The Bad: The run itself was extremely unorganized. It was supposed to begin at 6, and they didn't have any of the rings even remotely set up. Ross and I had to tell the ring stewards that they had 2-3 signs in the wrong place or facing the wrong direction. They fixed them, but stuff was still kinda off. After the courses got set up, nothing happened for another 10 minutes. We finally ASKED if we could go, and they were like "oh sure!" Who knows how long we would have waited otherwise. And backing up a minute...the registration form said "we have THREE rings!" So we signed up for 2 rings, and they didn't say that the rings were differentiated by novice, advanced, and excellent. (and it didn't match up with the numbers on the form anyway. We signed up for rings 1 and 3, and they signed us up for advanced and excellent).
Then, the shining scary moment of the night. Sagan goes up to (I think) the owner and sits for greeting. Nice. He did/does have some people fear issues still. She then politely pats his head, leans down in his face, nose to nose, and grabs his head and excitedly says things to him
OK, I understand that many pet owners and others are not aware of proper dog language but holy heart attack, batman. She was in his face before I could even say anything. My logic and emotions prevailed, and I managed not to tighten up the leash. Thank doG he had decided he liked her anyway.
On to Sagan: This environment was challenging for him and the sudden environmental contrast "thang." There were lots of places for us to separate ourselves from other dogs, around corners, etc. But when a dog did appear, it was out of the blue and usually just one dog (the fun run was not well attended). We did fine until we were in the main walkway and he had a little temper tantrum. The tantrum involved a little lungie growl toward 3 separate dogs. Was minor, he recovered quickly, but still unprovoked by the other dog staring or being spastic. It didn't help that they were about 40 minutes late starting. I wish they had said this up front, because I would have kept him in the car longer, and gotten him out later. So that was disappointing, but....
The Good: Sagan REALLY focused well when in the novice ring. About 80% of the time we were in the building, he was completely focused on what I was asking (including for him to face me/away from other dogs and calm down). He also was EXCITED to see new people. This has been developing for some time, and I am happy about it. His run in the advanced ring was OK...his brain was fried at that point, just due to the 40 minutes around other dogs. I have to get him to focus while in the building, even when we're not working, to prevent his reactivity from appearing and escalating. I did keep him on leash for the advanced run, and dropped the leash for the jumps and stay/come to heel exercises. He did GREAT with these. Given the less than ideal environment for his issues, I am very proud of the poochy!
Love this picture of us.
Added: This was just a lovely day. The weather was wonderful, and I PRed on my 5K this morning: 26:08 for my final time...about 8:20/mile pace!!