First off, I have corrected the day one report. I was mistaken about how much time the dogs had for a run in Open... so Gimme actually finished her run with 35.41 seconds to spare. Yeah Gimme.
Day two she was a good girl, however I should be flogged. For our first run I totally blew it, stealing a perfectly good run from Gimme's capable paws. She was repeatedly sniffing a high spot and then leaving it. I was thinking to myself, maybe it was a rat when I heard someone say "Rat"... and then looked down to see Gimme had already left it. Bad me, blurt alert again. Keep in mind at Open level they are required to set one up above ground level. At Senior and Masters they can be at any level.
The judge said "no" and started to direct me to the nearest rat - because they always want the dogs to end with a rat (even at the highest level). So she's showing me a rat saying, "Here's a rat", then turns and says, "or you could go with the one your dog found." And I turn to see Gimme has located the other rat tube and is going ballistic on it. Clearly someone needs to learn to keep her mouth shut and watch her dog work.
In the afternoon I definitely kept quiet until I was 150% sure Gimme was on a rat. She found the first rat pretty quickly. She's happy to leave them now, when I say "Thank you, find another", but comes right back when she sees the rat wrangler removing it saying, "Hey, I get to keep one as a prize, so just put it in our car."
She found the second rat fast, but left it and went to check around the ring. Then she came back, left it and checked the ring again. Since she wasn't committing to it, I used my movement to get her into areas she hadn't searched yet. When she didn't show any real interest in those, I went back to the spot and asked her to check it again. Oftentimes we can see or figure out where tubes are, so its a rule: handlers have to use a sweeping motion in place of pointing.
Gimme went right to it and wasn't showing strong commitment, so I asked her to "show me." She didn't do anything overt, but stayed there and just looked at me, "So whadya want Mom, written instructions?" I called it and we were right. She finished our run with 17.37 seconds left.
I don't know why she didn't indicate the second rat strongly like she ususally does. There could be several reasons. It was in a somewhat awkward location. She could be developing a pattern of being more subtle after her first rat find. Maybe she doesn't like someone "stealing" her rats after she finds them. Then again, it was the end of the weekend, so she may simply have been a little tired. So I'll be watching and considering in subsequent trials to see if there is a pattern.
Of course there is no sign here to show she was tired when we got home. I notice this morning all her toys are scattered around the floor from last night. There are six in the office where she brought them as I checked email. There are three in the bathroom, including the one she "accidentally" allowed to fall in the tub.
By the way... my system of taking her outside the ring to a place where I've stashed a peanut butter cookie, is working. She now knows the routine and is coming to me in the ring when I call her to have her collar put back on and then drags me to where I showed her the hidden. And she continues to be less interested in other dogs when she knows there are rats to be found. She wasn't quite so blase' about them as the last trial, but then she is in season. One person walked by within five feet of the ring with her dog (they are supposed to stay back 10 feet) just as I released Gimme on her second run and she headed toward it. I thought she was going to yell at the other dog, but she was really just going to search the area first.