"I am a patient boy
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
My time is water down a drain
Everything is moving,
Moving, moving, moving
Please don't leave me to remain"
Fugazi - 'Waiting Room'
I don't normally pay too much attention to the end of the calendar year in terms of goal setting or accomplishments mostly because it's a period of down time for me. Not much going on triathlon wise in December and agility has no season so no natural time for large scale reflection especially since we didn't do any national events this year.
But I did have a huge accomplishment on New Year's Day, at least it felt like it to me, a good summing up of agility for the year. I rented some indoor ring time with my training partner since outdoors is a frozen snowy tundra and a pent up Border Collie is never a good thing. New places, especially indoors, are a challenge for Strummer even at nearly 10 years old. And my training partner has started running her new dog, a very fast exciting youngster. Especially if you're Strummer. He' been able to wait his turn with a loose leash, flat collar (ie no gentle leader), no treats while practicing in her backyard with her older dog for at least the past year, maybe even 2 or 3 years, hard to remember exactly when that miracle happened. For the entire rest of his life he's needed a gentle leader and my full attention when around any kind of agility practice or competition. Agility - so exciting! When I first got him and he was anywhere near a dog doing agility he'd be up on his hind legs screaming, kicking me with his front legs if I was stupid enough to try to body block him which I was stupid enough to try once. The bruises on my arms and legs were so bad that the chiropractor asked me if I'd taken up rugby. We spent his first agility class holed up in the equipment trailer working on 'calm' when it wasn't his turn. And I didn't even try to take him to a class until I'd been working with him for a couple few years and he was up to intermediate level handling.
Not the world's most relaxing dog.
New Year's Day practice started off with a return to Crazy. No barking or screaming but plenty of whining and trying to pull my arm out of its socket. Back to the gentle leader. Sigh. He turns 10 in March. At least he behaves in his gentle leader.
But after he'd had his turn and some time to cool down outside he calmed down enough to go on his flat collar for the rest of the practice. Here he is showing off his crazy mad 'waiting his turn' skills.
Yes, I know, a video of my dog standing there watching agility, I'm well aware of the absurdity.
I'm also well aware that he is anything but calm. The panting, the tongue flicks, the antsy prancing in place, the tension in the leash, etc. etc. etc. I get it that's he's not relaxed. But the other thing he's not is up on his hind legs scream barking and trying to dislocate my shoulder. Victory is mine.