Look what we got!
Yes, yes I did have to have a little celebration drink, I had been waiting for this to happen for months – finally a clear round at the UKA Agility competition!
I think I am still a little bit in shock being as I was doubting if I should even go to the show or not!
You can picture the scene, just back off holiday, the house is full of washing and a long list of things to do from missing a week of work!
I had been teaching all morning and I wasn’t even sure if I should have gone to the show or not as Milo and I hadn’t done any Agility equipment training for over a week and he normally doesn’t like the show environment (something we have been working on)
I thought I’d got nothing to loose and with our class being the last one of the day I felt better as there wasn’t loads of people hanging around watching, this is something that makes me nervous and Milo really picks up on how I’m feeling.
It was a really nice course with a couple of handling bits to get me thinking. I’d walked the course and got it in my head, and this time I walked the course for me and milo! Previously I’d been off put by how the other people walking the course were doing it, thinking I should be doing it their way and this has led me to get flustered. So when I had got it in my head I then went to get Milo.
He jumps out the van, all super excited as he knew what was in store, so I get his focus and he walks really nicely to heal – that’s until he spots the food van, then his mood changes slightly, he starts to get a bit nervous and I start to panic wondering if I’d made the right decision. We then get inside and to my horror they are taking all the decorations down (they had dressed the venue for Halloween) and Milo hates anything flapping like flags etc, so now I’m questioning even more if I’ve done the right thing! Thankfully with the help of cheese I get his focus and get him to ignore all the things around him including the other dogs, he barks a little bit due to excitement but nothing too bad.
So it’s our time, and I manage to get Milo’s focus a little bit on the start line, but no where near where it should be for a sit and wait (another thing we are working on)
With the 2nd obstacle being the dog walk I know I am ok to do a running start as I will have a little bit of time to get to the end of the dog walk to catch him up!
So that’s it, we are off! I let go of Milo’s collar and he takes the 1st jump and starts to go up the dog walk, he hesitates just for a brief second when he notices a hanging ghost, but with a lot of praise he carries on and ignores it, he even remembered to stop at the bottom of the contact until I released him! Then it’s a few more jumps and a tunnel, then the tricky handling bit, a rear cross over a jump then a tunnel entry, he goes over the jump then he spots the tunnel, but I tell him to go over and he responds just at the right moment (I did worry slightly tho) The rest of the course went with relative ease and I think my celebration dance at the end says it all, the relief of finally doing it, the clear round at competition I’d been waiting for, for what has seemed like months!
I’ve always known Milo has been capable of it and that’s been the most frustrating part for me, he takes much harder courses easily in training, it’s just the show environment that he doesn’t like, due to a bad experience at his first show where the measure was dropped on him by mistake and with the wind blowing the gazebos he got really scared and slipped his collar! So we have slowly been building up his confidence again in that environment. The equipment he has always loved, a little too much at times as he has been known to take his own path and not the one I’ve asked him to do 😂!!
But with all this in the back of my mind I get all nervous and Milo picks up on this and then we get our problems!
However today was to be our day and I couldn’t be more happier with how it went, and the best bit is that we did it in the fastest time too!!
It’s restored my confidence in him and I’m exited to see what the future holds, I mean don’t get me wrong, we are bound to have a lot more off days than celebratory ones, that comes with the territory!
You can find a video of our run on our Instagram page, it’s worth a look if only to laugh at my silly dance at the end!
I know to some it’s a small thing, but for us as a partnership it’s a massive step in the right direction! I struggle with praising myself as unfortunately I don’t have a army of people around me building my confidence by throwing a party everytime I sneeze like others seem too, so this can be challenging as I end up questioning myself and if I did the right thing etc etc.
For example just this run itself, I was going to NFC it (not for competition) but then I was thinking, Milo isn’t that toy motivated, so I can’t reward him in the ring anyway as no food is allowed in the ring, so if anything it would put him off and he’d wonder why I was shoving a toy in his face! His reward is the equipment, so I made the call to just go for it and that’s what I did! Imagine of I’d ran it like that and it didn’t count as I’d NFC’d it!! I’d be well peeved!
So the moral of all this is, trust your instincts, do what makes you happy and push that little bit more out of your comfort zone! I did and I don’t regret it one bit! What’s the worst that could happen? And is it really that bad if it did? I can guarantee if you just go for it, even if it doesn’t go the way you planned, you will have learnt something positive from it all 😀.