Riley and I competed at a trial last sunday. We were registered for two rounds of CKC Rally Excellent and two rounds of Pre-Novice obedience. He did awesome in both his pre-novice rounds and we passed (they are no score just pass or fail). This felt great because when I tried last year he broke his sit stay which was only 30 seconds but he really wasn't comfortable in the line with other dogs. I had taken the stay for granted because he normally had a great stay in our outdoor classes but that didn't generalize well to the indoor trial environment. This time he was very solid and seemed like he should be fine with the increased novice times when we trial that in the next few months. He also did very well with the required honor stays in our Rally rounds.
Our morning Rally Excellent round wasn't our best round. One of the stations is an offset figure eight and there was a ball on one side and food on the other. Riley tweeked on that ball being there the moment we walked in the ring. He didn't touch it but his focus was not great. We managed to get through the round and we were one of only two rounds to qualify.
The afternoon RE round was basically a disaster. It had been a very long day and the afternoon course also had an offset figure eight but this time there was a big, squeeky stuffy toy on one side and basically poor Riley's head exploded and he could not focus. The dog LOVES a stuffy toy! He couldn't care less about the food temptation but toys are a whole other story. He didn't take the toy but oooooohhhhh was he tempted! He watched that toy the entire round and made sure in every station that he was positioned so he could keep it in sight. BRAT! Anyway, it is really my fault because I obviously have not trained that enough. When I work at home with him he will ignore stuff and work but something new just sitting out there is way to big a distraction. The plan will now be to get some new toys and train this in lots of different environments until we can work through it.
When all this happened I basically just laughed at him and moved on when we left the ring. I could have been mad or frustrated but I wasn't. He can do every one of those stations beautifully so this obviously wasn't the outcome I had hoped for. It wasn't great but it did give me great feedback on what we need to work on just like how those broken stays on the last trial gave me good information.
Stella was registered to do her Canine Good Neighbour test at that same trial but she is in her first heat so we elected to defer that for now. We might try for that in may if the scheduling works out.