Marge and I went in to this weekend of agility with not a single qualifying score in Excellent A Standard.
We went out with three.
Yes, in what I consider to be a stunning turn of events, Marge and I qualified in three straight Excellent Standard runs at my club's 3-day agility trial.
We were helped tremendously by the fact that we had a special training session at a not-so-nearby agility club to address Marge's aversion to the new teeter that they have been using in local competitions. My club owns an old teeter that my dog is familiar with, which makes it pretty much useless for my purposes.
So, I dropped in to a Beginner agility class about 60 miles away to work on that specific teeter. Thanks to the help of the instructor (whose instruction I REALLY enjoyed, and who I will be having a private lesson with this weekend), I also corrected some handling mistakes that were making matters much worse. I was hesitating at the middle of the teeter plank and that was causing Marge to lose momentum and sometimes bail off. It was a handling strategy I had originally incorporated to help coach Marge over the teeter, but I guess it started to backfire.
She was pretty much solely reward-based in her agility training methods and reminded me of some things that I could do to build positive associations between various things in agility and at agility trials.
Coming in to this weekend, I had one goal and one goal only - run to the end of the teeter plank and get Marge to stay on the board and complete the obstacle.
Turns out I far surpassed that goal.
How or why Marge and I ran so well in Standard this weekend, I will never know. Could one little training session have fixed several months of failure in Excellent Standard? I don't know. I just hope that we keep running like this.
(Our Jumpers runs were good, too - one off course the first day, one dropped bar the second day, and one tight little sequence that doomed us on the third day.)
That's it, we're in Excellent B now. The big time. Every qualifying run will come with a point value attached to it. Every Q (and double Q) will bring me closer to the one title I truly covet.