Running with the big dogs…

I took Rush to the Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscher Club’s agility trial last weekend. AKC-flavor agility, two rings, lots of noise. I’ve said for quite a while that the only way I can Q with Rush is to not want to Q, but instead to focus on doing the best I can. He’s a huge challenge to run. More on that in a minute.

After we spent the weeks in Palm Springs focusing on fitness, lots of running and playing with Rush, but no agility training at all, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Rush. As it turned out–a very fit Rush is a fast and driven and focused and fun dog to run in agility. And I was fast and fit and driven and focused too.

This is the first trial where I’ve not worried about keeping up with Rush, where I was sure I could be where I needed to be when I needed to be there. I’m not sure what made the difference (maybe because I’m faster and fitter) but there it was. When that worry ended, I also found that I stopped worrying about the Q. It didn’t matter, somehow, because it became about my handling and my training, instead of about my ability to keep up.

The judges for the trial designed big wide-open courses for the Dobermans. I really enjoy the Dobie trials, because there are a lot of big dogs with big strides competing at the trial. There are dogs with stride lengths like Rush, which means I can watch those dogs and learn about handling big-strided dogs. It was so much fun to run Rush on courses where he could run in full extension. He even did a 185-yard Standard course in 39.56 seconds on Friday–4.7 yards/second. That’s fast! (He did get a first place ribbon for that.)

There are videos for his Saturday Standard run and his Saturday Time-to-Beat run here.