the sheltiechick blog

Not Particularly Photogenic

Nothing extremely new or original in these photos, but there’s a couple of nice shots.

This one is a new fave of Auggie, though:

Look at all those flyaways! Yikes! He’s in need of a good grooming.

The Aug

This weekend was not a very good agility weekend. I am concerned at this point that Auggie is no longer having fun at trials. He was incredibly slow on Saturday, and Sunday he tried to leave the ring during standard. He has never left the ring on me – I think he just wanted to let me know that he was done.
The 16 inch jump heights are too much for him. This trial was also indoor and the unusual mats were giving a lot of dogs problems – I think the combined effect was just too much for Auggie.

We have decided to give him a break. Our agility practices will stop; instead I will start playing around with herding, something I’ve wanted to do anyway. When we go back to agility, we will start running in preferred. The jump heights will go back down to 12 inches at that point. It does mean that I am basically giving up my single NA and single OAJ leg in order to pursue an NJP and NAP. We will still HAVE our NAJ but we need to start over with preferred agility rather than having that grandfather us into Open Preferred.
But it also means that this may bring the joy back to the game for Auggie, which is what is really important.
The good thing about preferred is that you can switch back and forth between preferred and regular agility. If we are ever able to challenge his measurement and get a new height card that puts him at the correct height, we would be able to switch back to regular agility.

So, well… there you have it.
I hopefully will soon post with some herding photos/videos.

Taking a break

Today was a really not-great agility day. It is far better than my worst agility day ever, when I spent half the day in tears, but it wasn’t that great.
Auggie did fantastic, he really did. The problems we had weren’t his fault – they weren’t even really mine.

But his course times were horrible. Ridiculously slow. We finished JWW and my mom said “What time did he have to beat?? He got 60.”
“SIXTY? He had to beat Forty-FOUR.”
Honestly, he was practically walking the courses. I do think it was mostly the matting inside the club (we are indoors – this is only our second indoor trial ever) because he went into a tunnel, and when I saw him coming out the other end he was running like a rocket. He was up on the side of the tunnel he was coming through it so fast. But once he hit the mats again, he was like “oh.” and the switch turned back off.

I sent a very very long e-mail to J because she asked me to e-mail her and tell me how today went. I told her everything that happened and all the possibilities, what I thought went wrong, and what I was wondering and afraid of… that is, that Auggie is no longer enjoying agility. And after some feedback from other agility folks, I asked her if she thought we should maybe take a break or something… just for a while.
Her response is that we have plenty of other things to play in, maybe we will switch to herding for a while… and she thinks we should start running him in preferred. That will drop his jump height down back to where it should be and also give him more time in the SCTs.
And now I agree. In May, when the judge measured us high, I cried all the way home. I didn’t want to drop my dog to preferred. I felt like it was giving up on him. I wanted him to run regular agility. I wanted to MACH him! I knew he could do it, because he has – he got his NAJ, he got that running 16, so he CAN do it! I decided that as long as I still felt that way, dropping him to preferred wasn’t a good idea. I knew that, if it ever became the right thing to do, I would know it, and I wouldn’t feel that hesitation anymore.
Today I no longer have that hesitation… today I know that dropping him into preferred is the right thing to do. I am still very sad at the idea of giving up on MACH Auggie… but, as J reminded me, he is my FIRST agility dog. And he has so many things against him right now.

Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose.

We could still get a PAX. We could still go to nationals (they allow Preferred dogs to run at nationals since last year.) Same goals… just different. This will drop his jump height back down and give us more time if he doesn’t rev up. If he DOES rev up… or if we CAN fix the jump card issue… we can always make the decision later to move him back out of preferred and pick up right where we left off.

In the meantime… looks like for our next trial, we are going to be starting totally fresh in novice. Chasing a NAP and NJP now. Well, I guess when I sat at today’s trial thinking “Golly, I wish I were in Novice Jumpers again! That course looks so EASY!” little did I know.