Our specialty was this weekend and I just entered Bailey in Open A as I didn't know where I'd be at in a lot of respects. I was helping at a camp on Saturday and we headed off to Elk River on Sunday. The new setting was great, socialized with friends, and my dog and I tried to act as a team.
Tried being the key word. I know how early (or rather, how NOT early) I need to get my dog out. I am good at gauging this in Obedience/Rally because we are typically crated close to the ring. Judge said she was ready to start and it took about 15 minutes for her to actually start. That's my fault I haven't trained our prep-time better but *sigh* learn something every time you trial (and I wasn't done learning yet).
Her heeling was good after she bumped me on the first turn and tried to front. YAY for teaching my dog to find heel position. Figure 8 was a little wide, but her right turns were beautiful. I was quite pleased.
Drop on recall was good. A little slow on the drop, but nothing to really complain about.
Retrieve on flat. My good dog waited for the word "fly" and flew out there. She was in such a hurry she grabbed the dumbell by its' bell. She can't carry it like that so she had to drop it and pick it back up again, correctly this time. Despite a poor pick up, she tried really hard.
I was flustered after that (actually happens quite rarely) and set her up WAY too close to the high jump. I was almost ON the line, ARG! I won the stupid handler award for that. I didn't even realize it until quite a bit later when I was trying to figure out why my dog refused the jump going out AND coming back. My poor dog, and it made me look like a complete Novice (which I am, but not usually like THAT). It's a good thing I know her performance is a direct reflection of my handling and training. I wasn't upset with her and her broad jump was very nice, she never shut down on me and stuck with me the whole way. Good Girl!
So, in a single run I learned a LOT about my dog and what we still need to work on.
1) Use her "relax" cue if I realize it's going to be a while and I can't crate her.
2) Begin to vary the warm up routine so altering it doesn't throw her completely.
3) PAY ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Specifically to distances from things!)
4) Trust my dog to do the job I've taught her to.
5) I need to build duration for her sit/wait at heel when we're not doing something but will be.
6) Everything else that I can't think of right now and will think of very soon I'm sure.
So, no Q for us, but hopefully soon. I'm entering Duluth on Friday and we'll play in rally that day again too. We'll get there, and I know we can do it, but I need to focus on MY job since I know my dog can do hers!