Phoenix and I start our Open B/Utility B career this weekend at the Hawkeye Kennel Club trials in Iowa City. I’ve shown at these trials since forever. Jess finished his UDX there, back in ‘93 (I think) when the UDX was a brand new title. Connor finished his CDX there in ‘97. Jamie finished his OTCh. there in ‘05. Phoenix got his first CDX leg there last year. So there’s a lot of positive energy going into this weekend.
These are our first trials since Nix finished his UD a month ago and I decided to change up our training to make ME more rewarding than other motivators. I know we’re making progress. I’m seeing small changes in his attitude when we train, little things that weren’t there before. Will they stick when we go into the ring this weekend? Time will tell.
These trials will be a good test of what is working and what isn’t, although realistically it’s too soon to expect any kind of night and day transformation. I’m also going into these trials with the attitude that nothing is on the line. Instead of obsessing about UDX legs and OTCh. points, my focus is on building happy, focused dog and being a relaxed handler.
It's been 4 years since I retired Jamie from the Open B/Utility B rings and I've missed the excitement of showing at that level. Looking forward to starting this new journey!