Today was a much better day on the Feisty roller coaster ride! She demonstrated that she does in fact love agility and she is starting to love it more and more in public. She ran two perfect runs today and ran them well enough to earn 2nd place in both runs!
Her first run was JWW and it was jump weaves for the start - not a very fast start for us and she was a bit cautious the first third of the course. But then she turned on the afterburners and she was back! It was a blast! We ran in the morning today and there were a lot more people around the rings so much more background noise to drown out the clicking of cameras.
For Standard - always our hardest class - the table was in the exact same place it was yesterday. It was a tough course for her with an off course tunnel at the end of the dogwalk and needing to turn a sharp right turn to a jump instead. All of our hard obstacles were done by the time we got to the table. After the table it was a fast sequence of jumps, tunnels and aframe - all of which are fun and easy for us. Feisty was ready to run when I got her out for standard. I had lots of time to let her hang out with me and I massaged her a bit while we waited. She was up and happy and we did our usual obedience warm-up routine. Then about two seconds before we entered the ring she put her tail down and tried to pull me away from the ring. I immediately scooped her up and did something I rarely do with her - I blew in her face. She hates it but it served to distract her. Then I goosed her in my arms and kept talking to her about how great she is and how it is just the two of us out there. This course also required walking into the middle - yes the middle - of the ring to start and we started from the middle going out toward the crowd but it was a tunnel there. So by the time we walked out there she was squirming (good sign!) and I took her leash off and then put her down and didn't ask for a stay. We just took off running and she flew!!! I had to call her name a lot after the dogwalk but she came with me. She did a great table down and then part way through the count stood up and shook (I am VERY glad for the new rules where no position is required on the table!) but she stayed on it until the "go". Then we flew! It was a blast of a run!
So I actually feel this double Q today is a personal Q because it shows we (Feisty especially) have come a long way where we can recover from a horrible experience one day to run spectacularly the next day. That is huge progress since three years ago that would not have happened. It also shows that I have done my homework with her and banked enough positive experiences in agility that today she was able to draw upon them and trust me. She started to shut down right before the run and I was able to think on my feet and jazz her up and go with it. I was worried that yesterday she felt a violation of trust but fortunately for me I think she thought "God" or the "sky" was falling and it had nothing to do with me or agility (PHEW!!!!!!!). It is also a really good thing and example that dogs do NOT generalize well.
One day I'm crying with frustration and literally the next day crying with joy - all with the same little grey dog! For me the more they challenge me the more they reward me! She keeps me on my toes and keeps me thinking all the time!