What is "that," you say? Run to the end of your leash and flop around like a fish!
Bear and I showed in Rally Novice A for the first time yesterday. The show was WAY behind schedule so I ended up being way to early. I set up the kennel...in an unfortunate smelling corner of the horse barn that we showed in. I worked and worked him outside the ring, up and down the aisles, inside and outside. I lost his attention about an hour before we showed so...we played ball, we napped in the A/C of the car, we tried to dig our way out of our travel kennel, I stepped on his foot...and then it was finally our turn to show. I walked into the ring, nervously telling the steward that this was our first show, and Bear wouldn't sit at the Start sign. The course was relatively easy compared to the courses we've been doing as run throughs in class. I messed up the first sign, it was just a halt...not a walk around your dog. Then I got really nervous and all bets were off. He barely went into a down and was at the end of his leash for the corners and turns. When it came time for the sit and walk around dog sign (we'd already done that once), he pulled so hard on his leash that he ended up almost on his belly trying to smell and sniff everything. I proceeded to burst into tears and excuse myself from the ring without finishing the course.
So, is he too young? He's about 21 months. Am I too inexperienced? This is my first obedience dog. Did I get there too early and work him too hard? He's been firing on all eight cylinders at the kennel club, but that's familiar surroundings. And what's with trying to dig out of his kennel? He's crate trained, he's crated when I'm helping teach puppy class, and I proofed him in the travel kennel at home.
Oy! Our club takes off the month of August for training, I think that between now and then I will take him to the obedience class instead of Rally...he knows all of the signs (including advanced and excellent) and I think that being in obedience with different dogs, a different trainer, and new exercises will be helpful for his self control.
As if I didn't feel embarrassed enough, someone from our club said "We've only been to one rally class and got two legs last weekend, you've been going to class for a long time - you should have had no problem with this course." Ugh...said from someone who has a Champion (i.e. bench) Golden Retriever that's the most lethargic young dog I've ever seen. I just smiled and said "Well, he's got Brittany brain!"