We did it.
As I told a club member afterward, "She didn't show what I know she's capable of, but she didn't humiliate me either, and that's all I was after today."
But first, this morning.... I let Laev and Shakespeare out to air while I finished getting ready and then packed the car. Then I called and loaded Shakespeare, but Laev didn't come to the Jeep.... I wandered after her and found her sniffing intently, circling as she does when she's found prey scent. "Laev!" No response. "Laev!" She went the other way.
Oh, great. Wonderful start to our obedience day. And she never did come, and I finally (needed to get going) got in the car and started down the drive. She caught up and I loaded her with her obvious reluctance.
Outside the gate, I spotted what she'd probably been tracking -- a black cat! running across our field. Lovely! "No, Laev, you are NOT ALLOWED to be chasing BLACK CATS on our BH day." I turned from the drive to the road and a few hundred feet later, a second dark cat ran across the road in front of us. I swear I am not making this up.
Okay, so, it's gonna be a good day, oh yeah.
Laev and another bitch, both in pseudo-heat, were paired together and had to run last, to keep the field as clean as possible for the other dogs. That meant we waited through all of tracking, all of obedience and BHs, all of protection (and probably means that Laev heard a bit of protection in the car, but I suspect that was minimal). "That's okay," I told our judge while waiting, "I think I still have a fingernail left." Then it was finally our turn.
It was COLD. Really cold. As in, a good 10 degrees colder than predicted the day before, and a good 40 degrees colder than what it had been earlier in the week. I changed out of my warm suit for our routine, not wanting to change the picture she was used to practicing with (I am slower and louder in the suit).
I set Laev for the long honor down, but she didn't stay; she walked up quietly toward me (30 paces away with my back to her), downed again when I whispered to her, and I could hear her teeth chattering. She was shivering hard when I went to pick her up.
We started our heeling pattern, and she kept glancing toward the woods. We got pointed for forging (our long runs were toward the woods) and we had some sloppiness that was due to her distraction. She actually sniffed someone in the group, which is unusual for her. The judge caught that I made three German about turns and one U turn; the last was due to Laev's wavering attention and it pushed her back to looking at me! Both turns are legal, though, and I don't know of any rule that says they have to all match. To be fair, though, I was cheating on her, too -- the honoring dog had gotten up and she's very dog-aggressive, so I was glancing frequently at her to know how to manage our distance. Stressed human = inconsistent heeling dog.
No offered dog fights, and we finished our pattern and went for our critique. Unfortunately, my videographer didn't tape the critique. :-( We passed the first phase, and that was huge, because I knew the traffic test would be no problem for us.
Indeed, traffic test was pretty easy, and Laev now FINALLY has her BH. :-) Now we can concentrate on getting her third Novice leg, and doing a Rally Level 2, and, oh, doing tracking/obedience/protection all TOGETHER...!
But we made it, she didn't head for the woods, and she finally has that #%*$&@ BH. :-)