Or maybe my promise to my dogs has really paid off, for Psyche, at least?
Psyche (and Simi) and I piled into Mom's car (thanks to Momma for coming with us and supplying her car) for another fun match, three hours away. Simi was just tagging along, of course, but Psyche was entered to run Standard, Steeplechase and Jumpers. All at masters levels, since that's all they offered. This was also an exciting weekend because I'd ordered Psyche a whole case of her favourite toy, which is a latex chicken ball thing. Sadly, when we got there, the company hadn't been making those anymore, so we got these instead:
But the good news is that she loves these just as much as the chickens, so we're all good. I did put one into a holee roller, which is what her old toy was, but she didn't like that as much as just one on it's own, so for out runs we did just the ball, and she really loved it. Before each run she chased the ball, played hardcore, offered tricks and all around just really focused on me, even when we walked into the ring, through people, past dogs and up to our start line. She was just so happy.
Her standard run was a real surprise. We did a start line and she broke it, so I took her back and set her back up and there was a little bit of stress, but not much. I was expecting so much more stress, but I think even the little amount I got was due to me being stressed out about her startlines. That's usually where our run falls apart so I think she was picking up on me a little. But on Saturday there was very little stress on her start line. A little bit of change in her body, but it's hard to tell if that was a "I'm getting ready to run" change or a starting to stress change. Usually we get a little looking back, sniffing, etc., but none of that this time. She kept her head looking at me, no dropping her nose down to sniff, none of that. Just a slight tail drop and head lower. She did break her start line just as I was getting ready to release, but I didn't worry about it too much this time around. From there we had a tunnel under and a-frame that she was supposed to go tunnel, around then flip out to the right onto the a-frame, she didn't get it the first time around, but after our initial run, I went back and tried it, and she nailed it the first try. It was my fault, because I wasn't where I needed to be to signal our get out. Her contacts were really nice though -- I think she only blew one all weekend! And she did her table, then her weaves (each time) and stuck with me and never dropped her nose. Overall she was so happy. I could tell, running her, that she was HAPPY and that's such a huge thing for us.
Steeplechase was great -- her weaves were amazing. A little confusion with which tunnel mouth, but again, my fault. So pleased with her.
Jumpers was a hot mess, but it was because she was going faster than I expected and so there were issues in my handling, but not her problems. It was a good, fun course, and she loved it and so did it.
This weekend really felt like a lot of things just clicked into place. She was really happy and it was clear. And the best thing, besides her being so happy, was when people commented on how much happier she looked. I'm glad it wasn't all in my head. We've got another fun match in the same spot on April 28th and if things keep going well, we may enter a trial in June with just one run each day. We shall see.
Oh, and if you're interested, here's her video:
A terrific birthday present to me... my dog finally happy doing agility out and about, when I know she loves it so much at home/training.