Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Drawing Board

Look at me...two posts in one day! Can you tell I'm trying to get caught up?

I realized that I never shared videos from our last trial a few weeks ago...it's probably a good thing that I was so busy as I didn't really have time to obsess over what happened on Sunday. More on that in a bit, but first some good news...

Indy ran in novice JWW and qualified with first place! I moved her down to preferred so now she's only jumping 16", which is the perfect height for her, I think. She had a great time! And such a good girlie considering she is pretty much a "backyard" agility dog these days. :)

Peyton also had some really nice runs that weekend, with two 1st place FAST runs for his XF title and his 2nd MX leg with 25 MACH points.

As much as I'm not a big fan, FAST really is the perfect class for him. He can totally make up his own course and qualify!

Our Standard run - wasted some time with the big spin before the chute, but I was late with my rear and I think Peyton remembered that line from the FAST class earlier. Good spotty!

Now for the bad part...on Sunday we started with a really nice FAST run and had an okay-ish Standard run. By the time we got around to Jumpers, my brain was toast and we just kinda muddled our way through the course. The ending was pretty good - until Peyton finished the last jump and wouldn't come to me. He trotted all around the finish area with his tail between his legs for over a minute before I finally caught him. Keep in mind that despite all of our goofy runs in trials, he has *never* not come to me at the end. He seriously looked like I was going to beat him. I was totally devastated.

After I had a chance to calm down and really think about it, I remembered that Peyton had yelped when I put his leash on after his standard run. So more than likely, he was worried that I was going to "hurt" him again. Fabulous. Now I have a spotty that is afraid I'm going to hurt him before *and* after runs. Any doubts I had were pretty much confirmed when he had a brilliant run in class last week, but started acting goofy when I went to put the leash on.

It's so frustrating. I feel like we take 2 steps forward, 1 step back, and 3 steps sideways. I know it's a performance anxiety type of issue and I've tried a number of things to try and make it better, but none have really helped. At this point I think it's either keep trying or quit trialing. Since I'm not quite ready to give up, we're going back to the drawing board.

Starting tomorrow, we have 5 days of local trials and my only goal is to work on getting Peyton to relax near the ring. He's perfectly fine in his crate and walking around the grounds, but as soon as he thinks he's going to run, his muscles tighten and he starts trembling. I used to think that he was just stressed out around the gate area, but now I think it has more to do with him knowing that he's going to run. I don't think there's any doubt that he *loves* running, but we're not going to make any progress if he gets "hurt" before and after a run only because he's so hyped up that any physical contact causes a reaction. I'm also planning on using my very light slip lead since he seems to have an issue with the clip on regular leads. Geez...have I mentioned lately how weird my spotty dogs are?

And for my friends: if you happen to see us sitting in a corner burning incense and looking meditative, please don't laugh...too hard. :)


Lisa said...

Way to go, Indy and Peyton! Peyton has amassed more MACH points in two trials than Tess has in nearly a year!! We don't do a lot of AKC agility, but still, Peyton is an awesome agility Dal.

Maybe our Doga class would have been just the thing for Peyton and his trial nerves! I think you are on the right track with him. He is definitely a sensitive spotty, but I surely wouldn't give up on him. He does love to run and I think he'll build the confidence outside the ring, too. We have had our issues throughout Tess' agility career, once spending nearly a year getting over a teeter issue caused by an equipment failure at a trial. Very frustrating, but when they love to run, they do get over it.

Best of luck this week!

Kim said...

Thanks, Lisa! I'm sure this is just another bump in the road, but it sure would be nice to have longer periods of smooth pavement. :)

We definitely need Doga!

Sarah Duke said...

oh i wish I would have read this before, though not exactly funny I totally would have called you out on not having incense! lol

you guys looked great on that last run so you should relish in the progress you made this weekend. I ran java in just jumpers for a season to help with her stress issues, (she is scared of judges) but also the environment worries her too. It's tough to work with a sensitive dog but you are doing a great job, you and Peyton are going to click very soon and it will be so very cool. :)

Kim said...

Ha! We were fresh out of incense...does DAP spray count? And thanks...that means a lot. :)