Perri, as ever. As always! Is another story. We are having a lot of wilting issues with the weave poles. She is grabbing her entries but she is crawling through. At times, jogging with her has improved her speed but for the last two trials it just seems like that makes her want to leave the weaves. Here is Perri at last Friday's trial leaving the weaves despite my best efforts at jogging with her and removing pressure. It is hard to see the weaves with the position of the camera.
On Sunday we attended an AKC trial and it was hot. My main goal with Perri was truly to keep her hydrated and as cool as possible - I still do not know what caused her to get so sick last month but I do not want it to happen again! We had a lot of nice moments in the ring and Perri was an excellent sport running in the heat. Some moments of disengagement, some "brain farts" on my part but...seriously, it was friggin HOT. Perri does do all of her weaves in JWW and I am grateful for that. But she is not weaving like I know she can. And in Standard she just can't stay committed to them. By the time our Standard run came around I was so nasty hot and quite honestly done with that day...I really couldn't blame her. (I don't usually mind summer or heat but something about the day was completely oppressive.) So, it's not all around fair to overthink the weave pole performance based on this day alone.
I have been thinking of how I have handled other obstacles that Perri is not confident on: the dogwalk, the teeter and the chute. On the dogwalk especially Perri has a history of shrinking and striding slower than I would like and appearing very worried - and I always praised her heavily while she was on the dogwalk to encourage her. The same with the teeter, a lot of praise. And the pattern continues with the chute: lots of praise the entire way through the fabric.
On the flipside, with Molly...I am not praising at all. I am quiet, I keep my distance and let her do her job. I ask her to "Spot" on the contact obstacles but other than that: I don't need to add any energy! I need to let her do her job, independently. And...the same goes for the weave poles.
So, I am thinking the same will go for the weave poles with Perri as with those other obstacles. I cringe to say I want to cheerlead and baby her through the weaves. But I do think that Perri needs extra support from me and at next weekend's trial, I plan to see how it goes if I praise and do some mild cheerleading for Perri while she is weaving. I believe the path I am taking for Molly and Perri's weave poles will need to branch into two directions.
Last week on Facebook memories, Perri's first video of doing weave poles at a trial popped up. I watched her grab the entry on approach and just move right through them. I saw myself run ahead, totally confident and trusting that she would stay in while I moved to the next obstacle. And I felt so sad. I feel like such a failure with these weave poles. I feel so miserable that Perri was doing so well with them until her injury. And of course, the exact obstacle that has been such a struggle with Molly is now a struggle for Perri. It is so frustrating, so "what am I doing wrong?", and it makes me hate this obstacle so much. But am determined. I will keep thinking, experimenting, and working. Make it Happen.