The hardest test yet!
We were at an agility trial, and the trial was indoors, but they didn't have room inside the building for the practice jumps that they have for competitors. They put it outside. The test for Simon was that the practice jumps were in the only grass area near the building, and it doubled as the potty area for a lot of the dogs that were competing. There were over 300 entries. If anything will distract Simon it is where dogs have gone potty. He has to investigate and mark over every spot it seems. So this was the test.
After Al and I had finished for the day, I brought Simon out, and took him to the practice jumps, and wanted to see what would happen. All his senses went off, and as soon as he was released from his sit, he couldn't help himself. He left me, and went over to sniff about 10 feet away. He was in a trance. He didn't even notice me until I had quietly slipped his collar over his neck and picked him up. The ground was covered with dog scents everywhere I'm sure, plus there were dog treats everywhere on the ground around the practice jumps, as people are pretty sloppy with their treats before they go in to compete, plus there were several dogs within 25 feet, and people and dogs walking around further away. It was distraction central. It couldn't get harder for Simon.
So I carried him over to the practice jump, put him down, gave him a treat of string cheese, took off the collar. Told him to sit, and then when I released him, he did it again!! This time he went to a different spot about the same distance away, and I went over and got him the same way. This time when I had him on leash I took him to a tree and said go potty, and he did, and then we walked back to the practice jump, I treated him, and then took off the collar while he was in a sit, and then said REAAAADDDY!!! to get him charged up, and released him. He took off for the jump and turned on landing and came right back to me looking for a reward, which he was rewarded heavily for, and then he wanted to work. We had a few minutes (maybe 3) at the jump where I progressively moved him further from the jump, and me further from him, and in the end he was doing the jump from 25 feet, turning and coming back to me. He ignored everything. What a good boy.
At the end of the day, I had Simon's final height measurement taken so that he would get his permanent Height Card from the AKC. He didn't like the measuring device at all, and it took many attempts to get him to stand for it, as he wasn't liking it at all. His height was 16 ¾ inches at the withers, which will allow him to jump at 16 inches as his regular height in AKC and CPE. In USDAA he will have to jump 22 inches, which not going to be a problem for him either as he is a beautiful jumper (jumping long and flat). When Simon competes it will mostly be in AKC.
I am shooting for an early December indoor trial as his debut, but that date is going to be flexible, depending on what happens in the next month.
I am so glad to see his progress, and all the attention I'm getting from him. He gets totally energized when he sees dogs doing agility now. He wants to get out and do it. When we are watching from the gallery, he is on my lap, and is watching what is going on in the ring with all his attention. It's like watching someone who is watching a tennis match. He follows what is going on in the ring and moves his head back and forth as the teams move through the course.