I'm trying my best to calm down about this whole agility trial thing. I know that I'm overdramatic about it. I think I'm just so afraid of screwing up Marge's agility career as a new dog owner and new agility handler that I overanalyze every little thing that goes on.
The suggestions I've gotten are all across the board. I've had one or two people that told me to stop trialing altogether for an extended period of time. I think that's kind of on the extreme side. Most responses are within the range of "keep doing what you're doing." Some cite me and my limited trial schedule as being responsible for Marge's apparent (and yes, slight) discomfort in the ring.
Ultimately, we ARE going to stop trialing for an extended period, just because of the winter, after our last outdoor trial on November 6th and 7th. I can't bring myself to trial her indoors right now. The noises are different, they may be louder because the sounds are contained. It looks different, and it probably smells different, too. I think that trialing through the winter in places that neither Marge nor I are comfortable at would be more injurious than stopping for a while and picking up where we left off in the Spring.
I do think that part of the problem is that we haven't had a lot of class time this fall. Between the heat, the rain, and whatever else, class has literally been cancelled every other week. This past week, we barely had any running time in class at all - the class was full with 7 or 8 dogs, which meant we all got very limited time to work. Maybe I should set up some ring time again at the club to work on agility with Marge. I'm planning on having a private lesson before the next trial, but not this week - this week is reserved for a massage for Marge.
I'm trying very hard to get to a run-through this coming Saturday at another training facility. So far, I've sent 2 e-mails, but haven't heard anything back. It'll be a smallish group - 25 dogs or less - and it will be outdoors. I feel horrible for asking Louie to go with me, even though he's more than happy to. I'll have two minutes in the ring to do what ever I want. Someone gave me the good idea of breaking it in half - doing one minute, then having the next dog run, then doing another minute. I'm not sure if that'll be allowed, but I definitely want to keep things short, fun, and motivational, and I want to surprise Marge with rewards at problem areas (the table and the teeter, mostly). We'll see if I'm able to go.
One thing I did do recently is cut back on Marge's L-Theanine. I dropped her from 50 mg to 25 mg, because she has been doing SO well. I'm going to bump it back up for the next two weeks, and perhaps give her 75 mg the day of a trial.
And that's about all that I can do. I know that my stress might be adding to things, so I have to really work to change that. I'm trying.