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Well Lance and I competed in Open A again this past Sunday. He did all the individual exercises really well even though he was a bit distracted during some parts by a dog warming up in the isle. Apparently I have really proofed the retrieve over the high well since again I didn't think Lance was going to pull it off but he managed it! The little stinker wasn't paying attention when I sent him and wandered a couple feet to the left before coming to his senses and taking a sharp angle to go over the jump and complete the exercise. We lost a total of 6pts on the individual exercises so I was pretty happy with it.

The stays were where we NQed again. Lance held his long sit quite nicely, but when I came back in the room after the long down Lance was again sitting nicely. Apparently he sat after only 15 seconds again and held it for the whole 5 minutes. Which is shocking in an of itself that he sat for basically 8 minutes in a trial setting.

So now I'm not sure what to do. Lance has now broken his sit once, and the down three times in a show. All the down breaks were right after I left the ring. Lance has always had great stays, even with distractions. At a run through last week there was flyball in the next ring and Lance still did his stays nicely. It's just the stress of me, and probally the overall stress of the trial environment that gets to Lance. Adam told me that I looked extremely stressed when telling him to stay. I usually drop my voice and use my "serious" (not suppposed to be harsh) tone to stress that I'm not going to call him for anything but perhaps I could work on telling Lance to stay in a happy voice? And of course this is extremely hard to replicate this issue in practice since he just doesn't do it. I can't make that many run throughs in new places either.

I'm really deciding right now if I want to enter Lance in a trial Thanksgiving weekend. There's no trials in December so the next one wouldn't be till January. Do I give it one more shot and work on keeping Lance and me calm before the stays? Any advice?

Mango  – ( November 3, 2009 at 4:42 AM )  

OK, so I totally don't know what I'm talking about since I've only actually done a trial once (with my most obedient Airedale), but I think you should go just to stay in shape even if Lance wanders off during those pesky stays.

Mango Momma

achieve1dream  – ( November 3, 2009 at 7:03 AM )  

Do they allow you in the rings to warm up before the event begins? Like early in the morning? Or do they have it all locked up?

I was thinking you could practice in the arena and have someone sitting with Lance and rewarding him for the down stay while you're out of sight. I don't know if this will work though. I don't know if the reward coming from someone other than you would help him not be so focused on you leaving? I'm just guessing here. :)

I do think you should go to the next even and I think staying calmer would help. :)

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( November 4, 2009 at 11:26 PM )  

thanks for the suggestions, and keep them coming!

Unfortunately, I can't warm up in the ring before the event begins. Some trials have a run through the night before, but most don't. The ring is sacred and off limits :)

I am leaning towards doing one more trial and then reassessing again since there will naturally be a month off anyway after the next show (thanksgiving weekend).

achieve1dream  – ( November 5, 2009 at 7:33 AM )  

Darn, worth mentioning anyway. :) Good luck and have fun!

ClassyChassy  – ( November 5, 2009 at 12:20 PM )  

Bring your pups over to my blog to get the award I have waiting for you! I love your blog, dog training creativity, and, of course, your trick dogs - fun reading your posts!

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