I love how life occasionally presents unexpected opportunities.
I had pretty much resigned myself to a rally trial free winter when I got an email from one of the folks with Regina Kennel & Obedience Club. One of the judges they had lined up is ill and not able to judge this weekend – would I be able to fill in last minute for her on Sunday? As a trial secretary, one’s worst nightmare is a judge that’s unable (for any reason) to keep the assignment and here on the prairies, weather and travel can be very real obstacles so can a sick or injured judge.
A quick call to Sean to confirm he’d be ok stranded at home for the weekend without a car and I replied that I would….OF COURSE!
This means I’ll be able to attend the trial Saturday with Bear and – oh crap – I have not been working at all on those things we aren’t so good at back in November like the back up 3 steps, the food bowls and the moving sidestep right. So I figured, what better time to put our minute by minute micro training to the test. Since I can’t work on everything and each session is supposed to concentrate on on criteria or skill set, I will concentrate on using the micro-training for the back-up 3 steps which we are almost certain to have in one of the two excellent runs on Saturday. Food bowls and the sidestep right in Versatility are possible but less likely.
I had a brainwave about the back up at our Sue Ailsby seminar we hosted back in November when Sue mentioned that a person could click for movement or for position depending on what their dog was doing and what the handler wanted. In our case Bear is highly aware of his rear and able to move backwards but I have clearly been rewarding the movement back over the staying in perfect heel position. The criteria I will now focus on during our sessions is Bear maintaining or reaching heel position and not swinging his rear out or crabbing in as I back up. Until recently, our typical performance would have been qualifying but last year, CARO tightened the judging criteria considerably, leaving little room for less than perfect performances. As a judge I love the change but as a competitor, I am less enamored with it.
We’ve been at our six minutes of backing up since Monday and I’ll report back after the trial. Wish us luck!