Unexpected Weekends

Dylan and I were supposed to spend this weekend at Ribble, getting back into our competitive groove and admiring all the excellent partnerships who had travelled north (and south) for the G6-7 Olympia Qualifier. However, Dyl came up very lame on Friday morning.

Friday was a Day of Rest, but Rest did not help. Dyl wasn’t weight bearing at all by Friday evening. Naturally, I panicked, and I envisaged Dylan’s life from now on as a relaxed and happy retired dog. I inevitably do this when my dogs are injured, but I do it more often with Dylan. I did it especially this time, because I am 99% sure his injury was in his wrist. I say 99% because I’m not a vet and Dylan hasn’t seen the vet, but I am obsessed with watching my dogs’ gaits, and I know a shoulder/elbow/toe injury when I see one. Wrist injuries are new to me, and in my mind, they shriek “ligament damage! Hyperextension! This is down to agility and his poorly constructed shoulders!” and so forth.

We spent Saturday alternating between cold and hot compresses. Thankfully my family is a sporting one; we have a lot of bandages, heat pads, ice packs, and so forth for human based injuries. We also have a lot of vet wrap, although we now have slightly less. This lead to dramatic improvement, and by Sunday, Dylan was only limping a little bit.

However, no Ribble.

Instead, I spent Saturday portion of the weekend at a practise Rally session. The trial is next weekend and I offered to help the organisers with their practise set up today. That sounds very professional, what it really means is a small group of friends spent several hours drinking lots of hot beverages and eating Mini Eggs and considering rolls of rubber matting. But we did get to do some actual practise with the dogs.

Kim was surprisingly good. She isn’t the neatest, but I am hoping that the judge will view her efforts as being in the spirit of Rally, ie. a sport for pet dogs who are not precisely trained in the fine art of obedience. She can do all the exercises however, and despite the lack of room for interpretation and creativity (and noise) that Rally presents, Kim had her competition head on. I love her.

Rio was not good at all in terms of good meaning “able to do anything other than be overwhelmingly excited”. Everything was Exciting with a capital E. A new venue, new people, new smells, Kim working first … too much. Bits of Rio brain all over the place, but definitely not in her head where I left it. Our first attempt involved Ri doing each station at 100mph whilst making a squeaking noise continuously, and then rampaging in any direction she fancied whilst we were supposed to be doing heelwork to the next station. Eventually we got some semblance of focus and managed to complete the course, but it was not pretty and it was not a qualifying round.

I am revising my earlier predictions and counting Rio as a NQ now. Especially if the continual under-the-breath singing throughout falls under the auspices of the “Excessive Barking” rule, which I strongly suspect it will even though Rio didn’t technically bark.

So, in the next 7 days, not only do we need to polish up our basic station work, but I probably need to teach proper heelwork to Rio rather than just loose-lead walking, and I also need to properly break her habit of offering a down when we come to a halt. It should be a sit. This isn’t too much of a problem when she’s focused and working at a respectable threshold, but when she is overdosing on life, she defaults to hurling herself into a down (hitting the floor with audible wince-inducing noises. I wonder if that counts as harsh handling?).

Dylan, please be fixed promptly and with no lasting effects.
Rio, you can continue to be crazy but please be crazy with some level of focus and the ability to remember things we have actually worked on before.
Kim, continue being perfect in every way. If I have to criticise, it would be good if you could be more accepting of lying on the dirty floor and give me less evil glares, please?

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