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I took Ben to his first CPE trial this past weekend. We just did two runs (Full House and Colors). It was quite the overwhelming experience for us both! He's not really been in a trial atmosphere much and this was an indoor (and pretty loud!) trial. He got a little bit overwhelmed and stressed out...but...he was able to settle and did a pretty good job despite it!

We did Colors first and he was really focused and doing great leading up to going out. We were waiting in line (one dog in the ring, one dog waiting to head in and then us) when some woman decided to walk her dog back and forth and walked RIGHT between us and the other dog. It was way too close for Ben, who was already on edge a bit and super excited. He started barking and going nuts and it was hard to get his focus and attention back. And then, of course, it was our turn to go in.

I made a HUGE mistake and didn't really get his attention and focus when we got out there. I was feeling a little frantic because we waited until the previous dog left the ring because Ben was a bit out of control and so I just put him in a sit and took off his leash. AND OF COURSE he took off running. Not over the jumps but toward one of the ring crew. And I thought "that's it...it's over." But it wasn't. I called him back and he came back to me and I was able to get him to take the first couple jumps.

He took off again, but I called him back again and he came back to me. And then he rocked the rest of the course! Did everything correctly. I lost connection with him at a 180 and he knocked a bar, so we lost the Q, but he did really well for his first time out of the gate when he was super over-aroused! And he's so fast when he's on -- the whole thing, including two times of running off and my having to get him to come back to me took 32 seconds. My old gal used to take longer than that just to do the course!


We also did Full House and it went about the same. My mistakes again. I decided the best thing to do would be to toss him in the tunnel and when I got out there and took off his collar I realized that usually I just toss him back using his collar and I couldn't do that as he had none on. Made big mistakes on connection there and he took off. Again twice, like the time before, and again I got him back and the second time I got him back so good he did really awesome and looked great. It was too late though. Too much time spent getting him back meant we didn't get enough points. But I was happy with his enthusiasm and that he came back to me and kept working.

Now I know I need to work on the beginning for ME...keep him focused and keep ME focused on him. I get too frantic and screw it up. Hopefully the next one will go even better!

There was a photographer there so here are a couple pictures (note: the lighting is total CRAP there).



 

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so happy to hear you pushed through !!!!! awesome pictures.. One advice that was given to me about my nerves and the newbie dogs nerves, when I first got started was to take a little trott/sprint into the ring, little small arc or circle, then back to and into the start position. throwing off extra energy before you settle into your start position. You did a great job ...
 

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I like that idea! Ben will usually trot along with me and get all excited by me and focused. I do stuff similar to that in class but I got out there and was like OMG WHAT DO I DO? I definitely need to make better plans for entering. Exiting worked well and Ben was focused and with me enough by that time that getting his leash on and leaving was easier than I expected. But the going IN was the hard part!
 

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I think the key was that the course was super easy. We're running master's level courses in class, but we're just starting level 1 at trials so the courses are SUPER easy compared to what we're used to. Plus he really does LOVE agility so once the switch was flipped and he took a tunnel and we reconnected he was ALL about doing it.
 
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