I had a good time doing USDAA this past weekend. Lucy was fabulous and I wasn't too bad either. We got a few Qs (2 Snooker super Qs and 1 Jumpers) and missed a few, but we were a good team all weekend.
But I've got a little rant inside me that I need to let loose ...
Over the weekend I got really sick of listening to people bitch about how something their dog did ruined their run. I felt like if I heard an indignant "S/he knows better!" one more time I was in danger of slapping whoever said it. It's almost heartbreaking to see someone out on a course with a dog who was trying hard to do the right thing, getting confusing, late or no instructions, and then getting lectured by the handler ("what were you doing? You're not listening Blah blah blah!") as they come off course.
If our poor dogs could talk amongst themselves they would probably be saying stuff like "What was s/he thinking waiting until I was on the landing side of the jump before telling me I needed to turn?" or "All of a sudden s/he moved in a way s/he never does in training, and it just threw me completely off and I popped a weave. She never does that--I don't know what got into her!" or "S/he was driving right toward that jump so I thought I was supposed to take it. Then s/he started screeching in a panicky voice 'Here here HERE HERE!!!' and it frightened me out of my wits. I slowed waaay down after that and hesitated before the rest of the jumps because I wanted to know for darn sure I was supposed to take it so s/he wouldn't yell at me again ..."
Full disclosure: I used to blame Lucy for stuff that was my fault all the time. So I'm not holier than anyone. (And I really hope I didn't make too huge a fuss about it to other people because god, it's awful to have to listen to!) At some point, however, I realized what a stupid dope I was and that Lucy was actually really, really good at this stuff and I was the one who sucked. And after that we just started getting better and better. I really wish I could share that revelation with the people I hear bitching about their dogs, but that would amount to saying "hey, your dog is great but you suck!" And that's pretty much an awful thing to say to anyone. I probably would have cried if anyone had ever said it to me even though it was the truth.
So I don't know if there's much a of a solution for me on this issue, aside from turning away and refusing to listen to anyone who's dissing their dog. Or maybe I should try sarcasm (I'm really, really good at that) and say something like "Yes, it's a shame that your dog keeps screwing up when you're always so perfect out there."
Or maybe I'll just come here and rant whenever it gets to me ...
But now a fun bit to counteract all my negativity! At one point over the weekend, Derrell Stover "got" me with a little joke: He asked, when I was bar-setting, whether I had raised the chute. I actually stopped, thought and looked toward the chute before I realized it was a joke. I had a good chuckle and decided I'd have to try it on someone else. So before our Standard run on Sunday, after table legs and whatnot had been changed for P 12", I asked the judge (Melanie Behrens) if she had lowered the chute. Yeah, I got her! But then in our run that followed, Lucy apparently decided the chute wasn't low enough: