Friday, May 1, 2015

Pretty Darn Excellent!

Molly had her very first All-Excellent day at the AKC Agility trial today!  For some reason, I was not really nervous at all.  Maybe I am Over That now, I think I used up all of my Nervous during the month of April.

We started with FAST.  I can never seem to enjoy FAST as I do USDAA Gamblers or CPE Jackpot, I'm hoping to push past that as we do more AKC.  The send was a tunnel, the dog had to hold their line to a jump, and then send back out to the exit end of the tunnel (rather than the entrance end that started the gamble.)   Molly sent out to the tunnel great but she pulled to me and faulted the Send, she did not stay on her line for the jump.   Regardless, she was beautiful collecting points, she listened to everything I wanted, she was not "crazy", and she did send back out two different times: one for the jump she missed and again for the tunnel.   This is something to work on with Molly.  She knows her "out" command and sends very far away from me, but we need to build on that!    An NQ I was happy with nonetheless!

Standard was next and it wasn't too bad, but there were some traps.  Molly did not even look at those traps!  She followed my handling, she did her contacts...all of them!  She entered her weaves...and popped out at number 11.  That's a refusal, and an NQ.  But the rest of the course was very pretty with an Aframe/tunnel discrimination, and a fast blast out of the tunnel onto the table.   She almost flew off but I could see her stick on there, she knew she must stay on the table!   I was just so proud of her.   We had an awesome first go at Excellent Standard, and it was really special for me to feel so relaxed and be so successful with our "problem" class.  Another happy NQ!

Jumpers with Weaves was last and it was a lot of twisting and turning, but that's okay - I like that!  It keeps us both paying attention to one another.   The course started with a tunnel to a jump backside and we nailed that!   I think it's the first backside we have seen in competition, and just yesterday I was training a verbal cue for a jump backside for Molly, so it was fun to see if she would perform under the stress of a trial.  The course went pretty great, she entered and stayed in her weaves, but towards the end I should have done a front cross....but I panicked halfway through it and was halfway in between.  Tried a rear cross, which was the absolutely wrong thing for where I was and earned us a refusal.  Molly did just what I told her to do.  It's hard to explain without the course map!  But it was very much a ridiculous handler error borne of still having a hard time relaxing and handling aggressively instead of timidly.   I can't seem to get my body to believe my brain saying, "We can make it here in time!"  Hey, we will get there.   Still, another happy NQ!

So what handler would be happy with a day of NQs?  ME!  I cannot believe Molly and I are not only in Excellent, but not making idiots of ourselves.  Not once today was there zooming around, stress behavior, or a wrong course.  And Molly was not moving slow (except in the weaves.)   She was moving at a pretty decent clip!  For the first time today I actually thought that Molly might be capable of a MACH.  That is a terrifying dream.   That is a Big Dream.  And I say so not to belittle our C-ATCH.  That was a big dream, too.   But to be consistent enough, to be perfect enough, to earn 20 double Qs in AKC?  Unfathomable.   But seeing Molly succeed today in an environment that drove her to distraction a year ago, to see her overcome reactivity and focus on me and work as a team with made me think that my dog might have a chance.   Even if it is only a little one.

Molly was a big fan of Miss Lucy's dog treats, she made a valiant attempt to knock the entire table to the ground before you can say Moo!, but I did buy her these apple sticks with my worker coupons for all of those awesome NQs.

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