Monday, July 24, 2006

Exciting, Breakthrough Weekend

We had a breakthrough weekend at a CPE agility trial in Vermont this weekend. Wyatt did not miss a single contact and received 7 out of 8 Q's, placing in each run. On Saturday, we stopped and waited to be released on every contact except one dog walk (he released early from my body motion but was in the yellow zone). Our one NQ was an off course. There were 2 side by side tunnels and he got too far ahead of me to direct him to the correct one. Saturday's snooker had an A-Frame for the number 7 (most valuable obstacle). As I usual do, I tried to avoid the A-Frame but the #6 tire did not have good flow. Since we have finished getting Q's for our championship in Snooker, I decided to go for it and do 3 A-Frames in the opening for the max points and get the final A-Frame on the closing sequence. Wyatt did all 4 A-Frames perfectly (stopping and waiting to be released). One thing he could have done better was drive all the way to the end of the contact so I vowed to work on that Sunday.

Saturday's performance gave me so much confidence that I was able to really work the contacts just like I do in class and at home on Sunday and he really did them just like at class. I am especially happy that he has now gotten 3 standard, level 4 Q's in a row. They have all been clean runs. We used to have a 25% Q rate in standard. The 2 standard courses this weekend were very tough and there were not many Q's. What a confidence boost to feel we can do any standard course! In wildcard (where you make obstacle choices 3 times, I choose the A-Frame and he delivered). I would never have chosen the A-Frame in the past if I could help it.

What a thrill to see those great contacts *finally* at a trial. I have worked on this problem for at least 2 years! I think many people would have given up and I did have moments when I thought of getting another dog. But I persisted, did a lot of NADAC and did a lot retraining. Wyatt is laying at my feet right and I am so proud of him my eyes are starting to water up.

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