But today Ein and I tried CDSP Open Obedience for our first time! I questioned entering him, but we have been to some matches and have been practicing a whole lot...the trial was close by and I think I would otherwise keep procrastinating and saying he is "not ready" forever more.
During our pre-trial practice yesterday, his old habit of running over the broad jump returned. Great! I felt a bit uneasy, but the situation was what it was. We had some good reps of jumping over the BJ and ended on a good note.
I have a video, but I still like to chatter about what happened.
Off Leash Heeling, great! What a good boy!
Running Broad Jump...I heard a big old tick...so I knew he had done something on the broad jump. Reviewing the video I think he just took off too early and came down a bit too soon. We might have actually passed the exercise as I don't feel he actually stepped on it, but he "touched the last board without knocking it over" - which is considered a minor deduction. I should have asked.
Then the Drop On Recall came and to my complete shock, Ein did not drop at all but continued coming in towards me and sat nearly at front. Hey! You forgot something! Scamp! I see him dip his head when I give the command....he did notice the cue but I know he was stressed about coming in towards the steward table. I do think that if he had been coming towards the back of the ring, he would have dropped. It's hard to deal with Ein's stress about doing exercises towards ringside, fear is a tough beast to be in conflict with.
Retrieve on Flat was good! I was very confident about the Retrieve. Ein definitely was pushing it as far as anticipating my command. He did not wait so much as I fortunately cued him just as he was taking off for his dumbbell.
Retrieve over High Jump....oof. I threw the DB too short. Ein completely anticipated, but then noticed the most strange wheel on the high jump and had to check that out. We reset, surely having already NQd the exercise and I threw the DB again. Ein again anticipates and takes off so I just cue him when he's already several strides away from me.
Last was the Go Out, Turn, Sit and it was what I was most nervous about. We are most certainly "still working on this". In training, Ein had been anticipating my "sit" cue so I had been working strictly on the send out, rewarding him for just going straight out at the gate and not cue-ing a sit. Well....Ein runs out and sniffs all around the gate and then turns and comes back in to me. All I can say is....Needs Work.
I did not expect quite so many things to go wrong but somehow I still had the greatest time with Ein. I watch the video and laugh and laugh. He is so absolutely proud of himself despite the errors, and why wouldn't he be? He's never wrong. I never let him "be wrong". It was like we were in a training exercise.
We have work to do, and that's okay! The work and the training is what we love the most. I will give the broad jump more attention - I did not realize how unclear Ein was on his job. The drop on recall I am not concerned about, it will be the "luck of the draw" of which direction we are asked to recall towards. The retrieves I could have been much more firm with my "stay" cue, and we will work on waiting until cued to retrieve. And the Go Out....well, it just needs work!
I care, but I don't care. Ein will be 12 in March. And here he is in the ring with me, trying Open. Doing more independent work in the ring than he ever has in his life. I am so proud of him, so freaking proud.
We went for a long hike afterwards at a nearby state park. It was even warm enough for a swim (for Ein!). What a perfect way to start 2017.