Monday, January 23, 2012

Trial Notes

Practice makes perfect, I've Riff and I need to practice going to trials.  What a rusty day we had at the BayTeam trial!  Our new plan is to go to as many local "fun matches" as we can.  Usually I avoid them because I'm lazy, or busy.  Or I really don't want to stand in the lines they've been having at the fun matches, trying to keep my reactive dog calm until it's our turn.  (Which is surprisingly difficult at times.)  But practicing more might help us calm down.  Although....I did feel curiously calm at the start-line of both of our classes on Saturday.  It was after we got going that my brain started to flail around in my head.  Even though I played with Riff out in the field for quite a while before we went into the ring, he was thrumming along on a hair trigger while I was bumbling along.   More practice needed. 

Attitude....try to hang on to a good attitude.  This game is seriously FUN, even if you put your dog into a "down" right after the first jump, because he didn't hold his start-line stay.  Even if you leave the ring after the first jump.  Even if you put your dog into a "down" after contact obstacles, because he didn't hold his 2o2o.  (I didn't know what else to do!  Is there something better?)  The judge never did whistle us out...although I kept expecting him to.  Riff was veering this way and that.  After the first few obstacles I started laughing.  It suddenly seemed totally funny to me.  I'm not sure the judge agreed, and the audience was perfectly silent when we were on our way out.  Maybe nobody actually watched our run - that happens a lot.  But I still felt like hanging my head in shame.  It took some deep digging for me to find "handler motivation" for our next class.  I send a special "Thank you!" to LL, who told me "Don't you dare scratch your next class!  You're just rusty after nine months off..."  And helped me remember the whole "attitude" thing...

Trying something new:  like crating out of the car, and taking Riff home between classes....can be an unexpected challenge.  I didn't realize how strange it would feel.  It felt good to not schlepp a bunch of stuff around or sit for hours in the Lyttle Cow Palace, but I'm not sure which is better:  Keep Riff in a quiet place during the trial, and relax at home between classes as much as possible, or keep him (and me!) close to the noise and action, so we get "acclimatized."  Decisions, decisions....

Instigating 'Handler Motivation' is a cool way to spend your time between classes.  Clap and yell for everyone's run!  I wasn't very good at it on Saturday...too busy going to and from my van and my house....and worrying about the courses.  Next time, though, I plan to spend more time ringside....clapping and yelling!  Wahoo!!

Enthusiasm is catching.  Churchill once said:  "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm."  And I totally agree...but it's tough, sometimes.  You work so hard to play this game, and then you feel like a doofus.  Like you've been wasting a lot of precious time.  But you have to remember that that's just Ego, trash-talking in your head.  Remember to go tell someone how wonderful they're doing, how beautiful their dogs are, how great the rain is.  Enthusiasm is catching. 

Never give up!  Even if you had to scratch Sunday because your knee was swollen( for no good reason!) and your back was murderous.  Don't give up!  Old people can play this game, too.  Don't give up!

Crewing is a great thing...but chairs are important.  If you sign up to work as Ring Crew for a class...don't forget to bring your own chair or blanket with you.  Those metal chairs are bitterly cold in the winter, and not good for bad backs.

Excedrin and Advil are fine drugs....but you'd be better off if you did your core exercises more often.  Go on, you.  Exercise!


Tori Self said...

Love these trial notes!! Enthusiasm *is* catching.

Nicole said...

this is so clever!

Anonymous said...

Very good notes! Don't worry about what others are thinking, if they aren't cheering for you then their opinion does not matter. :-)

My dogs appreciate being crated out of the car, I think it is nice for them to get away from the noise and stress.

I'm going to remember this patience at our trial this weekend, our first one in a couple of months. Merc is likely to be a bit wild... ;-)

Jo and the Boys

vici whisner said...

Excellent message. Small steps! You are doing GREAT!!! Can't wait to see you at the next one. Sorry I didn't spend more time chatting, everytime I saw you I was running to do something.

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