Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 5

Editorializing… An Anthropologist at a Dog Show By Amy Hanridge I have a master’s degree in cultural anthropology and I feel like I use the skills from my graduate training far too often when navigating all my passions in life. My interest in all of them makes sense to me, but I sure seem to defend my various passions quite a bit from day to day; almost like I live in the middle of different worlds or cultures. I am completely addicted to dog agility. That seems to be a fairly easy addiction to develop. As one of my “non-agile” pals said to me, “Dog agility seems to be a pastime one does not engage in halfway!” Yes, she is correct; and yes, she speaks like that, in perfect English. Agility almost is “all or nothing.” Agility is a lifestyle, really. Most of my agility pals live child-free, though. They do so happily on purpose. They work hard to keep snotty kids out of their lives. My husband and I went through years of infertility and international adoption hurdles just so we could enjoy our own personal snotty kid in our lives. And we do… enjoy her, that is (and she’s not very snotty, I assure you). So, I submit this, my ethnography of two tribes: the Dog People and the Parent People. First, I would like to teach you about the Dog People tribe. They are some of the most committed people I know. And no, most of them should not be committed (to an institution somewhere). They love their dogs, not because they are weird or inadequately attached to humans, but because they understand the deep joy that can come from closely understanding these amazing creatures: dogs. Don’t demean the Dog People. Don’t mock them. You misunderstand them. Especially the Dog People who compete in dog agility. They are fervent in their love and interest for the sport, again, not because they are weird or poorly socialized but because it really is a sport. Agility is a sport that engages the mind and body fully and totally in those few minutes while a dog and a handler run a course. And, teaching a member of another species to dance with you, to bob and to weave and to make the decision whether to jump or to scramble in hundredths of a second… well, it really is a rush. Next, I would like to introduce you to the Parent People. They, too, are some of the most committed people I know and no, neither should most of them be committed to some institution somewhere. They are very tired, the Parent People. Don’t mock them or patronize them. They may appear deeply uncool, in their sensible shoes, their comfortable pants, and their perpetually plain hair, but they are simply too tired to care about being cool. They most likely used to be cool, in fact. That’s probably how they became parents in the first place: they were too cool for their own good. They grab moments of joy wherever they can, however, and often those moments surround the surprising perspective on the world one can achieve when pausing to view it alongside a child. A nesting junco, a water hose, or flatulence become darn interesting and cool when you have a kid around, trust me. And a note to you Dog People out there: give the Parent People a break once in a while. They don’t always know that your dogs are afraid of children and it’s really, really hard to train a kid. It’s not impossible to do so, and it’s not that different from training a dog, actually, but it is harder—if only because a kid’s opinions are more heartily expressed than a dog’s. So, when one of the little munchkins runs up to you screaming, “Doggy,” just do your best to protect your dog and the kid and as calmly as possible instruct the Parent People and their kids in how to appropriately greet a strange dog. And a note to you Parent People: teach your kids how to appropriately greet a strange dog. First and foremost, they should always ask the owner before approaching a dog they do not know. Always. I’m amazed there are parents out there who do not teach this to their children. It starts in toddlerhood: “We don’t know that dog.” This is all you have to say to your tiniest kids as you use your arm to block the child away from the dog. Then you can begin the ritualized questioning: “May I pet your dog?” and only if the owner says, “Yes,” is the child allowed to. This is simple. Not all dogs are your big old Lab at home that the kids can walk all over. And really, even if your kids can pull the ears and step on the tummy of their very own big old Lab at home, they really should not be doing that. Kids need to learn appropriate ways to treat and respect animals as early as possible. So, if you can, get to know the good folks in these two tribes: the Dog People and the Parent People. Living closely among these two tribes has given me some of the best moments of my life! Amy Hanridge Amy Hanridge lives in the cool pines of Eastern Arizona with her husband, daughter, and four dogs. She is completing her master of fine arts degree in writing and competes in dog agility with her Border Collie Rio. Amy writes about parenting, writing, and dog agility on her blog at www.wishythewriter.com. March 08 | Clean Run 5
http://www.wishythewriter.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - March 2008

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Give Your Dog a Running Start
On Course with Ronda Carter
Trainer’s Forum
How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
What Is a Handling System?
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Agility? Deaf-initely!
When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Skill of the Month
Shelter Champs: Sadie
Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Distance Challenge
Focus on Recalls
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
In Cider
Letters
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Give Your Dog a Running Start
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - On Course with Ronda Carter
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - What Is a Handling System?
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Agility? Deaf-initely!
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Shelter Champs: Sadie
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 65
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Focus on Recalls
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 84
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