So the past weekend was a good learning experience for us. Seems I haven't quite gotten down the 'management' aspect of trialing. When he was showing in novice, I let him spend too much of his energy before a show and the lack of energy came through and showed in his scores. THIS time, I was really careful to keep him calm and/or locked up so that he would have plenty of energy for the ring. Since novice though, his stamina has increased pretty significantly because now I need to plan on using up some of his energy before a show!
He was a wild man, and it showed in his dancing between exercises on Friday and our poor fast transistions on the heel. We had spent so much time speeding up the heeling, I was not prepared for him to be forged doing the fast! That is where we lost most of our point this weekend, so we will devote some extra time to cleaning up the heeling pattern and better defining heel position.
The rest of the points were lost on fronts and finishes. He isn't giving me any of them consistently, partly because we didn't practice enough and partly because he is so young. Some days he would give me great fronts, and crappy finishes and other days he would give me great finishes and crappy fronts. Other days he will give me mediocre fornts and finishes. We need to work on helping him find the right spot everytime all by himself.
His size is really working against us. If he is off even just a little bit it shows - he doesn't have much room for error.
While we work on these things for open, we are turning the rest of our attention to Utility now. We have started before but we stopped working it as we prepared for this show. Now it is back to work!
Since it will be a while before we learn all of our Utility exercises, we will work on stamina at shows. We can keep showing in Open and Rally at trials, untill we get all the way though Rally to get him used to showing twice in a day. I still have to figure out what "works" for Rugby at trials. How to maintain him between days so he does his best.
It is daunting to know that this is just the beginning of a long obedience road ahead of us!