Here I am with my laptop (don't you love WIFI?) on the open porch of a cabin in Estes Park, Colorado, enjoying the mountains, hoping to see wildlife, and also reflecting on the weekend trials : ) Jackson is beside himself with all the new mountain/wildlife smells. I am happy to be relaxing in the mountains and I'm also happy with the trials. I really enjoy coming to the trials here in Colorado because it's such a nice venue and the people are so friendly.
We did pick up our 6th UDX leg on Saturday. (Yay - only four more to go!) However, it was a different story on Friday and Sunday. Friday was a split decision - we qualified in Open, but not in Utility. On Sunday, we NQd in both Utility and Open.
Okay, now for the high points - aside from getting the leg.
1) On Friday we got the highest score ever in Open - 191.5 (not really high by competitive dog standards, but great for him!)
2) He was able to work through his stress to complete most of the exercises, even on the runs where he did not qualify. He really tried!
Now for the rest of the story -
He was the second dog in the ring on Friday. I was nervous - he was worried. It was not a good mix : (
The first exercise was the directed retrieve (gloves). Bad pivot, bad signal on my part so he took the wrong glove. NQ. The judge was great though - he said, you paid the money so go ahead and help him with the other exercises. (This does not happen often, and sometimes it depends on whether there is an AKC rep on the site.) So, I did help him with the signals and articles, which he probably would not have been successful with if I hadn't helped him. The moving stand was great though.
He was able to work through the stress on Saturday though and qualified in Utility. Not a good score. Lot's of points off for slow to respond, crooked sits and finishes, etc., but he did everything. I thought things would be better on Sunday, because he would be used to the site. We were the first team in the ring and he was very distracted by what was going on in the next ring and outside the rings. Signals were the first exercise, and he missed one of the signals. NQ. The other exercises were good except for the directed jumping. His first go out and jump were great. On the second go out he walked in too close before he sat, so couldn't take the jump. NQ again.
He was pretty consistent on Open all three days. His only problem was on the broad jump Sunday. I hate when the broad jump is the first exercise in Open. I'd rather do something moving first to get him warmed up. Anyway, he stepped on the last board when he jumped. NQ. It might have made a difference if I had set him up back further from the jump to give him more room. You just never know.
He really tried, but worry and stress are still our enemy. It was small entries in Utility B and Open B (10-12 per class) and a nice trial site. Lots of room for crating and warm-up with only three rings in the building, but still difficult for him to focus on me and the job at hand. I don't know that we will ever overcome that entirely. My training plan for July will include continued work on focus and ramping up the training with distractions.