Now, let's get another situation. What about you were going in, let's say a Rally-Obedience trial, that lasts a bit around 2 minutes. You would think that it's just a quick in-out run around that would be a breeze, with your pup that can do such beautiful moves that even accomplished handler think perfect. You would, wouldn't you?
You can see where I'm going from there can't you... The issues of Mawson... Actually, that can be summarised in one main big issue: Mawson has got big Rally-O/Obedience ring nerves. Mister pup melts down, as soon as I take that first step in and the judge follows us.
Yesterday was such an example. We went for summer agility training, the official club training has stopped now but a little group of hardcore crazies are still continuing at an earlier time of the day to avoid the heat. Mawson did so well for the whole training, both Martin and I ran him without problem. I also had fun trying to run mister Jaxon the papillon, it's funny to run a smaller dog than Mawson (ok, not hard to find smaller than Mawson...), it is such a difference in the handling!
Then we all went for lunch at a flower shop and the monster was nicely quiet and settled, hoping for some crumbs to fall on the ground.
As we had a busy evening lined up we all had a bit of a snooze for a few minutes in the afternoon, but it was soon time to get ready for the big event. Mister pup's first Rally-Obedience trial. I had hopes that he likes Rally-O a lot more than obedience and he is usually pretty good at the monday evening training in full size ring types.
So after packing up the car, off we went to DogsNSW headquarters at Erskine Park. I was hoping to arrive early and be a guinea pig for the judge training that was taking place a few hours earlier, but mister pup was really a bit too high on wind and smells to concentrate, so I took the slow approach of doing a few rounds of the grounds (avoiding the high number of german shepherds), and some short warm ups of Rally-O. All went smoothly and amazingly well. We got all set, the monster started to settle well and was great on the exercises we were doing. I was really happy and hopeful we would not have to withdraw this time...
Our time to get in the ring arrived and I did my prep fantastically, we were ready, sooo ready. Then the judge arrived after talking to the previous competitor for ages. Asked for readiness, here we go... And then, puppy meltdown. Looking away, sitting askew, pulling on the lead, not healing, scratching. We even had the extreme luck of having a lady steward who had a crutch going round on the outside of our ring, clicking away on the concrete, while we were passing. Mawson doesn't do crutches... we are training but when he is already looking for every opportunities to find an excuse... We ambled through the course but nothing sparkly like he could do just a few minutes earlier.
So that was it... Another brilliant crash and burn. Ah well...
At least now I know what to work on with Mawson. It is not his ability to do the course. He basically can do the whole series of the Rally-O to the more demanding levels, even off lead, and not only at home... while outside the ring at just a few metres... He just has a massive reaction when he enters the ring and is followed by the judge at close proximity. I can see it happening in front of me. My attentive focussed pup just starts to shrink, the little head starts moving down and away and there is nothing anymore at the end of the lead.
So the challenge is from now on, to build his confidence in the ring slowly and practice mock trials at training or ask somebody to follow us. We will start slowly little bit by little bit and we will see where it leads. The most interesting thing is that the monster does not have any problem with agility trials. He loves that so much and it is so fast that I think he doesn't really have time to realise he is in a ring, and usually the judge is standing quite further away from him.
Except for that though, he was really good all evening, the perfect oversized pup.
Anyway, we'll get there, certainly not tomorrow but that's the challenge of working with a little scaredy wimpy pup!
|not Mawson, from the internet but quite appropriate...|