Let’s Try an Actual Blog Post!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Going for the invitational has been a long, grueling but also rewarding journey. I think posting after every weekend about every AKC trial I just did would have put me over the edge for agility burnout so I just didn’t post at all! We’re down to the last weekend and Enzo was in 3rd place though June 3 with a pretty good lead on 5th and 6th places. I don’t think it’s mathmatically possible for us to get knocked out of the top 5 now even if we don’t get any points this weekend. I’ll refrain from celebrating until I see the final results though! But now that we’re down to the end, I think it’s a good time to post about our journey.
I’ve learned a lot in the past year. I feel a lot more confident about my handling now, I have a pretty good idea of what things I have to worry about and the things that I don’t. Going through boxes has been a big problem for me and Enzo but we’re getting better. I learned that it works better to decelerate and turn my shoulders in the correct direction instead of trying to run ahead and pull him towards me that way. First choice is to do a front cross to straighten him out though. I’ve also gotten a lot better at adjusting my strategies for Tooney and Enzo. Not having done as much trialing as I did who knows if Tooney would have been a finalist at AKC Nationals!
Enzo started out in July and August really rocking it and was even in first place for a while but then lost our aframe contact completely in the middle of August. From then until Mid-December, Enzo and I only Q’d in standard twice! Quite amazing that we were able to come back from that. He was perfect in practice but horrible in competition. In December, I decided to treat practice like competition and stopped rewarding his contacts with food and also started practicing quick releases and early releases. He’s only missed 1 or 2 aframes since then and 2 or 3 dogwalks. It’s getting harder and harder to get him to come to a full stop in practice but so far this strategy is working. Pretty much as long as he puts in at least 3 strides on the downside of the aframe then that’s an acceptable performance.
So now just one more weekend and the wait for final results…