Friday, December 21, 2007

Linus & Lucy

One of my favorite pieces of music, this piece by Vince Guaraldi appears to be among the most frequently used songs for synchronized Christmas light displays.



This one has a pretty good soundtrack, but the camera movement can cause a little queasiness.

I used this song about 5 years ago when Fluff and I competed in Canine Musical Freestyle. I ran out of time (and patience) to choreograph it properly because I have no musical talent or rhythm or knowledge of how to choreograph. It's tough to find someone who can help with choreography for a dog. Telling the dog to "do that spin just a little faster at this point, slower at that point" doesn't really work well. It's entirely possible to teach a dog to spin at a certain speed (assuming the dog is physically capable of it), but it takes exquisite timing on the trainer's part. Then there are human and canine nerves at exhibitions. Many dogs tend to slow down when their handlers appear nervous or uptight in a doggy effort to let the handler know everything is okay and it's time to calm down. Fluff, on the other hand, tends to get amped at this stage and try every behavior she knows in rapid succession to see if any of them are the key to calming me.

Anyway, this song worked for us. Despite my notorious dislike of costuming, I could deal with a red & white striped turtleneck and socks combined with green tights and a Santa hat. Fluff, who really needs no adornment with her flashy colors, wore a jinglebell collar. We got out there and did our favorite moves and had fun. There are advantages to completing your title the day before -- I was relatively relaxed because I had no intention of moving up to the next level of competition. At one point, Fluff curtseyed to me then looked over at the audience and grinned at them to a collective "Awwwwww" from the crowd. We won a special award for Most Bonded Team that day.

One of the best local trainers in freestyle later asked me how I taught Fluff to pay attention to me because "she never takes her eyes off you in the ring." Unfortunately, I didn't really know. I thought I hadn't specifically trained attention because it seemed to just flow out of our lives together. Thinking back now, I realize I did teach some of it as a way of dealing with Fluff's insecurities around other dogs. If she didn't stare at them, she didn't get so nervous about dogs being near her. If she was staring at me, she wasn't staring at them, so I encouraged her to watch me carefully in show environments. Fluff learned "watch Mum carefully whenever you are nervous or uncomfortable." Since she picks up on my nerves in competition, she's nervous and uncomfortable in those situations.

In fact, 4 months later Fluff let me know she was retiring from competition. The night before a national competition, she went lame to the point where she could barely get to her feet. I apologized to her because I had ignored her saying she didn't want to do this any more for several months. In my selfish way, I wanted to show her off one last time, so I ignored her very unusual lack of enthusiasm for training. We did not compete that weekend, and she has not competed in freestyle again, although she has done a few demos. She's happier retired, I think, although we both miss some of the connection that comes through training. I'm too lazy to think up training goals when I don't have a competition behavior to focus me.

4 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

I love this music too, and, Like Fluff, I can't wait to retire.

dancingflamingo said...

Nice music.

I wanted to let you know I have a request at my blog for help with Chritmas decorating. LoL Just a little tree that needs help! Come and see if you'd like. Thanks

(I rhink if you click my name my blog comes up, but just in case...)

http://dancingflamingo.wordpress.com

dancingflamingo said...

Nice music.

I wanted to let you know I have a request at my blog for help with Chritmas decorating. LoL Just a little tree that needs help! Come and see if you'd like. Thanks

(I rhink if you click my name my blog comes up, but just in case...)

http://dancingflamingo.wordpress.com

Joy said...

opps, I am sorry for the extra postings! My name didn't come up,

this is Joy...

Come see my blog and the tree if you'd like. :)