Baer's times were consistent, and in a decent amount of runs, she got the 3 strides. At first, I was excited, then I realized a lot of it stemmed from whether her box turn was wide or not. I didn't think much of it, until we went to do our usual 3 striding work. We haven't done it since before Thanksgiving, and Baer acted as if we had never done it before in her life.
Not only was she stutter-stepping and skipping jumps today, she did not get a single good stride in, in 15 minutes of trying. I finally had her do one good stride over two jumps, praised her wildly, and stopped there. As baffled as I am, she's unique and I can't expect her to act the way I want her to. She had a lot of practice this tournament getting 3 strides in; then again, she had a lot of practice NOT getting 3 strides in. My fault, bad owner. Honestly, I saw it coming.
I could feel, during our session today, my patience running thin. I've been going through some emotional shit out of my dog world, and it's been depleting my patience already. I was taking Baer's inability to do the stride work today personally, as if I had failed her. It took a lot of self control to stop, after taking a baby step back and only going over two strides.
It's hard, when your dog regresses in training, to not feel like you've failed and your dog will never get it right. Yet, starting back at step one is much better than quitting altogether. I have learned a hard lesson - finish your retraining, then enter the dog in a race. Duh, Para.
My dog has reverted to her old leaping behavior and I can tell it's going to take work to get her back to the point we were at. I'm sure it won't take her a long time, like it did before, but you can bet we'll be practicing daily.
What did I learn?
1) STOP WHILE YOU'RE AHEAD.
2) Celebrate every victory. Let your dog know you're celebrating. They're trying so hard to get it right, make it clear to them when they do!
3) Don't push it. They'll learn in their own time. Make sure you have plenty of patience.
Back to the drawing board, but it's alright since our team isn't going to any tournaments for a while (4-5 months). Even if they choose to, I'm not going until Baer's proven she has gained the skills necessary to succeed.
Dog training can be
frustrating fun shit.