Thursday, January 20, 2011

RCC Day 2

I'm in a pretty foul mood right now and should probably wait until I'm less steamed to write this post, but then it wouldn't have the same angst behind it. So bear with me, cause this bitch is feeling pretty pissy!

Today was the first all breed day of competition at the Rose City Classic (RCC). I had Bess entered only in agility. I have never competed in any performance event at this show, only conformation. There's a lot going on and I wanted to make sure that at least my first day of running her in agility, I didn't have any possible ring conflicts. Good thing too, because there would have been one. The conditions are very tight at this show. There's a whole lot going on. Lots of dogs, lots of handlers, lots of hustle and bustle. Unfortunately there's not a lot of room to move around or crate your dog. I already knew what a pain crating was from previous years of having to fight for crating space around the conformation rings and seeing what it was like over in the performance areas while visiting friends. Seeing is one thing, but being stuck in it is another. It's hard to fully describe the set up without visually showing it (and I didn't take any pictures), but there isn't a whole lot of walking space around the perimeters of the rings due to crating and bleachers. It's tight. Warming up around the ring is difficult because you are inevitably in someone's way or have your dog in a position immediately next to the gates that serve as ring perimeters. To say this can be very distracting to the dogs competing is an understatement. At any rate, pissy mood aside, it is highly unlikely that I will do any performance events at this show again. It's already an absolute no for Heffner and even with Bess, I'm just not thrilled about the lack of space to move about. Anyhow, on to the runs, or more appropriately, the reasons why I'm in such a piss poor mood.

First up was Open JWW. We've had this judge before and I like him and his courses. I was also very happy to see that he didn't include a single tunnel. Not as big of a deal for Bess, but something that I'm always very happy to see for Heffner. Bess started to lose control after about the second or third jump. Her jumping was absolute shit (should probably also warn you that there might be a fair amount of cursing in this post, cause there was a fair amount of cursing when I called my husband to let him know how things went). She got into that bat shit crazy mode where all thinking and training went completely out the window. Instead of using her rear for jumping, she essentially tried swimming through the jumps by crazily pulling with her front legs. There were at least two knocked bars through the first half of the course. I'm pretty sure that the only reason she kept any bars up is because 24" is the highest I will jump the dogs and relative to their actual height, it doesn't take as much effort to clear them. It wasn't really until about jump 14 that she completely lost it, though. Along that side of the ring were the bleachers. Unfortunately, three people with their dogs had picked that spot to stop and gab, with their dogs' butts facing towards the ring and close enough for the dog competing to come up and easily sniff their butts. And that's just exactly what Bess did. I did get her back and she did nail her weaves, but it went completely to shit after that. She just basically took off and started to zoom. I called her back and she came back at me. Then decided to leap up and sock me in the nose. Yeah, not cool. I thanked the judge, grabbed her around the neck and we left the ring. It was ridiculous.

The final straw of the day was our Novice Standard run. Yes, that's right, we're still in bloody novice, where we will probably be for all of perpetuity. She needs ONE MORE RUN to get out of novice. Is it really too much to ask that she keep her shit together for one f***ing run???? Apparently it is, because she couldn't.
It's a very nice and simple course. There's nothing tricky, mean, or overly unfun about it. It's a course that Bess could do any day of the week. She is fully capable of completing this run in one try. Things again broke down after the third jump. She's been such a teeter sucker lately that I was shocked when she decided to loop all the way around the teeter and try to start zooming. I called her back and she completed the teeter. Then hauled ass into the tunnel and up the a frame. I slowed her down on her decent because she notoriously leaps over the contact zone when she's in one of these brainless moods. And that's exactly what she did. Jumped over the damn contact zone like it was bloody hot lava. After which she proceeded to run right out of the f***ing ring. I was pissed at that point. I'd had enough. This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable and it sure as hell is beyond the point of being even remotely cute. I called her back in the pissed off tone that represented my mood. She came back after doing a bit more sniffing. I made her sit and we left the ring.

Pissed. I have never been so pissed at this dog in my life. The "funny" thing is that a little while before our Standard run I was thinking to myself how weird it was that I hadn't actually gotten pissed off at Bess lately for the crap that she's been pulling. I've seen others get pissed off at their dogs for a lot less and the crap that she's been pulling is totally bogus. And I really haven't gotten mad. I've made up excuses or said things like "at least she's having a good time." Well, that's bogus too. She's knows this stuff and it's not like I'm asking a whole hell of a lot from her. The girl has skills and she is able use them. Apparently though, she only wants to use them when and how she chooses.

Oh yeah, and my mood got even better after we headed home. As I'm stewing about her "performances," I still had a little bit of me that was thinking, "maybe she just needed more exercise and maybe I should just really tire her out for the next few days." Then I also thought that's kind of bullshit. There are plenty of people who have dogs with way higher energy levels and drive than Bess has and they're not out there hours before their runs trying to wear their dogs out so that they listen in the ring. They do their warm ups, they run, and then they cool down. That's it. Not "enough" exercise beforehand is not a good enough reason for her to decide she's going to play her own game in the ring. Regardless, I thought that maybe I would stop by one of the parks near our house that have some nice fields to just let her off leash to burn off some steam and maybe I could cool off as well. Ha! I get there and everything is bloody soggy and flooded! And I'm wearing sneakers, so I can't really walk any where. I just loaded Bess up and we headed for home.

I haven't even really been able to look at her since we got home because I'm still steamed. Which I realize is rather ridiculous at this point because it's so far after the events that pissed me off that there is no connection to them in her mind. Not to mention she didn't even see the connection in the first place while she was doing it! So now I'm sitting here, venting my frustrations on the blog (Kennedy and Adam have already had an ear full from me), wondering what in the hell to do. I've got a variety of options, but I just don't know what to try or what might actually have an effect on her. We'll see how tomorrow goes. If you don't hear anything from me until Saturday, it's not necessarily because I've flipped my shit and have been jailed in a crate by the AKC. There's a shin dig at some of the motor homes tomorrow night after Group and I'll be there for a while. Drinking my frustrations away! Wish us luck for tomorrow and keep your fingers crossed that Bess starts using her brains lest I curl up into the fetal position and cry uncle!


Jennifer H. said...

Oh Lindsay I am so, so very sorry. :( We have had runs like that in Rally Advanced and it is so NOT fun. And I know if we competed in agility that it would happen there at some point too.

I feel your pain girl!

All fingers, toes and paws crossed for a better day tomorrow!!!

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Sorry for the horrible day! Does Bess stress up? I know quite a few dogs who get the zoomies and lose their brain when stressed instead of the typical slow moving, sniffy type of stress many dogs get.

I think I would go to matches where you can bring a toy into the ring. Or the new UKI venue allows you to do training runs with a toy. Or perhaps just aim for doing 2-4 obstacles and heading out of the ring on a good note. Gradually increasing what she can do in a trial. NADAC and CPE are great venues to do that in.

I wish you luck with figuring out what works for her!

Sam said...

I'm sorry about your crappy day - I usually feel that way after a bad trial, too.

Just remember that the most important thing is that you have fun while doing this - I've had to remind myself of that a number of times.

I like Laura's suggestion of going to matches. I know that my dog sailed through Novice and then started pulling all kinds of funky stuff in Open. It's like there's a delay, and then it sets in to them, "oh wow, this is a trial, it's so scary/fun/exciting/stressful/crazy" all at once.

Lindsay said...

Stressing up sounds about right. Ug! Which means that she stresses down for obedience and stresses up for agility. Oy!

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

I'm so sorry! First of all, thank you for acknowledging that sometimes it IS the dog's fault. I know the majority of people blame their dogs for no reason, but sometimes the dog really should know better. Second, at least you're 2/3 of the way out of Novice. We have ZERO jww legs! Zero! We're in Excellent level training classes and she runs those courses clean, but we can't get ONE Novice JWW leg??

Anyway, I don't know if I'd call it stress (like negative stress) as much as I'd call it immaturity and overexcitement. To me, it sounds like it was too much excitement, her brain got overloaded and she couldn't/wouldn't focus. I think that's just a phase, until the novelty wears off. Good luck!! Thank you again for your honest post.

Nat said...

I would definitely call this stressing, especially considering the fact that she is having zoomies AND is sniffing, both of which are classic signs of stress.