Well, I thought we would do good today. I was feeling great, Rowdy was more than ready to go. Then I lost him. As soon as we walked into the ring I lost him. He HATES sits and of course there was the 1-2-3. At that point he decided that the OB ring beside ours was much more interesting. I yelled his name, clapped, kissy noises, nothing could bring him back to me. Thank goodness it was novice and I had him on leash, if not I think he would have just been in the OB ring.
I could feel my eyes fill with tears of frustration, I turned to the judge and ask to be excused. She was shocked. I could have struggled through the rest but at that point I just didn't have the desire.
What once seemed like something fun has turned into heartbreak. This is the 2nd in a row that this has happend. I am going to keep training, but at this point I am putting off any events until I feel 99% sure that he and I are on the same page. The crazy thing is just this past August he got a 199 out of 200 in APDT. I know he can do it. I feel like trash tonight. I know everyone has bad days and tomorrow I will feel a lot better but right now it just really stings.
Sorry for whining - just had to tell someone that might understand.
I'm so sorry for the bad day. I know your frustration. How old is Rowdy? Things will look up. Practice next to an obedience ring. That's what I had to do with Buddy. I'd lose him everytime.
Eiderdowns That's My Buddy
CDX, RE, WC, CGC, TDInc.
Oh no! :-\
Man, I really feel for you too. Do you remember me talking about Huntsville? It was just like what you are describing. It IS so disappointing. Angus is fantastic when he's on. But we sat around waiting for our turn for like four hours, it was REALLY stinking hot (and Angus melts in the heat), and by the time we got in the ring, Angus was like, "Connie who? I'm sorry, never met her." :
He, too, got all wrapped up in what was going on next door in obedience. For us, it was someone shouting their dog's name. Then, when we got past that, he became very interested in this strange person who was following us around with a clipboard. Then he thought he saw something on the floor. etc.
I worked my A$$ off in that ring to keep his attention, and I just baaaaarely kept it. I lost him over, and over, and over. He was like some kind of zombie. Just walking around sort of staring out into space. Angus loves sits, but I had to remind him to sit every time at the 1-2-3. He missed the first cone on the serpentine and I had to start over. The last thing was fast forward from a sit. If there's anything Angus should be able to do, it is this. I took off, and he was still hanging around back there like some kind of slug. Really. I couldn't BEEELIEVE it!
When I came out of the ring, the first thing I said was, "Well...I don't know WHAT that was..."
I have always said of that day, I think Simon could have done better the very first day I brought him home. Before he had ANY training. My big joke is, I could have done as well with a dog I pulled off the street: "Hey, dog, c'mere. Wanna come in here and do some Rally?"
Our next trial is in eight days. I am really hoping for a better performance. Or I may be joining you in semi-retirement.
Seriously, good days and bad days. You know he can do it! Just take a little break. Things will look better in a few days.
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
Thank you for your support. Rowdy is 18mo. It is all a training issue. He is at that stage where everything is more interesting than me - unless I have food.
This morning things are a lot clearer. For now it is all about damage control. He was not at all happy with me. My melt-down really twisted him. I can rationalize my failures but I am sure he can't and right now he needs to know it wasn't his fault.
No matter what the outcome of this he is a great dog, a loving companion and my best friend. I love him dearly. I guess I was just hoping he would enjoy doing Rally as much as I do.
Believe me, we all have those days. You are working with another living, breathing, thinking animal who is going to have good and bad days too. Rowdy is still VERY young to be competing. This is all new to him and no matter how hard you try, you cannot create a similar show environment during your training. You just can't so don't be so hard on yourself. I would focus on attention exercises and do them in lots of busy new places. I'd also sign up for every match/fun run I could find until you feel confident that Rowdy can keep his focus on you. Also, how much time did Rowdy have at the show site before showing? Some dogs need to get there hours ahead of time to walk around and check out all the sights, sounds, smells. Other dogs stress when they are sitting around for hours so they need to just show up and go in the ring. You will need to figure out which type of dog Rowdy is.
Oh, don't let it get you down. I totally understand how you feel. When I put Maddy in her first match for obedience, we BOMBED!!! I think we got either a 120 or 140 out of 200, and I KNEW she knew the exercises. It took me another year of practicing to build up my confidence to go back in the ring again. It took us 5 times to get our CD. The 2 times we DQ'd, one of the times Maddy had never worked in an indoor ring before and FREAKED. She was so stressed. When we did her Stand, after the judge was done with her, she walked back with him...automatic DQ. A couple of weeks later we did a trial and she was excellent in all the exercises....the BEST heeling she has ever done...so here I am excited to title her that day and we get to the sit/stays, and we're literally seconds from walking back to the dog......and she lies down...automatic DQ.
I am taking my male into the ring tomorrow for his first Novice trial. I am very fearful of what he'll do. He literally could walk out of the ring, hot on the trail of some good smell.
Give yourself a break, do some more training, try him at a match, and then try it again.
And Rottnlabs is right, find what works for you and Rowdy. With Maddy, we do best when we are there at least an hour ahead and we can both be relaxed and familiar with the grounds, ring, have time for potty, and do a little play and practice right there....
I've been there too! Sometimes I get a sense that things will go wrong, and just go into it with a "oh well" attitude. I did that at the last Rally trial with Hoss, and even told the jusge before we started, "We'll be the comedy act for today!" (But Hoss did pretty well, but had to use a lot of hand clapping, "TREATS!" and such.
Hang in there, these youngsters have a long career ahead of them! Take time to learn what they need, as the others have said.
Sometimes the best dogs get off to the worst starts. Amber and my first three shows in Obedience ended in disaster. I needed the stewards and the judges help to catch her in the second show just so I could leave. I vowed to never step in a ring again. Two months later I was training again. Five months after the last show I found a Mentor to help me. Initially I just wanted to learn Rally from her but she ran me through obedience to and boy did she tell me everything I was doing Wrong!!!!She also told me how to fix everything. I entered in a show in both rally and obedience about 1 month later. She told me we still were not what she considered 100% ready for showing but that it would just be an expensive practice. I don't think I took more than three breaths through my whole individual exercises and I nearly passed out during the down because I was hyperventilating. That day we got a 1st in both obedience (a 196)and Rally novice(a 94).
To date we have had four 1st places two 2nd places and one 4th place in the 7 entries since I met my Mentor. I needed that person that would go to the show with me and tell me what to do every step of the way. I now have a routine at a show and am very relaxed and happy to be there. Amber is now very excited at every show. Her tail wags everystep of the heeling patterns. She launches herself at me like a Labramissle on the recalls.
We came very close to never showing again and We would never have known the joy of being in the ring doing our routine like a perfect team. There aren't as many joys as good as being in perfect harmony with your dog in a ring. I wish I was a better handler as I am holding her back at this point but I am still learning.
Work your dog on distractions and new places and around different people. Teach your dog to "Look" at you. A couple of weeks with a toy, food and a clicker if you like and no distractions. Then you might want to give a pop on the collar if he looks away and doesn't look at you. Some people use a tap on the dogs head. You then will need to start using distractions etc and do proofing.
I hope this helps you and gives you some ideas.
Kelly G and Amber RN CGC
WOW - you all have some stories. And I had the nerve to whine - shame on me!!!
I have decided that we are NOT giving up!!! We are going back to the basics and starting over from page one.
Thanks again everyone. I may have tons of questions so you may get tired of hearing from me.
I thought I had already replied to your post, but in reading through it again, found that I hadn't. Emilu and I have just started showing in Rally. We've done very well for just starting, but I am REALLY nervous about advancing because of being off leash. Even though I have been been VERY good a the "loosh leash" thing, Emilu knows she is on the leash. Who know what she will do when she knows she is off -leash. I will add that she is the type of dog who need to get there early, scope everything and every dog out, and go through several run-throughs outside if possible, then inside. She also calms down just sitting in her crate watching stuff. Definitely no get there and show immedieatly for us!