We’ve had a long last couple of weeks, agility-wise. Seminaring and trialing and lots of stuff in between.
I am glad to say it all ended on a high note, as some of our trial days were a bit rockier than I would have liked. On Sunday, Phin got his first Ex Q and won his first “big boy” class, Ex JWW, with a smoking YPS of 6.6. It was our kind of course–kind of basic, super-fast and straight on with the ability for me to send so I could stay ahead. I swear, once we get our contacts cleaned up he will be a Steeplechase demon.
All of Phin’s contacts are degrading, as is his start line. I pulled him for the first time ever for breaking his start line on Sunday in STD. I think that’s only the second time he’s ever actually broke the start line in a trial. He had glorious starts on Saturday–two great ones in T2B and JWW. In STD on Sat, I got a gift from the agility gods–I set him up, he started scootching as I led out, and I was telling him to “WAIT”. Then the ring crew said “Stop! Stop! Timers are off!” etc etc. So I got to pull him off the line for a minute which was perfect. Once we reset his start was lovely. Too bad it didnt hold til the next day. Too much allowing by me of the scootch, now I am paying. So, back to making him stay at home a LOT, as well as retraining a “do-not-move-a-single-toe” sit.
I am also retraining his teeter, as I did a horrible job of that to begin with. No clear criteria means no real behavior. Shocking. So, now following Jen Pinder’s Sizzling See Saws method. Not trialing til month-end so hopefully if I am good I can cram enough retrain in there. And if not, no more trialing for us until I do. Trying to continue on with the box work, mostly on the flat, as well. He did 3 A-frames over last weekend and I think he was 2 for 3. So, onward with all of that.
Forest got his third QQ this weekend! Poor guy was running in STD on Sat and some dogs (not agility people) were allowed to lunge and bark at the fence as he was running by. We held it together for a very messy Q that run, but when we headed back in there the next day I think that was all he could think about and it was a flashback to a few years ago with me having to cheer him along for the first half of the course. Poor guy. His weaves were horribly slow and bad all weekend, I am going to try to get him into see a chiro this week to make sure nothing is wrong. My poor Bun. Once he was through the weaves both runs on Sun he flew, so fast, like a different dog. I hope he’s feeling okay.
RE my/our “habits”… I have finally been able to define the lens through which I want to view Phin’s runs for the rest of this year. Its all about building habits at this point. Which is why I pulled him for his start on Sunday. Which is why I need to go back and fix things I didnt do a perfect job of the first time. I cant push for a “win” or even a Q at this point, its all about the habits. Good ones that will hold for the many years to come.
I had a bad few trial days a few weeks ago, due purely to my own frustration. And it started coming out in ways I did not like. But I thought on it, and the thought of “good habits” rose to the surface. And then I felt so much better. Agility has so, so many things happening all at once. Some things you can control and some you cannot. But reinforcing good habits, and sticking to my defined criteria… That I can control and I should and I will.