I must say I was quite nervous coming into this trial. I had signed up for it eons ago and knew that he would probably have trouble with an indoor site. It was because of this that I pushed to go to run-throughs indoors while up in NY over the holidays. I definitely felt like we had worked through some things during these experiences so I was hopeful that this wouldn’t be too big of a stretch for us. The other thing is that we have moved up to Open, so the course was going to harder, longer, and have 12 weaves instead of 6. Fortunately I knew some folks there which helped me to assimilate to the site and just relax some. Also, my instructor was there which made me feel 1000 times better.
I got there just as they were starting Excellent JWW with about 150 dogs running I knew it would be a while. I was glad that I had time to get Miles a little used to the environment. I initially brought him into the building with the ring while they were building the Excellent course and he was mega freaked out…didn’t want to take food, nervous about the door opening and closing. There weren’t even any dogs in there, just people building the course and waiting to walk it. I got him to do a few tricks and then left and played with him outside the door. I repeated this two more times and he got more comfortable each time, but definitely NOT happy. I spoke to my instructor and she suggested that I bring him into the other building to work on the practice jump. Her reasoning was that if he won’t do the practice jump then I shouldn’t ask him to run the course. She went with me to the jump and had me do a few restrained recalls first and then put the jump at 16″ and had him do a couple of reps. He was happy enough and thrilled to chase his ball, but still nervous anytime anyone opened/closed the doors. She told me that the majority of stress is coming from me and that I needed to relax–oops!
So I put him back in the car and took Rue out. She was happier than anything to be out and about. She even went into the ring building while some of the dogs were running and LOVED it. She’s a rock star…no fear at all. One thing I wished I had done was to bring her into the crating area and crate her for a while. She does need to get used to this and I will make it a point from here on out to crate her with the rest of the dogs. It’s something I wish I had done with Miles as it does make it a lot easier on me.
Anyway, time came for us to walk the Open course. It was actually a nice flowy course for AKC…not too many tight turns. I was a bit concerned about the weave entrance as a lot of the big Excellent dogs were missing the entry. Of course I told myself that it didn’t matter and that if I could even be so lucky as to have him perform anything up to the weaves I’d be thrilled. I decided to start with him as usual and to my amazement we were off to the races. It certainly wasn’t his fastest performance, but he was happy and with me. He seemed to watch me a lot in the opening which slowed him down and he missed the weave entry twice, but we finished strong and under time!