I was hoping for suggestions regarding transitioning from a classroom/fun match to a trial environment. I've been training my aussie for two years in agility, we've done several fun matches at our barn, and he's done great. I want to participate in a trial at our barn in February, and wondered if anyone had advice for transitioning. It is a CPE trial, we will start at level one. I was hoping to do at least standard and colors to start with.
We have a fun match next weekend. So far, his fun match performances have been great, he's not phased by my nerves and is very focused in the ring. I wear my bait bag so I can reward his contacts so I can keep them solid, and I haven't yet taken off his collar, but neither of these things are strictly necessary as far as I can tell for him. The matches are also small enough that I can keep him with me, and although there's a lot of activity it's not as hectic as a trial setting. So my plan for the fun match is 1. to leave my bait bag out of the ring 2. to take off his collar 3. to set up his travel crate and have him spend a bit of time in there even though it's not strictly necessary, and 4. to run without reinforcing contacts (unless he blows them, in which case I will go back and reinforce that he must complete them prior to going on).
Any other thoughts on how to prepare him? How about me?