Thursday, September 17, 2009

La Vida Loca - fall edition

This post comes to you from the “It seemed like a good idea at the time” files.

Starting this weekend, Phoenix and I are showing seven of the next nine weekends. And we just showed two of the last three weekends. So that makes us going nine for 12 from late August through mid-November. There are so many great trials this time of year and many of them are local, no overnight stay required. Now tell me, how could I NOT enter?

This weekend we’re doing three days of agility at Granger. Then Sept. 26/27 it’s agility at Davenport; Oct. 3, UKC obedience at Adel; Oct. 10/11, HOME; Oct. 17/18, AKC obedience at Moline, Ill.; Oct. 24, UKC obedience at Davenport; Oct. 31/Nov. 1, UKC obedience at Cedar Rapids; Nov. 7/8, HOME; Nov. 14/15, agility at Muscatine.

Fortunately, the only overnight trip is this weekend (camping - hurray!) so we’ll get to sleep in our own bed at night for all the rest. And I had the good sense to only enter one or two days of each UKC obedience trial, even though they are ALL three-day weekends. Phoenix needs one leg to finish his U-CDX but I’m not interested in the title as much as I am in seeing improvement on his out-of-sight stays.

I honestly think our dogs work better when we’re in the ring consistently with them, no matter the venue. Showing, then having a month off, then showing again, often feels like three steps forward and two steps back in terms of teamwork and focus. When this is all wrapped up by mid-November, I’ll have a better idea of what direction our training needs to take over the winter.

Canine sports vet Chris Zink says she tries to give her dogs one entire month out of the year in which she doesn’t train at all, just goes for walks, plays ball, etc. She feels it’s good for their minds as well as their bodies. I’ve never actually managed to do that because I am just too OCD about training but I’d like to try it this year. My club’s agility trials are Dec. 4, 5 and 6 and after that, maybe I’ll see if Phoenix and I can go four whole weeks without doing anything formal. It would be a great time of year for that because I’ll be busy with the holidays and we won’t have any upcoming trials until late January. I’ll let ya know how that works out.

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