I've had some major ups and downs with Spencer. Sometimes he does well in new environments and sometimes he just shuts down. We can usually bounce back out of a shut down with some time and effort, but I'm always concerned in the back of my mind that maybe Spencer can't handle this. Maybe he doesn't want to and I am just pushing him too much because I would really, really like him to be able to do something that is just beyond him.
Agility has helped a LOT with Baxter and his self confidence, I think it could help with Spencer too. We just need to get to the point where he has some self confidence.
Last weekend at Wet Creek he did alright, but he was nervous and obviously not having the best of times, despite some awesome encounters like Matt Bonner sitting down in the dirt with him feeding him cookies. So I worry about my little dog.
He's had a couple of encounters that have thrown him in classes too. In Novice Rally O a large dog barked at him during the "quick" heeling station and he shut down for the remaining 2 classes. Then another time when I brought him to a agility class in a different barn, he got jumped on by a enthusiastic, large dog when I was playing tug with him (not a great way to build tug drive btw!)
So I *might* have been just a little tense about tonight. He did really well! I had my silly, happy, bouncy little dog the whole class. He doesn't have contacts quite yet so "running the course" was a little laughable. I'm working on component games and the end targeting behavior so he'll have them eventually. I'm not in any drastic hurry since he's just a baby and not quite 18 months yet. BUT he did all 12 weave poles. Did I mention that I LOVE Susan Garrett's 2x2 weaves?!? He's only been doing 12 poles for 2 days now. I was super impressed he got them after we've only had 1 day practicing in different locations (bad trainer!)
So today was a good day. One I'll have to remember to look back on when we have a bad day. Days like today make me think that this isn't just all in my mind and he does really enjoy the game. I just have to figure out what I need to do so he keeps having fun!
|Sometimes it's just about clearing that one obstacle|