Another outdoor trial!

An interesting weekend of USDAA agility for Vito and I.  Ups and downs on both ends of the leash.

Saturday
Gamblers- A happy dork!  Vito was flying.  Broke his start line and did a 1 hit superman style on the aframe descent and then happily crossed behind me to enter the "wrong" end of the tunnel I was directing him to.  Did the teeter very fast for a trial and then I'm not sure if he either started to self release before I told him or if he kinda slipped, but Vito felt very strongly that he should try and push the end back down so he could get back on it and do his 2o2o again.  This fun adventures causes us both to be stupid and miss the weave entrance as my next planned obstacle and Vito slowed down a little bit in speed.  The gamble was a hard one for Vito but he gave it his best try.

Standard- Much more cautious Vito on the aframe and teeter.  Overall the run was back to "normal" Trial Toller and we qualified without much to say about it.

Steeplechase- I optimistically attached his new Kong Squeeze ball to his tug leash.  Vito seemed very happy about this arrangement until I had to put it near him on the start line.  Very Sad Toller was conflicted when I released him, knew he wasn't supposed to have his toy, and went around the first obstacle.  Kind've picked up some speed but mainly we dropped a lot of bars, went off course into a tunnel, and then my brain fell out as well as I couldn't remember where to turn for the ending.  A disaster type of run on both ends.

Pairs- Very happy Toller was back and screaming loudly for the first time all day!  Knocked the first bar and was much faster than I anticipated.  I somehow forgot the course for a full second to the point that I was actually going in the wrong direction for 2 steps and had to turn back.  Vito didn't care and happily redirected and even did a rear cross!  I then continued to lack a brain and gave his Run cue for the dogwalk instead of his Stop cue and Vito went happily running straight off to the inviting jump instead of doing the flip to the tunnel as the course directed.  So sorry pairs partner :(  Maybe the heat was effecting me more than I thought!

Sunday
The day was much cooler with some light rain off and on.  Vito was in very high spirits all day!

Snooker- Very happy Toller.  Our plan was 7-7-5 and it involved lots of tunnels and a short set of 6 weaves for the #7 option.  A perfect Vito course!  I underestimated how much the long, but straight, line from our last color to starting the closing and to #3 would put him in obstacle mode and he took a bonus red jump on our way.

Pairs- Another loud and happy Toller!  I used our stop Dogwalk cue to be safe this time (and actually remembered to use the right cue) to steer him off the straight exit and in the correct turned option.  Vito was moving decently fast through the course but knocked 2 bars.  Somehow our pair still manged to make time with the faults and we actually qualified.

Standard- A Vito course!  Slowish weaves and teeter, but otherwise moving well and happy.  His time was actually much closer to the fast dogs than usual!  It actually was his fastest YPS run in USDAA standard ever at 4.7!)

Gamblers- More happiness!  I apparently did a poor job of calculating our opening time as the buzzer went off a good 2-3 seconds before I planned and I was not prepared.  Another hard gamble for Vito but we had a chance.  Unfortunately Vito somehow turned the wrong way after jump #1 and so I had to immediately cross the line to help him.

Overall a nice weekend once Vito got started and once I really committed to memorizing the courses.  I always love outdoor trials!

I think Vito would really benefit from the jackpot style training I started doing with him many months ago but got lazy and stopped.  He understands it in the sense that I was successfully able to tease him with his ball at the trial, show him where I leave it, and then run to the line.  I can always tell when he's thinking about the toy as he runs faster and is very obvious about wanting to pull to it immediately on exiting.  But if it's too close to the ring than he gets conflicted and apparently gets really sad if it's next to him like our leash fiasco in steeplechase!  In obedience we've done quite a bit of jackpot style work and it's helped immensely.  I am optimistic that a similar approach can be helpful in unlocking his attitude and speed in trial settings.

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

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