Bloopers - Dogs Keep You Humble
Updated: May 8, 2021
I share my successes a lot. I think I blog about my successes even more, so now it's time to share some of the moments I just shook my head, forced myself to laugh, and then moved on with my life.
When I first started in lure coursing, I started running Anubi because I knew that he would be successful. Sure enough, he qualified easily and wracked up some fantastic scores his first weekend.
Ash, on the other hand, who was three when Anubi started running, I didn't run until her got older for a very good reason. Sure enough, a year and a half later (Ash was then 4.5) I debuted Ash in lure coursing. At first, he surprised me. He didn't come back to me, but he reasonably immediately came back to other people on the field. However, his five weekend running, he decided to take me for a ride. He dodged me as he came into the lure, my jaw clenched in anticipation for the chase that would ensue. I hoped secretly that he would go visit the judges, who could catch him. But no, he had that look in his eye. And so he went on a merry romp around the fenced field (I was only running him at fully fenced locations at the time) for twenty plus minutes. We tried cajoling. We tried yelling. We tried enticing treats. Finally, I played the sound of a dying rabbit on my phone and back he trotted, curious as to what the noise was. Needless to say, I scratched him for the day and just about died of embarrassment. We went back to recall practice for about half a year before trying coursing again. People in the region still remember that incident if I mention it. It's always my joking answer to the question: "Why do you have Azawakh?" I laughingly reply, "Remember that time my Saluki didn't come back for twenty minutes? That's why."
That was really the last time I felt like I wanted to sink into a hole and pretend I didn't exist. It was just a dog doing a dog thing and people were largely very sympathetic to me, but I took that as my failure as a human being, which certainly did my dogs no favors. Over time, I've gotten better at laughing at my mistakes. Amalu got excused from a lure coursing trial a few months back for trying to play with Amidi. She'd run beautifully three weekends in a row before that. I was so frustrated, but when I was chatting with the judge about it after, I was able to smile and joke and commiserate over the difficulties of running young housemates together and then I coursed her the next weekend and she ran cleanly.
Over time, I've come to cherish and laugh at the bloopers of dogs being dogs.
I entitle these: found the camera! Silly environmentally aware Azawakh.
This next one, I cringe looking at because it's photo proof of me putting my dog in an uncomfortable situation. But it's an honest representation of what happened. There were no Salukis entered at racing that weekend and no sighthounds entered weekend at AOK9 so Ash was running in a Mixed Breed race. Well, it didn't occur to me that having been attacked three times by shepherds, Ash would not take kindly to running with one. The Malinois in that picture was a complete rockstar. But it's still a bit painful to see Ash, who is such a clean running dog normally, completely over threshold. That being said, it was such a good learning experience for me.
My all time favorite blooper though happened that same day. I handed Amalu off to a friend (ironically the owner of the Malinois) to be slipped. I had forgotten her martingale collar, which she usually runs in (in LGRA dogs need to run in collars) so Amalu was just being walked on her flimsy tag collar. Well, at the start line, Alu decided that she was done being held and slipped her collar and went tearing down the race track looking for me. I called her and without hesitation she jumped side of the track and came right back to me. My photographer friend just happened to snap the perfect picture of the moment. Her jumping form is really excellent, but it was the wrong venue. I laughed so hard the whole time.
And one more that just happened. Tabiri had been in a box once before and broke correctly out of it, but at his first LGRA certification, he got himself turned around backwards in the box and came out backwards. Azawakh are a flexible, smaller breed compared to bigger sighthound breeds like Borzoi and Ridgebacks, so I was less concerned about injury and more concerned about him learning how to box. The club gave him a second shot at his certification run and he came out correctly and certified. But there was definitely the failure before learning moment.
What is my point? Have fun with your dogs. Let them be dogs. They might do dog things, but that's happened to all of us. People should be sympathetic to your plight when that's the case. And the bloopers have often taught me far more than the polished performances.