oh my auggie

Agilty Trial #1, Day 2

Not as good of a day as yesterday!

But first, a lovely picture:

Left to right is Auggie’s uncle, Auggie’s gramma, Auggie’s aunt, Auggie’s full brother, Auggie’s dad, and then Auggie, looking teeny tiny next to his relatives!

I managed him on the teeter fine – because of his fly off yesterday, I was very concerned about that. He was doing great. He went through the weaves and it was lovely… but then something on the ground was suddenly very smelly. I yelled, I hollered, I cheered – he was sniffing away. You can’t touch your dog in agility so I went over to him, put my feet right next to him, and cheered, “AUGGIE let’s GOOOO!” and finally got his attention back. Everybody congratulated the heck out of me for my great handling after our run, but it was sort of bizarre! After that, I was a little thrown off so I missed getting him into the chute. Still no problems… except when he came out of the chute and through the tire, then up the a-frame, I was a little taken by surprise at his speed and total willingness to go up the a-frame. I didn’t catch up in time, and was desperately yelling “TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH” at him in an attempt to stop him from flying off.
No good. That lovely 2o2o video I posted the other day? Forget that! He leapt off the a-frame halfway down. UGH. I had to reel him back in to get him over the last two jumps because I was so frustrated about the a-frame, but hey, it was no big deal. An unfortunate automatic NQ, but it was still a pretty good run for Auggie. Most of it was handler error, and reportedly, a skunk was out on the course in the morning, and we were guessing that remnants of skunk is what smelled so interesting by those weave poles!

Then jumpers was awful. I don’t know if he was tired of jumping 16, (that’s REALLY hard for him) or if it was because a rainstorm was about ten seconds from hitting us, or if he was picking up on my confusion after the whole sniffing around the weaves/flying off the a-frame thing, or maybe a bit of each.
He again found something really smelly before the weave pole entrance and it took me FOREVER to get his attention and get him through the weaves. Then I thought, okay, it’s time for a bunch of jumps – he should really be into this now. He went over two, but then…
I saw it, and J saw it… he suddenly slowed down. His whole body and demeanor changed. He took the two jumps funny and then slipped away from me, and I had to holler to call him back.
At that point, it was official: I was totally thrown off. I almost sent him over the wrong jump, realized I was doing the wrong thing, and screamed to pull him off them at the last second. He came back to me and I went “Wait – I have no idea what I’m doing.” I looked at the judge, looked at Auggie, then looked at the tunnel… THE TUNNEL!!! That’s it!!! I looked back at Auggie, and before I could tell him to go into the tunnel…
I kid you not, he barked in my face – gave me the canine equivalent of “f(%# off!” – and started to run away from me. I was so terrified of him running out of the ring that I SCREAMED at him, pulled him back, and got him through the tunnel. I put him over a jump, then he… took a wrong jump, knocking a bar as he did. And then the buzzer sounded, and the judge called “That’s time, thank you.”
We got whistled off for going (way) over time. We didn’t even finish. Yikes!

I’m not upset about the lack of a Q. I was very upset at losing control of Auggie – again.
It was like I was back at our first fun run months ago, standing in the ring while my dog completely ignored me and I desperately tried to regain control. It was a really, really awful feeling – probably the worst feeling in the world. J tried to calm me down, and I still had several people coming up to tell me I handled REALLY well in standard… but I was too icky feeling at the moment to be able to come out of my funk. I wanted to say a lot to J about how I was feeling, but all I could manage was, “I just hate losing control of him.”
“I know,” she said, paused, and then said “I mean – I really… know.”
She told me it was a long time before she ever even got her first Q, and I got one yesterday in my FIRST TRIAL, so I really did do a good job in her opinion…
but it was pretty hard to go from a great experience to losing control like that.

In hindsight, it is somewhat funny that my dog literally barked in my face and told me “Hey, Mom, screw you!!”
There are a number of factors to consider, but ultimately, the biggest thing to take away from this trial is… that my dog is a novice, and I am a novice handler. He is two and a half years old, and he is my little baby dog, but we are still learning a lot about each other and working on our relationship together. There is nothing to replace experience, especially on my behalf. I make so many mistakes and do so many silly things that, actually, Auggie does WONDERFULLY, to his credit!

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