Okay, I've come to think of trials as an opportunity to see where we are in training, but I am really confused after today's trial. The trial was held at the training club I belong to and where we routinely train. Now, wouldn't you think that trialing there would be much easier because he was familiar with the building? We trialed in the same ring we have been practicing in - even had the same patterns we have practiced. However, you would have thought he had never been in that building or seen other dogs before! He was totally distracted and stressed by the trial environment. I'm left wondering, why would that be? Why would he be so much more stressed in this building then he had been at trials in other places he had never seen?
Overall, we probably looked like we were doing the exercises in slow motion : ) True to form, he really slows down when stressed. He lagged some on the heeling pattern, got the first two signals, but then missed the come signal - so, NQ.
Articles - He got both articles correct, however, he really did take a long time to work the pile and stopped to gaze around a few times. Another judge could have easily had me call him in after a couple pauses, but this judge was very patient and allowed him enough time to find the articles.
Gloves - Good pivot and retrieve of the correct glove, although, slow pick up and return.
Moving stand - Very good stand, although no response on the call to return to heel, so I had to give a second command - second NQ.
Directed jumping - Now, this was really interesting. His go out was straight and to the gate - but he walked. I knew we were in trouble then. He headed to the correct jump, but since he was walking, he just didn't have the speed to do the jump - third NQ. The second jump was much better though. He trotted out, sat on command and took the correct jump. Yay! At least a good finish : )
So, I'm left to ponder, what to do now? We need just one more leg to get our UD title. I think I will give it a break for a week or so. We'll still have training sessions, but we'll work on some fun things for awhile. Maybe I'll try to teach him a few more tricks - or maybe we'll just go to the park and play. That would be something different for him - we really don't have a lot of free play time.