Yesterday Phoenix and I did obedience: Open and Utility. I'd like to say it went well and to an extent, he was really, really good. From the standpoint that my dog teaches me something new about what he understands and likes doing every time we go in the ring, it was a valuable learning experience. From a Q-ing standpoint, it was a bust. No second go-out in Utility and he moved substantially from place on both the long sit and down in Open.
I'm disappointed but not disheartened. I know Phoenix will never be what you might call an "easy" dog in terms of showing and my goals for his obedience career are long-range, not tied to any particular weekend or specific event.
Although I thought we'd conquered his out-of-sight stay demons, they were back in force. However, after thinking about it for nearly 6 hours on the drive home, I have to admit he very cleverly solved the problem of not wanting to stay in a line-up of strange dogs. He carefully took himself out of the lineup by scooting forward (judge said he never lifted his butt) until he was away from the other dogs. Then the judge said then he relaxed and held position, looking fairly comfortable. In his mind, he stayed in the ring and completed the stays.
Although his heeling in both classes left a little to be desired, I was really happy with the rest of his work and the judge complimented me on his fronts and finishes. I think he only missed one. This is huge for us - I know if he is feeling comfortable and in the zone, so to speak, he will work his f and fs.
Sooo . . . we've got 2 weeks until our next trial and I'm working on a game plan for training. A) Do NOT overtrain B) Focus on building drive and effort in heeling, especially with ME being silent C) Many go-outs. Many, many go-outs. D) Stays. Guess who just earned a ticket to do stays with my Thursday night class?
We left Purina about 2:30 p.m. and by the time I dropped my aunt off and drove home, our area was under about every severe thunderstorm and tornado watch and warning the National Weather Service could throw at us. My plan of parking under the big tree in front of the house and letting the dogs run while I unloaded the van was quickly abandoned. One of the local meteorologist said there were over 20,000 lightning strikes last night!
Looking forward to a quiet day at home, unpacking, doing laundry and playing catch-up. And someone really needs to go the grocery store because the Farmer ate everything in this house while I was gone.
I will write about the Purina Events Center sometime soon, too. It really is an amazing facility. And post pics.