Friday, March 28, 2014

Fickle and Confusing Poodle

Sometimes I truly do not know what to think about Perri.

My friend and I rented the local agility building for an hour and a half this morning.  We ran courses with her dog Luna and Molly.  We set up a Rally Level 1 course in the crating area, and ran agility in the agility ring.  There was a pretty difficult "international style" course set up in the ring.  I ran Molly on it and we had our usual bumps in the road and off courses but we had fun.  I love my girl!  I ran it with Perri and she totally nailed it.  (She was...better than Molly.  It's true!)

I did a lot with Perri today.  We worked on tunnels, and she drove into them without an ounce of hesitation.  What a surprise!  She sailed over jumps, contacts, onto the table.  She did a distance send to the teeter three times and completed the obstacle independently with me layering jumps in between us.  Anything I asked of her, she did!  I was floored and so built up and amazed by my little grey dog.  This video was at the end of our rental time and she was getting tired.  She did hesitate one tunnel, but look at the rest!  Those jumps!  She sees that chute and drives into it instead of crawling because I asked her to.

But tonight in agility class?  I had a flat, lifeless dog.  Perri did her floating, her drifting.  She stopped up in front of jumps and looked at them.  She zigzagged down the Aframe like a drunk, and that was when she wasn't refusing it or running past it.  She hesitated at every tunnel (hey, at least she did not refuse them!). She had no connection with me.

I was completely shocked.  I was crushed.  Why does my dog have to act miserable, act like I beat her, act like she hates agility?  I don't know what to think at times like this.  I really don't.  My dog knows what to do, but sometimes she just can't.  She was amazing earlier in the day, it was hard to see her transform into a dog who could barely function inside of a quiet training center.  And it is so confusing and so discouraging.

My instructor suggested that maybe Perri was tired from me training her earlier today.  And it would be easy to slip into that luxury, that excuse.  "Yeah, Perri's just tired."  Perri is not tired, though.  Perri was stressed.  Why?  I don't know.  I don't know what makes her get stressed.  There are four dogs in Perri's agility class and none of them are in the course room with her.  One of them doesn't even crate with her.  None of them interact with her.  

Sometimes, I just don't know what to think.  I just have to keep moving forward.  Keep training.  Keep upbeat.  Not pretend-strangle her, as I did tonight (jokingly, no poodle pain involved!).  

We start our Obedience Skillbuilding 1 course on the Fenzi Academy Tuesday and I am so looking forwards to it.  I love agility so much, but today when I had the choice of livestreaming either the AKC Agility Nationals or the Rally Nationals?  I picked Rally.  That says something to me.  I love that heeling, those fronts and finishes.  I look forwards to livestreaming Obedience tomorrow, and seeing it in person on Sunday when I will at last have the time to go see the AKC Nationals in person.

Can a person love both?  Do both?  Is they key to unlocking Perri's confidence in Obedience or Agility?  Or both?  One day at a time.

A few hours make all the difference in Perri's attitude towards jumps!

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