Confessions of an Aging Agility Die-hard

The Dog Agility Bloggers have a special topic this month, having to do with “health and happiness”. I don’t typically jump in with every topic that dabad throws out there; but this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart these days.

You can read all of the dabad blogger creative writing efforts on this topic HERE.

Do you remember the old Saturday Night Live sketch Middle-Aged Man? That sketch provides adequate context for the persona of the aging agility fan… an amazing repertoire of knowledge offset by waning physical prowess. It is a dilemma, to be sure.

I’m not heartened by people blathering bromide like “you are only as old as you feel!” No kidding Sherlock (paraphrasing, mine).

As I get older and slower I find that my game has changed considerably. Back in the day I was a runner, and taught to my students a game of movement. Movement is pure to the dog and is the essential language of our sport. But now, I find my game transformed. I’m committed to a system of “compensatory” training. That means that I’m obligated to teach my dog to compensate for my lack of ambulatory grace. The very basic change in my own health has transformed my game; and kind of invalidates


I find myself on a curious mission these days. I’m going to call that “relevance”. Not a long time ago while standing in line with my dog in agility competition, waiting for my turn to approach the line… I overheard a man sitting nearby explain to his wife that I am a “has been”. OMG… I thought. Do you mean to say I’ve “been”… but nobody told me? And now I’m not anymore? That is a bummer of a thought.

The second part of the Bloggers theme is happiness. Aye, there’s the elusive bit. Maybe we struggle our entire lives for contentment, actualization, acceptance or whatever it is that blows your skirt up. Happiness is something we’re always striving for… meaning that the soonest it’ll get here is tomorrow, or next year, or later in life.

I’ve decided that starting the National Dog Agility League will make me happy. Starting the League has nothing to do with making money. I’ve designed it so that it can’t be an engine of income. My motive is a matter of legacy. It’s like this last little bit I’ll do with a long career in this sport that perhaps will have me remembered as a character relevant to our sport… a contributor, and an innovator.

Surely it’s self-serving for a man to write material for his own obituary. I’m not really trying to die or anything like that. Lord knows I have a few more years in me. Though clearly I’ve started work on the bucket list. Thinking back to that Saturday Night Live sketch… after young man comes middle-aged man, and then comes old man… and finally, dead man. Better get busy living.

Not Apologizing

Every now and again I write a blog that is just me sharing the crazy things that bang around in my head. Tomorrow I promise to be dead-pan serious again.


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.

Tags: ,

9 Responses to “Confessions of an Aging Agility Die-hard”

  1. Confessions of an Aging Agility Die-hard | Dog Agility Blog Events Says:

    […] Read the full article […]

  2. Jean Says:

    Good grief man, I excitedly told all my agility friends that the founder of agility was coming to San Diego and dragged the newbies who barely knew of Clean Run to the event at the Hills place. Now I find out you are a has been???? Get Real LOL You already have established a legacy but if it makes you happy, dont stop now. By the way, I had the 20 month old very fast black Lab. You gave me a tip, do you remember how you phased it? Something about getting cues out faster….I wanted to write it down

  3. Bev Thorsteinson Says:

    Well said Bud, and boy can I relate

  4. Kay Haaland Says:

    Hi Bud, I’m 72 and training my first agility dog. I’m doing it for fun with an enthusiastic youngster. I can’t run; it’s about the journey.

  5. Ellen Schrader Says:

    Bud, if you’re a has been, the rest of us have not yet arrived! Truly, it is hard for me to imagine anyone thinking that you are beyond your prime; all the best that we have to offer is often gushing forth post-middle age! Think Julia Child, Grandma Moses………….
    You’re not done yet, you’re just warming up!

  6. Bev Thorsteinson Says:

    I agree with Ellen

  7. lisa Brashear-Ford Says:

    Hey you old fart, I have known you for tooo long to read silly BS like this. We need to have a serious RISK game or RAIL BARON to get you back into your head. 😀 Friends from a zillion years ago, ……you are silly. Love you much.xoxoxoxoxo Lisa

  8. lisa Brashear-Ford Says:

    BTW what is that white stuff in your beard?? 😀

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: