Wednesday 14 December 2011

Suffering from Tall Poppy Syndrome

Now I am all excited about reported sightings of the Higgs boson. However, Gail has persuaded me that my readers will on the whole be more interested in the goings on at this week's Deeside Dog Agility Club Christmas Party.

Fine then. But first I want to ask a question.

Fellow canines, do you ever feel held back by the low expectations and aspirations of your human?

You know, when I started out on this agility training lark, Gail went on and on about how it was all for fun, she just wanted to spend time doing stuff and bonding with me, she knew I'd never be winning any contests, etc. etc.

Well I'll have you know that at the party on Monday I won this most magnificent prize for 'Best Newcomer'.

And no Gail I do not think it necessary to be pointing out that 'Only Newcomer' would be a more accurate label. I hate this British tendency towards Tall Poppy Syndrome.

Now we have already established in this blog that I do not do fancy dress. It seems I share this trait with most of my fellow Scottish agility dogs, as only three turned up in full costume.

And two of these are owned by an American.....

I could tell though that my fellow party goers - dogs and humans - were in fact quite serious about the so-called 'fun' agility games. And so while Gail was still all "Oh Bertie I don't think we'll enter will we, you're really not quite at that level yet",  I was cannily sniffing out the competition.

As well as the food waste bags...

So OK, I was thirteen places off the lead in the 'figure of eight two tunnels and a jump' speed game (fourteen entrants). The winner scored fifteen tunnels in the allotted minute. I managed four, which is surely pretty good for a first go, what with the distracting cacophony of barking and shouting. Really I would have done so much better were it not for 'handler errors', like Gail kept placing herself in my way, giving confusing and panicky hand signals and at one point she threw a treat into the tunnel so of course I stopped to eat it, what on earth is one supposed to do?

I can't tell you how disappointed I was not to be allowed to enter the weave contest (on the spurious grounds that I've never yet in my life successfully executed a proper weave manouevre....) but I will concede I might not actually have won. One collie surely broke the speed of light.

Oh but if only we had some pictures, or even a video, of the final game. You would be so impressed to see me jumping round and round the 'cube' of hurdles, barely missing out a single one. I was all a blur, just like this photo of one of my fellow contestants.

Eleven hurdles in fifty seconds saw me half way down the field. Impressive, eh? Oh, no, here goes Gail again, trying to undermine my achievements, telling me to say they specially lowered the jumps for 'the novice'.

It's a good job isn't it, that I have such impregnable self belief.

I shall be getting around to the Higgs boson another day.


  1. Bertie - You are lucky . The three who turned up in full dress must have been English .

  2. Take no notice of humans trying to hold you back mate; be your own dog! Deccy x

  3. Hey, they could have just not had a novice winner this it counts!

    Did you have fun?

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  4. It all looks great fun Bertie and never forget "God loves a trier" :)

  5. I feel your pain Bertie, my mum was like a chook without a head in the agility ring - not in my way - but so slow and way behind what I was doin - but she had the paniky hand signals too! She had to retire sayin' that I am too quick for her!!

    Gail just needs more work, and you need to sabotage the Collies - they have genetic advantage in those sorts of tasks..... show offs.

    Tail Wuggles, Rubie

  6. Bertie we do feel that your New Year Resolution for 2012 should be to take Gail training more often. Once you have her sorted we really believe that your achievements will soar.

    We realise you have your work cut out being by yourself, as there are four of us it is so much easier to manipulate, but you are a Terrier so keep at it.

    As Rubie says sabotage those Collies and you will be Top Dog for sure at next years agility Christmas party.

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie

  7. You know, Bertie, I came in second place at a dog show once and momma cannot mention it without master saying "yeah, out of TWO dogs." I prefer to think that in my case, as in yours, clearly the competition was discouraged from even attempting to enter once they saw the roster.

    You keep doing your cracker agilities. I have no doubt you will be a star and your Gail will have to admit what a champion you are.


  8. Bertie..we are sure you can have Gail trained for 2012!
    Well done on your Best Newcomer Prize.

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  9. did so good and me is sooooooo proud of you.....specially for not agreeing to wear a stupid Santa Paws outfit. Everyone nose dere is only one Santa Paws and he be checkin' his list right about now!

  10. Hey Bertie!
    Wow, you did great! Peeps always say "It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game". SURE, RIGHT!!! Then what does your peep care if you win. I think the real prize goes to the most inventive, creative and the one who has the most fun!! You fur sure. BOL
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

  11. Hey Bertie, I am just way impressed that you and your human are out there doing it.

    My Vickie dabbled in the thought of us doing agility. We even went to three classes before she decided "She didn't have the time to commit to it"

    I was kind of liking it.

    Oh well, I'll just watch you get better and better. maybe she will want to try again.


  12. Bertie we all know that PEEPS are just a bunch of Silly Squirrels. Don't let HER comments get you down. YOU had a blast and THAT is all that really counts!!

  13. We'd never heard of Tall Poppy Syndrome -- so at first we thought you (or Gail) meant to say Tall Puppy Syndrome -- but that didn't make any more sense so then we kind of figured it out.

    You were just perfectly attired with that plaid bow -- and we agree that Gail needs a bit more training before you enter her into any more of these challenging games!

    Finally, we're super glad most of the participants decided to ignore the dress-up rules!

    Wirey woofs,

    Jake and Just Harry

  14. First, BerAie, your attire was perfect! and secondly, best is still best, right? We're glad you went for it!

    -Bart and Ruby

  15. Oh my goodness!!! How much fun!!

  16. Well Bertie I for one think that you looked pawsome in your Holiday collar.

    Congrats on your win! Any reason we gets a stuffie fur anything is pawsome!

    Lastly Bertie, I fury much agree with The Thuglets, have Gail trained in 2012!

    woos, Tessa

  17. You did great, Bertie, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I can't do any tricks and I have never been in any shows or contests ...and my humans sometimes dress me up in silly outfits. Sigh ...

    Your pal, Pip

  18. You did great BErtie and I think you need to get Gail some encouragement training!! Us dogs never listen to them anyways!! bol

    Jazzi and addy

  19. Bertie, with your belief in yourself 2012 will be your year to shine. If Gail continues to be a hindrance you MAY have to train up someone else. Congratulations on Best Newcomer. Outstanding job. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  20. I am very impressed by your athletic ability and see great things in your future.

    I can see why you dont do fancy dress, though we of course do, you are very elegant. I do think however that you would look very smashing in a bow tie collar.

    We have given you an award so stop by our blog to check it out
    Urban Hounds

  21. Congrats!! Oh little one, we think you did great!! We also noticed that you had a jaunty, plaid bow on too. Best new commer is a good prize. There is too much stuff in the news here on Higgs boson. We'd much rather see pics of and hear about your exploits!!
    Smooches from pooches,
    BabyRD & Hootie

  22. Hey Bertie, I just read your comment and am so sorry for the confusion. I just went back and made the change.
    Sorry, pal!

    Your pal, Pip

  23. Bertie my dear boy,Of course you are the bestest newcomer,no contest and you look simply spiffy in your tartan bow.Such a handsome chappie.

    Now a little life lesson for you to remember my boy. You are a Wire Fox Terrier which means you are a WINNER. Here! There! Always! All the time! Ain't that grand?

    Wiry love from you proud Uncle Eric xxxxx

  24. We just love all the stuff we learn on your blog, Bertie! We'd never heard of Tall Poppy Syndrome, but your thoughtful link both enlightened us and made us realize we have that in the U.S., too, although we don't have a common name for it like you do. Now we eagerly await your observations on Higgs boson, about which we are also most excited.

    Mazel tov on your Major Award! We're sure Gail means well, but tell her praise never comes amiss.

    Jed & Abby