Of course heading into this trial I knew all of the rules: "it's all in the journey", "be grateful to step into the ring with your dog"...but by the way I sure did want to Q and get at least one of those two titles! Being relaxed is imperative for my focus, doubly so in AKC (and USDAA Masters, as I have discovered.) I decided to welcome the challenge of dually "wanting the Q" but not overthinking about it. Spoiler alert: we NQd both runs. But I was happy with that we did. Standard was absolutely beautiful including the weaves and avoiding a tunnel trap! We got snagged up on my releasing her from the table and not checking her to stay on her line, she veered towards a tempting off course tunnel that I knew to watch. She did not go into the tunnel but pulled around the next jump and earned us a refusal. JWW she snagged our obligatory off course tunnel and had some messy weaves, but really lovely after that.
Whatever! AKC is not easy for us. There were other victories that day! Molly is still running at Regular 20" in AKC and she was beautiful at that height. I feared some of those sad signs of a senior dog forced to jump too high beyond their time, but Molly made it clear she had no issues with her full height of 20". (And if she had struggled with 20", that would have been the end of it. I refuse to embarrass my dog by ignoring her limitations.) Another factor at play is that for the last week I have been faithfully taking Molly on at least one if not two fifteen minute walks per day. By her second run when she normally gets dutiful and into that boring consistent "getting it done" speed, she was instead running fast and with no panting. The trial building was warmer than last weekend's trial yet she was not panting or sluggish. I believe our walks are helping! I felt like she was so strong physically on Monday and with increased endurance - that alone made me so happy!
Another issue we had success with was that there was consistent target shooting going on near this trial site throughout the day. It was in the distance but Molly heard it. I did not know what to do, as I had not brought any portable crates to keep her inside of the building with. I took my iphone, set the volume to high and put it on top of her crate and just played all of the music I have on there on repeat all day. Worked like a charm! Molly had no anxiety or shuddering over the gunshots, she couldn't hear it! I was pretty excited about this and downloaded a bunch of classical music to my iPad for Molly in the future (so she can have something a little more soothing than the eclectic mix of songs that we listen to while driving!). If the car has to be opened up as it is in the summer time, I'm not sure what we will do because the closed up car muffled the sound a lot on its own. I think the fans set on high in combination with the music right by her head could be a help.
No titles but forward progress despite that!