Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wanted: New Handler

Peyton is once again looking for a new handler...preferably a non-blonde that has a decent sense of direction. Long legs a bonus. Good treats a must. :)

We finished up day 5 of agility trialing today and Peyton was awesome. I didn't have great expectations after looking at the course maps, but we did much better than I expected - only 1 mistake on each course. And both of them were my fault.

I was a little rattled during our Standard run...Peyton was very wound up and anxious before we went in the ring. He was shaking (it was COLD) and was jumping all over the place. It was enough to make me nervous (I usually don't get nervous) and the entire run felt a little frantic. Despite the rough start, he ran very well and only had one off-course when I didn't have his head before the a-frame.

Next was Excellent JWW and I really didn't think we had a chance on this course. When Peyton nailed the opening, I was so surprised that my mind went blank and I couldn't remember the rest of the course. Somehow we managed to make it around, but I didn't cue the turn before the weaves and he took an off-course jump...entirely my fault!

This was really a great week of trialing for us! I feel like we both gained a TON of experience in the ring and some much needed confidence. In just the past two days we've had four courses and none of them were what I would consider Peyton friendly. Yet we only had four mistakes and three of them were handler error. That tells me that I need to trust my dog and our training a little more!


Jenn said...

Runs looked great! Any idea what had him so keyed up for the standard run? other than the cold.

I am ALWAYS being told I need to trust my dog. LOL I am getting better slowly. 5 days of trials ... I bet you are exhausted! I know I would be!

Kim said...

It's odd...Peyton gets very anxious whenever we're in the area near the ring entrance. Sometimes it's better than others, but yesterday he was rearing up (think horse) like he didn't want to go in the ring. And I was trying to get him calmed down, but there were people around trying to pay attention to him (sigh) which just made him more antsy (think jumping bean). It was like I had a cold, shaking, rearing, spotty jumping bean. :)

I'm stumped. I can walk him all around the rings and he's happy - doesn't care about dogs, people, etc., but as soon as I get him in that area, he goes off to planet Peyton and stays there until we get a few obstacles into the course. Then he's happy again. That's why we have no start-line stay...he's on planet Peyton and there's no way to get him back to planet Kim.

I've tried everything...going to that "area" at the very last minute, going early to try and get him settled, going there when we're not running to try and get him to relax. Nothing is working. I almost think he gets a form of performance anxiety where he knows that he goes to that area before a run and he gets so excited/nervous/anxious that he looses his head.

So that's probably more of an answer than you were expecting! :) Any thoughts?

achieve1dream said...

Don't beat yourself up too much. Peyton is having fun and you both are improving by leaps and bounds so enjoy the run for what it is . . . a great way to spend time with your pup, get some exercise and have fun!

Kim said...

I'm trying not to, really! It's just funny that now Peyton is running so well, I'm the one with the spotty brain. :)

But thanks for the reminder! I need that sometimes...

Jenn said...

Who knows what goes thru our Spotties brains. Sounds like you have tried everything that I would have thought of to try to get him used to that area. Unless it is the combination of being in that area and you trying to think about the course? Or is he antsy if you just go in and out of that area? Have you done any mat work with him with all the control unleashed work? What if you took him when the little dogs were running and did some mat work?

I think Steeler thinks I go off to Planet Jenn when I hit that area and he doesn't like it one bit! :-)

Peyton is doing excellent and hopefully with more and more good experiences he will start to settle sooner and sooner.

Are your trials set up so you can wait further away from the gate so it's not so cray? Would that help at all? I'll sleep on it and let you know if I have any epiphany's. LOL

Kim said...

The only thing I can think of (unless it's just him getting very worked up knowing that he's going to run) is that I might have caused some anxiety issues in that "space" when we first started trialing because I was so worried that he might try and eat another dog. :)

Ok, maybe "react" is the better word than "eat", but I know that I was anxious and I'm sure those feelings transfered. But now I'm totally fine and while I still manage our space, I'm not worried about him reacting.

I was thinking mat work too, but there's really not much space. And I've tried working him in the area when we're not running and he still flips out.

I do think/hope that experience will help, but it is a very odd behavior. Who knows... :)