Well, at long last . . . today the Alexandria Schutzhund Group held a trial, I entered Doc for his BH, and we passed! I can't tell you what a relief it was to see that "Bestanden" (what they write in German to let you know the dog passed) written in his scorebooks!
the odd thing was that usually Doc's heeling is pretty clean and tight, and he's got no problems doing it. It's some of the other stuff he's usually confused on--like the sit in motion (sometimes he'll walk a few steps before he sits or if he's feeling lazy, he might down instead of sit) and the recall (sometimes will crash into me if he's too excited) . . . but today he did all the other exercises perfectly. His heeling sucked, though--He kept looking off at the crowd, glanced a few times at the dog in the long down to see what she was up to, he lagged behind me once or twice and i had to give a little handler help by patting my leg and speeding up to get him to catch up. And the really strange thing is that she said he didn't have enough drive in his heeling, which is also not like him at all. Usually he's a happy, bouncy heeling fool, but not today. So weird!
Someone mentioned that my off-lead heeling looked great, but my on-lead was not great . . . Her best guess is that I was so tense that he felt that tension right down the leash and his performance reflected that.
Considering this is the first thing I've ever done competition-wise, that does make total sense to me.
But in the end it's a pass/fail exercise and the most important thing is that WE PASSED and nothing horrible happened! Though I did have a moment where I wondered if he was gonna fail right out of the gate when he wanted to check out the malinois bitch we were partnered with . . . We went to check in with the judge and all of a sudden he jerked in her direction and I had to pull him back and remind him to fuss. She was a little worked up when she came onto the field, so I think he was intrigued by her energy.