Molly and I played AKC Agility again yesterday.
Jumpers with Weaves was first and it could not have been more beautiful. I think there were at least four off course traps and we flew past every one of them, including an awesome rear cross to a jump slice for her , with a tunnel less than 10 feet away screaming her name. We would have qualified with a rocking time, but for the weaves. She missed the entry, refusal #1. I pulled her back and saw stress on her face and put her back in but she popped out at 8, refusal #2. I put her back in where she popped out, which is not permitted in AKC, so we got a major fault for that. Despite all of that we were still two seconds under time - and given AKCs not-so-cozy time allowances and all the time we were in the weaves that is pretty awesome.
I spent the rest of the morning timing for Masters and relaxing. Earlier this week in Rally class, Molly finally figured out how to unzip her crate and she came looking for me. I had a feeling that it would be happening at the trial, so I zipped her up and walked about 30 feet away and chatted with a friend. I saw the crate shaking from side to side, forwards and backwards and then grow still. And then Molly came trotting out towards me. Great. We are going to have to go back to heavy crating at trials! My last resort is to carabiner shut the zippers, but I am pretty sure she will simply destroy her way to freedom. I will give it a try at least, but I am a busy body at trials and the last thing I want to think about is that maybe my 60 pound pitbull is at large amongst other people's performance dogs.
Standard came quickly, it was a small Friday trial. The course work was medium difficulty with a few traps, including one tunnel trap that I was particularly concerned about. Before we went in I was petting Molly's belly and she was laying on the sprint turf flooring. When she got up I saw a huge black speck in her eye. Sprint Turf has tiny rubber pieces under the "grass", that is what keeps it so springy - and there was a piece in my dog's eye! I tried and tried to get it out, but it needed to be flushed and we were next in the ring. She looked as though she did not even notice it, so I decided to go into the ring.
She got chattery at the dog ahead of her and kept looking at him as he exited the ring. Not a good sign. The dog walk was the second obstacle and she was way ahead of me so I asked her to slow down (Dammit, I hate that I did that!). She blew the dog walk, "refused" the next jump and took an off course tunnel. And it was a catastrophe from there. Three weave refusals (but, she did do them in the end!), a table bounce off. She stressed even higher from there and I am furious at myself for not pulling her from the ring. Furious. I don't even know why I plan on guidelines and goals for my behavior, because I seem to forget everything when I am in that ring. She ran out the Aframe, she took the final obstacles at total random and then took the final jump - the triple jump. After that I called to her because she always tries to jet out of the exit chute. Not to worry because this time she jumped over the ring gating, but not high enough so she pulled the entire half side of the gating over, and ran over to the smoked bone/trachea/treat stand and began pawing her eye.
Talk about feeling like miserable and embarrassed, and also an asshole for putting my dog into the ring with rubber in her eye.
I am blaming the rubber. But it is always something with Molly. Always. We have had a good run in AKC, we have achieved our Novice titles and some Open legs. But I truly feel that we have reached the ceiling of what we can do in AKC right now. We will be taking a break for the summer, at least until September. Our weave poles need some serious work. While we have not always NQd due to the weave poles, it has been happening more often than not. I am giving heavy consideration to taking the month of August off entirely to work out some of our problems. My handling, and Molly's response to me, has come a million miles. But there is no amount of trialing that is going to help Molly learn the simple mechanics of weaving and to be confident in them. That should have happened from the foundation up, but it is going to happen now. On the other hand, I don't want to undo the progress we have made with trial stress and dog reactivity, so I am likely to keep her in CPE trials for the month of August. Or maybe focus on getting an ARCH. I don't know yet.