Originally Posted by Golly's Mom
I have noticed that everytime we pull up to the agility training center she shakes, but somedays she seems to have fun and run the course and be a ham while other times like these last couple she is just not happy at all.
My Lucy "up stresses". It took me over a year of competing to realize that she wasn't just super full of energy and wanting to run around--her zoomies were stress. In retrospect, I am frustrated I didn't put 2 and 2 together sooner, but oh well. People think of stress as "shut down", and in most dogs it is. The dogs that need coaxed off the start line, encouraged over contacts, and cheered to go at more than a trot are clearly stressed. It can manifest as the opposite too though.
Up stressing can look like your dog is having fun. Lucy would take obstacles full speed, but she'd also run laps around the outside, leap over fences, and go a bazillion miles an hour. People laughed and said, "Your dog sure is having fun, isn't she?" These were people who had made nationals, telling me that my highly stressed dog was enjoying herself. It made me believe she was. I now don't think she ever really enjoyed the first year of trialing.
Our stressing is not equipment related or location specific like it sounds like Golly's is. Ours is new spaces, reactive dogs, sheep, tractors, tents--all the things you see at trials that you don't train around. To combat it, we have to up our training in new spaces. Sounds like to combat yours (if that's what it is), you need to re-establish positive association with equipment (and that location, if you continue to train there). I might start with a child's play tunnel or a single jump in my backyard--somewhere safe, non threatening, where you can really make that obstacle amazing.
I'm not saying Golly is definitely upstressing (she might be, but only you have seen her and know what she normally is like!), but I just want to reiterate that going fast isn't necessarily having fun.