As I mentioned in my last entry, Dean hasn't done any Agility, save for a bit of jumping practice in the yard last week, since February! I was very interested to see what he would do after such a long break.
Last year I was expecting Dean to be super comfortable trialing at his home training center, but I found that he actually seemed bothered by the fact that a trial was going on where things are usually much quieter! This year, he was exactly the opposite. He seemed very interested and excited to be there. I walked him and Tessa up and down the long driveway several times, and he was clearly enjoying every second of it.
I realized as I was walking the course for him that I had no idea how to handle him! It has been so long and I never know exactly what he is going to be like out there. As my instructor said recently, Dean presents as several different dogs! That is true - I never know if I am going to get partially shut down Dean, just a bit tentative Dean, playful goofy Dean, or drivey fast Dean! So, how can I plan handling? That is a question!
So, I just walked the course as if Tessa would run it. I didn't really care about qualifying with Dean. I just want him to enjoy himself in the ring.
His first run went well. He missed two jumps because there was too much "Tessa bubble" between the jumps and myself. Had I babysat them more, he would likely have gotten them. No matter - he clearly had a very good time out there.
His second run was even better and we almost qualified. Two little handling bobbles at the end NQ'd it, but it was pretty near perfection!
And Dean was happy. I haven't seen him this relaxed and comfortable at a trial in I don't know how long! I never ask for more than for Dean to feel it's good to be Dean!
Video of Dean's Round 2 Standard run. I've watched this over and over! I just love it!
It was good to be back doing Agility with Dean Dog. I think he is very comfortable at the 16 inch jump height, and I believe that he can go on to enjoy this game for quite a while.
Of course, our focus has become more Rally FrEe, and that's fine. But I'm glad we are out there running again.
Photo Credit: Joan Dandy