Monday, October 13, 2008

Our First Trial?

I often get asked when I'm going to start trialing Peyton...and after I stop laughing (hard), I generally say it's probably going to be a while. And maybe, quite a long while. :)

It's not that he doesn't have the skills; I don't think he'd have any problems with the novice's just that he doesn't have the (consistent) level of attention and focus I think he needs to perform in a trial environment.

I see a lot of dogs who are trialed before they are (mentally) ready. It's not just about going out and running a's about the dogs (and handlers) being able to cope in a very high-energy, oftentimes stressful environment.

Assuming Peyton *did* have the focus needed, I have to think about all of the other variables that can come into play when one starts trialing. For example, would he be concerned if the judge ran up behind him to see his contacts? Or if a dog got loose and charged into the ring during our run? These things happen...and until I am pretty darn confident that he could handle them, I don't want to set him up for what could potentially be a really stressful situation (for both of us).

I remember when some of my agility friends had to practically push Indy and I into our first trial. I knew she was ready, but *I* was the nervous one. Indy was such a soft dog - I was so worried that she would be too stressed out to run. But she proved me wrong, and I'm hoping Peyton does of these days.

This weekend I came across some videos of Indy's first trial. Here is her very first run - novice tunnelers. It wasn't pretty, and you can hear the nerves coming through in my loud, squeaky voice, but Indy had *fun* and she stayed in the ring...which was really my only goal for that weekend. :)

So we'll have to see what the future has in store for me and the spotty boy. His first trial might be next year, in two years, or in ten years...In the meantime, we'll continue to have fun playing in class and at home. :)

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