Training for competition gives me some focus. Otherwise I get scatterbrained when I train, and lose sight of my priorities. One of my biggest priorities this year is to refine Cohen's heeling. She's great when I'm actively engaging her, but her attention will wane if she's around distractions (like microscopic food particles on the floor) and her head will drop and she'll begin lagging while she searches for a snack.
So I've enrolled in a competitive obedience class geared towards training students to get their CD. It's offered by my facility, but doesn't run often. It's a class entirely populated by staff, and taught by the head of the school who has a very sharp eye for obedience. It's wonderful.
Last week, two weeks in, I was told that Cohen and I should be out there earning our CD already -- and that our trainer couldn't think of any pointers for me since I was doing so well. I admit it wasn't a huge surprise. We do pretty dang well at the exercises. Cohen has had the ability to perform the basics since she was a pup. But it's always been me holding myself back. I'm nervous to perform. I want to get out there and not only pass, but pass well. I think Cohen deserves more than just eeking by. Hence why I took this class.
Since it's a staff class we also stay behind afterwards to work on CDX and UD exercises. Cohen and I are doing pretty well on those too. Though I admit I'm probably rushing her a bit too much, and should be breaking the exercises down more. Go outs, directed jumping, dumbbells, out of sight stays...
Anyways, the class has given me the confidence to get out to a competition soon. I'll be signing up for one within the next few weeks.
Cohen has become such a good dog. She's grown out of her puppy crazies, and has developed fantastic focus and enthusiasm while working with me. Now it's up to me to do the best I can for her. She deserves it.