Friday, February 26, 2010

Go, team!

I am going to be on three different obedience teams with the Belgian boys at two different trials this spring, including my own club’s trials in April and Malinois nationals in May. I’m not even sure who my other teammates will be at Mal nationals.

This is going to be a blast. It’s is going to be a rolling party. It is going to be non-stop, laugh-a-minute entertainment. Notice I am not saying anything about practice.

Anyone who has done team knows practicing seriously is overrated. Believe me, if you've ever done team before you know the score is going to be the least of your problems.

Imagine four dogs and four handlers moving with synchronized precision through a series of obedience exercises. Well, you can imagine all you like. Reality is usually somewhat different.

Team #1 will be at my club’s trial. It’s Jamie my terv, Robin the whippet, Kruz the border collie and Simon the sheltie. The oldest dog will be 12, the youngest 10. The dogs are veterans of lots of venues. Among us, we have an OTCh., a U-OTCh., two MACHs and a Senior Courser title, plus other miscellaneous obedience, herding and rally titles. We’re calling ourselves “Senior Moment.” That would be referring to the dogs, NOT the handlers.

So far we have a theme, have decided on what to wear and are planning a few little audience participation things. No, I’m not going to tell you what they are. Don’t you know team strategy is all about secrecy? We’ve practiced 1/2 times. I say that because Jamie and Robin had a chance to do some heeling and that treacherous drop on recall last weekend. All four of us are planning to get together this weekend for what will probably be our one and only practice. With age comes wisdom.

Team #2 is also at my club’s trial. This team is Phoenix my mal, Kina the aussie, and Katie and Kenzie the shelties. We have no theme, no costume, only one human (me) and none of the dogs have done team before and we haven’t done anything resembling practice. Since my teammates are Jennifer, Jill and Judy handling Katie, Kina and Kenzie, Phoenix and I are wondering if we should change our names for the day.

Team #3 is at Mal nationals in May. A friend from Minnesota e-mailed and said, “Hey, wanna do it?” and I said, “Hey, why not?” I’m guessing practicing is not going to be on the top of anyone’s priorities there, either.

My only problem is that I have to find an extra handler for sits and downs at our trial, since I can’t take both Jamie and Phoenix in the ring. Experience has taught me not to hand Jamie off to a friend, no matter how well he knows her or how much cheese she has fed him. I do not need a repeat of my OTCh. dog screaming his bloody head off and acting like he was being killed when someone else took him in for group exercises. Besides, no one in the club would touch him with a 10-foot pole after that little escapade. Pet him, yes. Feed him, yes. Take him in the ring, hell no.

So I’ll have to find a friend to take Phoenix in with the yet-unnamed team of four herding dogs. I don’t think this will be a problem since by all indications he is an obedience slut and will work for anyone.

All my dogs have done team in the past. It’s always a riot. The handlers try their hardest and the dogs do as they please. Everyone laughs a lot.

We even have a team manager for the April trials. She has been manager for us before, working on the “I Train With Melinda Wichmann/It’s Not My Fault” team of 2008. However, word is she is moonlighting as manager for one of the other club teams this spring. We think this may be a conflict of interest and might need to give her a talking to. Or bribe her to help us more.

This is my last day at work for a week, as I am on furlough (yeah, we’re doing that AGAIN) March 1-7. Sigh. Aside from not getting paid, it will be awesome to have time at home to do stuff, plus I’m leaving next Thursday for a 3-day agility trial in Naperville, Ill., so the week will fly by.

Today, I am thankful it is the Farmer’s birthday and we’re going out for supper and I don’t have to cook.


  1. Happy Birthday Jeff!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you are taking him out for "normal", non-weird food!!

    Robin is looking forward to team (ok... he doesn't care really, but I can't wait - it's going to be a blast!)

  2. I think managers can be bribed! Liquid beverages typically work best.

  3. Happy Birthday Farmer!! Try something NEW!! Live on the WILD SIDE!! Eat some PORK! LOL

    Team will be fun....but the competition is GROWING for the April trial. It will be a lot of fun!! I'm just thankful no one will be throwing things in the other ring or jumps to distract Kruz!

    Practice is OVERRATED!

  4. I hope you have someone video so you can post and we can watch.