On This, The First Day of Summer

I offer you a photo of Winter.

I hardly ever post photos of Winter because he’s a) boring and b) not very good looking.  Unless he’s wrestling with Spring, he doesn’t do anything except lay around being stressy or hunt for rabbits in the bush.  He is also probably the least photogenic of all of my dogs.  And he’s low on the popularity list around here (don’t deny it – if you have lots of dogs, you like some of them better than others.  Even if you won’t admit it out loud).

I also offer you a photo of Gemma, to prove I have not chucked her out a window yet.  Not even after she bit me in the foot this morning for trying to stop her from sticking her head in Piper’s breakfast bowl.  Sticking her head in Piper’s bowl could easily have resulted in her losing her face or maybe her whole head, but the thanks I got was three sharp little teeth in my big toe.  Jerk.

Today we are reflecting upon our Regionals experience (we being me, because Spring “I’m A Terrier” Aling has already forgotten about it).

Facebook peeps already know how she did, and *what* she did, but I’ll recap for the rest of you.

SHE SHIT IN THE RING IN STEEPLECHASE II.

Argh.  Those among you who follow my Regionals sagas know that this makes the third year in a row where Spring has loosed her bowels or bladder in the ring.  And she ONLY does it at Regionals, and she ONLY does it at Regionals at Thunderbird Arena.  This year I carefully trialed her at new and different places with new and different footing, just to see if she does it other places too.  I trialed her at a new venue outdoors on grass for ASCofBC and she earned herself three titles in two days and didn’t foul the ring at all.  I trialed her at USDAA indoors on sand and she didn’t befoul that barn either.  But bring her to Thunderbird and she craps on the course.

Lighten up, Food Lady.  Everybody poops!!

I was SUPER bummed.  I very seriously considered pulling her from the rest of the competition.  Which some people seemed to interpret as me being a pissy (ha ha) pouty pants.  But I wasn’t going to pull her for me, I was going to pull her out for her.  Because Spring is a stressy dog, and her default response to stress is to pee or poop.

When I first got her, she would shit the floor if I looked at her sideways.  I couldn’t leave her alone for more than two minutes without her eliminating in the house.  It took lots of confidence building to get over that.  And then when we started agility, if I so much as said “Whoops” if she made a mistake, she would pee herself.  Lots of more confidence building required.  Now she can clearly trial and do reasonably well without losing control of her bodily functions … except at Thunderbird.  Which suggests to me that she was stressed.  And the point of us doing Regionals – or any competition – is to have fun.  Stressing to the point of pooping doesn’t sound like one half of us is having fun, does it?  (The other half of us doesn’t have much fun when she poops in the ring either, lemme tell you.  But that’s not really the point).

Some folks, whom I’m sure were well meaning, said stuff like “Well, just go out there and have fun with her.”  Well obviously that was my plan from the get-go.  Our ONLY goal was to have her running happy and not peeing (or pooping) in the ring.  Look, I’m not running a competitive dog, I know this.  I don’t take agility all that seriously – if I did, I wouldn’t be running rescues with giant closets full of behavioural skeletons.  I would be attending seminars instead of a loose practice once a week, which I mostly go to because it involves a Starbucks coffee. I would be doing drills in my yard instead of leaning against the fence and half-assedly asking my dog to “go jump something or something or whatever.”  I’m not trying to win all the thing.  I *like* to win all the things, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like it enough to work really hard at it.  I like to play agility and I like to play it with a dog that likes to play it with me (hence the reason Dexter doesn’t play it anymore, because I’m not sure he wouldn’t prefer to go out there and do it all himself, sans stupid ole me) but I’m not super competitive.

(Except when I win, at which point I am insufferable.  But I digress.)

The thing is, if my partner isn’t having fun, then I’m not having fun.  And I am especially not having fun if I threw almost $250 at a competition where my partner eliminates herself (on all levels) because she’s so not having fun.  That makes us both miserable.

But in the end I decided that Thunderbird is not, to my knowledge, toxic, poisonous, or dangerous.  It’s not going to kill Spring or me.  And by doG, she has full use of all her legs and she can run 6 damn courses without crumpling up and dying so I dragged her pouty ass back to the venue the next morning and decided that even if she pissed or shitted up the whole damn joint, she was going to try her paw at every bloody course and just GET OVER HERSELF.  She is not that same stressy pee-machine I adopted 4 years ago, she’s come a long, long way.  And a friend of mine gave me a really good plan too – she said if Spring pooped or peed on course (for those of you who don’t know the rules: if your dog eliminates on course, you get eliminated from the run and have to leave the ring without completing it and lose all your points) to take her out of the ring and drill her on the practice jumps outside the ring, to cement in her walnut brain that she has to keep “playing” even if she “goes.”

But as it happens, we didn’t need to use that strategy.  because in the end, Spring went four for six clean runs and ended up in 12th place of the 38 dogs in her division, and qualified for Nationals!

Spring reg

She had two clean Jumpers rounds – not super fast, but with bonus time points for each.  She had a nice clean and reasonably fast Standard and one clean Gamble run.  The second gamble was not Spring-friendly, which I knew from the get-go, so we concentrated on what she COULD do in the opening and racked up a decent amount of points.  She got a bit stressy in her second Standard and pulled some dorky stuff like not taking equipment she knows and likes very much, resulting in some refusals.  And then suddenly she decided mid course she was having fun and took off down a line of jumps so fast that I f*cked up and sent her off course because I was out of position.  So in the end, we had a really good Regionals.  And if she had run that second Standard clean, she would have had the points to be on the podium.  Which is pretty damn impressive for a dog who shat the ring on day one!

I am proud of my squirrelly girlie for overcoming her fears and trying so hard!

And speaking of rescues with closet skeletons …

Le Peetie.  Le Sigh.  So Le Cute.  SO Le Annoying.

She has decided that jumping up to chomp me in the face isn’t as much fun as she thought it was, which is a good thing.  But she hasn’t gotten any more fun overall either.  She’s boring as dirt – lovely dog, great in the house (she spent 12 hours loose in the house yesterday as I only brought Spring to the event, and she didn’t do anything naughty), beautiful recall, but absolutely no drive to speak of when it comes to toys or games with me.  I brought her to the event on Saturday, and aside from her wonderful habit of puking in the van, she was also spooked at the whole thing.  I hoped bringing her ringside to see the high-octane dogs would get her motor running, but she wasn’t at all interested in watching them.  She just wanted to go back into her crate and drool and not talk to anyone.

Last weekend I photographed a friend’s new puppy, and was captivated by her curiosity and her keen desire to play with All The Things.  Plus she is really freakin’ adorable.

Fifteen weeks old and she is already a go-go machine!

I want that in my next puppy.  I don’t want to create drive artificially, I want to harness and direct what’s already there and bursting to be free.  And Peetie doesn’t have it.  She’s going to make someone a very nice pet, but she’s not going to make me a very nice pet.  Because I have lots of pets that take up space and eat me out of house and home, tyvm.  And Peetie is NEEDY – she is always trying to flop in my lap or belly crawling up to me to lick my hands while I am trying to type or whatever, and it annoys the hell out of me.  There are people out there who love that, but I don’t love it at all.  Winter does that same thing, and we’ve already discussed how I feel about Winter.

So does anyone want a really sweet, really obedient border collie puppy who is decidedly low octane?

Fae has decided that it is indeed time for Peetie to go.

Peetie likes to bite the Littles on the bum to make them run, and then chase them down.  Addy likes it for about 35 seconds and then comes running to me to be picked up.  Fae doesn’t like it for even .35 seconds and would like to kill Peetie.

Even thought Peetie is a Dexter clone, which makes it difficult to part with her, the resident Bitch has spoken, so Peetie needs to move on.

Speaking of Dexters, today I spotted one in its natural habitat.

He is, of course, “hiding” in the brush with his ball.  I’m not sure where he learned to retrieve the ball to a clump of buttercups rather than to me, but it’s going on 7 years of the same behaviour that drives me crazy but I can’t change it.

Fae is trying to change it by hunting him down and barking shrilly in his ear until he gets up and moves.

And here is a photo of Piper, because I luff her. (See, I can love dogs who suck at agility.  Because if ever a dog sucked at agility, it was Piper!)

And here is a photo that is bittersweet.  It is a photo that memorializes my Tweedles as Regional Champion in 2012 on a permanent trophy.  Unfortunately, nobody told me that this trophy existed until after he died, so I never got a chance to get a photo of him with it.  And after I learned about it, nobody could even be bothered to send me a photo of the trophy when I asked, so I had to wait until this Regionals to snap one myself.

Here’s to the best dog that ever was, and the best agility dog I ever had.  I miss you Tweed!!

tweed trophy

This is NOT the best agility dog I ever knew.  But isn’t he good looking though?

Comments

  1. Lee Rovang says:

    we lost (they died within 6 months of each other) our 2 dogs (brother Schnozzles) Buster & Maxie last year. We are in our 70s & have a large fenced yarding the suburbs of Mpls, MN.

    Peetie sounds like just the low octane dog we need :)
    A dog to love and to give love back.

  2. Oh sorry, no – Peetie and I are in Canada. I’m not shipping her to another country. She’s only available locally.

    And to clarify, Peetie is a low octane by my standards or by border collie people’s standards, but would be considered high energy by folks who are used to more sedate breeds of dogs :) I have no idea what a schnozzle is, but I doubt very much it’s in the class of a border collie with respect to energy. Good luck in your search!

  3. Connie Burnet says:

    Hahaha, Spring has given a new definition to the term ‘clean run’, I love it!

    Lots of ‘find your home now’ wishes to Peetie, the BC rescue I work with here in IL gets a number of requests for dogs who look like BCs but don’t really act like BCs. Hoping one such home will find out about your girlie.

    Charlie the Indestructible sends high-fives to Gemma, but he’s blind so he missed the high-five smack and came down wrong and lurched head-first into the wall. ‘S okay, he does that all the time. He says he knows about Least Favorite In A Group, although the nearly-feral Peekaboo has displaced him from that status here. A year later and she still acts like I’m the axe murderer who slaughtered her family and is coming back for her. So tiresome.

  4. Woohoo for Spring and you!

    I liked the idea of making her run obstacles anyway when you posted it on FB. I totally agree about how the point is for everyone to have fun, but yup, it sounded like a confirmed case of “if I do this I don’t have to do what I don’t want to” and it was worth it to try to break that habit. But so glad to hear you didn’t have to!

    Good luck finding Peetie a place!

  5. Maria Shanley says:

    I wish Peetie was about 7 or 8 years old and here in Wyoming – we would adopt her in a flash. The carsickness can be worked with, and we have always had border collies, aussies or sled dogs. Alas, we are getting old now and don’t want to take a young dog who will probably be orphaned. She sounds like my kind of dog – I miss my Velcro dog!

  6. We are about to move to an acreage in Victoria next week. We have an almost 10 year old male border collie (super high drive, but somewhat mellowed with age). We are looking to add a second dog, and I was planning on a puppy, but would consider a young dog. We are trail runners, so looking for a dog who is happy to spend a few hours a day out on the trails. Full disclosure- we have a five year old son. He’s pretty dog savvy, due to ours, and his classroom has three dogs full time. But I know that’s an obstacle in some dog’s situations. If you think she might be a good fit we would certainly consider it.

  7. Luv this: The thing is, if my partner isn’t having fun, then I’m not having fun.

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