Monday, May 22, 2017

Bag Brain Day

The dogs and I have been enjoying our rest-of-May off of trialing, doing more training and hiking and relaxing.   This past weekend there was a lure coursing fun run being hosted semi-locally to us and since I was free I thought why not let Molly enjoy chasing the bag again?

Molly one million percent did not forget her bag, as soon as she saw it move she was shrieking and ready to get in the ring.   Her first run she was so overaroused she latched onto the plastic folding ring gate that was over the entrance through the snow fencing!   No video, but Molly enjoyed three runs - the last one a double - of pure bliss.

Since Perri comes along to nearly everything we do, even if she is not participating, I had signed her up for a run.   She would be there anyway and why not see if her opinion had changed?   This was the last time we tried, August 2014.   Perri was interested, but her fears overruled any interest she might have had that day.

Do I care if Perri chases a bag?   Not really.   Do I care if Perri can relax and enjoy herself?   Yes!   I got Perri out and started warming her up, trotting her around.   We actually went around the side of the snow fencing to get a geocache and while I was signing the log, we were sitting in the gazebo where it was hidden.   Perri was watching the lure with great interest.   Suddenly she erupted barking!   I still wasn't convinced, maybe she was just barking at the running dogs.

It was not the dogs.   We went and stood by the entrance and Perri was getting into a frenzy watching the lure zing around!   She was up on her rear legs, leaning back against me and doing some of her ridiculous yodel barking!   When we got into the ring she was dragging me towards the lure and when I unleashed her she followed it the whole way around the field barking her fool head off the entire way around.

I was floored.   

I have been crushed recently over Perri's backslide to some of her fearful behaviors, some of her actions of low confidence - all seeming to have stemmed from Molly's diagnosis and all of the stress and uncertainty of that time.  It started to feel as though all of the progress that she made on conquering her worries about the world was gone and while such is life when trying to help a complicated dog like Perri, it still did not feel very good.   Again, it's chasing a bag.   But it is something that Perri was too afraid to do a few years ago even if she might have wanted to.   Fear did not rule Perri on that field yesterday, Perri won.   And I so needed to see that.   I needed to see my girl win for a change.   Not win a ribbon or a Q, but to win the battle that wages in her brain all the time.

After her second run (yes, we did a second!) I did a cool down walk with Perri but she had other ideas.   She flopped down in the grass and panted with her eyes closed and I took this photo.   It might be my favorite Perri photo ever - totally blissed out and happy-exhausted after running full out and driven by nothing but pure prey drive instinct.   No tricky mind games, no puzzles, no worrying, just a normal dog out having a good day in the sun.     

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