Rehearsal, Glamour, Comfort Zones and Psychic Connections

I forgot to mention the biggest “I will NEVER” from my life…

“I will NEVER be a teacher!”

That came from my lips after taking one of those “aptitude” tests in high school, to try to figure out which college and career path would be best. The aptitude test, in all of its wisdom, said, “TEACHER!” and the subject (me!) in all of my teenage stubborn stupidity, said, “NEVER!”  

The aptitude test was correct, of course, and every job I’ve ever had involved some type of teaching: teaching music, coaching singers and orchestras, teaching doggies and their handlers… 

Which leads me into two things I was laughing about over the weekend… rehearsal. And glamour.  OK, rehearsal first: in both my past and current professions, rehearsal has always been important. Rehearse the correct behavior, not the incorrect behavior. Back then, it was rehearse the orchestra. Rehearse the singers. Run the scenes. Previews. Then perform. Now it is rehearse agility obstacles and handling moves for dog and handler. Run sequences. Run courses. Then compete.

When people learn about my background in theater and music, they often ask how working with dogs is different than working with musicians. The answer is: not much of a difference! Dogs and musicians both want you to be prepared for rehearsal, and passionate about it. And focused in performance. Both are somewhat forgiving if you screw it up, as long as you don’t blame them for your screw-ups. And, experienced dogs and musicians will often try to save your butt if something goes wrong – teamwork!!

And of course, both will work for food. Maybe a future blog will be about the time I played saxophone in the Duke Medical Center’s production of “The Wizard of Gauze” and was paid in fried chicken and beer.

So I am a firm believer in good rehearsal. At this point, dog agility rehearsal is pretty fluent for me – but if you don’t rehearse regularly, your “chops” get rusty. Which brings me to what I don’t rehearse regularly, and how rusty I’ve gotten at the skill of… glamour!!

I was a guest at a wedding on Saturday, and weddings require “proper” attire (no high-tech breathable fabrics, no hats with pony tails, no running shoes, no t-shirts with pictures of dogs on them, and MOST DEFINITELY nothing from Wal-Mart.) Because I have not rehearsed getting glammed up on any regular basis, the process took several hours over 2 days. I started the day before at the hand and feet people, getting fingers and toes glammed up and ready for wine glass holding and open-toed “real” shoes. The morning of the event, I had to go to the hair-tamers salon for help (it takes a village!) then home to put on the war paint (make up!) then clothes (stockings, dress, heels, all carefully chosen to hide my tan lines from summer of aforementioned “improper” attire and to hide the bruises from tugging with Matrix.)  My lack of rehearsal made it take a lot longer than I had expected, as David stood by waiting and patiently gave me updates on the time.

What he said: “Just so you know, sweetie, it is 5 after 12, I know you wanted to be on the road at about noon…”

What he meant: “Seriously, you’ve been working at this for 2 hours, let’s move this along…”

It took David about 3 minutes to get ready and look dashing in his suit, clearly he has rehearsed that recently. But I bet it would take him a while to navigate his way through the Nike Factory Outlet, while I have mastered that skill (rehearsal!)

Eventually, we were dressed, dodged the dogs who wanted to get some dog hair on the nice clothes, and  were in the car and on the way. The wedding was lovely – and several of my agility peeps were there. I didn’t recognize them at first – what, no pony tails?? But I’m not sure they recognized me either. I wonder how long it took them to get ready? Of course, we recognized our agility friend, Tina – because she was the beautiful bride, and made that big entrance and all.

The next day, I was back in my comfort zone – managed to get dressed in my agility clothes, get 5 dogs into the car, grab some coffee and be on the road to an agility trial – all accomplished in 20 minutes in early morning darkness. Those skills have been regularly and recently rehearsed!

A well-rehearsed fashion statement

A well-rehearsed fashion statement

I woke up at 2:46am on Sunday morning, sensing that something was wrong, oh so wrong… with my Blackberry.

It seems I have a psychic connection with my Blackberry, which really isn’t all that surprising considering how much time we spend together. And yes, my Blackberry needed me at that moment! It had some kind of error or meltdown or stress moment and had shut down – which presented a problem for the alarm that was supposed to wake me up at 4:30am for the agility trial. So, I performed the high-tech Blackberry CPR routine, consisting of taking out the battery and putting it back in – and the BB came back to life, happy day!

Of course, I would prefer that I had a psychic connection with the dogs to help them navigate the courses, but I guess that will take more rehearsal 🙂

Rehearsing... check out the guy behind Export, who appears to be praying for a good run!

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9 responses »

  1. Tracy, I’m always impressed by your teaching skills, esp. the way you use positive training methods on ALL the students, both human & canine!

    Carol C.

  2. This was great! I to had a friends wedding over the weekend but also had to help cater so I couldn’t be too glamorous. I wish you had a picture of you all glamed out that you would post

  3. So I have seen you in your agility attire many times but where are the pictures of you and David looking like Supermodels??? Inquiring eyes want to see!!!

  4. “experienced dogs … will often try to save your butt if something goes wrong – teamwork!!”

    So THAT’s what Annie was doing last night in the first agility class we’ve been in for over two years! She remembers everything — me? not so much … Must rehearse every day, must rehearse every day, must … Thanks for verbalizing it, Tracy.

  5. OK so when I did the aptitude test in High School it said my perfect job was ” Fighter Pilot!!!”
    Anyone who knows my personality is laughing by now …..! Hmm Let me count the ways being a child and adolscent psychiatrist is a kin to being a fighter pilot… YUP there are many!

    • No, she’s not. She’s a magician! How else do you explain that she kept my VERY laid-back Annie happy, motivated, and fast for a whole weekend seminar? Annie ran just as fast late Sunday afternoon as she did early Saturday morning — this from a dog who was once described as “sleeping” in the flyball line-up as she was waiting for the race to begin! (lol) She’s a magician, I tell you, a magician!

  6. Tracy- You looked wonderful at the wedding! It was so odd to see us all dressed up. I for one could not wait to get back into my Fuzzy PJ pants, but thought Aaron deserved a few days of “normal” You are a great friend and a great teacher! And the Red Dog is really looking forward to me rehearsing more agility 🙂 Hugs!

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