What you don’t realize

This past weekend was Frodo’s debut in AKC! He was such a good boy. He’s never done any contacts off my property, so his dogwalk and aframe and seesaw were an exercise in exploration. But really, I couldn’t have been happier with him. He was enthusiastic, wanted to play, wanted to watch me – it was a really, really good introduction for the two of us.

And Juno..she was happy and fast for SIX OUT OF SIX runs – and by the end of the weekend she was even tugging! Tugging up to the ring gate, and tugging AFTER the run (with a little convincing). One of her runs was just ONE TENTH of a second behind big brother Solar (OK, she went in the wrong end of a tunnel, but still, those times are comparable). And, lest you think I am exaggerating when I say that sometimes Juno does not want to run (or maybe I should say in the past there were times she wouldn’t want to run?), she’s run USDAA Master’s Jumpers courses clean andΒ not made time. So going fromΒ that to just a bit behind Solar is aΒ big deal.

 

Looking forward with three amazing dogs

Looking forward with three amazing dogs

So, this AKC trial was a pretty small trial. Solar was the only 26″ dog, and Juno was one of but a few 24″ dogs. For the most part, it was a pretty quiet trial. Quiet, that is, until Juno came in to the building. Juno barks. A lot. And I make no effort to stop her. I did work really hard to get her to tug this weekend, which involved a lot of me banging on the ring gates (for the dead ring, it was a one ring trial). Gate banging is sort of the next step – previously Juno had been treated for nose touching the gate. Now she’s worked up to tugging on her leash when *I* touch the gate and swing it. Banging on the gates, dancing around, tugging with Juno – who, as it turns out, can bark and growl and tug at the same time. So, when we came in to the building, we livened up things quite a bit. And, I’m sure we were pretty distracting to some of the other dogs. But, I’m sure we made things a lot more energized for some of those other dogs too πŸ™‚

To an onlooker who doesn’t know anything about my journey with Juno, it might have looked like I was jazzing her up unnecessarily – all that tugging, and barking, and then she ran…really really fast πŸ™‚ Why on earth would I need to make all that noise, distract other competitors (who, frankly, were being maybe a little too serious anyway! :)) for a dog that is clearly plenty motivated? But the truth is, without all that, Juno does not have fun, and if Juno does not have fun, she does not run. And if she does not run, I do not have fun, and I’m the one who paid for the entries πŸ™‚ I was so proud of her this weekend. Six runs (not six Q’s, that’s SO beside the point) where she was so happy that her errors were errors of ENTHUSIASM. Six runs that were so happy that I cannot wait for the USDAA trial this upcoming weekend, even MORE runs!

I was sweating at the end of each run – Juno makes me put a lot in to it. Lots of shouting and barking and arm waving and animation. So out of my comfort zone. But I’m very thankful to Juno for forcing me to go there.

Suddenly, I have THREE agility dogs that are fun to play with, and it’s keeping me VERY busy πŸ˜‰

 

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