Friday, November 14, 2014

First Qualifying Run!

Kili and I had a trial this past weekend. After a less than stellar performance to start on Saturday morning, we had what I hope was a lightbulb moment. Kili did her first couple of obstacles and then blew me off because she knew the course and didn't need my help (note that she was wrong and didn't really know the course... just don't tell her!). As I had decided at the last trial, I didn't call her back or try to convince her to pay attention. I just said "Okay, we're done" and I walked off the course. Well, you should have seen her! She stopped in the middle of the course and looked at me like "Wait! What? Where are you going?" before following me out.

Her next run later on Saturday was a Standard run. While it was not perfect, I allowed her to continue playing because she never completely blew me off, and she responded to me and came back to work with me. I am willing to accept performances like that for now while we work on eliminating the ones where she completely doesn't work with me. In future I will also begin to no longer find this so-so performances acceptable and will start to walk off on her for these. But she's a baby dog and improvement takes time. I was also happy to see her thinking about the consequences, as it appeared my earlier correction was having some effect.

Now, on Sunday Kili really shone. She didn't run until the afternoon so I also had the added benefit of being able to exercise her a little more heavily which was probably helpful. I always take the edge off but it's difficult when you need to be at a trial early, especially now that the days are so short!

She was absolutely amazing on Sunday though. She had a Steeplechase run and a Jumpers. Both are filmed. She was fast but she was also focused. In Steeplechase even when she made mistakes on her weave poles she stayed with me. She listened when I called her off easier lines (like right after the second set of weave poles... it would have been easier to take the jump straight in front of her than have to turn off and take the correct jump). I'm both surprised and not surprised about her weave poles. Weave poles have become something that she's quite good at, but in this case it was right at the front of the course near where everyone was sitting, and they take quite a bit of concentration. But I was still super happy with her run.

And then there was Jumpers. She was perfect. Again, she listened to me when I tried to correct her lines (at the far end of the course you can hear me yelling "Here! Here! Here!" because she was going wide and I thought for sure she was going to miss the jump, but she heard me and she pulled hard toward me in order to make that jump. And she was just stellar for the rest of the run. It earned her her first Qualifying run and she also took first place in the class! So proud!

1 comment:

Janette Ash said...

A GREAT BIG CONGRATULATIONS!!! You two are on your way. She looks great, even in her un-'Q'd' run.