Wow wow wow. Wall-e IS NO LONGER SCARED to go into/be in the arena, the same arena where his noise phobias and fear of indoor agility buildings began! I couldn't be more surprised!!
He's still a bit nervous over loud noises, like the door opening and closing lots of times or an airplane (I think? maybe?) that flew overhead a few times. BUT this is an ENORMOUS improvement!!!
And although he's not 100% relaxed while waiting around inside the arena, he transforms into a different dog when he step into the ring. His tail waves and he gives me a goofy grin as soon as we pass the gates and step foot into the ring. It's like flicking a switch. He loves agility and once he knows that we're going to run, he forgets about his fears.
I hadn't even entered him today because I did NOT think that he would be able to stay in the building for more than a minute without shutting down completely (refusing treats, showing very stressed body language, and going to the door to try to leave). WOW.
His first run was crazy. It was a Starters Standard.I skipped the first part of the course because it had the A-frame and dog walk and I hadn't brought his PVC hoop, so we started with the table. He offered a 2on2off. I should have expected that, haha! Once I *told* him to Down (instead of just saying "Table!" and expecting him to lie down) he complied happily as if to say, "Um, sure, why didn't you tell me before!" We tried to run the remainder of the course, but he flew off the teeter twice; he hasn't been on a regulation-size teeter since, gosh, last year at the November fun match? So it's no wonder he soared off, with the speed he had from all the obstacles before. Once I asked him to Sit-Stay in front of the teeter and called him over, he did it beautifully, stopping in 2o2o at the end!! (He added the 2o2o on the teeter himself while playing teeter games on my mini/TDAA teeter. I never trained it, let alone on a competition-size teeter!)
His second run didn't start off too well because while he was in his start-line stay, he heard an airplane, or something? (I still can't figure out what that sound was.) His ears flicked back and he looked away from me. I released him from the stay to attempt to re-set him and get him back in his happy mood. He recovered a bit and his tail rose to its happy height, but he didn't want to sit, so I revved him up with our "Reeaaddyy, Set, Go!" cue and then ran with him to the first jump. Although he wagged his tail during the Ready-Set-Go cue, he didn't bark during the cue like he always does, so he was still a bit stressed. He recovered so well, though, especially for him. He ran the beginning of the sequence that I had planned (I decided not to try the course again) with speed. Then he ran off to investigate something. He probably smelled a dropped treat or something. He definitely wasn't stressed because his tail was raised very cheerfully. I got him focused on me again quickly and we ran the rest of the sequence. He had great weaves, entering correctly, not skipping any poles, and not popping out!! Yay!
Mika's run (which was set up as a Steeplechase course, but I made up a sequence instead) was awesome. From the start, she was in the zone. Total focus! She broke her start again the same way as she did at the trial last weekend, and she even completely self-released and zoomed over the jumps without me saying "Okay!", but I was thrilled with her anticipation! As for the actual sequence, she was fast!! Her weaves were awesomely fast too! So, so much fun to run my girlie when she's having this much FUN! We tried the weaves again a couple of times for practice (all I have set up in the backyard right now is sets of 6 stick-in-the-ground poles, which are annoying to move). She did pop at the 10th pole those couple of times, but I rewarded her anyway. We had a food tube party when we were done. I threw the beloved food tube back and forth for her, which she was thrilled about. I LOVE to throw the food tube and watch her driving and extending to chase it, then letting out a joyful bark as she reached it. She's so beautiful and joyful at the same time.
Wall-e's last run (really just the sequence I had planned) was his best. He ran the sequence perfectly.
Amazing day!! Will post the video whenever I have time.