Thank you for the encouraging response, Alexis! I think that he could sense my emotions (its nerve wracking being out there in front of people who are very good at this, and me being so new at it) and paired with the extreme weather, I think it just was an off day. I know I was visibly upset over the obedience problem, so it makes sense why he was acting so funny during the protection work. I didnt even wanna go out there and do protection today, thats how crappy I was feeling...
The one thing that I've learned being in a sport like IPO and having a dog who really wasn't "cut out" for it, is that I can not compare myself and my dog to anyone else out there. Like you, my club is dominated by working line dogs, and Aiden is half show. He doesn't show nearly as much drive or power as the working lines, but we have worked very long and hard to get where we are and I am not embarrassed in the slightest to say that while we have failed publicly twice, at least we are trying. And that's more than a lot of the sideline critics can say in this sport.
And I couldnt agree with this more. I know he is his own dog, and its very unfair to compare him and I to anyone else. Sometimes, its so hard not to though. And today, I did. Its just hard because I have to work harder and find ways bring out that drive in him, and figure out what works for him, and what makes him want to work for me. I know that drive is there, I just need to figue out how to channel it into obedience. We are so new in this though, I am not giving him a chance and I cant throw in the towel yet without atleast trying to figure him out. The monkey in the middle game sounds fun, and it sounds like he might enjoy that, so I will ask someone to help me do it with him next week. And as for the protection, the past few weeks someone else has been holding the line for me, and then i'd grab it once he got the tug and run with him so he could carry. But it was affecting him because he wouldnt hold the tug for long. Today, since I was holding it myself, and for the most part, holding him back (he pulled me a tiny bit), he was carrying the tug alot better, and not letting it out right away. I just need to figure out the best way for me to hold the leash, and figure out positioning and what not. Its just so hard to do that when theres so much going on!
Don't forget that he's still young and this is all new to him and you're trying to teach him so much all at one time. With learning new things in tracking and
protection, there are going to be some days where he is just plain tired or overwhelmed or not feeling so hot. Ya win some and ya lose some but you can't give up on him already, so hang just in there.
Yeah, I keep forgetting how much he is learning, and how new this is to both of us. Thanks for the awesome advice, and we'll stick it out
Also, its nice to know that there are other dogs out there who just dont wanna do it some days. Its hard because at my club, I only see working lines out there, so I only have that to learn from. And then, I sometimes think I expect too much out of him. I think we'll get there, we just may take longer, or may have to go about a different way of doing things..but we'll do it.
BTW, good luck with Aiden at your trial! Its awesome to see how far he's come and its really encouraging to see you and him not give up, despite what you and him have been through.