Back to the Drawing Board

So unfortunately, Trip is still “not right.”  She ran GREAT at USDAA, going 6/6 with all 1st places, and finishing qualifying for USDAA Nationals in Colorado.  The following weekend, we ran one day at an AKC trial in Conroe.  Standard was, as always, brilliant.  JWW, she was slow, her jumping off, and she eventually just stopped.  I stayed for Time to Beat to see how she would do when looking at another “standard-appearing” course, back in the Standard ring.  She went to the first jump, stopped, and wouldn’t take it.  Her ears were down, her face was stressed, and she just broke my heart.

I thought about, and went back through months worth of videos to see how she was running.  Prior to June at the Monroe trial, she has never shown signs like this.  After that show, we diagnosed her with some nerve pain in her neck (later on, I remembered her getting her head hung up in the chute in class the week before that Monroe trial, and I assume that was the inciting cause).  Trip was rested on medications, as well as acupuncture, and she ran 3 trials in July, August, and September great, with no problems.  The unwillingness to run in JWW started in October.

I really feel like this is a recurrence of her initial neck problem, so I’m going to try treating for that again, and see how she responds.  It is definitely possible that there is a mental component as well, and it’s very hard to sort through.  When I do bring her back to agility, I plan on lots of short, rewarding sequences.  If there’s one dog that doesn’t need to run lots of courses, it’s Trip.  I’m not sure what my plan for her is when our trial season starts back up in January–I just want her back and healthy before AKC Nationals.  We are entered, and this year, we’re in it to win it. 🙂  So, I will be trying my best to err on the side of caution.

On the opposite side, Ticket is doing great.  She is running like a crazy dog, so thrilled to be back and playing agility.  She is doing full-height equipment, though I’m doing some more work with the aframe lowered that has more to do with my desire to improve her aframe contact then her inability to do it at full height.  I do tend to lower the jumps towards the end of a training session.  I’m still working on the strength in her rear end, and I’m overly paranoid about dogwalk approaches.  But it appears she will be ready to go for her first trial back in January.  I’m trying not to have any expectations for those first shows back, and I am definitely concerned that she will be SO high that she will break the rules and we’ll have to leave.  You just never know.  Right now, I’m just focusing on the happiness of having my fun-loving blue girl back in the ring, and am waiting for that moment when my perfect girl Trip is back there and really WITH me again, no matter what the outcome of the runs is.  I would happily take a scribe sheetful of faults if it meant Trip was running out there having a blast.

Cherish every moment with your dog–you never know when life will get in the way…


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