Long rambling story short: rather than fighting my (at the time) 9 month old puppy when his brain suddenly decided to move south (and I'm not referring to geography), I opted for a little attitude adjustment on my part and a new training plan that focused on fun with minimal frustrations.
Basically, when the going gets tough, the tough go dock diving. :)
Exhibit A: Fun! No stress! Stays! Happy spotty pup! Happy Kim!
I know I say this waaaay to much, but...isn't he adorable!? :)
Now this isn't to say that I've completely abandoned any other training; I'm just trying to train a little bit smarter not push for more than Derby is mentally able to give me in any given situation. He *is* a good puppy (I can say that now that we're mostly past the I-must-pee-on-everything stage) and I'm really happy with how he's progressing.
Before I start rambling again, we have some fun news - Derby competed in his first "Splash Dogs" event this past weekend! I use the term "competed" lightly because we really just entered to have a chance to play at a new location. I was confident that he would be fine with the environment (dogs, people, etc.) and was pretty sure he would jump, even if it took me going in first. ;)
He did fabulous! In our first "splash" (two jumps), his best jump was over 9 feet and in the finals (2 jumps), his best was 10'6". He originally placed 7th overall in the Junior finals (which I was thrilled with), but we found out the next day that they didn't have him in the correct division so he actually finished 1st in his splash and 1st in the Splash finals! Needless to say, he totally exceeded my expectations.
I definitely had my hands full with all of the new smells and distractions, but once he got up on the dock, his focus was great...and he held his stay! So proud of my little spotty boy. :)
Here's a little video - I didn't get all the jumps, but the second one is his jump in the finals.
I almost forgot - the cute little Dal girl he was flirting with at the end of the video is Emma. It was such a nice surprise to see her and her mom Amy at the event! They live on the East coast and this was their first dock diving competition too (they did great!). Hopefully we'll be seeing them a lot more in the future!