Certainly I have not stepped up our practice time to where it should be, but we have been working at least a little bit more on obedience stuff. Of course there is always the argument too that you shouldn't over-train... Do just enough to get it right and move on. Sure, let's say that's what I'm doing. ;-) LOL But while we still need some cleaning up, and definitely more practice away from home, I think we're doing slightly better than last year, so I'm at least not totally shooting myself in the foot when we enter a trial. Well, it's worth a shot anyhow...
Today I entered the UKC trial in Westford, MA. Just the morning trial. It was a very small group, nice and relaxed - Tripp hung out ringside with me, had breakfast, got in some practice, and being second in the ring, we were in and out of there in record time.
I'm glad I chose this event. It was my original intention to enter, but then I found out a CDSP trial was also on that day. Oh, decisions decisions! It was quite the tossup. I bounced the dilemma off my dog friends, and while I kinda leaned in UKC's direction from the beginning, I just wished I knew for sure where our better odds lay. Duh. I forgot my dowsing abilities. LOL (Yes, I do that. Did you know you can dowse for more than water? It's a useful tool for just about anything. Yes it's weird - did I ever say I was normal? - but I usually have pretty good accuracy in dowsing our potential show results. When I do it right. ;-)
So I pulled out my tools and asked what we should do - what were our chances? The answers were NQ in either CDSP trial, and in UKC a Q in trial one but an NQ in trial 2 due to stress. Obviously there is no way to prove any of that, but I'm not going to argue. If I'm going to get deeper into this methodology (I'm going pro people!), then I need to embrace the unknown and trust the results, and my intuition. So I went along with it.
And I can't say it didn't pay off! We did indeed Q in trial one with a decent 188.5. Tripp did so well, for the first time I actually wouldn't have been shocked if our score was higher! But he was by no means perfect - a few points here and there for position, a couple for "mouthing" the glove (tossing it around because he's silly and having fun) - but he kept his focus most of the time, which has been our main downfall lately, and did everything right, even if not with absolute accuracy, so I am thrilled with his performance! My only disappointment is that I forgot to throw my camera at someone. Darn it, I never seem to get our best runs on video! LOL Oh well, we earned that second leg in any case. :-)
Do I regret not going for trial 2 just in case, to finish his title? Maybe part of me does. After all, neither one of us was stressed, and on the surface our chances seemed pretty good at this intimate trial. But who knows what could change? There was a dog there that Tripp was mildly obsessing over. He behaved himself and (sorta) refocused on me when asked, but how am I to know if his mood would change in a couple hours? Or if a bigger crowd would show up for the afternoon trial. There could be some sort of incident between ring times. Or something else to cause potential stress or distraction. Even just getting bored waiting around for our next turn could kill his performance. So I say, just as in training, we were best to quit while we're ahead. Leave us both with a good memory, and go for title on another day. If nothing else, I saved some money! ;-) And we had fun. And that's the most important thing.