oh my auggie

Agility today – Bloomington, May 29-31st 2010

I am having a hard time putting it into words.
First of all, we had a three day agility trial, Saturday-Monday. On Saturday, Auggie got the last Q for his OJP so I moved him up into Excellent A JWW. It was a surreal feeling to finally be able to move my dog into Excellent.  I asked J if she could think of a good reason not to move him up, and she couldn’t think of one, and I couldn’t either… so up he went.
On Sunday, he got his first ever Excellent Q.

Today he also Q’d in Excellent Jumpers, so that’s TWO already down towards him AJP – but that’s not really the highlight of the day.

He had no Q’s in Open Standard all weekend. Saturday he didn’t even really run. He went back to the start twice because I’m 99% sure he thought I threw hot dog down on the ground and he wanted to go back and eat it (he saw me throw his leash down.) So I just pulled him and didn’t run.
Sunday he went past the table and then froze next to it and stood there smelling it for probably 30 seconds. He would NOT get on the table. So finally I passed it by and went on. The buzzer then sounded for max time, so I turned, yelled for him, and made a mad dash for the last obstacle, which happened to be a tire. Auggie took off with me. And it was beautiful. Top speed running and a gorgeous jump through the tire.
He gets a pass for Sunday, because it was REALLY hot all weekend and he tried, but it was too hot – and also because we suspect there was a bitch in heat being run out there and she got on the table, and that’s why all these dogs (including Auggie, of COURSE) kept smelling it obsessively.

But today.
Today, for one thing, I almost put him over the wrong jump. He wasn’t really coming with me, and finally I realized I was asking him to come over the wrong jump. Oops. LOL.
Then he came off the a-frame… and nearly off-coursed to the dog walk. I yelled “Auggie… Auggie… AUGGIE DON’T YOU DARE.” Everybody laughed hysterically (I think even the judge laughed) but he DID come back to me. Then he blew past the table and took his sweet time coming back to me.
So I had been thinking… if he was screwing around, if he knocked a bar, if he was off coursing… I was just going to kick it into high gear, run as fast as I could, and he either kept up or he didn’t. So he was sitting on the table and I was looking at him thinking there’s no way we had a Q going, what with the two delays as well as a refusal at the table, and I thought “Okay you bratface. Now you’re really gonna get it.”

The judge finished the table count and I flung him into the weaves. Through the weaves.
Then I ran.
This is, in theory, a bad thing to do to Auggie, because if I get too far out he panics, thinks he needs to catch up, jumps WAY early, and tends to crash jumps because he’s freaking out trying to catch up. I blew a Q one weekend because I started running fast to the end, and before he even took off I realized what I was doing and what it, in turn, would do to Auggie – and sure enough, he crashed the last jump on the course and I could kick myself for blowing that Q!
But it’s just what I decided to do today.  I wasn’t worrying about the Q because he’d already blown it for me.

So we leave the weaves, and Auggie comes over the triple jump. I pretty much expected he’d crash it. Except he didn’t. And then he zips into the chute. And I was yelling for him to come out of the end of the chute and waiting a half-second to help him get over the next jump – his breeder was watching and says he beat me to the jump, he came zipping out of that chute so fast. Next was the dog walk and I am bellowing “WALK IT WALK IT GO GO GO GO GO” and I’m racing him to the end of the dog walk. I beat him to the bottom. He comes down the dog walk and I gave him just enough time to hit his down contact, then I turn, and it’s basically a straight line of three jumps to the finish line… and I’m sprinting it.
And oh my God, here comes Auggie, right with me. Like a bolt of lightning, he is FLYING, and he’s jumping, and it’s awesome.

We didn’t Q.
But he didn’t drop a single bar.
And it was amazing. I keep thinking about it and I want to cry. Auggie used to run like that. The first time we ever ran, I staggered out of the ring with him in my arms and I heard some person say “One day, that dog is going to be awesome.” But he has had so many roadblocks and has taken so many confidence hits that he doesn’t run like that anymore, and I’m left trying to figure out how to restore my dog’s confidence so I can try to regain some of what he used to have. And today, I saw it, right next to me. My little dog broke free and for just a moment he was the dog he used to be. And he was awesome, and I am so proud of him and I don’t CARE that we didn’t Q.
Because now I know that the little dog who will be awesome some day is still MY little Auggie. That dog is still inside of him. I just have to figure out how to unleash it and unleash it all the time.

And today I really, honestly believe it again… that one day, my little dog is going to be awesome.

Here’s the video.

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