Although it was raining lightly on Sunday morning, I decided to go back to the trial to run Tessa in the two Standard courses that I had signed her up for. I also took Dean along to run in Level 1 Standard.
Dean hasn't done any Agility at all since I pulled him out of class back in February! Knowing that I would probably take him up to the trial, I did have him do some jumping last week in the yard to make sure that he was still in condition to run a couple of courses. (More on Dean's run in a post coming soon!)
We had quite a while to wait before it was Tessa's turn for Level 2. Since Dean was with her, I left Tessa in the car while I watched the 4, 5, and C dogs run both rounds of Standard, and then Level 3 run one round. I enjoyed having a chance to sit and watch.
Finally, it was Tessa's turn for Standard Round 1. Unfortunately, I found that I was still concerned about the whole grass/marking thing. I know that rain brings scents out of the grass and a lot of dogs were getting very distracted by scents out there!
Because of that, I was not the supportive handler that I always strive to be. I was so hyperfocused on the possibility that she would catch an irresistible scent that I micromanaged the first few pieces of equipment horribly.
The weaves were 4th on the course and that's where it finally came to a boil. Tessa saw the weaves and began to wander and sniff. I called her but she continued to sniff, so I clapped my hands - harder than I intended to. She looked up, very startled! Her eyes were like "WHOA!!"
In that moment I realized that I needed to chill out. I said, in a very soft voice, "OK Tessa, let's go over here and weave" She did, and I gave her tons of praise as we went on. The rest of the run was much better. I relaxed and gave her some room to work, and she did a great job. She did back jump the tire at the end, but I just said, "OK, now let's do it this way!" and she jumped it in the correct direction. One off course is acceptable in Level 2 (glad it wasn't NADAC!).
I don't have any video and I'm glad. I felt absolutely awful after that run. Not because of anything Tessa did. She was just being a dog in the way the good Lord made her. If she is stress sniffing a bit at the weaves, that's on me. I felt bad because I let my desire for the Q override my patience with my dog.
We did get the Q, but I was more than ready to put that behind me.
As we waited our turn to run our second round of Standard, I promised Tessa that I would do better this time, and I did. It was a nice run - I wish I had video of this one. She did struggle at the weaves again and I ended up having to hand target lure her through them. But I didn't lose patience with her, and I didn't hyperfocus on the possibility of her marking.
We got the Q on that run, too. Barely - we had two time faults - but we got it!
And with that, Tessa and I finished Level 2 altogether! I am very, very proud of her for this! She is the first dog I've run who has completely finished both Level 1 and Level 2! Now we can put just "CL2" in her titles to indicate all that she has earned. At least for now!
Tessa, CL2, WFDX-MF, RFE-N, CRO-1, ITD, DCD-Ent, DCD-CF
Tessa's full Level 1 and 2 Tracking Sheet, along with her placement ribbons from her last two Standard runs!