Well, we're not trial ready, but we've made great progress. Chinook is a friend's dog, and its been a long slog getting him to focus on me on course, rather than looking for Etsuko.
Today we ran three ASCA courses - 2 standard and one jumpers. The first standard run we did fairly well till I got lost on course (judge was also my coach, and she was shouting out instructions when I was trying to run and got me all confuddled. Not that it's difficult to confuddle me....
Second run, Chinook decides he doesn't want to do offside weaves anymore, so it took a while to work through that, and then I was on the wrong side of the next three obstacles so it was very messy till I got myself rear crossed and back in line. But other than that, we did good - he even saw Etsuko walk past the ring, focussed on her, then whipped around and came right back to me. Which, in itself, was the highlight of the day for me.
Jumpers course we did very well, although by that point he was getting tired and blowing me off a bit.
On the puppy front, Sophie had a blast playing with a few other dogs, learning to ignore most of the others, discovering the joy of sheep and geese poop. The local boy scout troop came by to watch the herding and agility, so she got loads of socializing with young kids. Plus we got loads of practice with 'leave it" with fresh farm poop.
There was also a herding instinct test with three sheep. Watched a bouvier and two shelties get tested - it was very interesting to see the procedure. (The ones I've seen before just involved letting a dog in the pen with the stock, and seeing what it does.) This one was much much more controlled and safer for the stock. The dog was initially leashed and walked around the perimeter of the pen, and the evaluator watched its reaction to the sheep. The bouvier was completely intent on the sheep, and showed lots of herding interest, but since it wasn't fazed by having a rake shoved in its face, the evaluator wouldn't allow it anywhere near the sheep at all.
The two shelties on the other hand, were both very adept and respected the sheepies. Did a good job driving and turning the sheep, and both passed the test - which is nice to see the little dogs showing what they were supposed to do.
Etsuko wanted me to take Sophie in - she IS supposed to be part border collie, and she was certainly fascinated by the creatures. Told her if she wanted to pay the $35, she'd be welcome to try next year. Not letting my baby near those hooves just yet....