We had a busy day today. First we worked on our games at home and our sits and saying please.
Later in the morning we headed to a Rally trial that I signed up for before we went to Dr. Yin’s seminar. We got there way early since I didn’t know what time we were going to be in the ring. I brought a bully stick, a rawhide bone and lots of treats to practice with. Unfortunately it was raining hard so we didn’t spend much time outside doing our sits and such. We did practice in a small area inside the arena were a lot of other people were practicing with their dogs.
Gypsy did really great practicing with good treats around the other dogs. I had her on the WonderWalker harness until shortly we went into the ring because it helped me keep her close to me since she couldn’t pull. There were a lot of smells on the floor she was interested in but overall she was really focused and did super great.
About an hour before her turn, we went outside. The trial was at the fairgrounds and there was apparently a car or motorcycle race on the speedway next to the obedience arena. She went potty but then a car backfired and she got super scared. She was hypervigilant, trying to flee, way over threshold and not in any emotional state to work through it. We went back inside and I tried to calm her down with some hand touch games, focus games and some easy games but she was not having it at all. She was still really freaked out.
Thankfully a friend of ours from agility was there as one of the vendors. She had a lot of treat samples of items Gypsy has never had before including raw tripe and some chicken and beef treats of super high value. She gave me some her her samples, and all of a sudden I had Gypsy back. It took just a few pieces of the raw tripe to get her back and it was amazing. It was like night and day. One moment she was completely freaked out where she would run away if I dropped the leash. In a heartbeat she was focused on me, did her heeling work, hand touches, the works!!! Jeanne saved the day!!! She also made a few bucks later when I bought some of the treats! 🙂
After getting her emotional state down, I put her back in her crate and let her chill for a while. She did just that and she was fine after that.
I did my walk-through about an hour later. The course was nice. The judge was nice and I was ready. Gypsy was the first dog. She got up after her initial sit at the beginning when the judge asked if I was ready. I had to tell him no, got Gypsy back in a sit and then confirmed we were ready. We started off and did so good. She was a little unsure until the first station, but then after that she was really with me. It wasn’t perfect but she was looking at me and prancing and focused and really connected!! She didn’t look around, she didn’t sniff, she wasn’t distracted!! She did look ahead or to my feet, but not always up at me. When we got to the section for “fast” she was really with me and that’s when she got super connected. Then into the serpentine she was right with me too!! She has a history of pulling and being way out there because she thinks they are weave poles!! We get 3/4 through the course doing great, and all of a sudden she stops and pees!!!! Ugh!!! she’s never peed in the ring!! It was on a spot that another dog peed on in the previous class. It was cleaned up but Gypsy peed right near it!! Ugh. Automatic NQ. The judge was super nice and we got to finish the course. I didn’t want Gypsy to think that she was being punished for peeing. Peeing is not one of our many problems.
So we finished the course and I was glowing!! I was so happy with how she did! We had to redo one station with the ‘walk around the dog in sit’ when she got up, but that was probably the most deductions we got in one spot. We redid it and it was clean the 2nd time. I think she would have scored somewhere above 80 if she hadn’t peed. I was still super super proud of her!!
She went from our last trial of a score of 73 and pulling me all over the place and not focused at all, to being scared shitless outside with cars backfiring to being super focused and connected in the ring. So we didn’t Q, but the growth and improvements was so much better than a Q (especially if it were a dirty Q like the last 2)!!! Plus it was my fault she peed. I forgot where the other dog peed and should have walked faster so she didn’t have the chance to pee. And I didn’t take her out since the freak-out since it took so much work to get her focus back. I didn’t have time to start over again if she associated outside with more backfires. I would rather have an NQ for peeing in the ring than having a dog with a bad experience in the ring. Her experience was great and she looked so excited with all the praise!!
So we signed up for Rally again tomorrow so we’ll try it again. If today was a warm-up run, I hope tomorrow will be just as good! I know now what to do and get her up and running. I’ll make sure she goes outside too!!
Since Apollo was home all day, I took the dogs out for a walk on a nice trail with a friend and her dogs tonight. They both loved the exercise. When my friend took some time to let her dogs into the lake, Gypsy and I played some chase games on leash in the grassy area. She was really into it and super excited!!!
Today was a good day.
Today I am thankful for Jeanne who saved the day after Gypsy couldn’t deal with the stress of the car backfires, and for my toolbox to take the treats from Jeanne and get Gypsy’s threshold back to normal.