Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Master Performance Dog Molly!

Part of pandemic life is adapting. I have been so grateful for all dog competition venues who offer virtual options to keep me motivated, to keep the sense of community that I love about dog sports and to keep me happy! But #1 on my Grateful List is USDAA for their "USDAA @ Home!" program. They are offering weekly agility courses for at home titling. For each class, you must build two different modules and have clean rounds in each in order to qualify. I do not have a yard large enough for any more than two jumps at a time if that so while I appreciated the program when it began, I quickly accepted that it was not for me. I even felt a little stab of pain because I knew that if I had the yard space, I could have set up and tried to get that last dratted Standard Q for Molly's Master Performance Dog (MPD) title.

And then our agility club did exactly that for our weekly training class. Molly does not train at class anymore, Zorro has taken that over. Step aside, Zorro! I was not sure if my classmates would be willing to tweak the agility course in order to change over to the second module required for titling. My concerns turned out to be silly, not only were they willing but they also wanted to participate and possibly earn a Masters Standard Q for their own dogs!

All we had to do was get a clean round on each module...

And we did it! You can  do "re-dos" an only submit the clean run. Molly is an old girl so, I was not going to be grilling her again and again just to get a Q. Yes, this title is my last true agility goal for her. And I have left the goal go more than a few times. I could do it again!

Molly ran Module 2 first with a clean run. Module 1 was a little harder with some misfires of handling and of pitbull enthusiasm. We got our clean run before long but with my body entirely blocking video view of the A-frame contact. Ugh! Video titling is often like this, I went through many growing pains with Parkour video titling in particular!

But we got it! I uploaded the two videos to You Tube that evening and it took about a week after that particular Standard event ended for the two modules to be cleared. You get a "Y" next to your module if it has passed. Molly got two Ys and she is now a Master Performance Dog!

Was I disappointed we did not earn this title at a "real" trial? I am not. USDAA @ Home! is a wonderful opportunity for dogs with anxiety and stress issues, a true silver lining of the pandemic. Molly has competed with me for years despite her overarousal and low frustration threshold issues, and her frustration reactivity towards other dogs. We have worked hard through her issues and while those Big Feelings of hers have caused her humorous zooming, tunnel sucking and other "fun" naughty behaviors, there is no doubt that overexcitement stress has been a challenge for us. Molly "stresses up", but she still stresses. To finish our last big agility title together during an adaptation of the pandemic, "living our best pandemic lives"....that was cool. As with everything Molly-related, it took its time, we took many detours and ended up at our destination with big memories to last forever. My girl got to "go MAD!" at last, and it only took a global pandemic to get us there.

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