First for the Good – Kona has a new title. He is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RN – whoohoo! He also came in third in class on Saturday in a large Novice A class under Judge Judith Snowden; and her courses tend to make you think.
Kona did very well. He was a little demure (ring stress, slow responses) on Friday and our score showed it (72) but by Saturday he was more himself and stayed with me nicely and our score of 93 was well earned. I moved him up to Advance for today not sure how he’d do off-leash but I thought a 4th Novice Q wouldn’t do much for us so why not. What can I say, he was awesome – he really paid attention and stayed in heel position for me – I really didn’t expect that he’d be that on. In the end we got a score of 87 and a Q in Advanced B. For some reason I screwed up yesterday and moved him to the Advanced B not A class. That realization threw me off a little bit but then maybe it was a good thing. I probably would have put pressure on us for a Q since there were only two other entries in A and thus a good chance at a prize; maybe I would have blown it. Considering we haven’t off-leash heeled much I’m thrilled with how things went. He’s entered for the AKC show on the August long and I’ve requested a move-up (Advanced A this time) for that show as well.
The Bad – the trial did not go so well for CB and I. He was disinterested and unfocused. The outcome is a little disappointing since I put so much effort into proofing those last couple exercises and that he was so good at our last trial (Red Deer) and at our last drop in practice 2 weeks ago. Over this weekend he was okay for parts and not for others, and Excellent requires more of a dog and handler and we were just not there.
The Ugly – our run today actually started off pretty good, I had decent focus and he wasn’t sniffy – much. I was actually starting to think we might Q this one. That’s when things fell apart. The Obedience rings were in a covered hockey arena but it’s part open air and I started to loose him a little just as the rain came down. Then I lost him a little more because the rain got heavy – the sound of water running off the building was so loud, and then a group of people took cover under the arena just beside the Rally ring. They were noisy and CB was looking towards them for a while. I was told later that others tried to get their attention to hush them but by then it was too late. CB was so unimpressed with the noise he popped up on his hind legs to get a good look at them and was seconds away from barking and telling them to zip it. It’s sucky that this happened but we have to be able to keep focus around distractions. At least they moved on right after our run so as not to bother other teams.
Even though this weekends outcome wasn’t what I wanted there were some good moments with CB. I was able to get him past the offset figure 8 without too much effort and he held his stay (except for today – he was too distracted). And perhaps the best thing to happen is that I figured out how to jazz him up without food or treats while waiting ring side. Something I hope to use at our next Agility trial to keep his interest as we wait to enter the ring.
Looking back, I’m wondering what was different between now and the Red Deer show. For one, I only had CB with me in Red Deer and two, we hadn’t trialed in Agility yet so he and I were not going back and forth between events. I do find Agility with him to be a blast and I’m sure he knows it. I also think that he and I should only be focusing on one thing and I’d like that to be Agility. So we’ll leave Rally on the sidelines for a while and work at getting better at Agility. His one Rally Excellent Q isn’t going to expire so it will be there for us when we’re ready to come back to it. In the mean time we have two more Agility trial’s coming up – An AAC trial next weekend and the AKC trial in August.