Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Run Thru Saturday!

On Saturday morning from 8-1 my agility instructor opened her training center for run thru's.  This was on top of our training club running rally-o run throughs starting at 1:30!  (Which Ein was signed up for, both Level 1 and 2.)

I wanted to take Perri and Molly for the agility courses, to practice weave poles as well as the chute (for Perri.)  

Perri was a disaster.  She was exhausted from her day at the lake on Friday.  As soon as I released her from the start line I knew I had no dog.  She was working with me but she was flat and nervous.  To her credit she did her weaves.  Twice.  But slow.  She played with her toy with some pouncing but it was that mechanical play that makes me sad.  She refused the chute twice.  When she did it I rewarded her with her toy , played with her and asked for it again.  She refused it and our time ran out.

I was devastated for making another bad decision for her.  (At agility class last night, Perri did do the chute.  Twice.  I felt a lot better.  But from that moment Saturday until Monday evening I was feeling SAD.)

Molly had two runs.  The first one I got "lucky" and she broke her start line stay.  Molly is no dummy, she never breaks that stay in training.  I think she thought we were at a trial!  I took her back to the start line, rewarded her for staying...released her.  Then she blew her dog walk contact.  Excellent!  I made her repeat it and this time she stopped.  We were a bit scattered but I got some nice weave work out of her.  I focused hard on: not staring, trusting, and moving ahead of her.  When I just ran ahead of her, her weaves really improved!

Our second run was much nicer.  She held her stay, she held her dog walk, and she did some incredible weaving.  Very happy-making!

We hit the road and stopped by our regular training club for Ein's rally-o run throughs.  I told the "judge" to remind me if I was not looking where I was going and was staring at Ein.  I am so tired of my staring hindering me as a handler!  Next Sunday Ein will return to regular titling classes in Cynosport Rally: Level 2 and Level 3.  He has been in Veterans class for 19 months, ever since our December 2013 trial when he earned his ARCHX.  He has absolutely blossomed in the ring during our year of Vets-only competition, and while at the end of 2014 I thought we would stay there forever, I have changed my mind.  Ein has been coming to Perri's rally-o class and his absolute joy at being in the ring with me is no secret.  He is pure unbridled happiness to work with.  He loves it.  And if he does not love working in Level 2 and 3 classes, we can go back to Level 1 or Veterans.  We will see.  But I think my boy will be happy with longer working times at trials.  

I did very good on Level 1 at the run-thru (Ein was perfect, of course!)  I even remembered to feed Ein at stationary signs.  And at ten years old, why not feed as much as we are permitted, even in a trial setting?!  Our only error was the Bonus sign.  Halt-Leave Dog-Call Dog.  Ein was off like a shot and forged around nearly to front position before he sat.  Needs some work!

Level 2 Ein was perfect once again but my own confidence was flagging.  It's no lie, I worry when I take the leash off!  It was a literal physical effort for me to heel with confidence and keep my eyes ahead.  I am trying so hard.  The judge kept reminding me to look where I was going and at one point she said, "Trust him."

Trust him.

We had a blast.  He was most adorable in the Bonus exercise.  Leave Dog-Down Dog-Return to Heel.  I love how Ein drops!.  He used to be so afraid to lie down.  So nervous to be so vulnerable.  He is all happiness and pride at being by my side now.  I love rally-o with my boy so much.

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