May

Rio has the most potential of my agility dogs thus far, and we are going nowhere. And it’s so frustrating!

When she is on and focused, she is fast and wonderful and astonishing. When she is not, she is really, really, not.

At the moment, environment is playing a huge part in her ability to work. Hare’n’Hounds was a disaster, she literally looked as though she’d never done agility. She strung 4 obstacles together at best, otherwise she was ducking under jumps and around jumps and just all over the place. We left the ring early in every single run. Anything which wasn’t running in a straight line was too hard. There was too much going on, too much to take in. She was distracted by everything. Nightmare.

UKA Agility Antics was better, but not great. I trained 4/5 runs, and the one competitive run … she set off really well, until she saw the large group of spectators, when she reverted back to drifty, distracted Rio.

What is getting me through this? Her weaves. Oh, beautiful, wonderful weaves … she nailed her weaves in every single class. Hit the entry, drove all the way through, fast and powerful and beautiful. I’m not sure how I’ve trained my dog to have such wonderful weaves that she understands and loves even when she’s distracted and overwhelmed. Weaves are supposed to be the hard bit, the stressful bit, for baby dogs, aren’t they? But I’m dreaming of courses consisting entirely of weaves.

The other thing getting me through? When we have a good run, we fly. We’ve had one good run from 10 so far, and it was an NFC run, but it was a single shining moment where all the training and potential came together and there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Rio was driving down lines, working her turns, actively seeking obstacles to take, confident and fast. I know that eventually, every run will be like that, and I just need to be patient. And train more, because guess what? I’m shoveling UKA shows into my diary like it’s going out of fashion.

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