We have SO MUCH work to do obedience wise before we can even consider moving on in the next levels of IGP... but for now we can forget about it. To many people a BH-VT isn't a real title - but look, it depends on who you are trialling under, and it also depends on what it means to you. I beg to differ, the amount of work that goes into it is non-negligble... is a CD or a Novice title not a real title either? I put so much pressure on ourselves to get our BH done this year so we could try for a ZTP before 2020 (due to the DV's rules changing after that) - meanwhile I also had to bring her protection up to a level many thought she might not be able to achieve. Which I realise, I still haven't posted pictures from the protection seminar - woops! As such my already anxiety-prone self was a nervous wreck any time I stepped on the field... and that goes right down the leash. At the start things were starting to go askew again, but somehow I managed to trust myself and trust my dog and keep cool, keep going. Our first exercise was rated insufficient as a result - but heeling off leash was good, sit out of motion was good, down out of motion and recall was good and the Long down was very good.
Our routine was far from being as nice as what we are capable of. But the judge was still able to see the work we had put in there, and gave us our golden ticket. I talked about it with my club's president and she said that few people talk about it, but there's this sort of mental barrier until you've gotten your first BH - until you have that first BH it definitely feels like you are still on the outside looking in, and might even have impostor syndrome. Once you get it, it feels like you've got your foot in the door.
So now, we are going to forget about full OB for a little while and come back to it down the line. We will introduce individual exercises like jumps and send outs - since she loves to run she should have fun. And for the rest of the season we are going to continue our protection and get started on tracking beyond scent pads.
Our two remaining goals for this season are going to attempt a ZTP in Europe and participating in the UDC's Breed Survey at the end of November. We could do a BSB no problem but I would like to go for a BSA, and I think she'll be able to by then, just gotta keep working on her Outs in conflict.
When the judge gave us our critique I listened... when he told us we passed I dropped down to hug Nadia and fought the tears in my eyes. I almost cried multiple times - happy tears. Others might have quit where we failed. Multiple times. But I guess that's just one more thing this dog has taught me: failure is not the end of the line - it is a test of perseverance. I am more resilient and persistent than I knew I guess.
And I have to once more, offer a little thank you to DT. I wouldn't have found this dog or gotten into this world without you.