Today was supposed to be Payton's ring debut, in the rally ring. It SORTA was. But it was awful. Let me clarify. It was going fantastic until right before we got in the ring. I had him out with me practicing rally signs, he was attentive, it was awesome. I was standing talking to a friend and she thought he looked great. Then he saw this Bernese Mt. Dog, and I don't know what it was about that dog but he lost his mind. Barking and growling and looking around at everything, and I couldn't get his attention back. I walked the opposite way, I turned him around so he couldn't see the dog, he was just gone. And then they called our number for the ring and I walk in with my dog barking and swiveling his head like an owl. We got through four signs before I asked the judge to leave the ring. It wasn't rally, it was my walking with my dog flipping out on the leash barking and growling and staring suspiciously at everything. My friend told me I shouldn't feel bad and it's not my fault, he just clearly wasn't even present. She tried to make me feel better and she sort of did because she KNEW how he was before and then saw him after he got spooked and she recognized that was not normal Payton, so thankfully somebody was there to try and encourage me and not just tell me I'm a horrible trainer and I'll never get anywhere with Payton unless I started hurting him. But that was mortifying in a way I did not expect. I expected him to maybe be a total crazy jumping and wanting to play, I did NOT expect him to be a total crazy thinking the world was about to end. I wasn't prepared for that reaction at all. I'm not mad at Payton but I'm really sad now, because now is when all the doubts set in, and I can't help but worry that maybe we're just going to have an issue. The breeder I got him from doesn't do performance so his litter didn't go through all the socialization stuff Auggie's litter went through, so Payton just... notices EVERYTHING. If you bring something new into the house he barks at it. If you MOVE something he barks at it. If he sees something that he has never seen before he barks at it. So maybe I SHOULD have been prepared for that reaction. I know this is all Control Unleashed stuff. I know really, it will be okay. Of course I have lent my copy of CU to my sister for her new puppy so I don't have it right now to read through and form a new plan and reassure myself. So all I have is just... doubts. and worries. and sad. There's always tomorrow, unless that goes terribly wrong too. If he isn't present before we walk into the ring I'm not even going IN the ring this time. We worked so freaking hard leading up to this, and he really is a great little dog, I thought it would be fun. I honestly thought we could scrape out a Q. Instead... ugh. On the upside, Auggie got a first and Q for his second RA leg today. And got his MJP yesterday. So yay for the Auggie, he is my little rock star. He had an ear up in the rally ring and everything, he was so charged. Just venting really, I know we can work through it... I know it's going to be okay... really. Or at least I think so. Just need to get my books and formulate a plan. Sigh.