This was not one of the more successful rally obedience trial weekends for Freya and me. But even though it was disastrous in many ways, we did not completely fail. While we did NQ twice, we also Q’d twice albeit with some very lackluster scores, and earned two legs toward the ten we need for the APDT Level 1 RL1X title.
Oh, and ONE point toward the ARCH Rally Champion title. I will absolutely have to remember to get a screenshot including our ONE lonely point once the scores are posted online for this trial.
Most of what went wrong for us can be attributed to training issues, and if you recall, being overscheduled and thus underprepared. I have only myself to blame for not making some time to practice on what was a totally new thing for us, artificial soccer turf, something that was a much bigger problem for us than I had expected. I also know I don’t put as much time into training for heavy distractions as I should, and that is on the priority to-do list as well.
However, I do think that the heavy distractions we faced at this trial were out of the ordinary: ongoing light construction and setup, erecting a swimming pool, and agility lessons and practice going on in the same room with only a tall mesh fence separating it from the rally trial. Kudos to those of you who successfully train your dogs to work through stuff like this. Although it is obviously what we should work toward, it is a little beyond what Freya and I can handle consistently at this point.
As a small business owner myself, I can understand why the facility owner may not have wanted to cancel scheduled classes, especially in the current economic climate. As a competitor, I wish I had a more accurate picture beforehand of what the trial site would be like. Again, I am not saying that I should not have trained harder. What I am saying is that in general, I would like to have enough information to make a good decision about whether a particular trial venue is right for us.
Winter is just ending in northern Illinois, so I would choose to avoid outdoor trials until we have some opportunity to train on grass again. I can choose obedience- and rally-only trials, rather than trials held in conjunction with large all-breed shows. I can choose venues that run a single ring rather than several rings concurrently. And at this point in our training, I would have chosen to skip a trial held with agility lessons, or an agility trial, going on in the same building… that is, had I known about it.
That’s enough whine to go with our string cheese (best training treat ever, loved by dogs and people alike). On to the next trial weekend, which will be our last for about a month. We’ll take a break, and now that we’ve identified some more definite issues, we can get back to training.
(NaBloPoMo | March ’10: 21 of 31)