Today I was up at what felt like the crack of dawn. It wasn't but I hate time change and was a bit jacked about the upcoming day. I loaded the truck with dog crates, and other dog things. Like toys. I'm weird in that I never travel without toys. It was a two hour drive to the arena that the stock dog trial was being held. The whole time leading up to this trial I had done a lot of self talk. I have approached the dogs first trial as a learning experience. I will learn. They will learn. It's all I can ask. After all, the dogs have not had the most optimal training experiences. It's sporadic. It's taken me three years to do something that should have taken 3-6 months. My dogs are four. (!!)
The first thing I did when I pulled in was look for the washroom. I looked. I looked some more. It was to my dismay that there was only an outhouse. Annnnd....
No. Running. Water. Ick.
I reevaluated my strategy and began operation liquid intake limitation. You can imagine the relief I felt - literally - at stopping for diesel.
The thing with stock dog trials is it's a hurry up and wait kinda situation. So I hurried. And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I ended up scribing (marking down scores and timing) for the open runs - all 42 of them.
Finally our turn arrived. Even though I was committed to this being a learning enterprise, I was still nervous. Funny how that works.
Diva was up first. She was the dog I was confident in. The dog I thought would be my "chance". Ooops.... not so much. The little bugger wouldn't take her flanks, got stuck on the sheep. I ended up leaving the post and helping her get moving. Her second run showed improvements but also major areas I need to work on. She may end up having too much "eye" to make a good trial dog. Time will tell.
Ryder was the second of my dogs to run. After Diva, my nerves were ramped right up. Legs tremoring I walked him to the post. He started a little rough but settled down and worked pretty good. He was a bit sticky on his flanks but started smoothing out as the run went on. I was stunned to find out he was the fast time of the first go. His second run I went into with more confidence. And then the sheep wouldn't move. They faced him. Stomped their feet. Shook their heads. And he bit them. An automatic disqualification. Ryder is not a "gripper". He never does it at home. In fact, I've been encouraging him to engage the sheep. He is not very interested in it. I guess he does bite.
All in all, an interesting day was had.