We had a three-day USDAA trial this past weekend, and it was pretty productive for Solstice. She finished her PII titles in Relay, Snooker, and Standard, as well as her overall PII title. So we got to move up to PIII partway through the weekend, and then she Qd in PIII Jumpers and Gamblers!
I'm rather excited about the Gamblers Q, as my last dog that made it to PIII was not a Gamblers dog at all, so Gamblers was the major thing holding him back from ever getting a PDCH (he managed just two Gamblers Qs by the time he was retired). Still a distant dream for me and Solstice, but we made our first tiny steps there! We missed Qs in our two PIII Standard runs by just one fault each. An off-course in the first run when she naughtily cut in front of me to take a tunnel instead of the A-frame, and a popped weave pole in the second.
Overall we ran pretty well and Solstice was looking less nervous and more happy in the ring by the second day. I tried to concentrate less on Qing and more on "let's see if we can try this handling thing" or "can you do this weave entrance on your own" and stuff like that, so I was able to test some things out to see if she was ready to handle them in a show yet. I'm trying to do less baby-sitting and more running to keep her moving, though I obviously still suffer from "I think I'm running fast when I'm actually not".
And there is still a limit to how fast I can run and how far ahead I can get before she starts missing obstacles. But we do seem to be moving faster on course now, so hopefully we'll keep improving our speed. Maybe I need to start practicing sprints or something...
We did have major issues with her startline-stay (as in, no stay for most of her runs) but she breaks out of fear of the people and dogs behind her, not "I want to runrunrun!" like Ryker does. It's annoying, but I'm not too worried because I think of all the issues we had when she first started showing (fear of the chute, missing weave poles, fear of the ring crew and judge, etc) that are largely gone and I think our startline issue will go away as well as she gets more comfortable in the show environments.
Anyway, enough babbling. Here's video of some of our better runs.
No news from Ryker. I had originally entered him in a few runs at this trial, but after he was such a butthead at the trial a few weeks ago I pulled him out. No trialing for him until I can get better reliable behavior at fun matches.