Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trial and Error

I just want to clarify that Reagan's happiness is very important to me. I am disappointed that an agility career is unlikely. I imagine that some readers may not understand. It is just agility. Why the big deal? If you are passionate about anything in life, that is what agility is for me. A smooth, clean run feels awesome. I love the bond I form with my dogs. It feels deeper than any of my past pet relationships. Agility gives me a reason to get up early on a Saturday or head out of town to hang out with friends all weekend. I am also very goal oriented, love to see our progress, and enjoy being tested by an agility trial. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't have something in life that drives and motivates.

However, my biggest concern is that Reagan lives an active, happy life and it is not easy for me with a dog that does not travel. I think the point that some readers are missing is that my dogs and I go somewhere EVERYDAY. A dog left behind misses out. Its okay for Katie since she is 12 years old and has had a good life. But I would hate for Reagan to spend the next decade sitting home.
In a past life (8 or so years ago), I would load my four greyhounds into my van and off we would go.... EVERYDAY. If it was an agility day, we headed to the agility field. I would train Katie and Travis. At the time, I thought Travis would never compete in agility due to his inappropriate prey drive towards non-greyhounds, but I trained him anyway. It was good exercise and we enjoyed it. Jessie and Teresa were retired from any sort of competition by then, but I would lower the jumps for a little fun or have them retrieve a dumbbell a couple of times.

If it was a hiking day, Katie, Travis, Teresa, Jessie, and I headed over to the trails. If it was a swimming day, we all headed to the lake. If there was an agility trial, we all headed out of town together. No one was ever left behind. We were always together and it was wonderful.
Now I have three hounds with completely different lives and needs. We do not do anything all together and that is not practical. Unfortunately, stay-at-home dogs get shorted. So my number one priority is to make sure Reagan doesn't begin to refuse to travel completely. I have decided not to compete her in the upcoming trials and maybe not ever. I think a 35 minute drive is just too far. I am going to stick to local and predictable places with routes I know very well. Reagan will stay home when Riley and travel off the beaten path. I hope that this strategy will work.Thank you for letting me vent again. You are such good listeners and it helps to free it from my mind. I have lifted a huge weight off my shoulders in deciding not to trial Reagan. I just do not want to jeopardize Reagan's willingness to go to my agility field to jump, run, and play. Reagan's new purpose can be Trial and Error dog. I can practice new things with her and if it does not go well, not use it on Riley or future agility dogs.In the above photo, Travis on left, Teresa is black, Jessie is brindle, and Katie is fawn with charcoal muzzle.