Not so fast!
I’ve had replacement surgery in both my knees (not recently though, thank God!), and I want to know how realistic an idea it is for me to compete. I just can’t run so fast! My trainer says my dog and I can do it since we’re good in practice, but I’m concerned I just won’t be able to run fast enough. I love agility, and so does Maggie, but I don’t want to disappoint her.
Have you ever heard of the tortise and the hare? I am not guarunteeing you will win competitions, but I think it is worth a shot. I know many agility competitors (pretty good ones!) that have leg and foot troubles. If you really want to compete, do so! I would recommend speaking with your doctor to discuss ways to minimize damage (braces and footwear, perhaps?) and I would also recommend you be careful of venues notorious for slippery spots.
As a handler, you can learn to minimize your weakness – that you can’t run as fast as others. Teach your dog to handle from a distance! My trainer told me of one of her students – who was immensely pregnant at the time – who could stand in the center of the ring and not have to move hardly at all in order to get her dog to complete the training course! I think you have an opportunity to have an enjoyable, rewarding competitive career with your dog. Don’t worry about disappointing Maggie. You never could, that is the best thing about dogs. I firmly believe that until we let them know otherwise through our body language or stress, every run is a winner.
Do any of you have tips to share on how to run smarter, not faster?
I am not very mobile, myself. My dog worked very well at a distance and just started to “compete”, when he lost an eye. We still did agility for another year until he lost his second eye. Now, we do a low-key fun on obstacles course and he does everything but the table. I am determined to get his poles back up to speed. He is a real inspiration!
My knees are both shot and I am recovery from left knee surgery. My doctor and therapist both have said you cannot run after a knee replacement. The best thing is to limit all impact to your knees like walking and running and cycle more to help with creating fluid in your knees. I have been advised to cycle more before and after training and competing. That being said, I am following the advise to try and keep from having a knee replacement any time soon. I plan on training my rocket dog to distance. A fellow competitor has a bad back and cannot run. He is consistent with double q’s handling from a distance, and makes time barely, but he is doing what he loves, working with his dog and I believe that is what agility is all about. A side note, there is also a local competitor that runs on crutches with her sheltie. She directs her dog around the course pointing with her crutch. She inspires me.