Sunday, November 4, 2018


Before Perri did the CPE trial in October, I had decided that if she did well I would file the official paperwork with CPE to move her earned Level 5 legs in Regular class to Enthusiast. Enthusiast allows Perri a little bit more time in the ring, a lower jump height and most importantly: you can skip a class. This would mean that Perri would not have to do Standard class in order to earn the Enthusiast level championship title, the CT-ATCH. The extra time would be appreciated. I am embarrassed to jump Perri at 16" but that is very silly. Perri doesn't care. And while mentally I had to reconcile that I felt like I was almost cheating by not fulfilling the complete requirements for a CT-ATCH, I am grateful that CPE allows us the opportunity to earn a comparable title that is more Perri's speed right now.

Anyway. That left us at needing three quailfying rounds in Wildcard, two in Jumpers and one "any class". In CPE when you skip a class you must earn those legs elsewhere. It doesn't matter which class. You need 10 Standard legs for a C-ATCH and so Perri needed 10 legs in any other game. She actually already  had three Standard legs and she has a mixture of extra game legs beyond the required 5. Mostly Snooker. That's her jam.

We went to the local training center for my normal favorite Friday night of agility. The hosting club always offers two classes on Friday evenings and two full weekend days of classes. Fortunately, Wildcard was offered Friday night. I wish I had a video. It was my favorite run of the weekend! In Wildcard, which is my least favorite class mostly because instead of true discriminations you would actually see in agility, it's often just two obstacles plunked down next to one another. Or a tunnel where you have to pick one end or the other (and that is a true normal discrimination but one that I hate!) Mostly because of Molly. Perri is no challenge with tunnels since they are her least favorite obstacle.

We ended up doing two sets of weaves, and the dog walk and Aframe! I normally turn myself inside out to avoid weave poles as a Wildcard choice but the course layout left me no choice (horrible approach to the dog walk after the course's second Wildcard choice - a tunnel end discrimination.) Perri was on fire and so happy, almost 4 YPS, pushy on her contacts but a Good Girl and her second set of weaves in particular was performed with speed. Really great start to the weekend!

Saturday was only two classes for Perri: Wildcard again and Jumpers. I was mentally coaching myself through not being uptight about "We need these legs!" Connection, confidence. And if Perri has issues, it's just information. She is who she is.

And Perri sure did give me some "information". On both of our courses we had to follow a dog that Perri has disliked for years. Perri does not like fast dogs, loud dogs, flashy dogs and erratic dogs. This dog is a meek, anxious dog that is smaller than Perri and she has despised her for a long time, who knows why! To the point where she has had reactive outbursts ringside when this dog was far away from Perri. We had none of that on Saturday but Perri sure did notice this dog in the ring ahead of her and standing outside of the ring before her turn. Moving to Enthusiast means Perri is now the same height class as this dog. Groan.

This was our Wildcard run. Sigh on the weaves. I can tell I was feeling stressed. I'm just not very smooth. I'm trying my best to not worry that Perri will have a Perri moment and just be strong for her. Trying hard not to Want the Q.

Jumpers was last of the day. Perri couldn't get her eyes off of her nemesis dog when we entered the ring and was fixated on her to the point where she barked as the dog left the ring. This blew all of my fine positive start line plans out of the water. Perri was very pokey and stopped in front of two tunnels. She was two seconds over time but she qualified. First CPE Jumper Q in two years. And I had to work so hard for it. I don't have a video but I feel like I forced myself to be more relaxed on this run. I did a ton of being in front of Perri, running backwards to motivate her and draw her into me, and running on the outside of her line to motivate her. I'm proud of her for not stopping and starting at me. I actually smiled at her the first time she wouldn't take the tunnel. That's another thing I'm thinking about. When/if she shuts down, I have no idea what my face looks like but it's probably pushy and harried, begging. Fake smiling is something I'm trying.

Oh Perri. What a mind game this weekend was. But, you did it. And that is something. Perri really dug in there especially during Jumpers and she worked hard just because I wanted her to. She was not enjoying herself.

This is so hard for me. Perri loves agility when everything is Just Right. But I can't always make everything Just Right. If I could, I would. If I could just tell Perri she is safe, I will never let anything happen to her ever again, I would. But I can't make those decisions for her, Perri decides when she feels safe. So I am not going to obsess over Perri having a melty moment and we will see what next weekend brings!

PS. Ein played Jumpers too and was so sassy and fast! He even tried to nip my face while ringside and kept jumping around like a flea! What a fun old man he is.

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