Jeni has taken a break from agility trialing since last December. She and I were both starting to get stressed at trials so we took a step back to work on focus and having fun outside of the agility ring. We still went to drop in and played agility for fun but we hadn’t done anything similar to a trial since the first weekend in December. That trial was… a bit of a disaster. She was very unfocused and stressed and got zoomies multiple times.
A few friends of mine will be at an AKC agility trial (we have only done CPE agility) a couple hours from me the weekend of March 14. So I decided to take the leap and enter for one day and two novice runs… we will be running March 16.
Last night, as part of our prep for the trial, I took Jeni out to a local facility for a “fun match.” A fun match is a great way to practice for a real trial, as it’s a real course with lots of real distractions (like other dogs) but none of the pressure of a real trial and if you need to work through an issue like zoomies or obstacle refusals you can pull out food and work through it. I wasn’t sure how Jeni would do and worried I would have to work through some things but she ROCKED it!
I had a few blips where I got lost on the course but Jeni didn’t leave my side the whole time. She was very focused, had no obstacle issues, didn’t knock a bar, and was fast to boot! I am so proud of her and think she’s ready to go back to a trial. My goal will be to keep it low key and fun and not stressful for either of us. While a Q (qualifying run) would be nice, the end game is for her to have a good experience and hopefully be zoomieless in the ring.