In one of the recent interviews, I was asked what is more important: how good the dog is or how good the handler is. And well, I'm afraid it's not as easy as that. You can take a World Champion dog and have it run with a World Champion handler - and it might be a disaster.
It's all about the teamwork. I'm far from a perfect handler and my dogs are far from perfect too - but we make a great team. We understand each other weaknesses, can think outside the box and adjust. La might completely lack any self-control and many handlers would probably spend those 10 years of her fighting with it - while we rather spent time having fun and winning World Championships 🙂 I knew she will never hold stopped contacts - so I thought of my running contacts method, just for her, my crazy little La. And Bu might have tons of fears and many people would still try to make her overcome her fears - while I simply decided to work around it and give her enough confidence and trust in me that she can run despite all her fears.
Yeah, neither La or Bu fit into the classical description of a good agility dog. But their imperfections make them special, teach me a ton and make us a great team.
photo by Valerie Teppe
I'm definitely guilty of getting Bu with expectations: I expected from a BC to have a drive and love to play. She had neither of the two and it sure affected our relationship at first. But that taught me to forget about the expectations, accept the challenge and enjoy the journey. She might not be a dog I expected to get - but she is so much more! If I tried to make a perfect agility dog out of her, I would never learn that. So forget about a perfect agility dog - just make sure you make a perfect team with your dog. - Your dog who should first and foremost be your best friend. - And should always come first, before any result.
So for all, thinking I'm rude to leave the ring immediately after my runs on WC, not watching other team members run: I'm sorry, but my dogs are more important to me as watching others and I will always make sure to do what's best for them. From the same reason, I will probably rudely ignore you if you try to talk to me when I have Bu out. I just have to do what is best for my dogs, I owe that to them.
And for all, asking if I'm retiring La now after the great showing on WC: I don't really care about retiring with glory. La will run just as long as she loves to and I think it's good for her well being and even if she is slow and old then - she will always be simply the best for me.