Trialing in Heat!

The tollers got to do another agility weekend!

But first, I forgot to wrap up Zumi's USDAA trial last weekend.  Overshadowed by Vito's championship!  Zumi actually had her best agility trial yet.  Very focused on Saturday and much more responsive to handling than she has shown in other trials.  Growing up!  Sunday had a bit more distractions when Grandma came to watch and Zumi wanted to maul Grandma vs focusing on warming up.  Definitely a training issue that still needs to be worked on!  She still managed to do some very nice runs on Sunday.  Her only "bad" run of the weekend was the very last run where she left me once to run over to the wall of spectators and then while she didn't leave me after that her brain was still thinking about her audience.  That's ok, I also had a stupid run where I did the opening the masters course with her instead of the advanced course.  Beautiful run, but not exactly what the judge laid out for us!

I made a montage of her good moments!!


This weekend I was glad it was UKI as Zumi decided to come into heat and UKI has no problems with girls still competing.  I think it's ridiculous that other organizations have not come on board with the same allowance.  In Europe it's seen as just a training issue.  And while Zumi was just in the beginning of her heat cycle at the trial this weekend, I don't think any dog had a major problem with it.  A bit more sniffy and excited perhaps, but everyone was able to run their course.

I think Zumi had more of an issue with running during her cycle than anyone else! I was grateful I was able to take the dogs to the facility on Friday night for a fun run.  Zumi was much more sniffy of the grounds than she has ever shown.  But once in the ring she was very focused!  At the trial on Saturday it was about the same.  Sniffy and more easily distracted than usual outside of the ring, but doing fairly well inside.  We had some issues on the startline for her first 2 runs of the day on Saturday as Zumi had to sit on a towel.  She did not want to sit on that towel!  Very weirded out by what should have been a non issue since Zumi knows "go mat" games very well!  But we worked through it with treats and then she didn't have an issue the rest of the weekend.

Unfortunately, we couldn't qualify at all.  Lovely runs with just a few baby dog mistakes of running by obstacles, a dropped bar, or refusal.  I do think her runs got better with each one, and her speed increased too.

Zumi had one incident at the trial though where I didn't think I was going to get her in the ring.  Shockingly there were quite a few spectators at the trial on Sunday and before Zumi's jumpers run there was a mom with 2 young children.  Zumi saw the kids and was terrified.  This is not a new issue for her, she's been wary of kids and definitely undersocialized to them.  I'm not worried about Netta as she will grow up gradually getting used to more movement and Zumi's personality just isn't one where I'm concerned.  I think it will remain to be seen though if I can get her comfortable with other people's kids!  But at the trial she was freaked out more than usual, likely due to all her hormones playing games with her.  I politely asked the mom to move off to the side isle where Zumi wouldn't be able to see them before her run.  The mom mentioned her kids not being able to see if they were over there, but I nicely asked again and mentioned Zumi would be the very last dog anyway.  The mom agreed and moved off but when I took Zumi out of her crate again I saw that they just moved 15ft down the line and were now directly in front of the entrance, actually touching the gates...  I'm not mad the family was at the show.  Zumi's issue is just that, an issue we need to work on.  But I also didn't think it was unreasonable that I asked them to move for one dog.

Zumi was freaked out and I didn't even know if she would enter the ring with me.  I entered on the exit side and brought her ball in with me, trying to play with her.  I am SO glad UKI allows non-qualifying toy runs!!!  Shockingly Zumi did enter the ring with me and while I totally lured her with that ball on the setup, she obliged. And even better she had an amazing run!  I ended it early so that she wouldn't go near the entrance again and would be far from the kids who were actually hanging on the ring gates.

Here is Zumi's toy run with the kids at the gate:


And here is her standard run on Sunday:


Vito also had a great trial on Saturday.  Very Happy Toller!  And then on Sunday he was a really good boy but not as fast.  Lots of Qs all weekend though even on some challenging courses.
I think I might go to just one day a weekend for Vito.  In the past Vito has been terribly inconsistent about whether he is faster on day 1 vs day 2 in the same way that he's not predictable on whether the first run or the last run is better.  But, since Vito's getting a bit older now, limiting him to one day might be something to consider.

Here was his only run I got on film.  Actually I felt this jumpers run was his slowest run of the weekend.  Still a very nice that I'm happy with:


I usually do some toy runs for Vito in UKI but I chose not to do that at this trial.  Vito's been Vito with his agility runs for years now and while has made TONS of progress with his anxieties in it, not really anything has changed in the last 2(?) years.  Vito runs fast when he wants to and runs meh when he wants to.  Toy runs really haven't made any difference for Vito except for being magically faster the second half of the same run he got a surprise reward in.  I don't think Vito needs any more classical conditioning and confidence building with trials (agility), which is really a good thing.  I think it's just pure motivation issues which aren't going to change with rewarding in the ring only a small portion of the time.  Maybe if there were a lot more UKI trials it would be different. I think our jackpot training and leaving his ball at a distance in practice have been and will continue to be the best plan for him.  That and me being completely at peace with whatever he decides to give me in a trial.

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