Team work and a five-year-old poodle

Friday and Saturday I took Rush and Dancer up to Argus Ranch (Auburn, WA) for the Puget Sound Poodle Club’s annual agility trial. This is always a serious poodle-fest, with many poodle people making an effort to show up. It’s not often I get to compete against other poodles in the 24″ class, and there were three others! Rush made me proud both days. While we failed to Q on Friday, it was near-misses in our runs: my stupid mistakes and a rickety table that Rush jumped off of when he hit it too hard. (It happens.) But he was running well, and I was running well, and it was just this close to a Q in all our runs.

Saturday was a different game entirely. I felt fast, I was on time with my cues, Rush was listening really well; for the first time, we were 100% in sync (by my views). I’m pretty sure he didn’t bark at me once during our runs. We Qd in Time to Beat, Jumpers, and Standard (that would be double-Q number 2). In Jumpers, the two dogs that beat us were border collies, one of whom has won AKC nationals, and the other of whom has been on the European Open team. Yeeha!

It’s a routine line among poodle people, that standard poodles “don’t get their brains until they’re five.” Rush has always been such a determined dog that I honestly figured that the brains he had at two or three or four were the brains he’d keep, but in recent months he has really steadied down and started to think. He’s told a few poodle jokes in the last months, but yesterday? Yesterday, he was absolutely the strongest member of the team that he could be.