Monday, May 9, 2011

Lumbar-Friendly Agility Handling

Practice Needed!  Handler Wanted!

So I'm doing the best I can to follow my PT's advice (except for "maybe you should find something else to do with your dogs"), and recover - carefully, but quickly - from my back problems. 
"Be Gone, Damn Bulging Discs!  Away With You, Pinched Nerve!"   There - that should help.  (Slapping hands together.) 

with MANY THANKS to LAURI P for playing with Riff at her agility field during my recovery.  YAY!!! 

with SPECIAL THANKS to MY SWEET HUSBAND, for helping my dogs stay exercised in the backyard.  Thank You for listening to my never-ending advice (which sometimes bubbles up even when I've told myself to 'rut the shuck up').  And Thank You for doing your best to follow my advice.  Even Keeper is beginning to understand exactly what you want, and to REALLY LIKE you.

Riff adores LP!  Riff also adores CF, my husband, and a couple of other people.  But he likes me most of all.  Honest.  Really. 

Well, for one thing - I feed him.  Heh heh.  And I'm not sure why I felt compelled to announce that - about him liking me best.  Of course he likes me!  Does it even matter if he likes me "best"?  Maybe not.  I tell you what, though - it can be tough, sometimes, to sit on the sidelines and Watch Other Folks Have Fun With Your Young Dog.  Especially if you're already in pain. 

Sitting it out can be a test of one's mental state.  When you're sidelined with an injury, does Doubt creep into your thoughts?  Fear?  Regret?  Sorrow?  Maybe even Depression?   I've had all of these mental states visit me during these past few weeks. 

Mostly I acknowledge their presence, let them wash through me - but not for long - and then banish them.  I tell myself this is a recovery similar to many others - One Day At A Time.  I've never been an AA member (knock on wood), but I do appreciate their Serenity Prayer.

Every day is precious (hey, especially at my age), so I try to make a Good Discovery each day.  I love to learn.  Maybe I'll find something in a book (so I've been reading a lot), maybe I'll see something while I'm watching Riff play with someone else.  Maybe I'll make a discovery about how to handle my dog on the agility field, even though I'm just sitting on the couch, trying to teach him a new trick.  The universe can be a wily jokester, or a generous teacher.  Either way - I guarantee! - you will find something wonderous every day.....if you just keep looking....even at the small stuff...

This weekend, as I spent hours watching the LiveStream broadcast of World Team Try-Outs, I sometimes wondered what I was going to take away from it (other than learning not to sit in that silly chair for too long).
Perhaps this is it:

When we get back to training, I'd like to shape my partnership with Riff in such a way that my body can stand up to it for years to come.  (His body, too!)  It could be that I need to incorporate several "methods" into my handling.  I'd like to stay ahead of my dog on the field, as much as humanly possible...and I'd like to avoid slamming my body into sudden stops, twists and turns.  I'd like to run as smoothly as I can, and I'd like my dog to run as quickly as he can, and turn as tightly as possible. 

So that's what I'm going to be thinking about for a while.  Maybe I'll start a new journal, and keep notes regarding specific ideas.  "On Developing a Celestial Style of Lumbar-Friendly Agility Handling"  Subtitle:  "For the Aging Yet Determined Handler"  Yeah...that sounds good.  Heh heh. 

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a link to Daisy Peel's website.  Nice article.


Elf said...

Keeping a good attitude is certainly a more pleasant way to deal with injury than stewing about it. But it's hard to do, in my experience. I think it's perfectly natural to go through those bouts of depression and everything else.

With my knee degenerating and surgery, I was also told that I ought to pick something to do other than dog agility and hiking. Of course I wouldn't have been doing those things for many many years if I didn't really like them. So I'm still doing them. And my knees suffers for it, too.

Elf said...

But I'm happier. :-)

Celeste said...


vici whisner said...

Last year I watched my friend run my dog. It was wonderful, it was humbling, I was grateful... When I started back, I was out of shape, wondering if Fin wanted a different handler, doubting myself... What I realize is that Fin wants to run with me. No matter that I make mistakes, maybe aren't fast enough sometimes, try for that front cross and send her out into the nether regions...she will run for others, but not with the same joy that she runs for me. So no matter my defects, faults... none of that matters. What matters is the getting out there and the sticking to continuously improving... I can not wait for your back to be better. And it will.

Celeste said...

Beautiful. And I've seen how much FUN you two have, on your videos!
Thanks, Vici.

corgi2bc said...

Blogger is finally letting me comment...
I hope you are all better soon! You have a fabulous attitude about all this, my hat is off to you. I would have a hard time watching my dog run for someone else but Riff sure looks happy to be running so that is great that you take him to play. I will be sending healing prayers to your darn back so you get to play again soon!

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