This was my second week training both dogs in the same class and I think I'm going to enjoy it. Rylie barks at me when I take Max as if to say "Hey - you've got the wrong one" but he settles down and quietly waits his turn.
I had some time this week to reflect on last weekend's trial and the events that led up to Max deciding to leave the ring instead of running his final run.
1. It was incredibly hot - Max is not a fan of running in the heat (neither am I for that matter).
2. I had to run the dogs back to back. It was a small trial and they told me to take my time but I allowed myself to feel self imposed pressure to get back into the ring quickly. Rylie ran first and I immediately (after loving him up a bit) handed him off to my trainer and grabbed Max. I left the treat/tug toy with my trainer just outside the ring so she could give Rylie treats. Max and I ALWAYS tug before a run. I haven't noticed it really gets him more aroused (which is what I'm hoping for) but regardless that is what we do and he gets a few treats as we warm up. This time nada. We get to the line and of course there is no hope Max will be focused without our warmup so he isn't. He looks around and sees my trainer just outside the ring feeding Rylie treats (well kibble but still). If you were a highly food motivated dog where would you rather be? Bingo - Max made a beeline for the treats.
3. Did I mention it was stinking hot?
Moral of the story. I did Max a great disservice but not giving him a proper warm up with my full attention. I am not an experienced enough handler to run two dogs back to back. I should have either taken all the time I needed to go through our warm up routine or been more assertive that they put at least one dog between us, or just scratched the run.
Lessons learned at class today. Running Max makes me feel like I know what I'm doing. Running Rylie first over the same course is humbling.