USDAA trial today.
Continued good news:  It's been a long time since Vito has seemed worried about going into the agility ring.  He hasn't been doing any stares at the judge or ring crew in several months.  Vito's still reactive and even had another episode at the trial, but none while getting ready to go in the ring.

Our warming up games of finding the tennis ball on my body, screaming at me, and doing a few reverse vaults continue to be happy.  Vito is also doing well with our routine of having him stare at the course during the dog before us.  I think letting him look out builds excitement as well as allowing him to see where all the people are.

Wow, we actually qualified in something!  The gamble was pretty darn easy though.  I was really proud of Vito in this run.  I thought I picked a flowy course where I could run hard, and the aframe twice.  Vito seemed happy to be, other than the weave poles which he then popped out of too.  Aframes were a bit weird all day.  Definitely in, but not flying over the apex at all.  Maybe he didn't like the slats on it?  The slats were a bit bigger then used to and didn't seem rubberized like the rest of it was... (looking back at the the other trial here it looks like the did the same thing).

Standard- E
I thought the run felt pretty good for Vito.  Normal slow parts of teeter, going to table, and the weaves.  But I did get him to do a tiny scream coming off of the table!  I screwed up after the weaves and didn't support my send out so I could do a serpentine, so got a refusal.  But he happily went back out to do it.  No clue why he didn't want to do the double.  I did a front cross before it but I think I finish in plenty of time.  Oh well.

Jumpers- E.
Not so happy?  I thought it was a Toller course too :(  I had planned lots of sprinting and lots of blinds.  Shockingly, Vito didn't actually pull off any jumps even though they weren't really supported since I was trying to run.  Ended up doing front crosses for what felt like a good reason in the moment. My one before the last tunnel was late and Vito gave me a sad look, so I said OK and let him go in the entrance he wanted as I took off.  He loved sprinting after me though!
Video shows way different than what was in my head.  I felt an incredibly slow dog, but he doesn't look half bad.  Certainly no slower than his normal trial running.

No pairs entered.  I go back and forth about whether it's ok for us to enter as a draw.

So I'm currently pondering taking Silvia Trkman's online foundation course.  While Vito isn't really a foundation dog, I think her emphasis on tight turns followed by speed is what we're missing- at least in trials/group classes.  Maybe going back to the beginning will help?

Muttsandaklutz  – ( August 11, 2013 at 8:29 PM )  

If I didn't know the background of what you and Vito have been through, I would think he is just a normal, happy dog in the agility ring -- looks pretty good to me. Yay for the Q and the scream off the table too! :-)

I took ST's Foundation course this spring and really enjoyed it. There's something in it for everyone, whether total beginner like Scooter or much more advanced like Vito. I was only able tackle a fraction of the material covered, there was so much... and apparently that's pretty common, hence a high number of repeaters. I really loved her openness, flexibility, and creativity in finding what works for every dog as an individual.

Dexter  – ( August 12, 2013 at 5:43 AM )  

I am amazed that you can manage front and back crosses so gracefully. Vito looks focused and happy in all three videos. I'd call it a great day.

Mango Momma

Merinda  – ( August 12, 2013 at 1:36 PM )  

I've taken Silvia's Foundations course twice with Stout. I obviously loved it :) She has such a good eye & so many ideas. And answers every question, views every video... I highly recommend it!

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( August 12, 2013 at 3:54 PM )  

Great to hear about her class being ok for more advanced dogs!

And thank you everybody for the nice comments. I am really happy with how he's doing. It's just the logical side of me that keeps trying to figure out why there's such a discrepancy between Trial Vito (and some group classes) and train by ourselves Vito in his speed. I am OK if we don't ever meld the two as long as he continues to look stress free.

Ruby The Whippet  – ( August 17, 2013 at 2:48 AM )  

He looked very speedy off that table :)
I don't know if going back to basics will help Vito's speed. Personally I don't get this feeling from him but hey, I only know him from videos. However Silvia is pretty great at solving speed problems so I would give AF a try.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( August 17, 2013 at 2:14 PM )  

Ruby's Mom,
Thanks for the perspective. I'm really not sure why we're still struggling with the difference in speed as it doesn't seem to be anxiety related anymore. (yay!) I'm OK if this is just the way it's going to be, but it's still the ultimate goal for me. Some teams want a championship title, I want full running Vito :)

Working a ton on collection to full extension has seemed to help him not shutting down on wraps as much in trials and he's pulling off jumps less. So that's why I was hoping doing a ton of foundation work in the wrappy tight courses Silvia does would help?

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