I will say this, our Rally judge for that day was AWESOME!! She was so accommodating and willing to work with me when I started stressing out about my potential for a ring conflict. She was doing her best as well to keep things running as smoothly and quickly as possible and overall I just liked her in general. What ended up happening is that I did a whole lot of flat out running back and forth between the Rally and conformation rings to fit everything. In the end we made it for everything, but I was quite sweaty after it all.
I'll start out with the good news first. As you can tell from the title, Bess qualified in both of her runs to earn RAE leg #6 (the Excellent map was the only one that left when I picked up my maps). While the entries were small for both classes, she was in the ribbons for both with a score of 94 and a second place in Excellent B and a score of 95 and first place (which got us a cool towel!) in Advanced B. If I were to feel like misleading you, I would leave you with those scores and placements (there were four entries per class, so not too shabby) and the mental image that things must have gone well. I really wish that they had. For all the effort and work that I'm putting in to try to figure out what the heck will get Bess up and keep her up without her being dependent on it, our performance in the ring did not have a whole lot to show for it. Yes, we made it through and technically did well enough to earn scores in the 90's. However, Bess' performance was not good. I really wanted to apologize to the judge afterwards. "Sorry that you're being so accommodating and you have to stand through a performance like that twice." She can do better. She can go into a ring and not look like I spent the previous few minutes outside of the ring beating her until she hardly wanted to move. It was painful, embarrassing, and frustrating. This dog has potential in there, I've seen it. But for the life of me, I can't seem to fully unlock it and it's driving me batty!
We did thankfully have an obedience lesson the following day, which was really nice because it allowed me to talk it through with our instructor and see what else we could try. We've got some things that we're trying out and I'm hopeful that they will work. I'm not about to give up, but this is definitely more difficult than I thought it would be. I technically mentioned that I have Bess entered in a Novice run this coming Saturday. My original plan was to keep the entry in an effort to keep me motivated to train and work through this and then make my final decision the day of the show as to whether or not we'll actually run. At this point, actually stepping into that ring would only serve as a negative reinforcer that will do absolutely nothing to help us, so I will be pulling her entry. We've still got Rally on Sunday and conformation on both days.
On the up side of things, Heffner is having a blast with our informal as well as our formal training sessions. The more turns and difficulties I throw into our heeling patterns, the more animated he seems to get. Having a toy still amps him way the hell up and it works better to do a few longs distance recalls to work a little bit of the crack out of his system first. And Ruthie has learned that when in doubt, sit. I'm not working her hard, but I am working her and she's coming along pleasantly.:) Since it's technically summer now (not that you would entirely know it by the way our weather has been behaving) and I now have three dogs, Heffner is getting the summer off from obedience lessons since he just kind of turns to mush anyhow, and Ruthie is taking his place!
I hope that everyone's Monday has been as painless as possible!