After two full days of trialing I could hardly be more happy with Max and Rylie.
Max and I kept a really good connection at the start line and throughout. There was only a little bit of stress scratching and watching the videos he is pretty focused on me. I lost his attention once in the middle of the gamblers course but that was mainly due to my position and not so smooth handling. I was able to get his focus back and we continued on. He did an excellent job on both the snooker run (he was second fastest of all the dogs qualifying of any height) and on the masters jumpers (where I caused a fault by getting out of position). We have a POA for his dogwalk because he is consistently jumping over the bottom contact. In training we will put the stride regulator back in. Hopefully that will help.
Rylie and I struggled a bit with contact criteria (as in he didn’t think it was necessary) and got off the table in one run and flew over it in another but those are things we can fix. He ran well and on all but one run his weaves were perfect. I think I could have done cartwheels beside him and he wouldn’t have popped out. His jumpers run was spot on – we were totally connected and I don’t think he took any extra steps.
I struggled in gamblers with both dogs. I think they both might have been able to get the gamble but the first obstacle was the teeter and I don’t think there was any way to send to it without going over the line. With Rylie I totally missed the fact that I was on the wrong side of the line (it was an angled line – not a straight one like I’m used to) so we got buzzed. With Max I sent him to the teeter, realized I was on the wrong side – rear crossed him to get myself on the correct side and that pulled him off the teeter. That maneuver made his next teeter performance tentative but luckily we had a few goes at the teeter and I think he’s good.
Full day trials mean spending a fair bit of time crated. Both dogs are getting more comfortable with this. I'm also lucky in that being inside the venue is relatively non stressful for them. Max can be asleep in my arms and when I say "okay" he immediately leaps off of my lap and is ready to go. Rylie is pretty much always ready to go. I was able to leave Rylie sit in his chair while I walked the course (I always had someone keeping an eye on him so I didn't have to). He was usually first dog in so I didn't have the option of leaving him crated until I was done. I do credit the border collie in his class with his excellent stay. She has taken it upon herself to tell Rylie off when the thought of entering her personal space (which is quite large) pops into his head.
Max isn't quite so good at staying put and needs someone to play a bit more active role. Something to work on.