There was a fun match at the club where we train today so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to train in a more trial-like setting. I wanted to see how the article exercise would go with distractions and what his overall attitude would be. I have entered a trial in the same building two weeks from today. I have 60 days from when we received our UD title to still enter Utility A, so my thought was to enter our club's trial to see if his performance of the article exercise is still holding and where we are with other exercises. He's never done well at a trial in the building we train in, so this may be a good test of his progress with the article exercise. It will probably be the last trial we will enter until next spring, so it will be our benchmark to measure our progress over the winter. Depending on how much we progress through the winter will determine our goals for next spring.
I'm excited that the articles went really well. No circling the pile today. He just went out and started working the pile and found the correct article fairly quickly. The moving stand, gloves and directed jumping were also good. His go outs were straight and the jumps were good. He fulfilled the basic requirements of each of these exercises.
What needs work -
The signal exercise gave him a slight problem. He anticipated the down signal so we restarted the signals. He did them fine on the second attempt, and he even trotted in on the come. The anticipated down would have NQd him in a trial. I'm not too worried about that though because it's something we can work through.
I am somewhat frustrated with his attitude (specifically lack of attention and lack of briskness) in a trial-like setting. It's really not surprising though, because we have struggled with this from the very beginning. However, I am getting more frustrated that I haven't found a way to get the positive, happy attitude I see in practice to transfer over to a trial-like setting. He becomes distracted, worried about what's going on in the next ring, and he really slows down. I'm not sure if he needs an attitude adjustment - or maybe I'm the one that needs it : ) Maybe I should try to be more upbeat in the ring. Perhaps he can sense my frustration. Maybe I should change my expectations and accept his slowed down performance in a trial. Maybe he's never going to show the briskness that's required to avoid points off. Hmmmmm... some thoughts to ponder over the winter.
I'm thinking now I will continue focusing on attention and briskness in practice, but not get frustrated when I don't get it in the ring. Because, really, once you get in the ring there's nothing you can do about it then. How's that for compromise?????