Another bitterly cold weekend! Zazzy was again distracted, especially Saturday where in the middle of a fast jumping course I suddenly found myself running on my own as she had skidded to a halt to have a sniff at a patch of ground.... My voice alone could not get her going again so I ended up using the opposition reflex (holding her back while using an excited voice to rev her up) to get her past that spot. After a below par day I began wondering whether I could take up a different hobby, needlework maybe, when someone approached me who had seen Zazzy run and told me that their bitch had behaved in exactly the same way. Like me she had her checked for physical problems first (e.g. by an osteopath) and then had taken her to the vet. Her vet said that she had all the symptoms of hormone inbalance and prescribed 'Galastop' which improved the situation in a couple of days. Her dog was entire but I said that Zazzy had been speyed, what was it now, three months ago.... then the penny dropped. If I had not had her speyed she would be in season right now. So suddenly the extra grumpyness with boy dogs started to make sense, plus some of her other behavior. Well OK, a couple of weeks of distracted, grumpy behavior would be OK, I thought, a ray of hope there that things will improve! But the reason I had her speyed was because of her phantom pregnancies, which caused her 9 - 10 weeks of abject depression. What if she has a phantom phantom? That just doesn't bear thinking about.....
Anyway Sunday was a brighter day, and in Zazzys last run she actually did start squeaking with excitement as she ran, so even though she came out of the weaves I was really pleased with her. It is of course my feeling that I have failed to get her competing as well as I think that she can that is both upsetting and knocks big holes in my confidence, the things that I thought were true about dog training, and in my own drive and motivation. This is greatly more complicated than I (and many others judging by some comments that I have had) have experienced before. I love that little dawg, and hand on heart, I have put huge amounts of energy, positivity and thought into her training; I have not done it half heartedly. (Although admittedly there have been mistakes). It has crossed my mind that it would be horrible to make a dog do agility if she didn't want to do it, but if I thought that Zazzy didn't enjoy herself in training then I would stop. I really want to thank those great people who said really nice things to me, what a difference that makes, especially Hazel who pointed out that this will make me a better trainer, and Sharon (who bred Zazzy) for saying she thinks I have done a really good job with her.
Thanks to them the needlework will have to wait..... I have some running around to do!!
Picking myself up
3 weeks ago