We headed out to our first club practice in well over a year. I had backed out of the club last year as my experiences when I first joined were not so nice. However, there’s a new regime for the most part; the acidity has been toned down significantly and common sense and competence has increased greatly. I actually felt welcome this time and overall things went smoothly. It also helps a lot that I am significantly more confident in myself, my dogs, and how these things can and should go, as well as actually had friends and acquaintances there. Being the lone, confused beginner makes things rough. I hope I helped out those who were in my shoes this time around, actually I know I need to make a greater effort on that front next time.
Both dogs did well. I think Forest was completely aware that it was not a trial. He was a bit all over the place but at least seemed to be enjoying himself. His dog walk contacts were good (other than getting “stuck” trying to eat some dropped treats at the bottom), his Aframe was about 60% (but at least I got to run him back and forth over it to correct any misses), and his weaves were not meh. Ugh. I think I was again over-caffeinated and under-fueled, so was a bit jittery. That was combined with my nervousness of running Phin, again. Why?? Its like nervousness combined with excitement and I get all spacey, edgy and out of sorts. Its good I am practicing this now, at this rate I am the one so not ready to trial with both dogs. I couldn’t remember a reasonably complicated Grand Prix course and the nested Novice course at the same time. Forest got the short end of the stick on that one. I think I need to practice memorizing multiple courses at once!!
Phin did really well. He was mega-high when we got there and I am sure my jitters didnt help. His one low point was peeling off from our area we were working in and chasing another dog through a tunnel, barking, of course. Eeek. If that had been Forest working and another bog dog chasing him down I would have been PISSED. So I did feel really bad. Fortunately it was a more experienced dog and the owner didnt yell at me (bless her). He at least came back to me immediately. Other than that though, considering this was his first adventure doing coursework outdoors he did phenomenally. Again, he was high and I didnt run fast enough so there was a good amount of obstacle grabbing and yelling at me (he loves to bark at me when I suck which is fine) but really he did lovely. We skipped the Aframe and weaves (they only had 12 out), but he completed everything else nicely. I was really impressed with his dog walk (at full height!) and teeter. He really kept it together and generalized the obstacle criteria really well. Such a good boy.
Next time we’ll play ball before practice to take off the edge and hopefully the more we do this the more I’ll settle down and run my ass off better for him.
We are gearing up to move this coming weekend so I will be off the radar probably until after the Silverado trial. Phin deserves a rest, he worked hard for me this last week, and I dont want to push him too much. Forest will somehow need to squeeze in work on contacts and weaves (do I sound like a broken record?) at some point in the next two weeks… Not sure how thats gonna work out. But my next blog post should be from the next County south of here. Can’t wait.