Lessons learned tonight...
So this afternoon we took Angela and Dudley to another match with the Jr. Agility League. You may remember that last weekend was the first time she'd ever done a full course, AND she did a great job! To be honest, I was pretty shocked with how well she did. She had NO problem following the courses, working the dog, etc.
And then comes tonight. I'm going to say right now, it was all my fault. Last night she had a friend sleep over, and who knows how late they actually stayed up, and then Angela woke up at 6:00 this morning, waking her friend up soon after. Then it was swimming at 11:00, home by 12:30 for lunch. I tried to get her to take a nap with me, but she would have nothing of it. Finally I put her in front of a movie, 80% sure she would fall asleep. I even told Dean "If she falls asleep, we're not going." About 20 minutes before we needed to leave I quietly opened her door. There she sat, frozen in front of a tv screen (she doesn't usually have a TV in her room, but we put one in there to watch movies with her friend so we didn't have to give up the big screen. LOL) She was unmoving, and unblinking, and never noticed me open the door. I should have just canceled the plans right there.
As we were getting shoes and stuff on to leave, her mouth got the better of her, but that's not completely unheard of for her.
So we get to agility, and it's a guest judge who set the course. It was a VERY difficult course, and he added 2 or 3 obstacles to it. There were a couple of traps, and a fully circle within a circle. A very difficult course for young kids. But when Angela and I walked the course, she was able to follow it without any problem. Then we brought Dudley out to make sure he would do the weaves and boardwalk for her. Unfortunately I forgot to have her work the tire. Dudley hasn't done the tire in MONTHS.
Of course we were starting with the 20" jumpers. There were two others, but Angela had to go second. She got out there and it just went downhill from there.
Lesson learned: Even though the mom is staying in her chair, and is stuffing her coat in her mouth in an attempt to NOT coach the child, THE DOG FEEDS OFF THE MOTHER!!! Dudley kept looking back to me to see why I was silently freaking out. Angela was flustered and having trouble concentrating, (which causes the dog to be just as confused) and I think it took her 5 minutes to get him through the first obstacle...the tire. The judge was even coaching her. Finally I said, "That's ok..lets just have her do the beginner course."
We watched all the other kids go, then started the beginner course. This was a MUCH easier course, but still, at the admission of the judge, it had a couple spots that were "harder than what you would expect for this level, and a couple extra obstacles, but that's ok..you guys will do fine." During the walk-through, (where they go without the dog to make sure they know the course) Angela was able to run the full course 3 times without any help. She was fine!
Angela's name is called, and out she goes. She wasn't even able to get Dudley facing the right direction, much less get him to go over any obstacles! Finally she started out and I think she though this was like the gambler's course, where you choose your own path. She just started running wherever.
Finally she put her hands over her face and said, "I'm so Fwustwated!!!" I stopped her and said, "Ok Angela. You're done. Bring your dog out."
She was SO SAD! She came out with her lip sticking out and I felt like a total heel for calling her out. The woman who runs it told me to go ahead and run the course with her so she could have a success. And so I did...and they did just fine with me there, kind of lagging behind. When they crossed the finish line Angela jumped up and down "Yes! Yes! I did it! Yes!"
While inside, my heart was a wreck, on a whole lot of different levels. I felt like I'd set her up for failure. Well, really I did. I didn't follow my gut that said keep her home. I put her in front of a group of people and set her up to fail. And then...and then I called her out and embarrassed her. Everyone was incredibly patient, and at one point the judge said, "I don't usually coach the handlers, but I think we can make an exception here huh?" I'm grateful for him for saying that, AND for making the exception, while at the same time, that exception stung like a hot ember. It wasn't the judge doing it that stung, it was the fact that she needed the exception in the first place, and that I'd put her in that position.
When we went to sit back down I could feel my eyes burning and quickly excused myself to the bathroom....quick...before the tears fell.
We came home, and Angela ate dinner and has been asleep since about 6:30, and I expect she'll sleep through the night.
We have some things to work on this week. Angela sending Dudley through the tire, how to set him up in front of the first obstacle, and teaching mom to just relax!