Griff and I trialed this weekend for the first time since March. Zig came along for the experience and socialization. With the wedding and June being such a busy month, we haven't been in very aggressive training for about 2 months. It was clear this might be the source of some of our issues.
We entered all 8 CPE classes. First was jackpot-Griff was attentive and his opening was fine, but the closing was a traditional jackpot with a distance jump tunnel layered with two jumps closer. You sent them into a tunnel, angled towards the far jump but still requiring comfort at distance. We just don't do distance, especially with layered obstacles, since jackpot is the only class that uses it and we don't run NADAC. So naturally, after coming out of the tunnel Griff oriented towards me and "out jump" wasn't enough to make him take the far jump-end of jackpot. I wasn't disappointed with it since I can't expect him to do what he hasn't been trained to do!
Standard-we had weave trouble, which we corrected. Should have been 5 faults but a q. Somehow, they marked us as a 15 point major fault. NQ. I am pretty sure it was a scribing error, but nothing to be done about it.
Wildcard was a nice run, and we finally got out of level 2 colors! Fullhouse is always a fun run.
Standard II on Sunday was the problem. The first four obstacles were tough. Jump to dog walk but set at a right angle, so if the set up wasn't just right it was a difficult entry, and Griff was nervous as soon as we walked out. He never, ever shows ring anxiety, he will occasionally knock bars if my direction is late but he doesn't seem to worry about it. This was different. He wouldn't get into position on the start line, kept looking back at the dog that was leaving the ring, and then when I sent him over the jump and onto the dog walk, I took my eyes off him for a split second and he tried to cut behind me instead of going onto the dog walk. We recovered, but after the jump were the weaves. We had a complete weave breakdown. At first, he popped the 10th pole, so I took him back to fix it. Then we popped at the third, then the tenth, then he acted like he couldn't weave at all....such a strange thing. SO....stupidly too late, but finally I gave up and just ran the rest of the course, knowing he'd get an NQ but wanting him to end on a good note-and he ran the rest of the 14 obstacles perfectly. Strange. I don't know why the stress behaviors were so bad.
Snooker-I played it safe with the points and he did perfectly, no stress, perfect attentiveness, blew past 6 weaves first but then executed them perfectly. Jumpers course-he saved our ass, did great. Much more like the Griff I am used to.
There are a few things to note about this trial:
1. Competitive people are everywhere, even in a "fun" sport like agility. They can make you feel bad about your progress even though objectively it is right where you expect it to be.
2. I should have been more careful when reining in Griff's forwardness. He now checks in too much and won't necessarily run a line if I am too far, even if I am cueing him correctly.
3. I cue late too much in trials.
4. I need to trust the front cross.
5. I need to make sure my training efforts are in line with my training goals, and not feel bad if the results reflect the efforts. Not everyone can be a fanatic, and if you train at a specific level, that is the performance you should expect.
Zig was great at the trial. I wish I had him further along, but he was awfully mellow in the crate and attentive out. However, he is certainly more aware of his testicles, and I am thinking I really want to neuter him at 12 months. Maybe I can make it to 14-16 months but don't think I can make it to two.