Riot and I had a wild ride this morning. It was the PVGRC speciality and I had him entered in Rally Advanced A and Wildcard Novice. Nothing counting towards any titles because I knew being outside on grass was going to be enough pressure for us.
I knew going in the grass was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t realize exactly how big of a challenge it was going to be!
Riot warmed up pretty nicely. He had a few minutes of excellent attention and the rest was not great, but adequate. He was really doing a great job even with all the distractions around and being on grass. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I completely lost his attention about 30-45 seconds before the judge called our number. We got to the entrance to the gate and I was continually having to pull his nose off the ground. The judge warned me that when we got into the ring I couldn’t do that or she’d take points off. I didn’t realize they could take points off before you actually started, so I guess that’s good to know.
We got to the start line somehow and he sat with me with probably some of the best attention I’ve had from him at the start line. He was actually doing a very nice job watching me.
The judge told us we could start, and I said heel and proceeded to walk forward. Riot sat there and looked at me. I said “heel” he continued to look at me. I said “heel” and he finally got up. I don’t know if I had told him to “stay” or “wait” at the start line while I was taking off the leash or what happened. Usually I don’t use any sort of word that means stay with a sit or down command since it’s redundant for him (his sit and down mean stay until I release or give you another command) and it does tend to confuse him when I give him a stay and then another command — he give you this look like, it that a trick?
He caught up to me (nose mostely on the ground) and somehow we got the sit at the first obstacle, which was a sit to a fast. Well the fast turned into a yee-haw lets run around the ring smelling everything. The judge yelled “block the gates.” I got him back around the normal sign, did a really messy left turn and then had a beautiful call front, finish left, halt. The next two signs he mostly kind of stayed with me, nose on the ground though, and then he had the jump, which he ran ahead of me, nose on the ground after. The next two obstacles were pretty much a mess.
And then we got excused.
Ugh. She said she didn’t think Riot was ready for this. I knew it was going to be a challenge for us, but never in a million years did I think we’d get excused.
Of course as soon as we leave the ring, he goes lunging for the closest dog to go visit. I gave him a good tug on the leash, and a pretty serious “no.” Which got me pulled aside and warned that I could get written up and reported for that on show grounds. Whoops. So I guess no correcting for inappropriate behavior at shows.
I put him back in his crate and sat there for a while while he pulled himself together. He was being such a goof in his crate. Once he settled, I opened the door and we sat there calmly watching to other dogs pass. He was doing pretty good, but was trembling every once in a while. I’m not sure if it was excitement, nervousness, or if he was possibly a little cold. We sat there for a while with me debating whether or not we’d stick around for wildcard novice.
I was really torn, because I wanted to see how he’d do. I did consider opting out of the off leash healing part and just doing the rest, but ultimately, I decided I was going to be too paranoid after his performance in rally and that I didn’t want him in the ring again if I couldn’t correct him for the nose on the ground or the lack of attention.
I had so many people come up to me and say he sure was entertaining to watch and he was named quite appropriately. And I really can’t be mad at him. A little frustrated, yes — especially after seeing so much improvement in our obedience class over the last 6 weeks.
On the way home we stopped off at the dog park and worked on our attention from the opposite side of the parking lot. He was doing a bit of avoidance initially where he’d kind of look at me and kind of not, but he got better as we worked more. We’ve got all summer to work on our attention in new places, so I think we’re going to take advantage of that.