Weeding

Finally getting ready to do the front planter renovation and had to weed the whole thing.  Got through about half of it yesterday.

Fantastic way to spend a few hours in meditation.  I see what gardeners enjoy, and I suppose it only gets better when the growing things you plant start to take on their own life and character.

Going to Rehab

Oh, um, not that rehab.  Not the one where I stop with the rear crossing of weave poles either.  Both of which might be wise?

No, no, talking about Ky’s rehab.  Holy shitballs, it is a lot of stinking work to do.

We had our first appointment yesterday and got our first series of exercises.

I now have a spreadsheet schedule of what to do when and the number of reps of each thing to do.

We can rebuild her.  We have the technology.  Better.  Stronger.  Faster.

 

Okay, I’ll be pretty damn happy with “can do all her favorite things again” but if you can reference bad 80s TV, you probably should.

Has the World Gone Mad?

Shooting black men who are no threat, mass murders of police, Brexit, Bloom, Trump v. Hillary, heroin is back and it’s angry.  ISIS. Have we all gone crazy?  Is this a low water mark in our modern civilization or is this just the 24 hour news cycle?

Is anyone really reading beyond the headlines?  Are we really able to feel for all these remote people and events?  Should we be living our individual lives differently?  Are we all part of the problem, even when the problems seem horrible but so remote from our cosseted lives?

We all want an answer.  We all want more peace.  But don’t the bad actors also think that they are providing an answer and their own peace?

Humans are complicated.  I think I’ll go teach the Pointer she can turn to the right.

“I don’t care what anyone thinks.”

This statement is almost always bullshit.  When it’s not it’s a sign of *supreme* narcissism.

What kind of a person care what *no one* thinks?  Parse it a different way.  How would you feel if you heard someone say “I don’t care how I make anyone feel.”  Kind of an asshole, no?

So, don’t kid yourself.  The goal is not to stop caring what others think.  The goal is to behave in a way that is kind, avoids hurting others, doesn’t impose on people.  If you can’t say anything nice, and a toddler will not be run over because you didn’t speak up, perhaps you should NOT speak up.  If, conversely, you may save actual harm to others by speaking up you are morally bound to do so.  Think hard about if it’s harm you’re saving others, or just pushing your opinion on them.

Routine variables

Back home from 13 or so days on the road to California and back.  Another fantastic trip with a show on each end bookending some fun training at Nancy’s.

Take aways from the training include work on rear crosses and work on “don’t drift!”

Rave struggled mightily with bars on the first weekend we were south, with one in 6/8 runs.  I may have been (not proud here) rather ready to hang it up and move on if he’s not able to process better than that at 20″.  After a few days of training back at 24″, he went on to have one bar the following weekend, that I’ll take partial credit for, regardless of whose job it is, and one in Team Gamblers at the USDAA show.  So from 6/8 to 2/14.  Like getting our timing in place matters or something?

Fair amount of things to think about came up over the trip that I’m still processing, but if I wait until that is complete I will not have written anything *today.*

Getting into the routine of writing something daily, even if it’s mundane, includes writing when there are variables to the routine.  Next trip I will do a better job.

If you happen to have stumbled onto this location, you may have noticed things like that the sharing buttons are removed and there is no way to comment.  That’s because I’m doing this writing for *me* not for the wider world, and not to try to get attention or get reinforced by attention.

 

Making a habit

Well, apparently “every day” managed to skip, oh, four.

Cass’s birthday was 6/26.  She would have been 12 today.  Which seems pretty amazing, that it was all that long ago.

Yesterday at the camp site while Ky was on her 5 minute potty walk, she stepped in the biggest glop of pitch I’ve ever seen in my life.

90 minutes of panic, swearing, crying, scissoring, picking, washing, washing, and washing followed.  I didn’t even stop to take a picture, it was that terrifying and horrific to have her in a pitch boot on her left fore so bad that if there had been a reputable emergency vet at hand I might have taken her in.  Not to mention, really difficult for a dog to function with NO legs available on one side.  “Pro” tip.  Penetrating oil may not be something you really want all over yourself, your RV, and your dog, but it beats some of the possible alternatives in this situation.

 

Teaching agility and magic cures

Teaching agility is a tricky thing.  I have a friend who is very successful in agility but does not teach.  This friend is occasionally talked into doing a seminar by a local club.  Every time this happens my friend is struck again by how difficult it is to get people to change their agility habits.

It is.  It is VERY difficult.  People want to learn a “new move” but they don’t want to learn how to perfect their existing handling.  Which is human nature.  We all understand the learning curve on some fundamental level.  We know when we are in the steep part, when we are learning new things every day.  We know when we have gotten to the part where we are fighting the same demons over and over.  For myself my demon is focus under pressure.  Your demon might be timing your cues so that your dog understands what you want and is physically able to comply.  Someone else’s demon might be remembering the course.

We face similar struggles in daily life.  Nearly every one of us would like a pill that will allow us to be healthy eating whatever and as much as we would enjoy eating in a day.  This is how the diet book industry stays afloat.  I mean, don’t we really all *know* that it’s calories in should be equal to or less than calories burned?  It would be fantastic if there was a shortcut, but there is not.

Agility is not so different.  There is no magic pill.  There is no magic formula or system.  There is what people can do with their bodies and voices to show a dog around a course, and there is what dogs can learn to understand.  Then there’s the timing of presenting that information.  When it goes well it *is* magic, but there is no magic way to get to mastery.  Anyone who tells you that there is, be suspicious.  If they want a lot of money for the magic pill of agility mastery, walk away.

Daring Greatly and Failure

Today I am thinking about daring greatly.  If you take great leaps of faith and try new things and give it your all, you are not always rewarded.  In fact, sometimes life punishes you pretty hard for having dared greatly.  Some of us will persevere and go on to dare greatly again.  Others will make a point not to make such a big mistake again and reel things in.

What about our dogs?

I want my dogs to have the confidence to dare greatly.  I want them to know the difference between a correct and incorrect response, but I don’t want them to fear an incorrect response so much that they will not dare greatly.  I want my dogs to be running fast and joyful and willing to risk a mistake.

Some days

Some days you’re just cranky and generally disappointed by the normal day to day stuff and have nothing all that positive to say.

Today seems to have been one of those days.

 

Is it getting better, or do you feel the same?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend today.  We are all changing our handling to some degree or another, and we are all trying to get better.

But – how do you know you are getting better?

I can probably count the number of “perfect” runs I’ve had in my agility career on one hand.  At least one of them was 2012 Steeplechase finals with Ky.  We couldn’t have gone one step faster.  Yet, we did not win – we were one dog off the podium.  It doesn’t make it a less perfect run, it just means there were dogs there that were faster on that course than we were.  Were the dogs that placed above us “perfect?”  I don’t recall offhand – maybe, and maybe not.  Sometimes there’s just more speed to burn.

I’ve had that speed to burn with Ten, she had her own complexities in the prime of her agility career, but sheer speed was never a problem. We could make mistakes and still win local shows, at Regionals, and some rounds at Nationals over the years.  I can’t say that many of those runs with the hardware and the cash associated were error free.  I just had a remarkably talented, driven, dog who was trained well enough.  Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.

So, how do I quantify if I’m getting “better.”  I don’t feel it can be based on something as arbitrary as wins, because those are out of our hands.  We can only run as well as we are capable of.  The nature of sports is that sometimes your perfect run is not a medal run.

Ky has been a remarkably consistent and forgiving partner over the years.  Ten has been a remarkably talented and *fast* partner over the years.  Rave is showing himself to be quite speedy but maybe not as consistent as either of the girls.  How does that influence what I should be doing?

I’ll be trying to be consistent with Rave so he can be consistent for me.  I’ll not be fighting harder for tighter turns, because I have those.  I’ll not be worrying about speed, because I have that.  I’ll continue to worry about how to make myself easier for him to read so he can focus more on his work and we can grow towards consistency together.

How will I know that I’m succeeding?  I will count the perfect runs.  If I could not have cued it better, could not have stayed on play more faithfully, not provided better information for my dog, it’s a success, win or lose.