Monday, July 30, 2012
I'm not having a pitty party and I'm trying my best not to dwell - there is more to life than agility ... I know this :) but any way you look at it, it's my favourite sport with Gyp. We've done so much. I've tried to fill the void with herding, obedience and cuddling and it's helped. This is the year of transitions and change it seems. I'm learning many lessons.
I could have chosen to run Gyp at nats, but 10 runs after 8 weeks off, to me is alot - and a Gamble (pun intended). And if she came up lame I would be crushed and feel selfish. And I won't run a dog on pain meds to mask soundness - just not my style. So I am going with my gut. And the fact that it's a National - I know I would be pushing her, and she would happily oblige.
I've said it before and I'll say it again ... I love my dog more than I love any sport. And that's just the way it is.
I hope everyone has an awesome National ... Don't take a second for granted.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I haven't posted until today, because I don't know where to start. When I'm overwhelmed I just freeze. But here I go - I'll try my best to sound coherent.
The FCR National was awesome. Like I said in my previous post - it wasn't about getting ribbons, it was about K. We met so many cool people and gorgeous dogs. Conformation is so subjective and that is what is hard about it - JUST the dog is being judged, no amount of training can prepare us for it really - hell, he hadn't had a show lead on in 2 years, and we literally just went in the ring once I put it on. In Sweeps on Thursday, he was not the judge's cup of Tea, and got dumped. Come Friday during the main Specialty classes I was unsure what to expect yet again. He was in a line-up of beautiful Veteran 9-11 boys - these are not your average overweight, limping old dogs - these dogs are all still working - yep, all of them. Mrs. Hutchinson started with the 4th place winner and went up, so you can imagine my stress when there were 3 dogs left standing there - and only one was 1st place. I was ready to leave the ring as I was sure we wouldn't be picked - like the day before ... but low and be-fricken-hold - she picked KALEB!!
I almost pooped my pants. But instead I cried and gave Kaleb a kiss. What an honour. I've never hugged so many people in my life.
Oh and then Kristi stopped by with the Collie Nation!!!! Finally Gyp felt at home with some of her kind. It was great to see you Kristi!! (photo by Kristi)
... Lou and K the long lost brothers and "The Pug".
OK sorry for the side track ... on to Best in Show!!
Long story short - Best of Breed was a stunning boy named Dash that I drooled over a few times over the weekend, who Kristi also picked out of the crowd in 5 minutes of being at the show :) The judge then had 4 "JAMS" (Judges Awards of Merit) to pass out to dogs with the qualities she was looking for from the final lineup still in the ring. Three were given out and she had one more in hands, and holy crap she walked towards Kaleb and gave us the HUGE rosette!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
And did I mention Air Conditioning? And the fact that the coulees are across the street and we have a pond just a 5 minute walk away ...
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The rest of my rant starts now ...
I'm pissed off because I get calls and emails from people who are coming from Agility training at other places, and want us to fix their dogs. Hmmm well, perhaps the first time you see a dog alpha rolled or jabbed in the side with a hand continually by the instructor you should walk away ... 8 weeks of class does not mean you are ready to run a course, and no it also doesn't mean your dog knows all equipment. You've done courses with 14 obstacles, after 8 weeks of class, really, no foundation whatso ever?? And you have competition in mind? Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a "just for fun" agility type class - as long as it is designed with fun and safety in mind. It's sad and disgusting that people pay for classes like this where it is encouraged for the dog to go slow and submit "we are not supposed to let our dogs go fast, we need them to go slow so we have better control" she says. And it is all correction based - seriously. Squashing the dogs spirit and MAKING them do it - is not what any training is about in my opinion. They are living breathing, fun loving creatures - why treat them like anything less?? Isn't this sport supposed to FUN!!!!?? What is even more disgusting is that these people pay more than we charge for classes, and yet we get complaints that our classes have gotten pricy. We have raised prices by $3 a class over the past 3 years. We are half the price of some places in Calgary. I never feel like I'm good enough in what I do - which is a big part of my drive to better at the things I do, how do I justify charged $30 per class, I just can't do it. For the 4 or 5 months we run at the Arena in the winter it is just a break even, and actually, the last month of classes at the barn this year, we lost $200. The cost of classes is not what we make. 30% goes to the tax man, 5% GST, there is wear and tear and equipment maintenance, rental costs, business costs - accountant, insurance which is about $100 month, and it goes on .. I essentially volunteer 30 hours a month during that time. Most of my time is not spent teaching (the fun part), its spent planning, sending emails, going to the bank, doing books - and I get paid hardly anything when it is all said and done. We are a family and our group is amazing, I love people's dogs as if they are my own. I teach, train and play because I LOVE doing it, I am a horrible business person. But I will keep doing it as long as I see brilliant dogs and people emerge and do great things, nothing better than seeing happy dogs and happy people connecting - that is where I get paid, and there is nothing better.
I am far from a perfect trainer, no other dog makes my blood boil like Kaleb can - but I try my hardest to let him be him, he has taught me that, and taught me patience - but what I strive to do is built a relationship of trust and respect on both sides, have fun, and for the love of dog ... let your dog be themselves, squashing their spirit is awful and not what dogs where put on this earth for. They were put here to better us, and we owe that to them.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
He are dog-sitting our friends dog Tango ( a rescue from Cuba) for 12 days. She has been an absolute joy to have around. It's bitter sweet. She reminds of so much of Jane - there has a been a few tears of joy ... reminders of how much we miss a fiesty, cuddle bug dog. But at the same time she has helped us heal. She is one special dog, and the timing couldn't better. THis was supposed to be a photo of Gyp ... but come on, how perfect is this?