I’m so proud of my Goldens this weekend! They both ran fast and happy and had some major milestones. Of course it being nearly 30 degrees cooler than last weekend only helped 😉 I’d never been to this site before, so there’s always a bit of uncertainty and anxiety about what Miles will think of the site, equipment, etc.
Arrived bright and early at 7:30am. It started raining about 5 minutes after I left my house and I was quite worried since I didn’t really pack much in the way of rain gear. Thankfully it stopped by the time I arrived and ended up being about 55deg, cloudy, and mildly windy all day.
Excellent Standard was first running tall-small and I was pleasantly surprised by a fairly wide open course. My only concern was with the opening, but I planned to start with him nonetheless. He was excited to come out of the car and didn’t seem to miss a beat during our warm up. We were the 3rd dog on the line and the first 24″, so it was a nice quick warm up and right into the ring. Miles read the turn away from the offcourse very well and we got the rear, but he extended out of it so much that we almost bought a dummy jump. I’m starting to realize that we might need to start working on our rears because they’re no longer a guaranteed tight turn. He seems to be powering out of them quite nicely now, so I need to start working on how to signal the difference between a tight rear and a forward sending rear. The rest of the course ran as planned, even down to the eternity it took him to “down” on the table. He had great contacts and weaves, but kinda thought about refusing the strange appearing chute for half of a second…silly. He ended up getting 3rd place and 10 points for this run. He easily could have had a 1st or 2nd place time if it weren’t for the dang table. Also, notice the teeeeeeny tiny wings they use here…haha!
Excellent JWW followed not too far behind. They had two rings going, but only one judge so there was some delay to get started. This course was also pretty nice and open….not too much collection needed at all which is right up our alley. Miles flew off the line nice and fast and we got nice speed going down the back line when I again attempted a rear cross. He read the rear fine, but again carried out so far that he got his nose about 1cm away from a tunnel hole before turning his ears on and pulling off of it, phew! The rest was beautiful, except for him turning the wrong way over one jump and making me sweat it out, and he turned in a respectable time. Unfortunately, we did not place for this run and only got 8 points, but it was our 2nd QQ!! I think if I had cued the turn better in both places we would have been very competetive. Just something to work on with the rears.
Open Standard was almost exactly like the Excellent course except that the first and last jumps were removed. I felt really good about this course for lil’ Rue and was excited to try out my “only turn on the flat” handling today! Unfortunately, with the start being as it was I couldn’t figure out a motivating way to get her going and elected to put a front between 2 and 3. As expected this slowed her down quite a bit, but she did the 180 like a good girl and then the rest was beautiful! She kicked it up in the weaves, had a great teeter, fast down on the table, caught sick air on the frame, and *finally* had a running dogwalk like she does in practice. Yay! I was SO excited to see her running so nicely and happy! Not surprisingly, Rue didn’t even take a second look at the new equipment 🙂 She’s so solid in that department, thank goodness. This run earned her OA leg #2 and she had the fastest time of all jump heights!!
I then had a fairly long wait before Novice JWW, the last course of the day, ran. It looked great and, like the Excellent course, full of extension. I planned to do two landing side rears on the flat and one forward motion front-cross after the weaves to set up a push to the correct end of the tunnel at the end. I’ve never done landing side rears with her in practice before, but I figured we’ve done them enough in shadow handling that hopefully she’d read it okay. The first one was a bit awkward, but moved well and I praised the heck out of her for doing it. We then picked up a ton of speed down the back line and I guess the late cue came as a surprise to her b/c she slammed into my leg and knocked me over. Somehow I miraculously got up very quickly and was able to regroup and get her back on course. She didn’t seem bothered by the fact that I pretty much fell on her and happily picked her speed right back up and had a fabulous ending for our NAJ title 🙂
After the trial, I took the dogs for a short trail run at Jordan Lake. We all enjoyed stretching our legs out and filling our lungs with the cool air 🙂
Small to tall today, so I “slept in” a bit and arrived around 8:30….perfectly timed to watch the 16″ dogs run Exc. Standard. Melanie texted me on my way to the site to tell me how awesome the course was, sweet! I was definitely excited to find a much more motivating start to the course today. I found a nice plan for my boy and got him out of the car about 4 dogs ahead. Once again, he was happy to do his tricks and quite motivated to get to the start line. I almost couldn’t hang onto him at the start, cool. He took off like a flash into the tunnel and had a very naughty teeter that the judge decided to give me a gift for. He was trucking along great until he made the turn for the table and a huge gust of wind picked up the EZ up tent that was over the timer/scribe. Oh boy. He put his front paws up on the table and then hit the brakes 😦 The judge quickly saw what was happening and told me to “abort”. She told me to leave the ring, get his head back together and get back in the lineup!! Wow, what a nice judge! So we waited for 2 dogs to go before heading back in for another try. The judge told me that since I had been clean up until the table, she wasn’t going to be judging anything up to that point, but that I had to complete everything along the way. I think I was so excited that Miles was not only running again, but got on the teeter that I stepped forward just enough to kick him out to an off course. Obviously that didn’t “count”, but it did take up some extra time. Honestly though, I was just so psyched that my previously scaredy cat pup was trusting enough to come back in and give it another go that I couldn’t be happier. Miles was so smart and got right up on the table, quickly sat, and then finished the rest in fine style! He got 3rd place for our 3rd MX leg and 20 MACh points!!
Again Excellent JWW followed quickly after Standard. I really liked the course as it again promised to be very fast. I elected to start with him as usual which made the weave entry a bit more difficult, but he was very smart and found it fine (even with a little look over to the scribe tent before the weaves). I was very proud of the rear before the tunnel as that’s a scenario where I’ve pulled him off the jump in the past. Unfortunately I didn’t support the jump after the tunnel, but I didn’t let him know that he missed it 🙂 I didn’t get the yardage for this run, but based on his time and the 16″ yardage, he was well over 5yps! Probably one of his fastest JWW runs to date….guess he is getting faster in those poles.
The Open Standard course didn’t change too terribly much from Excellent, but the judge did decide to offset the jump after the dogwalk 😦 I again planned for as much extension as possible and all crosses on the flat. Rue was excited to go in the ring and had fairly good speed off the start. She picked it up even more as we went along and turned in a fantastic performance for our OA with yet another 1st place!! That makes six straight Standard Q’s all with 1st place finishes! Holy moley, she’s in Excellent.
Last, but not least, was Open JWW. The course remained exactly the same except parts were re-numbered. Unfortunately in the very short time between runs, Rue tried to chase a squirrel after which she was suddenly VERY interested in all of the woods that lined the Jumpers ring. I think that distracted her enough that when coupled with a demotivating start, led to her having a little “moment”. After the weaves she kind of wandered off towards the fence, not far, but enough to get her a refusal and to get her on the backside of the next jump. After what seemed like forever, I was able to get her back around to the the front of the jump and get her going again. I knew we’d be close on time and decided to just put a rear before the double. She did the jump, but slowed down a bit to do it. We got great speed going again to only come to an abrupt halt when I tried to put a landing side cross in before the tunnel. Rue very obviously thought that was garbage and showed me that by trotting to the next jump. Thankfully she didn’t hold a grudge long and picked it up for a strong finish. Miraculously we were only 5 seconds over time and that, combined with the refusal, gave us a Q by the skin of our teeth. Thinking back, I bet Rue had it all under control…..”don’t worry Mom, I’ll speed it up, I just need about 5 seconds here to think about something. Ok I’m good, let’s go!”.
All in all, I think this way of handling Rue is going to prove to be the way to go for at least a little while. She seemed to respond very nicely to it in all but the last run, but that may have just been a fluke. I think we certainly need to practice those landing side rears so that they’re more fluid and not demotivating or dangerous 😉 I am still having a hard time conceptualizing exactly where to put the fronts which is why I picked the late rears this weekend. We’ll be working on this a lot now that she’s on a bit of a break.
Up Next: MCKC AKC next weekend with Miles only, then they both go up to have a new patient visit with Dr. Regina Schwabe (sports vet) in Virginia the following weekend.