I am so proud of my Toller today! Vito was entered in a CDSP obedience trial this weekend. For those unfamiliar with the venue, it has exercises very similar to AKC but is much more laid back. Handlers are allowed to praise during exercises and even give a treat after each exercise is done. Vito earned his CDX-C (open title) last year, but you are allowed to stay in the Open C class indefinitely and even earn a "championship" title for each level. While Vito is trained in all the utility exercises, I don't think he is ready to move up yet. Utility needs the dog to be very confident and be able to think away from the handler and Vito is still working on trial=good.
Our run on Saturday was fabulous! Vito had a bit of a hard time in between exercises where he wasn't quite sure enough to run with me, but did follow behind me. This was the first time Vito was entered in the "C" class and thus the exercises were in a different order from the normal heeling first then others. I was a bit worried if he would still be able to have enough happiness to not lag on the heeling, however my worry was unnecessary. Vito was very in tune with me on the heeling and we actually lost zero points. The rest of the exercises Vito kept focus and did a really nice job. It was a great day!
On Sunday I was stewarding the morning UKC trial so again had both dogs with me. I was debating forever about whether to enter Vito in another run to possibly build on his success and deposit more into his happiness bank, or if it would deplete what was in there. Since he seemed animated and ready to go when I took him out of the crate, I ultimately decided to give it a try. Vito astonished me by doing even better than Saturday. He was not only happy and engaged during the actual exercises, but did them with even greater enthusiasm and also had an easier time of staying with me between exercises. He once again lost zero points on the heeling. Our videographer was too busy staring at Vito's beautiful run to remember to start filming, but did give herself a kick after the drop on recall and heeling :)