Ein and I went to DTCCC today for a rally obedience trial. We were entered in both trials, since they were running back to back levels - Ein's stamina is lasting nicely for these 6-run trials. I am very proud of him.
The day started off strong in the first Level 1 course with a perfect 210 (and all corgis in the placements, with Ein in 3rd place.) The second Level 2 was a 207 for a double command of some kind.
Our first Level 2....we lost our connection. We still qualified with a 205 (in both Level 2s!) but Ein was ground sniffing a lot and generally not in sync with me. He was having moments of zoning out and would drift away from me mid-heel pattern. I actually had to pat my leg one time and call his name sternly to snap him out of it. The second round of Level 2 I did a lot more talking and cheer leading and praising and he responded well to that, but he still wasn't all there. It is very unlike him to sniff the ground obsessively while heeling with me now. It is usually his pride and joy to heel with me and play rally-o.
I have so much on my mind, with Molly. All day I was talking with people about it, thinking about it, worrying about it. It is hard when there is such a huge question mark in my future. And Ein is so in tune with me, I am his world. He studies every move I make and no doubt he sensed my mental unease.
On our first Level 3 run Ein had very shaky engagement on the start line. He was melting and having trouble with stressing about the people ring side. And then it happened....on the "send dog to jump, handler runs by." Ein had to do the jump heading towards ringside. I sent him to it, he committed and when I went to run by I must have moved just the slightest bit laterally to allow for the proper distance (and not lose points.) and he pulled right off the jump and ran around it. Ein and I have not NQd in rally obedience since 2013. So, ouch. Ein did the directed jump just after that, flawlessly. He had an adorable retrieve and actually pounced on the dumbbell and everybody loved it.
Our second Level 3, now I was feeling even worse. Not only does my Molly have cancer, but I was stressing Ein out so bad that we NQd - just because I wasn't feeling "all there." I was ruining our fun day together. When we entered the ring for our second Level 3 run Ein would not set up on the start line. He had to leave me to sniff the judge then, instead of returning to me, he drifted towards the ring entrance - staring at people. The first half of the run was very upsetting, Ein could barely focus for staring at the people. Instead of a "drop on recall" he did a "sit on recall." Thankfully he dropped on my second command and that is not an NQ. When it was time for the "send dog to jump, handler runs by", I stayed very close to that jump and left no chance I would pull him off. 3 points off be damned! So angry at myself for even caring about that in our first round - but it is normally a complete non issue. Ein's moving back up was perfect and straight, and he was smiling and happy.
So. A tough day, with a lot to be grateful for. Ein had a lot of great moments in the ring, and I am happy for that. We earned our 6th Triple Q towards the ARCHMX. But our teamwork and connection was hurting today, and that makes me feel very bad.