Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Set Back

We competed at the Atlanta Obedience Club agility trial this weekend. It did not got as well for Reagan as I had hoped. On Saturday, the weather was horrendous. I really debated about leaving her home. The forecast called for rain all day and we were expecting severe thunderstorms in the afternoon. Reagan's runs were both in the morning and I decided that it would be better if we were together and I was able to give her Xanax (anti-anxiety medication) at the appropriate time. I left for the trial at 5:45 AM to ensure that I would be able to park Stephen's SUV underneath the arena roof to minimize the sound of rain (or hail) hitting the vehicle. My plan was to let Reagan chill out on some Xanax and listen to the radio when the storms blew in. Reagan's Open Jumpers run was very nice. The opening was awesome. You can't see it clearly on the video, but Reagan has been trained to collect her stride and prepare for a turn when I am facing her. So when I sent her to the tunnel and had her come over the jump to me, she did a really nice adjustment to allow her to do a very smooth turn. She blew the weaves, but otherwise it was a very nice run. She obviously loves to jump. In the Excellent Standard class, my inner voice said I should scratch. She was having a slight reaction to the teeter being slammed by other dogs in the ring. Unfortunately, I did not listen to myself. Reagan proved to not be confident about the contact obstacles. The dogwalk came first and she was very hesitant. The teeter came later and she assumed it was another dogwalk. I seriously do not understand why. Reagan practices 1,000 teeter performances for every dogwalk performance we do. Why would she assume a skinny plank is anything, but a teeter? It is very frustrating. There were other issues with the run and when she popped out of the weave poles, I dismissed us.

It was definitely a day that made me think that Reagan just might not have the mental stability for an agility career. She is so fragile. Everything has to be perfect with stars aligned. The difference between fear and phobias is that continued, but careful exposure may reduce fear, but it will increase a phobia. I am not giving up just yet, but it is something to be ready for.
As expected, the rain fell. I was thankful to have a parking place under the roof. I put Reagan in the vehicle, gave her Xanax, turned on the radio, and adorned her head with the Mutt Muffs. I have no idea if the Mutt Muffs help, but she wore them for a couple of hours. Riley and I demonstrated how to relax during a storm. I think Reagan was fine with the thunder, but started shaking during periods of heavy rain.

Later that evening, the effects of Xanax were still apparent. This was the first time I had used the Xanax and the lingering effects reminded me of her resistance to being sedated for toe surgery. Instead of sleeping it off, she is like an energized drunk. She can't walk straight, but she is alert and obnoxious. I really was not pleased with the result.

Agility photos taken by Gary Depp - In Motion Photos.