In which I post pictures that have only slight variations from Danielle's versions, because I am Super Original like that (also, because absolutely everybody in the building with a camera and/or phone took a picture of that awesome groundhog cake. How could you not?!).
Groundhog Day, a/k/a Super Bowl Sunday, found us at the Dog Training Club of Chester County in Exton, where we nominally train (when I can get away from work in time, i.e., not very often these days) and where Pongu, historically, has consistently underperformed in what should be a fairly comfortable environment for him.
On this particular day, however, he did all right. I won't say flawless. We had our mistakes. But they were mostly the same mistakes I see when practicing -- which means they were the result of under-training, not trial stress -- and that meant I was getting more of my dog in the ring than I've ever been able to get before. He held his Stays! He took his jumps! He did his Downs and didn't need that many repeat cues!
Next to that, our actual scores were secondary, although they were pretty good too. 209/206/203 in the first round (we had some bobbles in Level 3, although I no longer recall exactly what they were, other than some creeping forward on the Stand/Down/Sit/Recall), NQ (missed sign, SIGH)/209/209 in the second round. One more triple Q toward ARCHMX, would have been two if not for Total Handler Fail. Oh well.
Between runs I took Pongu out to run off-leash around the empty office park, because it's lonely enough on Sundays that I feel pretty safe letting him cut loose in the parking lots. It seems to help him blow off stress and keep his spirits up over the course of a long day, especially when there's snow on the ground.
After the trial ended, we went back and took pictures with Molly and Ein for Team Unruly's Wordless Wednesday, since I am now Officially a member of the crew there (hoho!!) and still get a pretty good glow of satisfaction out of that.
And that was our day. Pongu managed to place in every run that he Q'ed, which is something we have never done in the B divisions before. Ah, if only I hadn't screwed up that Level 1 run...
Between this trial and our last AKC Rally Novice run, I am feeling good about where we stand today. There is a lot I'd like to improve and many weaknesses we have that need fixing... but Pongu worked hard for me this weekend, and he worked well, and I'm proud of him.