Last weekend we went to Dog Vegas at UK Arena, Grantham. Our first show since August! I always forget how cold it is at Arena UK, and how horribly muddy the car park is, but despite this, and the fact we didnt come back with any rosettes, we had fun.
I had entered Blaze and Pippa in allsorts for this show to see if I could work on Blazes confidence. I keep meaning to write a long blog post about it but just I havent got around to it. To cut a long story short Blaze has always been jekyll and hyde in the ring. Hes either off his head but not listening, or slow but paying attention. I assumed speed would come with confidence and the off-his-head moments would reduce if I worked on his focus. Last winter I thought I would start taking him to group classes so we could train with Toni Dawkins and work on his confidence. It as ideal for me as I could work Blaze in one class and Diesel in another. To start off with Blaze was fine. He got excited, as he would usually, watching the other dogs and worked well when it was his turn. However, somewhere along the way he started getting gradually slower. When we moved outdoors, with a local flyball club also training in the same field, it soon became clear that he wasnt happy so I stopped training him and went back to private lessons. My attempt at doing the right thing, had actually done the opposite and agility had become super stressful for him. In the ring he was still very all or nothing. We had good runs getting high g6 places including a jumping win, but we also had painfully slow runs or runs where he'd start out super happy and squealy but then shutdown. I remember him having a complete meltdown at a show I'd gone to on my own when Will started crying by the ring. I currently train privately and he shares half a lesson with Diesel. Diesel has more than enough enthusiasm for everyone and this is certainly rubbing off. I have my happy ginger squealy boy back. So for now I want to stick to easy courses in the ring and just give him a blast to see if we can work on his confidence by removing the added pressure of G6 courses. If this doesnt work then I'll simply not compete with him. He doesnt need to, and he loves his CaniX. On Saturday he stayed happy. He wasnt super fast but he wasnt slow and he beat Pippas time by a good 3 seconds - she wasnt too impressed about the easy courses. It possibly also helped that each time we were pretty much straight in the ring, no queing and no hanging about.
Inca and D both did some good work but were pretty ott about being back at shows. After a break from shows I always find we take a few shows to settle onto the same page. There was one course in particular that had no space whatsoever. I thought it perfect for D but really not Incas cup of tea. I couldnt have been more wrong. Inca handled the course like a complete pro whereas Diesel, on the other hand, flew off taking every jump possible in what felt like a 4 mile radius. Thankfully they more than made up for it in their agility runs. D had a naughty dog-walk contact so I made sure he stopped on his a-frame. But both of them felt like they deserved to be in grade 6 which makes a nice change.
Our next agility show wont be until the new year now. I'm hoping maybe to do some UKAs and get some training in. I'll just have to pick and choose what classes I enter so I can fully focus.
2 days ago