Old Lessons, Learned Again

It has been three weeks in a row of agility trials. I went into the weekend pretty much figuring that I was about done with my girl Hazard. Her motivation has been an issue as she often turns into a worried little girl, what with axe murderers on the field and big dogs around ring-side ready to pounce on her at any moment. And so, I went into the weekend just not caring very much. I’d just go out on the field with her and have a bit of fun. Whatever happens, happens. And down the road we’ll cut down on trialing expense by leaving her at home.

So the weekend was to be about Kory. And indeed, Kory didn’t really disappoint. He finished both his NA and NAJ titles. The last jumpers run of the weekend was especially sweet as we killed a tight & technical Novice course in 18 seconds and 05 100ths.

Hazard, as it happens, earned three double-Qs and a Q in FAST on the weekend. Yep, that’s right. She went 7 for 7 which is pretty cool. She was happy, barky, and having fun.

Now, I think back in time about 18 years. I was running Pepper, a lack-luster Sheltie girl who was always asking the question… “why am I doing this?” and Winston the Wonder dog, also a Sheltie and a relentless little speed demon. I was in a race with Ray Weick and his magnificent little miniature Schnauzer Megan Deerchaser to be the first dog in Arizona to win the USDAA MAD title. With Winston it was always go go go! We were intense and hard-working. But with Pepper it was just the warm-up tracer round. I just didn’t care very much because I didn’t have high expectations. So… who was the first dog to win the MAD? Yeah, you guessed it. It was Pepper.

It’s an interesting psychological play that approaching the game of agility without pressure either on self or on the dog; and without heaping expectation enhances our chances for success. I’m reminded with my old boy Bogie how his Q rate dropped when we got near to the points for a MACh. It’s all the same thing. Pressure is corrosive and terrible pressure.

* * *

Okay, I have a lot of work to do this week, and not much time to do it. I hope to write to my blog each day.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

The picture below depicts a strategic setting of pieces for a board game. What is the name of the game?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the August Jokers Notebook.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training ~ Issue #0 ~ August 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special00” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

6 Responses to “Old Lessons, Learned Again”

  1. Kara Says:

    It’s stratego!!!

  2. Adrienne Says:


  3. katie Says:

    Woohoo Kory and Hazard!! I’m so glad that Hazard was happy and barky. That is how Dave can tell if Reuben is going to run well or not–if he’s barking at Dave, he’s ready to go!

  4. Michelle Says:

    I’m so glad to hear Hazard had such a fantastic weekend. Don’t you write her off, Bud! She’s a winner, even though she’s not a BC.

    I remember her Beat the Clock performance at the Petit PRix in IL; always makes me smile.

    I hope to see you run her many more times.

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