I have a slightly different approach to the beginning of Hoot's trialing career than I have had with my other dogs. With Tangle, I trained him in the back yard, then signed him up for classes in one place, did some tours of different dog walks and AF's and then he went head first into trialing. All the classes. If you think about it and count up all the differences from a back yard to a trial, it really is a lot to ask of a dog. Tangle is a great dog. He never lost his head, but was careful and never wanted to make mistakes.
Hoot is a different dog. I have trained her from the very beginning as high as I can get her. It was clear that she would be that highly stimulated kind of a girl and I needed her to know how to deal with it. We went to several fun runs in the last six months, gradually asking her to do more and more. She did a UKI trial, but with toys in the ring and it was only jumpers. So, this past weekend we did AKC kind of "for reals". Although I have to admit I used the off course I was allowed in standard to reward good performance on the AF :)
I was really proud of her. She was way beyond my expectations in Jumpers and beyond my expectations in Standard.
I can't believe the challenges the judges gave novice dogs with the running dog walk. And Hoot was successful on her hits both days!! The first day was the DW to a table, she stuck it as best she could. The second day was broad jump to the DW (we talked to the judge and had her move it further away from the DW, ended up being 20 feet from landing to the DW and a slightly less nasty angle).
She got all of her contacts, weaves (only with a re-try), held startlines and her table performance was awesome. Really what more can I ask?
So, coming out of this trial, what is next?
I will work on her teeter a bit more, work the sequences that we had refusals, continue to work the tire with speed and continue to work my timing with her.