Tonight we practiced walking a heeling pattern with the judge instructing us. (without a dog.) We then did the heel pattern with our dog, and practiced moving into position for the next exercise - the figure 8. (A good skill to practice!) We practiced a lot of zen exercises like "slow treats" and self control work in the sit/down/stand positions. And the recall over bar jump.
Ein was super with the figure 8 and the zen exercises. (In fact, on one exercise I had his pile of treats in between his paws while he held a down stay. He was foaming drool but did not take any of those treats unless I gave them to him!) The heel on lead did not relieve my stress about this weekend's trials. He went blasting ahead when our instructor commanded "Forward" and I reset him. That upset him enough to make him stressy and sniffy and miss his sit on the Forward-Sit portion of the heel on lead. The recall over bar jump he broke his stay. (He is naughty about stays in class as a rule, but rarely naughty at trials. Only one broken stay ever at a trial - in 2013 in Rally Excellent. Still.)
Bad dress rehearsal, good show? The worry-demons are creeping up on me.
I had to give myself a little pep talk on the drive home. Enjoy this time. While 11 is not ancient as small dogs go, it is certainly an age that many performance dogs are good and retired by. Especially obedience. My guy is still raring to go, he loves being in the ring with me even if his stress sometimes gets the better of him, and we get to do this together. We get to do this thing that I never thought was possible before. So instead of worrying that Ein might sniff or break a stay or we might lose points or this or that... I'm just going to choose to be happy to be here. Happy to be here with my good old red dog. Cause he sure is happy to be here with me.
|photo by Michelle O.|