Competition done!

Competition done!

Sunday, after two weeks of NO training, we still competed. I and The Princess had a blast!

The arena was inside, and the whole thing was very well arranged. I felt really welcome and taken care of! That’s important, it makes it easier to remember that no one FORCES you to compete – that is something you choose to do for fun! These days I have no trouble remembering that, but ten years ago competitions could get really serious in my head. Thank god I don’t feel that way anymore!

So…How did we do? Terrific! Attitude, fun factor, teamwork – a clear ten for ten! Now, if you want to talk actual points…not as good. The Princess kind of put her own spin on things, and combined with the sound effects there weren’t many points left 😀 

Do I care? Not in the least! I have come to a point in my life where I truly only compete against myself. To see what works, and what doesn’t work. To – actually – have fun! I know that sounds like bullshit, I know that’s actually kind of provocative to some people, but it’s true. Of course, it’s extra fun if we get good points as well, but that’s not my reason for competing.

One of the most important things after any test or trial is to review, think about what happened, and think about what I want to do next. So here goes, exercise by exercise:

Heeling: 5. I had already decided to help her with my voice and body, so that was no surprise. She worked really nice, with a god straight back up, no levitating dog when running, and really good focus and position. 

Stand during march: 0. She moved – no surprise there. It worries me a bit that she moved ore that she usually does, it’s clear that she doesn’t know this exercise well enough.

Recall: 0. This is the only thing I’m not at all pleased with! the fact that she followed me tells me that she was insecure, and I don’ like that for her! We need to train more in new places – and with new people – to make her feel safe even if I leave her.

Lie down during march: 0. She did a beautiful lie down (jumped up in the air and landed on her belly), and then, as I took my first step back towards her, she stood up and directly lied down again. You know, the extra spice to the exercise! She was really cute and so sure of herself…I couldn’t stop smiling…

Square: 0. This was actually a surprise! We took start position, she looked straight at the square, I could see the tension in her body, and on my command, she ran to the…left…? Happily looking for…what? I have no idea! Oh well, I guess she knows, but won’t tell me 😀

Retrieve: 6. She stopped when she got to the dumbbell and looked at me like “it can’t be THIS one, can it? Really? You know, there’s SLIME on it!” I knew what to do and just stood still. sure enough, she picked it up and delivered it to me with a whine ad a chew.

Distance work: 5. She did the changes of position beautifully with nice movements. Unfortunately, she also moved a little bit (still laying down) as I left her and returned to her, and there was some sound as well.

Jump: 8. Perfect, except for sound. 

Around: 0. My mistake. She ran out to the cone, but did not go around it, and I missed that.

Sit in group: I decided not to do that, as there always is a possibility something might happen. I will only do that if we have a chance of getting the points we need to get to the next class, and we sure didn’t this time…:)

Overall impression: 7

Yes. There are lots of things we need to work on. LOTS of things! But it was really fun and good to try the new rules and the new exercises “for real”. I always say that my focus as a dog trainer should not only be “what can get better” but also “what did we do well”! The things we did well are the things we want to grow and expand. This is what we will keep doing:

  • She could find “training mode” very quickly in a new environment (that’s something we have really worked on!)
  • She is always kind and polite to other dogs at a competition (not necessarily in other places…)
  • The rewards worked really well even though there was no treats or toys involved.
  • Her focus and attitude only got better during the program.
  • She has beautiful movements and body control.
  • I made her feel on top of the world even if she started a bit insecure – she didn’t want to leave when we were done!
  • I had patience in the retrieve – good choice.
  • I helped her when I needed to – good choice.
  • She got a BIG reward and a nice walk at the end!

Lot’s of good things for both me and her, to think about and grow bigger! I’m really proud of my little Princess, and I’m a bit proud of me too 🙂

Next up is a competition in Rally-o, so we will focus on some right hand heeling this week. That will be FUN!



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