Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wyatt of Dodge City, RE

I am very proud of Whippet Wyatt of Dodge City, CD, RE, SC, NA, NAJ, OAC, EJC, OCC, TN-O, TG-N, WV-N, CL4, CL5-SF, CGC who earned his Rally Excellent title today with a score of 93. We have been practicing a lot including some of the really hard stations like back 3 steps, offset figure 8, and pivot left. I made a 3-point error so Wyatt only lost 4 points.

We were a little nervous starting and we had trouble with the initial stand in station #1 Halt, Stand, Sit but I was eventually able to get him to stand. I am very proud of this little guy who was (and is) such very nervous dog who we rescued 4 years ago. His off leash heeling yesterday in Novice B was just great and he only lost 4 points. Many whippets tend to be in a different time zone from the handler in off leash heeling and Wyatt certainly has done that too. But I made sure we had a good connection before we told the judge we were ready, made if clear to him that his favorite treat was in the offing, and kept him really upbeat with my heel commands and between exercises. At home, I have made off leash heeling a fun game: to keep up with me no matter what crazy things I do.

Since he has been injured (he had a back injury from agility that caused him to not want to play agility), I have learned an important lesson. The most important thing is to have fun with your dog. Titles and placements are nice but not THE THING. It was a real change for me yesterday to NQ and be so happy anyway. It has actually helped my performance too since I am less nervous when I am not so worried about qualifying, getting the next title, et cetera.

These dogs have a lot to teach us and. and so far, every really important lesson for me, has been when something "goes wrong".

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