Saturday, November 12, 2016

Molly's Perfect Day

I have been neglecting lately and I am sad about that - I like to keep record of each trial.   If for no other reason, for my own personal sake of looking back on struggles and victories.

Today Molly and I had a small victory in the grand scheme of all agility, but it was a huge one for us.   We had a perfect Q rate in our day of CPE Agility.  5 runs.   5 Qs.   We have never accomplished this before.  Molly and I are closing up our third year of agility trials together.   Oh, what a journey it has been.   I embrace our NQs, I celebrate the good in them.   There is so much good.   There are consistent teams who achieve a perfect day/weekend frequently - we are not that team.   And that's okay!

But today, we were.   Today was a two-Standard day.   At the beginning of this year I made it my mission to stop dreading Standard.  I have conquered that demon.   I don't get anxious about Standard anymore, "It's just another agility course."   Molly and I have worked out her issues on the contacts and I am so proud of her.   To achieve a perfect day on a day with two

Our final demon is weave poles.   I am trying so hard to be a good handler on weave poles and truly, we are getting there.   I wrote in a previous post that I am expecting Molly to be successful in the weaves, not to fail.   Today's two Standard courses had weave poles split into 6 - that meant two entries per Standard course.   Molly and I did nicely on three of those entries, but on one I struggled.   In the course, we did a set of weaves, to a tunnel, and back to the weaves.   Since Molly needs no urging to get into a tunnel, I was standing at the weave entrance when she came back out.   Standing there and I turned into her motion - crowding and babying her entry.   She deflated and trotted past the entry.   She said, "Please.   Don't do that, okay?"  I was doing good all day, and I made a mistake.  I am allowed to make mistakes.

In our Colors run I trusted her and kept some distance from the poles (a more difficult entry.)   No problem at all.   A 17 second run.  It was good to see that I had not set back our progress!

Another game changer for Molly and I has been "fancy moves".   I saw somewhere one time, and I forget where, that they aren't "fancy moves" if they are simply the most effective handling for your dog/the course.   The "reverse spin" is a necessity for Molly.   I reverse spin all of the time now.   I remember my first, terrified time attempting this at a trial.   I spun when Molly landed (ha), uselessly.   I persisted with getting my timing correctly, and when we started with a new instructor, she watched Molly and I run one course and said, "Are you familiar with the reverse spin?"   "yes, but I am not very good at it."   She said, "With this dog, you need to do a reverse spin every time you could imagine yourself calling Molly! Molly! Molly!"   That hit home - I've been calling "Molly Molly Molly!" for Molly's entire career.   I think of those words often in my course walk throughs.   The reverse spin is as common place for us now as a front cross or a rear cross.  It's just that simple.   Whoever discovered the reverse spin must have had a dog like Molly.

But the point is - growth.   We are growing together as a team.   I so miss AKC Trials.   There is a weekday trial in two weeks that I was painfully tempted to enter.  I ultimately forced myself to maintain self control and wait, just another month or two, wait til the weave poles get solid.  Until I am not questioning if she will get her entries and stay committed.  We are getting close.   Our connection is deepening with every new obstacle that we conquer together.   I am forever grateful to this dog who never gives me any slack, who always pushes me to be better, to learn more, to think harder, to be better.

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