Saturday, September 19, 2009


So there was one disappointment to our otherwise perfect agility trial last weekend. Her name is Riley. Riley is typically distracted and always seeking reinforcement from her environment. She has been difficult to bond with. I think she would easily trade me for the next person to walk through the door. She makes me work hard for her focus and that is fine.
Although Riley was not competing, I still had a couple of goals for her. I wanted her to rest well in her crate, desensitize to all of the stimulation, train a little near the rings, work on that illusive focus, and to have fun. Well.... I can say that Riley did rest well in her crate.
On Saturday afternoon, there was a festival setting up near by. I was walking Riley around when some of the musicians began tuning up their instruments. I am not a fan of loud music, so I can tell you that this was not loud and obnoxious in anyway. Just a few random notes being played here and there. Riley turned inside out. She was not just scared, she was totally flipping out. I had never seen this side of Riley before. She was inconsolable and was just trying to get a away. Her Saturday was ruined....

....And so was her Sunday.

I took the girls for a walk along the path that travels around the park and facility. Riley had a great walk the prior morning, but on Sunday morning I noticed she was not herself and very nervous. She was very suspicious of every person we passed (normally she is very friendly with strangers).

Throughout the day, she continued to do worse. Back at the trial, she was still afraid of people and half the time would not take food. Her tail was tucked the entire time (see below). Despite a trial setting being very loud with a lot of background noise, Riley was hypersensitive to noises I never would have noticed.
On Sunday afternoon, I was trying to give Riley a chance to potty. Some distance away, you could hear an announcer for another sporting event. Again Riley flipped out, but this time her whole body was shaking. It was so bizarre and very sad to see this happy-go-lucky dog be so miserable.

Since then, Riley has been normal. It will be interesting to see how she behaves at the next agility trial at the same facility. I hope Riley does not have a repeat performance.