As if we needed an excuse to eat
more chocolate at obedience trials.
But if that's what takes . . .
Free chocolate aside, it was a good day.
For the first time in my life, I deliberately flunked a qualifying run in order to make a correction in the ring. It wasn't exactly a correction. It was more like support or encouragement. Or keeping a questionable behavior from disintegrating further.
Phoenix started to trot in slowly from the drop on recall. Yes, technically it was a trot, so technically it was fine and not scorable. It also looked like it could become a walk-in pretty darn easily. So I told him "HURRY!" and clapped my hands and jumped around a little. He hurried, he wagged his tail and he made it totally worth throwing the run.
After that, his attitude sparked up a little bit and he gave me some nice work.
I really hate that word.
Nice is fine. It really is. Some days, I will happily take "nice." But I want dazzling, spectacular, amazing, brilliant . . . well, you get my point. Fast, happy, animated, driven, confident . . . yeah, all THAT!
Nice is a single scoop of vanilla ice cream. I want a banana split with three different flavors of ice cream and chocolate syrup and nuts and a cherry.
Today we were nice. Maybe tomorrow we'll be a little nicer. Maybe we'll be enjoying banana splits in a couple of months.
So today was a success: I wanted to catch Phoenix at just going through the motions and let him know I needed more effort than that.
I feel good about ME, too. I worked at not being so formal while warming up and between exercises in the ring and concentrated on treating our run like a training session or fun match. I know it helped me be more relaxed. We played more in the ring. We played more outside the ring, too, just for the sake of playing, something I admittedly haven't done a lot of in the past.
Had a friend video us and oh boy . . . not only was Phoenix obviously showing stress (although much, much less than last weekend in Utility, confirming my suspicion that he is more comfortable and confident about the Open exercises and that makes a big difference) but he is also very much not 100% engaged with me in the ring. He was on task during the exercises but did a lot of gawking at the crowd, judge, stewards, etc. between exercises . . . which meant he was thought he had the option of disengaging. Ack, I didn't realize he did it THAT much. Yet another thing to put on the training list.
We'll go back and give it another shot tomorrow. Hopefully they refill the magic winners' chocolate bowl.
Fun news, Kate and Orbit finished their U-CDX today by winning Open A, following up on their first place win and HIT from yesterday! And Peggy was there with the love of Phoenix's life, DeeDee. They shared a malinois moment in the parking lot. For a bit, Phoenix thought he was large and in charge. Really, dude, Dee is ready to test for her SchIII. She could put the smack down on you so fast you wouldn't know what happened. Ah, well, you could just see the little red valentine hearts floating above them.
Then we went to two local greenhouses, in search of miniature roses that apparently do not exist and came home to putter around in my flowers.
when it was so cold I thought spring would never come.