Echo is starting to enter the agility trials now along with Whisper. She is a steady eddy type of dog qualifying every class entered but one(off course) but I would like her to speed up. Running Whisper for so long she and I have developed our own form of communication with each other. Echo and I are still learning to read each other and it shows in our runs.
The higher the level the harder the courses. Below are her three Excellent Standard runs. She earned three legs with 2 first places and one 2nd place and her title in her first three attempts. But her confidence in what she is doing is low. She is not reading my cues hence the backspins and slow downs between obstacles. I on the other hand forget she is a baby dog and needs extra help at this stage. A perfect example of my mistake is on the last course, I should have front crossed before the chute not rear crossed. An inexperienced dog will come out looking for the handler on the last side they saw them, hence the backspin. An experienced dog like Whisper will pick up the rear cross and come out looking for the handler on the new side. I forgot I was running Echo not Whisper, so besides causing the backspin I also caused Echo to worry where I went. Not great in confidence building for her.
Agility is certainly a learning game. Each dog learns at their own pace and has their own strengths and weaknesses. A good handler learns what each dog needs, takes advantages of their strengths and helps them overcome their weaknesses.