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Show 'n' Go

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Never say never again!

QuasarQuasar has had dogwalk problems from the very beginning. At 12 weeks he fell off, and it took nine months to get him back on the equipment. For nine months his owner Cindy Knowlton encouraged him with praise, a ball, his favourite dog treats, ice cream and his laser, until finally one day he took a leap of faith and scurried across. Cindy knew that he just needed experience, but how many new dogwalks would it take? Entering a show 'n' go was the only answer.

Last night Quasar, my Belgian Tervueren, participated in his second show 'n' go. After a major setback a few weeks ago, I was not eager to show. You see, for the past five months he's been confident enough to take dogwalks at home and school, but any new dogwalk equipment has been out of the question.

It goes something like this
if he sees a dogwalk coming up when he's on the course, he leaves the scene. Only after I hold my ground, encourage him to return to me and then ask him to take the dog walk, will he even consider it. Eventually he will go across, but usually only after a few times of putting his feet on and jumping off, like Gene Kelly tap dancing on stairs.

After his show and go debut a few weeks ago, I was horrified to watch Quasar take the dog walk in class, as a cup was accidentally left about 3/4 of the way across the ramp. He must have been equally surprised because as he approached it and tried to put on the brakes, he fell off. In the two classes since, he has fled to the other end of the field when I ask him to take the dog walk, and has eventually gone into his Gene Kelly routine before successfully taking the obstacle.

Second time round
Last night we found ourselves on the starting line at our second show 'n' go. Knowing he'd never take the dogwalk now, I was loaded with quite an arsenal of treats. There was food so that when he fled I could click and reward him for his return, a ball to retrieve in case he needed more of a reason to return, a pen light laser so that when he finally looked at the ramp of the dogwalk I could remind him why he might like to go across and then give him his favourite reward when he finally made it across the dog walk. I felt like Inspector Gadget.

Leaving Quasar at the starting line, I called him over the first two jumps. The dogwalk was after the third jump, so as he took the first two jumps I mentally located all my strategically placed enticements. About that time he flew over the third jump and onto the dogwalk.

Did I say, 'He flew onto the dog walk?'
I was shocked. Frozen in space and time. My dog (you know, the one who has NEVER taken a new dog walk on his own??) was headed for the down ramp of the dogwalk. I stood befuddled on the course. I couldn't find the clicker! In fact, all I could do quickly enough was a last minute screech of encouragement as I came to my senses and met him at the bottom of the dogwalk. I was able to pull myself together enough for a party after the dogwalk - a few laser chasing victory laps before we continued our course.

What possessed him to take the dog walk on his own this time?? And will he ever do it again?? If I had a million dollars I'd offer it to the person who can get inside a Terv brain. On second thought... I'd have to withdraw that offer. It wouldn't be nearly as fun if I could read his mind.

Is there anything more exciting than watching a dog make a quantum leap?

Never say never, folks!

Cindy Knowlton (née Ogden) lives in Glenwood, Maryland with her new husband. She trains with PAWZAZZ, and have been involved with agility for about six years. Her first agility dog, a GSD, retired in 1997 as Lady Zena of Pasadena, AD, OA, EAC, EGC, OJC.

Quasar, formally known as Makeit to Boldly Go, is her second agility dog. He competed at his first real trial (NADAC) several weeks ago and earned a Novice Standard leg and a Novice Jumpers leg, both with second places. At 20 months old, Cindy and Quasar have just begun competing together and they're looking forward to lots of fast, clean runs.

Footnote from Cindy: I'm pleased to announce that Quasar left his worries behind and went six for six at his third NADAC trial last weekend! He even let out a celebratory 'boof' as he sailed over the last one on Sunday. We ended the weekend with five legs, and all three Novice titles. What a blast!!

Editor's note; Well done, Cindy and Quasar. Wotta team! Shows you what patience and perserverance can do.

From Alison Higginson, a proud Terv owner
I loved Cindy's article. Having been training with my Terv for the past 18 months, I can really appreciate the frustrations and the wonderful sense of accomplishment. (10/10/00)