So we had a WCRL trial today. For the first time, we did an all-day trial - so far regardless of the venue, we've been a "one and done" kinda team, one course a day. Which in AKC is really all we could do at our level, anyway, but the WCRL trials have up to three trials in one day and last time we still only did one. I didn't feel super ready. Distraction with novel environments is our huge, huge downfall and I definitely hadn't prepared enough. Before our WCRL trial in the spring, I had gone out and about to various dog-friendly businesses to practice attention and heeling and it had a HUGE positive effect, he had the most focused, "on" performance he'd probably ever had... and I walked through a sign, NQing us. First run: I absent-mindedly touched him to get his attention, NQing us pretty much on the first sign, but decided to do the course anyway. It was kind of a disaster, he was distracted by all the shiny things and I was disappointed in myself and I didn't handle those things well and kind of fell apart mentally. Second run: We gathered our respective selves and did better. A repeated cue here, a tight leash there, a re-try here... but we still squeaked by (literally by one point) with a Q. BUT, I was proud of us for recovering and getting our shiz together instead of downward spiraling. Third run: A different ring, new shiny things. This was in the afternoon and my poor Squashies has never spent all day at a trial before so his brain was pretty crispy by that time. He had a few moments of just wandering to the end of his leash and standing there staring blankly off into space. But I was better prepared mentally for it and although the run felt worse than the second, we actually scored higher (still last in our class, though, aheheh). His face in these pictures both cracks me up and makes me want to hold him to my bosom. He's so dang tired and checked out, but I'm so, so proud of how he really managed to hold it together on a very tiring day. No matter what the numbers say or how many times (as I watched perfect-scoring dogs be perfect) I idly pondered whether trialing in rally with this big white doofy sled dog is really the soundest plan I've ever come up with. Best boy. I lub him.