Today was a big test for Vito. I wanted to see how his anxiety would hold up being back in the obedience ring and a CDSP trial is the perfect place since they allow praise during exercises and treats in between. It was also a very small trial so Vito would feel less pressure from people.
I thought Vito did pretty well. He was a little bit stressed setting up but held it together nicely. A few times he scanned the audience and he eyed the judge before the drop on recall but mostly he remained working, even if it wasn't as enthusiastically as I'd like. Vito even retrieved the dumbbell when it landed right at the judge's feet. Miraculously Vito even did a mini go out despite our very little practice in it. We qualified for our first Open leg.
I debated about entering Vito in a second round but decided to go for it. The trial environment itself doesn't bother him at all and he was still working with great attitude outside of the ring.
A few more glances at the judge in the second round during the set up and heeling but then I felt he did a better job of remaining connected in between exercises and was more excited about his reward then in the first run. Until he thought I dropped a crumb before the retrieve. I got him back but then on the send I said take it and Vito took 2 seconds to sniff the supposed treat spot before getting his dumbbell.
The last exercise is where he fell apart. Right after I set him up Vito became distracted by a team warming up right at the ring gate. He looked over his shoulder and on the third look I backed up to get his attention but Vito barked. I thought I still might have him but he barked another time, I of course step on his tail and of course Vito starts reacting more heavily so I excuses ourselves and exit out the back.
Thankfully because it was CDSP I had treats in my pocket and I was able to reward eye contact and moving with me. He was still very focused on the other end but I was able to back up towards it, staying in front of him, and then back off by moving forward away the other end. He was quiet within 30 seconds and relaxed within another minute or two.
Walk of Shame Video here
Lance did 2 runs of CDSP Utility today. Except for thinking he was the Incredible Hulk on the first run and crashing through the jump, he did very well! We qualified the second round to get leg #2.