Monday, May 25, 2009

We choked.

Though I try to stay off the rescue soapbox as much as possible, most of you know that both of my border collies are rescues. Many of the handlers that we respect are running some very nice dogs that they have paid a lot of money for, and traveled great distances to get. Yet when push comes to shove, few (if any) of those dogs are any better at agility than Maggie. She has great jumping height, quick turns, lots of drive and a fast flat run (her only issue is her handler). This weekend at Lawrence, KS, Maggie's foster family came to watch her run for the first time. We wanted so much to impress them, but we both choked. In the first run, Maggie was her blazing and accurate self and she landed the table in a quick sit while the judge did the 5 count. "Five and four and three and two and one and g....." But she never got to say "go" because Maggie was anticipating the "go" and she left on the "and". I had just been telling our friends that Maggie had learned the count and I needed to start giving her a "stay" on the "one and...", but I'd forgotten and she was excited, so we were disqualified. Other than that, the run was flawless, but that didn't make up for our embarassment.
Maggie's "first family" stayed several hours to watch our second run and we hoped to do better. Her adrenaline must have been cranked up, because she didn't wait at the start line, but started creeping up before I gave her a release. Ordinarily, I would have pulled her from the run "no stay, no play" but I was thinking about her fans waiting hours to watch her go. So, I let her run. We did okay until a jump near the middle which I had practiced a couple times in the walk-thru, reminding myself not to move forward until she took the jump. But, in the excitement, I forgot and took one little step making Maggie think she was headed the wrong way and she quickly changed course, getting a "refusal" call from the judge.
Anyway, it just goes to show you why getting those double Q's are so hard... both dog and handler have to work together without a mistake, twice in the same day. And as long as Maggie is stuck with me, those days will be rare!

Stacey, Mark, Molly... I hope we didn't disappoint you! We'll try harder next time.

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