A question for the experienced triallers here. :)
I trail and afghan hound in a class called Community Companion Dog (CCD) here in Australia. CCD consists of five relatively simple exercises, Heel on lead with position changes and three different paces, Stand for exam on lead, Recall over 6 metres, a 1 minute sit stay and a 2 minute down stay with handlers 6 metres away.
I have been doing this class now for quite a while. We have one qualifying score so I know we can do the exercises. ;)
Now the problem. Faxon (the Afghan Hound) and I can complete all of these exercises very well in practice outside of the ring environment. However once we set foot in the ring it all seems to fall apart. I know part of this is due to me getting nervous when we go into the ring. Faxon lags in the heeling and will miss positions in the position changes. Different ones at different times. Stand for exam is basically rock solid - we usually get 9 or 10 out of 10 for this exercise. The recall basically becomes a stay exercise. I leave the start peg with Faxon off lead he tends to lag a bit but I know how to fix this and will work on this. He will stay in the sit when I leave him and go out and do the about turn. The problem is he stays in the sit when I call him. This is now happening 90% of the time. When he does come he comes beautifully. The problem is I can't figure out what I am doing different in each situation. People who have watched us train also can't spot any difference between a successful recall and an unsuccessful one. I have stopped calling him a second time as I felt this was only encouraging him to stay until the second call. When he does come he gets big praise, we run out of the ring to get him a food reward and make a big fuss.
Any ideas on how to fix these issues? As I have said when we practice these behaviours don't occur or occur only rarely.
X-posted to dogsintraining & dogtrainers.