Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TNT - Sunday - Tessa

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!

Congratulations to:


Tessa's full Level 1 and 2 Tracking Sheet, along with her placement ribbons from her last two Standard runs!

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