Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Dock Jumping - Part 1
I've been such a bad blogger lately, but I'm going to recap what's been going on in Indy's life for the past month and a half.
On May 3rd we went to the Kalamazoo Humane Society's Dog Walk and participated in our first official dock jumping competition. Indy was very excited the whole way to the dock, when we finally got up there, he drug me to the end, I tossed the toy in and drug him back to the starting position and let him go, he shot out of my hands like a rocket then skidded to a stop at the end to peer over the edge, then he saw his Water Wubba and belly flopped in at a whopping two feet! Now the only trouble was keeping him off the dock. No, really, he tried repeatedly to drag me onto the dock when other owners and their dogs were on it, and one time, he succeeded. Just when you think the obedience training has been going well, they find new and creative ways to embarrass you.
We entered two splashes, you get two jumps per splash, the better score determines your place. In splash one, Indy jumped 6'2" and 8', finishing 5th place in the novice division. In splash two, Indy jumped 5' and 7'8", finishing 3rd in the novice division. Not bad for a newbie, good enough to progress to the novice finals. According the official record, in the finals, he jumped 8'9" and 7'. Though I could have sworn the judge called a 9'10" jump, but I could be mistaken and 8'9" was still good enough to finish first place in the novice division! I actually didn't realize for a few weeks, until the scores were published online, that Indy had won. I was so distracted trying to handle my wild boy that I didn't hear the announcement. All I knew was that he did well and I was proud of him :) We had a great time, but let me tell you, it was an exhausting day. I went home black and blue, swollen, scraped up, soaking wet and ready to drop. I'll share some valuable lessons that I learned.
#1 Insist on parking near the pool, do not park with the general public. You have too much stuff to haul and handling an 80 pound insane lab that pulls like a runaway horse through a sea of people and dogs is hard enough with out trying haul equipment and supplies that collectively, weigh more than you do. Unpack the car first, set everything up, then get the dog.
#2 Do not, I repeat, do NOT, under any circumstances, wear flip flops. One excitable lab who isn't used to crowds, let alone a thousand other enticing dogs, is going to dance around and spend a lot of time stepping on you. The pictures were too graphic to post, but my feet were not a pretty sight. Cut, bruised and swollen to an unnatural shape, walking the next day was practically out of the question.
#3 Bring a first aid kit. Pretend its for the dog, but really, if you're anything like me, you're gonna need it :)
#4 Bring baby wipes. They're amazingly good for wiping off your leg and shoe when your dog, confronted with a thousand strange dogs, marks his territory, you.
#5 Bring a training collar or slip lead that goes on and off quickly. Unless your dog has been at enough events that they are desensitized and able to remain calm in the face of the ultimate temptation, you're going to need it.
#6 Come equipped with the patience of a saint or a stiff drink. See #5 for the cause.
#7 Don't wash the water bowl and then leave it drying in the dish rack at home. But if you do, use one of the plastic bags that you brought for another purpose, fold over the sides and use it for a temporary water bowl.
#8 Do not place a pop up soft kennel that rolls easily next to an unstaked tent on a windy day. If that tent gets ripped out of the ground by the wind, rolls the kennel over several times with the dog still inside, have multiple people fawn all over him until he forgets that he's traumatized.
#9 Do not plan on moving the next day. You've just discovered about 50 muscles you never knew you had. You want them to rest so that they go away and leave you alone.
#10 Last, but certainly not least. Drink enough water to keep you alive, but not so much that you'll have visit the port-a-potty. Trust me on this.
Photo courtesy of Brian L. Butler, Grand Rapids, MI