What a banner day for us! I’m exhausted, but sooo very proud of my baby boy as he went 5 for 5 yesterday at our local CPE trial. Miles has never done that many runs in one day and certainly never Q’d that many!! At our last trial, we entered 4 runs and ended with 2 Q’s, 1 NQ, and 1 stressy run. Not this time though–Miles was havin’ fun all day! Here’s the play by play:
First run was Jumpers, our favorite. The course was nice with a couple little tricks and an off-course tunnel option. I was the third dog to run (and was all day) so I had to run to get Miles from the car, run back, try to do some sort of warm up with him, and go in the ring. I decided to try bringing his breakfast in several portions and keeping them in the soft orange cooler ringside for him. He seems to associate this cooler with his food and a high level of reward, so I thought it might add that little extra for him. He was so psyched to see the orange cooler and his orange ball that he actually forgot that he was ringside and got a little sassy with me! He actually wouldn’t give me the ball back whereas in times past he wouldn’t even pick up the ball near the ring due to stress. I finally got it out of his mouth and put it down since they were waiting for me to enter and the little turd picked it up again to bring with us into the ring!! I knew this was going to be a good run since he was so fired up and it was certainly that. Miles was moving so fast and looked sooo happy. It is so fun to be able to run with him and see the smile on his face. We finished in 21.84 seconds which gave him a first place and he easily beat all of the 20″ dogs in level 1 and level 2 (both ran the same course). This time calculates to 5.72yps and probably would have been faster if he hadn’t have looked at the off-course tunnel. I’ve got to be better about cueing him to turn earlier…I’m just not used to him being so fast and obstacle focused! No video of this run since I didn’t have time to find someone to record it.
Next up was Standard. There is no teeter in level 1 CPE which is nice since we’re still not there yet. My only concern with this course was the dogwalk since he’s iffy with it sometimes, especially the wooden one that was being used since it flexes a bit while he’s on it. We had a great start to this run, very fast and happy. I’m not sure what happened with the dogwalk, but he went around it at first. I may have miscued him or it may have been part of his “oh I’m not sure I can do that one momma” attitude. However, I re-aligned him and up he went. Even with that bobble we finished in 32.35 seconds (4.11 yps) with another first by a mile.
Third run was Colors which is a game that has two nested courses of different “colors” and you have to declare which course you’re going to run before you start and then stick to just that course. The tricky thing about this course was that the starting jump was almost literally in the entrance gate to the ring with only about 6-8 ft of space to start your dog, ugh. Both courses started with that jump and then you could choose either the dogwalk to the right or the tunnel to the left to start the specified course. I definitely wanted to start with Miles on this one especially with where the first jump was he would have been way too stressed if I tried to lead out as there were dogs and people lined up right behind him outside of the ring. He displayed some stress sniffing at first, but I got him to hand touch before pushing him back to start the run. As predicted, my forward motion cued him to the dogwalk instead of the tunnel and he did what he should have and went up the dogwalk ramp a bit before realizing that I was somewhere else. He hopped off and then went on to do a beautiful happy run. Because of the offcourse, we got a 5pt fault, but ended up with a Q and 3rd place with a time of 19.25 seconds (4.31yps). I was nervous that pulling him off the dogwalk would be detrimental, but he kept a great attitude and didn’t have any issues running with me. I did a blind cross out of the tunnel which I think pushed him a little wide, but otherwise I am happy to have this new skill in my toolbox.
Next was Wildcard, another game, which is an obstacle discrimination test. There are three discriminations and they’re labeled “a” or “b”. For level 1, you have to perform two “a” obstacles and one “b”. Again the start line was right up against the gate, but this time it didn’t seem to bother him at all! I chose to start with the “a” tire and then push out to the “b” weaves and the out again for the “a” tunnel. Miles was fast and loving the whole thing. He even single stepped his weaves! Another Q with a 1st place by nearly 2 seconds! He finished in 14.82 seconds (5.6yps). Go baby dog!!!!!
Last run was Fullhouse which is a point accumulation game where you design your own course around getting “3 of a kind” a “pair” and a “joker”. Single bar jumps are worth 1 point, circles (tunnels or tire) are worth 3 points, and jokers (in this case double jump, weaves, and a-frame) are worth 5 points. For level one you need to accumulate 19 points in 32 seconds when the whistle will blow and then you have 5 seconds to get at least on paw on the pause table. If you get all the points you need before the whistle you can head to the table. My goal for this game was actually to design a more difficult course, get all 3 jokers and finish as quick as possible. I really wanted to test Miles a little bit. Since we’ve moved up to Open in AKC and Advanced in USDAA I wanted to push him a bit here to get him used to more difficult courses. The danger of staying in Novice levels for too long is that the dog gets used to always taking what’s in front of them. Since Miles had such a great day up until now and he’s proven in three different show sites that he’s much more comfortable, I thought it due time to try out some trickier moves. Here’s the video. I was very proud of how tight he wrapped the double, but he stressed a little before the weaves and it took 3 tries to get him to do them, but we finished in time and got enough points to Q…and he had FUN!
Yes, we had a few bobble throughout the day, but I’m just so proud of Miles and his ability to let it bounce off of him now. He just recovers so well now. Further, he stayed with me and happy to run every time even though he’s NEVER done five runs in one day. I am especially psyched that he was so focused on his ball near the ring. He was even barking for it and tugging with it! After our runs, he was very excited to go get his reward from the orange cooler and then immediately pick up his ball to go play some celebratory fetch with me! A nice little icing was that a couple of women that I don’t even know told me on separate occasions that my Golden is awesome (holy crap, Miles?!)!!
1) Kate Moureaux seminar/workshop.
2) Run-throughs in an indoor facility in NY after Christmas where we’ve never been. This should be a good test for us since he’s never trialed indoors and it’s yet another new arena, but I’ll be able to use food and toys in the ring.
3) AKC trial indoors in NC in mid-January.