At Mika's trial a week ago, Wall-e was scared to go inside the building, the one that he had spent all of last year going inside during Mika's trials, and taking classes there too. He's generalized his fear of agility buildings from the one where the snow slid off the roof (which began his phobia of noises in general) to this building.
I was planning on trialing him at one outdoor trial in September and then a whole bunch of indoor trials after that, but with his fear of this building, I would only be able to do that one outdoor trial. Since most of the trials from March to May are indoors, he would only have one trial under his belt before running at Regionals next year. I want him to be more experienced at trials than that, so I've decided to begin his competition career early this summer at an outdoor trial.
That means that Wall-e's first trial will be in June. He'll be running in one AAC Starters Jumpers run at 10" Specials. The trial venue will be the one where he ran at his first two fun matches. It's the best choice for him. He'll be running at a fun match at the same venue a couple weeks before, so I can make sure that he isn't showing any signs of fear from the environment.
In November 2008 I wrote:
"My goal for Wall-e is to train him to eventually be a happy, fast, confident agility dog who tries his best to follow my directions. I don't expect to create a "perfect dog". After all, there is no perfect dog. But, I will do everything I can to train him to be a good little worker. I mainly want him to have FUN!"
I think I have succeeded in training him to be a "happy, fast, confident agility dog who tries his best to follow my directions." He is very happy when he runs. His speed can be awesome (although I would like him to be more consistent with it). He is confident outdoors (not talking about indoor facilities here!). And, he does try his best to follow my directions.
June. Let's see where it takes us.