First Trial of the Year

The first trial of the season is always a bit nerve-wracking. This year, what made it even more so, is the fact I haven’t done any training since last year. But, it was only a duck trial, and only Quinn (‘only’–ha, ha!). Still, the pre-trial jitters kicked in, adrenalin started pumping, and I questioned my sanity for ever deciding to put myself through this time and again. Once I’m out there to start my run and it’s just me, the dog, and the stock, everything else disappears, and the judge becomes something of a hazy, indistinct image at the edge of my awareness.

I usually always think my runs are worse than what they turn out to be. There are the occasions where I think they were better than the judge does, but those are pretty rare. I’m pleased to say, our first trial Sunday was a huge success. Quinn qualified with a respectable 97 and third place among a group of talented dogs and advanced handlers I have a great deal of respect for. That finished our Advanced Duck title, leaving us a cattle leg short of Quinn’s WTCH. Our second trial that day ended in me calling time. My bad for having told Quinn after the first trial that he’d never have to work ducks again. He obviously took that to heart.

Last year, there was a point where I was ready to call it quits with this dog. That was before my epiphany. Before my trialing Sistas talked me down off the ledge, and put things back into perspective for me. Before I was reminded that I’m not a quitter, even though some times I think I’d like to be. But then I’d have to live with the regret such a decision would have brought. I would have always wondered, “What if…”

Instead, I’m looking forward to May and the SEMASA trial and hoping the trial gods smile upon us, that we work as a team, that we give the best we can give on that particular day.

In the continuing saga of Jig, the travel psycho: we tried the seat-belt harness for the first time on a long trip. I’ve taken her for a couple short trips in it. Always exciting. Jig had to share space with Scully & Krave’s  crate in the back seat. We hoped they would have a calming influence on her. *snort* It took some trial and error for us to get the seat belt and harness adjusted so she couldn’t get herself half-way into the front seat and put a strangle hold on Tija. She was still stressed about the whole thing. Panted. Paced. Eventually climbed on top of the crate and laid with her head wedged behind the seat rest and the rear window.On the way home, we had it adjusted even better to take away some of her options. For a while she rested her chin on my left shoulder as I was driving. That was fine, except I really should have put a drool bib down first. She never settled for very long. Not until the last hour of the trip when I would guess exhaustion got the better of her and she actually curled up on her pad and laid down. Still stressed, and not at all willing to close her eyes, but at least she had stopped the pacing and pawing.

I have a few other things I’m going to attempt. She needs to travel. I don’t know that I’ll ever get her to not stress about it, but I have to at least settle on a solution that makes it safe for both of us.