Obedience match report for today:
Excellent attitude in the ring! Wagging tail and smiles.
Running broad jump exercise: A+, Ein and I have practiced this and it showed. No more stepping on the BJ.
The judge reversed the direction from our experience last month. This time Ein had to retrieve his DB running towards ringside and the stewards table. He could not do it. He went out strong and fast, nose touched the DB and returned to me quite happily and sat at front. Uh, Ein? Ya missed something! The issue is that Ein was worried about running towards people and to dip his head down and break focus on (keeping a close eye on) them was more than he could deal with. That's okay...we can work on that. I switched direction and sure enough Ein was happy to do both Retrieve on Flat and over the Jump if he could run away from the people and towards the not-scary back of the ring. This was really good information! Back in the winter, Ein had an issue picking up his DB during a rally trial - because the judge was standing directly in front of his DB (a few feet back.) We did some work on that, but at the time he was not as solid with his retrieve as he is now. I had thought the issue resolved itself with more confidence - and indeed Ein is somehow okay to run past a judge to do his retrieve. But going towards them is not the same for him - in fact, I just now realize how truly challenging this is for a dog like Ein. He fears people - and here he is asked to run away from me (his safe zone) to perform a job independently, near the "danger zone". And a judge in the ring is a trustworthy factor - for how many years, the judge is a "safe" and "known quantity". Ringside? The stewards might be doing something different, talking, standing up abruptly, and perhaps entering the ring unexpectedly....the dogs and people ringside could be doing any number of troubling things. Tugging, jumping, making noises... There is a lot more to worry about on the entrance end of the ring than there is inside the ring. This has always been a problem for Ein. He has changed so much, he has come to love the ring so much - but that entrance side of the four walls of the ring has always brought out many weak moments and worrying for him
Drop on Recall:
I went ahead and made some time for this one today. I accidently dropped Ein without the judge's direction! I got rally-o brain, because in rally for the DOR you drop your dog whenever you want to and I just....brain farted! The judge kindly reminded me that I must look to the judge for that instruction, so we repeated the exercise. This time we did a great job, and Ein dropped right when I told him to! I am feeling very confident about this exercise. However, we did set up the DOR so that he was coming in towards me and the back of the ring. Next time, we will try the opposite direction.... I felt that he had had enough challenge in that category today.
We ran out of time so I could not practice my Go Out work at all in the ring. We were so focused on DB and making sure Ein had a really great experience in the ring with his retrieve, so that is most important. I think next time I will purchase two different time slots. Ein does not seem to be very tired after we work in the ring and I think he would be happy enough to do some more work and training.
The volunteers at the training center where we went today were so supportive. The judge even made sure to tell me that she loved my relationship with Ein. The best kind of compliment, if you ask me!