Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Agility

 django cpe costume We spent Halloween weekend having fun with the dogs and friends at a CPE agility trial – the first we’ve been at since August.  At the end of a busy summer of agility, I thought Django at least could use a little break.  He did some goofy things in the ring at our last trial (getting the “zoomies”, refusing the A-Frame – pretty atypical behaviors for him), so I wondered if he needed a physical and mental rest.  He ran agility just once back in mid-September, otherwise he’s just been having fun running and hiking with us and hanging out being a dog.

Not knowing how old Django actually is, sometimes I worry that he might be nearing retirement sooner than I hope.  He looks awfully gray around the muzzle lately, and I wasn’t sure what to make of his odd behavior at the last trial.  Still, he has just as much energy as ever on our morning runs, and at a recent annual check-up, our vet commented that he looked great and in fact looked younger than the 8-9 years old that we estimate he is. 

This weekend I entered him in three runs each day, and decided this might be the test of whether he still wanted to be playing this game.  I had hoped the break would give him some enthusiasm again, and I was pleased and relieved to find that I had my old Django back after all.  All I can say is his weave poles are a little rusty, understandably.

On Saturday, he qualified in Standard with a nice, steady run, if not blazing fast.  We also had a nice, smooth Colors run, and a great Jumpers run – we had the second fastest time in our class (Maebe had the fastest) against some very fast dogs, but he knocked a bar during a late rear cross on my part.  I was very pleased with his run though.

On Sunday, we had maybe the best NQ we’ve ever had.  I got him fired up before our Standard run, so much so that he blew every contact, but I hardly cared because he was running fast, following all my cues, and we felt like a good team.  We had fun on our last two runs of the day as well.

Maebe and Lowell had a great weekend.  She ran a Standard course in 33 seconds, going at a rate of 6.1 yards per second.  Which is fast.  Tristan even got to play a couple times, and looked good and qualified both times.  He needs 13 more legs to get a CS-ATCH – a goal that he may or may not attain.  We’ve stopped really striving for it and are just happy for every run that he gets to have.  He loves it so much, and I hope his body continues to let him play for a bit longer.

Jade and Cadence were good troopers being brought along for the ride.  Cadence worked with me at a practice jump between classes – which was a big milestone as the trial environment is so stimulating for him that he usually has just wanted to stare at all the passing dogs and has a hard time sticking to the task at hand.  His focus in the presence of distractions is definitely improving, especially as he gets more and more excited about actually playing agility.  I was very pleased with his progress. 

cade cpe costumeAll in all, a very fun weekend.  We had a great time visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and enjoyed the special touches that the host club provided this time, such as Saturday’s costume contest where Django and Cadence got to don their Superdog and Pumpkin costumes again.  I think that they will be glad to see the Halloween season past, and those costumes put safely back into storage for another year though! 


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