazy, then you amp up, and so on and so forth until full out insanity happens. Actually, you probably know this and you’d probably give someone else this exact same advice. You just need to apply it to yourself.
Also, can you post a link to basic Agility definitions? I have Basset Hounds…
Although one of them did do recreational agility for a while-he LOVED the teeter and did weave poles like a champ. Sadly, his version of jumping was to walk up to the jump, bump it with his chest so the pole fell, then meander over it.
Riosmom – Youtube search for MrSnappyone and go to the channel. You’ll see Spring and Dexter videos with yesterday’s date. I know this because previous Spring and Dex and Tweed videos were on that channel…
Nice job on Winter! It just warms the heart (virtually) seeing a rescue learning fun and trust. Got no words for Dexter. Good luck, I guess. Ha ha ha. We know you love you him. How’s Tweed, by the way? Miss seeing him.
So now you finally get to yell, “WINTER IS COMING!!” lol