|Heather and Finn did amazing at their first trial in March.|
Woot --- or should I say WOOF!
No this post is one of those lessons I taught my kid posts. Take one basically nice kid and give her a super nice professionally trained Collie. Take that kid who already loves dogs and is pretty much a natural with them, and well....getting a title should be a piece of cake. Turns out Mr Sensitive Collie Man likes working for the kiddo better than me. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Big smile goes here.)
A few months ago Heather and I both entered our first APDT Rally Trial in Saco at Finish Forward. Heather was entered in Juniors and also in Level 1. There were only 2 Junior classes, but there was a total of 4 adult level 1 classes. You need three qualifying scores of over 170 to title. Heather did well both Friday and Saturday and got 2 great junior scores and scored high in the 2 adult Level 1 classes . Leaving the total at 2 juniors Qs and 2 Level 1 Qs. She needed one more Q for both.
I put my Mom hat and decided not to let her take Finn in the Sunday trial.
All my Momness and dog trainerness told me that my kid hadn't earned it. She asked and Finn did. She could be sloppy, or tense, or pull on the leash or just about anything, and my super school pony Collie was going to give her what she wanted. He loves working with her and together they are a team. Not every person and every dog are going to have that magic that everyone looks for in a canine partner. But Finn and Heather have it. The more they worked together, the clearer it was to me that Finn is Heather's dog. My Mom brain also told me that she didn't "WANT" it bad enough. And so I decided that fateful weekend, -- no more Rally for you.
I took her to more classes with Jill and they started to gel even more. I was liking what I was seeing. I could get misty and turn to mush watching them work together. Heather picked up better handling skills and stopped hauling him around. My Sensitive Collie Man can work on a silken thread of a leash and that is how he likes it. We had fake trials in class and Heather beat us all. She was ready.
Tight squeeze in the Fiat Rental
So we decided to go for it this weekend and head to Bo-Gee in Raymond NH.. They had two days of trials and silly me, I thought we could bolt down there yesterday and knock out our titles. Like my friend Kathy pointed out to me "careful what you wish for." Finney and Heather TANKED yesterday. Finn was the dog that I got to know so well. The one that stares at you like you have a few heads and one may just be made of cheese. My daughter had not experienced that side of him and NQed. My run was directly after hers and while Beck did fine, I missed a sign. I am chocking that up to Mommie brain. It is hard for Moms to keep the Mom stuff from invading the rest of what little gray matter we have left that, the children haven't already sucked dry. Ask any Mom, she will agree. Kids are like brain eating zombies.
My wish was granted. My kid was humbled by a dog. I spent my childhood humbled by horses and I was no stranger to how awful that feels. But you know what? It makes you a better trainer. It makes you want it more, and it was that much sweeter when we went back today and both nailed it. I was tempted to not go back today but what kind of lesson would that have been for my kiddo? She wanted it so bad she cried this morning. Real tears. They worked on me. I explained ( a LOT of times) , that Finney needs to go in the ring cold. The mistake we made Saturday was hanging around with him. Too much warm up. He was done for by the time his turn came around. Today, we timed his peak much better and a wee tear rolled down my cheek as they exited the ring. I am proud of both my two and four legged kids.
As for Beck...the dog was a nut job and now he not. He lived in a shelter for close to 9 months, and now he does not. He could not be near any dogs, and now he can. You know that training stuff? There really is something to that. For me, better than Beck's title, was seeing him at the trial just doing nothing. My dog can just BE. Hang around. Do nothing-- be near other dogs! A dog can walk in a room, or by and and he can chill and --Not flip out! It was awesome. We earned it. We spend a lot of time training. Like I say to my students with tough dogs often, "that dog sure didn't train himself".
Heather will spend more time in level 1 in the B section, and enter Junior division the next time it is offered. Beck and I are moving on to level 2. Off leash. We are hooked.
|Finn has knocked off an entry off my bucket list.|
I am pleased to announce that after 2 months of working at it. A lot.
He can fetch!!
Happy Mother's Day!
A big special thanks to Jill at Poetic Gold Farm. Heather loves you and we appreciate all that you have helped us with.