Let's talk about ring nerves for a minute.
I feel like Scorch has made a lot of progress with some of his over-the-top-ness when we're doing run throughs. However, he is still vocalizing. I fear that it may be a constant battle, that whining in conjunction with breathing that he seems unaware or unconscious of. I think when the pressure goes up, and we start working through more difficult exercises, he starts to escalate. Right now, it's staying at a low hum. I've practiced breathing techniques and calm touches. He's definitely better, but we can't seem to get over the hump.
I'm planning on showing him in a few weeks in Orlando, which is a venue he is GENERALLY more comfortable in. We still occasionally have retrieve-over-the-jump demons, and he's sometimes late on drop on recall. But he's not losing his mind AS MUCH during the heeling and figure 8s (during which I've had the dumbbell out).
We've been mostly training longer sessions at home or at the training building. Out and about have been shorter sessions, so today we went to the marina to work for longer. I didn't want to do too much of a run through because of the risk of piling on the stress, so we worked a couple of exercises at a time before running for the treat or toy. I also didn't haul out any jumps, so we just did heeling, figure 8, drop on recall, and retrieve on the flat.
He did ok. I like training there because there are heavy dog and people exposures, but it's not quite as hectic as the dog park and we have options for walking around. I might try the same thing at Arlington park; there is a dog park there that is quiet, but Scorch is very stimulated by it. At the same time, there's a walking trail where we can get out some of his tension.
His drop on recall was VERY late and we redid that one a few times until he improved. I'm lucky to have a dog that doesn't mind drilling at all; I mean, I try to keep it interesting and involved, but it's still several repeated exercises and some dogs wouldn't want to keep working. He stays checked in without a problem... other than overenthusiasm.
Other than that, he had a pretty nice run, and it was on a grassy patch with lots fo smells. He kept attention nicely and although he vocalized, he didn't feel manic.
The bay was absolutely gorgeous, so I couldn't resist setting Scorch up for some pictures. His tongue is pretty ridiculous, which I think depicts him better than the more "normal" shot I got.