These are some pictures of Chloe in her first trial, a CPE trial at Contact Point Ranch years ago. She looks happy and she looks fast,...who knew we did not come close to making time in five runs?
I was looking at some pictures and thinking I kid around and say that the reason I do trials is so I can get cool agility photos of my dogs going through the weaves, or perched on the end of a teeter, or doing a gorgeous leap over a jump. The pictures are definitely the coolest thing-because our dogs always look perfect and I imagine other people who look at them think that our agility journey is an easier one after all just look at that dog performing ;-).
In the pictures everything looks PERFECT. The wind is always going through the dog's hair and the dog is thinking so they have the coolest expressions, how could those pictures not be exciting and make us all feel like professionals!
From the pictures you see of agility dogs you could never guess that a dog is having trouble making time, or hates the dog walk, drops half the bars, think they need to leap over contacts or they are stressing at the start line.
When I started agility with my sheltie Chloe she had a combination of issues that we had to WORK through, and work like dogs! Chloe went through an autoimmune issues which affected her thyroid and we had a heck of a time. We spend many an agility class with Chloe barely walking around jumps, and looking blankly at the weave poles because when she was going through her illness she forgot how to weave, and me being so physically exhausted trying to cheer her up and have her try anything, whew... that was exhausting. I had to reteach her all the obstacles. We finally got her running, very precisely but slowly and our first trial was a CPE trial where Chloe got no faults in 5 runs-EXCEPT for time faults, and she got so many of those that there were no Q's. I think CPE is pretty generous on the amount of time they allow, so that was pretty sad! LOL.
I would be so exhausted running Chloe sometimes and people would complain about their high drive dogs and how they had to think so fast, how they had trouble with things like start lines, tables, what ever and I would think man I would deal with that any day rather then have to deal with my sad looking little dog, LOL. I did always try to make it happy for Chloe and she did have fun, there were no mistakes even when she would run AROUND every jump and miss every weave pole, it was all good.
I worked for a LONG time and eventually Chloe started to run, then she started to run very fast, and then she ran so fast that a lot of times she blows me off, LOL. We went from our issue being making time to a lot of off courses, but that always made me happier because she was happy and it was less exhausting to deal with those issues! We came in way under time every time in AKC and USDAA, but with other faults, we could have aced the CPE course times then if we had done more CPE.
A funny thing happened and when Chloe started leaving me in the dust because I was not used to running a fast dog, everything had changed, and we had off courses for the first time I started to think, hummm, this used to be so much easier when Chloe was always right there at my side and would never dream of going off course.
Another funny thing happened, about that time I got Breeze who is super high drive, really responsive, very fast and a girl from class came up to me and said I did not deserve a really great dog, I had not paid my dues and never had to go through a course pulling a slow dog along like she had-which was funny because the dog she was referring to was slow but always barely made time. WHAT?????? Like she had been in class with me many times over the years and had to see the painful moments of barely walking through a course and walking around jumps. How could she not remember how painful that had been?
Recently this same person was watching Breeze weave and she seemed very frustrated because she feels her dog does not weave fast enough. Breeze is gorgeous in her weaves, and sooooo smoking fast. This girl was complaining and wondering why her dog was not as good as Breeze. I pointed out, hey, your dog gets the entrances!!!! Our time ends up no faster and actually slower because we are going through a stage where Breeze is really not catching entries well, so usually we have to start over again, not a time saver at all. Which problem would you rather have? I don't know and we all get the problems we get. I think it is human nature to always think the grass is greener I think everyone elses problems always seem less frustrating and easier to solve then our own. I am the poster child for doing that, LOL, I know I have the toughest road out of everyone, hahahahahahahahaha, after all no one else is as slow as me- with dogs as fast as mine and no one else has as much trouble finding good instructors as I do in my area, I could go on and on, shall I go on? LOL. I don't really think these things except in some small moments where it all seems easier for everyone else! I just think it is funny, and I started thinking about all this after I was looking at all the pictures where all the dogs look perfect, who would think they could have training issues?