..... OK so here is the rest of the National story. I picked up Steeler's number for Beginner Novice. And yes I was my normal neurotic self. LOL. I am pretty sure that I watched 7 dogs compete before me but when I entered the ring I had no idea what the heeling patter was! In Beginner Novice the heeling pattern is done with Rally signs. His heeling wasn't pretty - or at least not as pretty as it can be when I am not nervous, but it was TONS better than it was the first time we entered the obedience ring. It got a little bit better with the figure 8 exercise as well. I think I need to work on my attitude entering the ring - when we are just practicing things seem SO much easier! Steeler's sit for exam, and his stay were solid! His recall however - well he came, with a LOT more speed than usual. I was pretty sure that I had NQ'd here - not that I was worried about whether we qualified or not. But since that was the last exercise I was on my way out of the building to spend some time outside with Steeler when everyone asked where I was going .... "you qualified ... come back!" Who knew! Out of 9 dogs that were entered and the 8 that competed, there were three qualifying runs. Steeler came in third with a 181. I entered the ring knowing that I wasn't there to worry about a great score - I was going to tell Steeler to sit if he needed the reminder, and I was going to double command if I needed to. So I know I lost a lot of points for things like that.
We were also entered in Advanced Rally, which didn't go so well. We pretty much went from the obedience ring to the Rally ring. Steeler got his nose stuck on a spot on the floor. So I ended up walking him out of the ring. So many people came after me to tell me it wasn't his fault that someone's dog had pee'd in the ring. Which was fine- I wasn't mad at Steeler. Part of our new program is keeping things as black and white as we can. If he chooses not to work with me (and clearly dog pee at that moment in time was more interesting than a stressed out Momma) that is fine but he is not going to get rewarded for it.
After all my obedience and rally stuff was finished we hung out and watched and chatted with friends for a while. Then we headed over to the agility venue for run thru's. The training club has hosted run thru's the night before our agility trials when the nationals have been in KY. It's a nice facility, indoors and air conditioned! There is not a lot of shade around - but we were lucky to have cool days so it was easy to crate out of the car for the run thru's. We hadn't been to agility class in a month, and the last set of run thrus that we went to were not all that successful. So I wasn't really sure what to expect. I decided that since there was no food in the ring (toys were ok) I would start away from the ring gate for my first run. I was sufficiently nervous that I decided to leave Steeler on leash and ask him to do the dog walk and offer him the toy to see if he wanted to play. WELL - he did want to play! OMG!!!! :-) So I took the leash off and we did our own thing and played tug with his stuffed sheepie. Our second run I was more confident and we started at an actual start line near the ring gate. Steeler was great!!! Of course I had to pick up stuffing along the way - but just the fact that he was willing to play with me in a new place with lots of people around - well that is awesome!!!! After our runs Dawn and I packed up the pups and headed back towards the hotel, picking up dinner along the way. I think both of us were exhausted, and Saturday was going to be an early morning!