So I sat her on the start line and took off her lead, walked past the first jump........... and so did Grace! She seemed so out of her depth, looked as though she'd never seen a jump in her life and couldn't understand what the judge was doing there. After what seemed like a lifetime of attempting to get her attention, she managed a couple of jumps, did about 6 weaves, ran past a few more jumps into the tunnel, missed out a couple more jumps then had a big wee in the ring!
Well, I was flabbergasted and spent the whole day thinking her agility career was over before it began. But- always eager to rise to a challenge - by her second (and final) class of the day I had a plan! Just do one jump and come out of the ring and give her tons of treats. I spoke to the judge and she was happy for me to do whatever I wanted. Anyway the course was lovely and I realised there was several variations I could do at the beginning depending on what Grace was thinking. If she did manage the first jump I was going to attempt the tunnel. Well - she seemed much happier queuing - the sun was shining, people were chatting and asking about her, she was busy doing tricks and generally acting the fool and then ............ she sat beautifully on the start line and did a tiny course of two jumps, tunnel, seesaw and two more jumps which curved nicely to the finish where she got about a thousand titbits. I was over the moon. She was her normal happy bouncy self and I know I can build on this.
So - looking back I'm glad I've started 'competing' with her as I'm relaxed enough these days to let her progress at her own pace and treat each class as a training round. My aim, for however long it takes, is to make up my own small courses, gradually adding more and more obstacles, run to the finish and out of the ring as fast as possible to her treats. I'm also only entering classes where I know the judges are sympathetic to young dogs, then that way I can relax and just be happy with her.
She's done another show since and it was a lovely agility course and we vaguely followed the proper course doing all three contacts a couple of tunnels and several jumps!
So - what more could I ask of her?! I'm actually enjoying training her even more (all 30 seconds at a time!) as I know its working. There are still times when she looks at a tunnel as though she's never seen one in her life, but generally we get round small courses now, including 6 weaves. As long as I keep her happy, keep her goofing around and make everything fun and very short, I think we'll be fine.