On Friday Standard was great except for a missed weave pole entry. It was a very challenging entry and I understood why Perri had missed it. But when I put her back in, she weaved hard and driven and popped out at the tenth pole. I made her redo them and she did her thing where she gets in, skips a few and then continues weaving. She finished them, and the rest of the course. Okay. Cool. A bit disheartening for me though. Nothing upsets me like weave pole issues.
In JWW we had a whole other issue. In the back of the trial center there was a double glass door, absolutely beaming with afternoon sun. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be a problem. And it was. Over three jumps, over the triple jump and she locked eyes with that door and shut down. She drifted around a jump. I picked her back up and she did a very uninspired set of weave poles and then the rest of the course with no emotion. Just duty.
Again. Again we fall down. Over and over again. It's always something. I always felt like that with Molly. Something, some weird reason why we just can't get it together. But come on, a bright door? And what's with the weaves? We were doing so good. Perri was becoming a Normal Poodle. And now she is once again an Abnormal Poodle.
I had a nice double shift on Saturday to get my thoughts in order and my chin up for Sunday. Perri is Perri. I have to accept her for who she is, I have to not beat myself up over her weird moments. Enjoy what she has to offer and know that I have tried my absolute best with her.
Standard went well until we NQd with a perfectly understandable wrong course. Video included, I should have verbally collected her after the tunnel but I didn't and she went back up the A-frame. For the weave poles I vowed to not crowd her entry. It starts well but she leaves the poles early on. I asked her to redo them and she comes out at the tenth pole. We sort of fall apart on the course with my late rear cross but oh well.
JWW was next and I was freaking about the opening. I don't often do start line stays with Perri but I did so on this course and challenged myself to do two front crosses. The opening was the hardest part of the course. From there we have another pop out of the weaves at 10 and then I pushed her to the wrong side of the tunnel. And she drops a bar due to a poor approach and another fall-apart at the end. Perri rarely drops bars and becomes startled and has confidence drops when it happens, you can even hear me say "It's okay!" and cheer leading her after it happens.
I wrote almost a month ago about how Perri's reflux had worsened and she was losing her appetite, all since Molly's diagnosis. It got worse before it got better. Over the last week, Perri finally started to eat again. She started to return to normal. But it really troubled me how much Molly's health problems rocked Perri's world. Perri absolutely could not deal with Molly and I being stressed, abnormal, or anything but strong constants in her world. The day before the first trial I had a very emotionally charged day for non-dog related reasons. At home that night Perri suddenly became spooked by a lamp that I have had since December. She refused to come downstairs on the couch with me all night. Heaping on top of everything else, Perri was attacked by an off leash dog and received a minor bite that broke the skin while we were out in the woods hiking three weeks ago. Since then her mild fear reactivity has intensified to a concerning level. We have been working on it and I already do see improvement within the last week, but it will be a long road back.
I feel so at a loss, in life and in the ring with my girl. She had fun no doubt this weekend, there were a lot of awesome things to be grateful for. But her reaction to that bright light worries me and her behavior over the last month and a half saddens me. I have long been delaying an appointment with an opthamologist to have Perri's eyes checked - that needs to happen. And I have even longer been avoiding some medication to help Perri regulate her stress level. But I think it is time. It is past time. Even now I know I may continue to avoid that pursuit, but I am getting closer and closer. I want my girl to have some peace.
As for the weave poles, I think they will fall into place when I resolve Perri's emotional turmoil. If. As ever, as always, we will try our hardest and fight our way back to that Normal Poodle state of mind that Perri achieved so briefly just two months ago.