He is sprawled out right this moment under my desk chair, leaning heavily against the back of my foot. He is not gentle this dog, delicate not in his vocabulary. He is wiped out from the trial–even though we were under cover, it was stiflingly, mind-meldingly hot and we both were very much out of gas by the end of the day today.
Overall, he did great. 3 Q’s out of 5, somehow getting 2 Open STD Q’s by the skin of our teeth and one much needed Novice JWW. We have continued our streak in Standard; my biggest fear at this point is that I end up in Excellent Standard and Novice Jumpers, which we are only one Q away from. God help us if that happens. Q’s aside, I have been forgetting, too frequently, how young Phin actually is. I have been letting my exceedingly high expectations propel us along, and while he is standing up to the challenge, I also need to be aware that I also need to back off and reevaluate frequently at this stage of the game. Some of his baby dog shenanigans this weekend combined with the sad fact that I saw too many dogs clearly physically and mentally over threshold the past two days was my wake up call to take a brief break and assess where we are at.
We have been doing mostly coursework and not enough continuation of building individual skills (ie. contacts mainly at this point). His contacts already show signs of erosion, and those are going to be a continual work in progress. I myself need some handling refresher work, big time. The unfortunate scenario of no longer having a class with Laurie is definitely going to surface if I don’t come up with another option. Phin and I communicate surprisingly well for the most part, but I always am going to need that additional push and help from someone who knows a lot more than I.
On that front however, I do get some time with Rachel Sanders again at the end of this week which is great timing. I’m planning to take time off of trialing ’til mid-October, instead focusing and building game plans. We’ll be hitting one day of the Coursing Ability Test up in Chino at the end of this month, and other than that, plenty of thoughtful skills and foundation work, alongside hiking and swimming and general happy, healthy dog stuff. For all the dogs, not just Phin.
I love agility, obviously. But I refuse to get sucked into the void of trialing endlessly in pursuit of stats and titles. I was somewhat shocked at the number of dogs I saw this weekend struggling due to what appeared to be physical issues. I know that I have my own moments of losing sight of what’s important, so I am reminding myself here that my dogs are my companions and pets first, agility dogs a distant second. Anyone who reads this that catches me acting otherwise has full authority to call me out on that! 🙂
Speaking of not over-obsessing, I sprung the cash for all of my runs this weekend—hah! Once they show up in my inbox they will be posted here.