Now on to the day. First up was JWW because Standard takes hours longer to get through. After my little tantrum that I threw yesterday I had much to think about and many options to try with Bess for the day. I talked a lot with Marta this morning (she does a LOT of performance sports with her danes and has for decades, in addition to conformation) about what happened yesterday and compared to things that she's worked through with her dogs. I had already decided that crating Bess inside was probably helping lead to her stress. Things are really tight and there's so much going on around her, that I'm sure it's not helpful. So I decided to keep her in the truck for the day and see how that worked out. I also decided that JWW was for sure going to be a throw away class. The plan was to do the first two jumps in a very controlled manner with no lead out and then pull her from the course and have a party. It worked beautifully! She stayed controlled and was super excited once we got off the course. I had told the judge what we were going to do once I got her on the line and had also warned the person behind us so that they could be ready. I also bought Bess a tug toy that I plan on slowly conditioning her to tug with. She enjoys tugging on her leash at the end of runs, but that can sometimes get you into trouble depending on the venue and the judge. What surprised me most about the "run" was that I actually felt really good about it afterwards. I thought that I would still possibly feel a little frustrated that I was purposefully throwing the run away. But it felt good! A welcome relief.
After many hours of waiting and hanging out in the truck with Bess to relax (it was DEFINITELY more relaxing in there than inside the expo center!), it was our turn for Standard. The course was simple enough and she seemed to quite calm, that I had two plans. If it seemed like she was at all starting to ramp herself up, she'd get to end on the #4 tunnel and we'd have a party. If she looked like she was still holding on, I wanted to try the dog walk and see where we went from there. Well, she was doing so well that we ended up doing the full course, which I'm not entirely sure I should have done. The end result was a positive one, with a dog that was pretty well in control. I'm just hoping that I didn't set us back. She basically stuck everything. I didn't get her slowed down in time when she hit the table after the chute and she over balanced and had to step off the table, so there was a fault there. I also pulled her a little hard on a jump and pulled her off it, so we got a refusal there. Otherwise she did well including sticking her down contact on the a frame. And you know what? It was a qualifying run.:o) Little Bessy got her last novice standard Q!:)
However, like I mentioned, I'm a little concerned that I may have set us back by doing the full course. Kind of kicking myself now for that. Tomorrow we're still going to throw away JWW since that'll be the first class that we do. I'm shooting for four obstacles and then have a party. Standard, we'll see. I did move her up to Open, but Saturday and Sunday are the busiest and most hectic days of the show. I may just want more "practice runs" for both classes. We'll see.
Regardless of what we do in agility, it's going to be a very hectic day that I am now kicking myself about. We've got conformation first thing in the morning at 8am. Then we've got the two agility runs. And we're doing Rally Novice team with friends. Conformation won't conflict, but I have a feeling there's potentially going to be a problem between JWW and Rally. We'll see. Wish us luck! I'm off to shave Bess' face and try to get rid of as many white hairs in her mask as possible.