My goal for our second day at the Waterloo trials was to improve our heelwork from the first day. And we did! Not only did Phoenix really work his normal-slow-normal transitions during his run - he CAN watch me and go slow at the same time - he did an even better job when we got called back for a run-off for first. We lost the run-off but I am REALLY HAPPY with the way he worked today. I'm still grinning like someone handed us the HIT ribbon. The show site was just as cold, noisy and dark as yesterday and I felt like Phoenix was more focussed and less bothered by all the distractions. We scored a 197.5 for second place. Good puppy!
I'm not kidding myself, I don't think he still totally understands what I want on speed transitions so we still need a lot more work there. And we got a lot of bumps today. Apparently I need to get out of the way! Heeling is a dance and I think we're both trying to lead.
So, where do we go from here? We'll do some more Novice trials through the end of June. I really want Phoenix to be confident and understand his job before I start making that job harder by moving him into Open, or even Grad Novice, which will probably our next new adventure.
And what the heck, I'm going to start teaching the Drop On Recall now. I don't think it will mess up our Novice recall and may even make it stronger by making it clearer what his job is.
We had DQ again on the way home. Is it wrong to be running the heater in the van and eating ice cream at the same time? I don't think so either.