|Santa's Little Helper|
I decided the following week that I was only going to have one training session with her and not overdo it. I needed to make sure she was still feeling happy about her agility and fortunately where I train is where the weekends trial was going to be. As I suspected she was perfectly fine at training and was being her normal wacky self. I didn't do anything fancy, just lots of rewarding and fun, fun, fun. The day of last weekends trial was crazy hot, something like 39 degrees during the day. I wasn't overly worried about Cassie after the jumping incident but I was wondering what would happen when I put her on the start line. Plus even though it was evening it was still very warm and not really optimum trialling conditions.
As it happened the first run was great and we got a Q to give us her third pass in Excellent Jumping from the last four trials. She is certainly handling like a dream. Next up was Excellent Agility. She looked to all the world that she was focused on the start line but just before I released her she looked back behind us (Aunty Kriszty had just arrived to watch) and then when I released she ran straight back to the crowd. Mmmmmmm..... I got her back and we took off as soon as she was in position but her brain wasn't quite in the game and she ran past the third jump. Such a shame as she nailed the rest of the course like a pro and was absolutely flying on the second half. Our last event was Open Jumping and I knew that the distance challenge would be too hard. As it happened it was rather a mess and included a pappy zoomie but she was with me and did some super fast weavers that I was very happy with. At the end of the day I really just wanted to make sure she was having fun with no pressure.
Papillons are such strange little creatures. Cassie is just a mass of contradictions. She is a total mummy's girl but can be fiercely independent and will never do anything that she doesn't want to. Once I figured out what made her tick (generally food) I have found that the majority of training issues I've encountered can be over come with piece of roast chicken. But sometimes she gets a bee in her bonnet about something and I can forget it. My plan has always been to give her a break from agility over the summer with her first trial back on 31st Jan next year. But I need to sort out her start line confidence so I will do a little bit of work building drive off the start line to one of her favourite things in the world, the Manners Minder. Nothing speaks to her better than a remote food dispensing machine! The other thing I will try when we return to trialling is not waiting on the start line. I want to be able to put her on the start line and just go. I wonder if I'm leaving her for too long. It is interesting that when I watch some of the top paps in the world compete the handlers never wait with them. The pretty much drop and go. We can't do that as such because we must have our hands off the dog before the judge will ask if we are ready. So I will have to think about how I'm going to manage that. Ahhhhhh, love my pappy challenges!