A little delayed on this trial post due to a new computer and issues uploading my videos to YouTube, gah. Things finally seem to be working, so I will give this a shot 🙂
The pups and I headed to Charlotte last Thursday evening for 3 days of AKC agility. I was looking forward to seeing some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and I just generally love this trial. They always have great judges and awesome prizes. Things typically run very efficiently as well.
Furthermore, I had set this trial as a goal date for putting Rue back into the Standard classes. She had been showing me that she was comfortable with the teeter in several different settings, so I was visualizing nice drivey teeters for her. I was also excited to see if we could get a good startline routine going. The weekend before last I brought Rue to a local CPE trial to give us an opportunity to work on this in a low stress environment. What I found was that if I crated her very close to the ring, took her out 10 minutes before her run to potty and get some food rewards for the practice jump, let her rest and take her out just before run and jazz her up with her fav tug toy then she was really excited to run! I was excited to try out our new routine here in Charlotte.
No video for today unfortunately 😦 I entered both dogs in FAST and JWW, but only Miles in Standard today as I didn’t want to overdo it with the baby dog. Exc. FAST was first and I planned a fun opening which went easily in the send bonus. Miles handled it all like a champ and also had a gorgeous aframe in the opening. He won the class with 74 points!
Lil’ Rue came out next for Open FAST. I got her jazzed up with her bunny tug outside of the ring, then stole the toy, ran in the ring while simultaneously removing and dropping her leash. We had a nice transition into running the course and she was wicked fast. She did a 2 strided a-frame with incredible air time and landed in the yellow, whoa! Unfortunately the send involved a forced layer and she did the offcourse jump (she actually did the Excellent send, hehe). I was very proud of this run.
Next was Miles’ standard run. Randy Reed typically has really nice big dog courses, but this one was a little tricky. Miles handled a short lead out very well and flew over the dogwalk and nearly into an offcourse tunnel. I probably didn’t decel or he was too far ahead to read it and I ended up calling him off the tunnel very very hard 😦 He had his snout in the tunnel hole and I admitedly thought we got called for the offcourse. I was so pissed at myself for calling him off that hard that I forgot to handle and pulled him around a jump with ultimately NQ’d us. Again he had a brilliant a-frame in this run.
Last to go was Exc. JWW and both dogs were entered. It was a pretty tricky course by Tracy Hanna with 4 boxes that we had to navigate through, bleh. I decided to do a lead out to a lateral send with Miles and then planned to just try to show the correct line of motion through the rest of the boxes. He did a fantastic job and took 2nd place earning himself 12 points! However, at only 4.75yps, I’m not sure where we lost time on this course…definitely bummed to not have video to look at his striding.
Rue and I did the same warmup/startline routine as we had done for FAST, but this time unfortunately we went to the line too soon and we disconnected. She took the first jump and then stopped to stare at a piece of bar tape that was hanging down off the second jump. She stared at it for probably 4-5 seconds (again wish I had video), but then went on to blow the course away. I think she probably would have had a time very close to Miles’ on this one if she hadn’t have stopped since her official time was 38 seconds 🙂
It poured rain over night so the fields were a bit sloppy today, but the air was brisk and the sun was shining so we were off to a good start!
Excellent FAST was first and I wanted to just try to rip it up with Miles and have a fun run since yesterday’s call off probably had caused him to slow down in JWW. I left him in a stay and he really was moving out! He had a fabulous send and we took 3rd place with 71 points. I had to repeat the teeter since he got on it from the side at the pivot, silly boy, so that cost us time.
Open FAST was next and I was excited to see what Rue thought of yesterday’s runs as it would be evident in this run today. I decided not to do the teeter in either FAST run just to keep it fun and motivating for her. We started out great with good speed over the aframe, but then she started to slow down. This is odd as the frame usually propels her into high gear, so I figured something was wrong. Well 1 jump later and Rue took herself to poop, oops! Poor little girl was so embarrassed 😦 I must say this was a first for me….hopefully I won’t have to revisit this again.
The day was running Small-Tall, so for the next two runs I knew that I’d have to run Rue before Miles. I was a bit nervous about her Standard run as it was, but now even moreso due to the events of FAST, ack! I forced myself to let it go and just visualize a happy dog who wants to do the teeter. Well I guess it worked because she was brilliant! We started out a bit slow and she was looking around and the judge and ring crew, but as soon as she hit the poles we were off to the races. She had an amazing dogwalk and gorgeous teeter, yahoo!! This earned her her 2nd AX leg and she got 1st place!
Next I got to run Mr. Miles. I planned a lead out push past the 2nd jump, but I could tell he was not comfortable and he got up out of his sit so I just released him and did a forward motion front cross. He was slow through the beginning of this course and then took 10 seconds to lie down on the table, sigh. He managed to still make time and earned MX leg #9, but I was worried that something just wasn’t right with him. Either it was still the call off from yesterday, or maybe it was too many lead outs, or maybe god forbid something physically awry. He got 4th place and 4 measly points for this run, bleh.
The last run of the day was Exc. JWW. The opening was a large circle of jumps and then a pull into a tunnel hole before opening up into a really fun a fast course. Both dogs found the opening demotivating and Rue did some trotting, but then really opened up at the weaves. This earned her MXJ leg #2 and 4 points 🙂
Miles and I managed to pull out a QQ with this run despite me nearly pulling him off the second-to-last jump. He had an amazing save with that one! I made sure to start with him on this course. No placement, but 5.2yps and 11 points for my boy!
Even more rain overnight made for really sloppy fields this morning. The club put a lot of mulch down which helped a bit, but wore down pretty quickly. I knew that I wanted a motivating run with Miles, but also didn’t want to push too hard for speed for fear that he would get injured (his fall in Savannah really messed up his front end according to our massage therapist). I led out about 1-2 steps just to shape his approach to the teeter a bit and he did a really nice job with his course. I predicted that we’d have an issue with the rear at the jump before the poles and we did. I need to learn to be more patient with those crosses and I also need to teach him to have more obstacle commitment in those scenarios. Overall a great run!
Next was lil’ Rue’s turn to show me what she had for this course. I decided to change my warm up a bit with her and instead of tugging outside the ring and just running in, I decided to engage her with the bunny tug and then transition her to tugging on her leash so that we could tug into the ring. This seemed to work really really well for her as she didn’t trot once on this course. She again had a brilliant teeter and awesome dogwalk despite me getting behind due to the soggy ground! She actually beat Miles’ time by a fraction of a second on this run, wow!! This earned her the AX title with another 1st place!!
Our last run of the weekend was a fun JWW course by Tracy Hanna. I was psyched to not have to lead out with Miles and was looking forward to a really fun and fast run. Miles looked great on this course, but I got a bit lost after the first tunnel and got caught a bit behind a wing which made me push into his line a bit and sent him offcourse, dang! He recovered from that fine and really motored for the rest of the course 🙂
Rue’s run was pretty good, but there was a small delay at the start that caused us to disconnect and for her to stop tugging unfortunately. I’m hoping that this was just a situational thing and that I’ll be able to use this routine with her in the future! Overall a great run, but she had some trotting in the beginning. This did earn her MXJ leg #3 and 4 more points. She now has 17 points and will start going for QQ’s from here on out! How did that happen so fast?!?!
Overall I’m pleased with my dogs’ performances at this trial. Historically this has not been Miles’ favorite place and I need to remember a year ago here he couldn’t even go through the tire. I do think that for the next few trials I need to just focus purely on speed for him and start with him instead of leading out. I will NOT (I need to write this on my hand or something) call him off an offcourse that I’ve sent him to….I cannot. It’s very deflating for him. I was a bit caught up in the fact that he only needs one more MX leg for his title and I cannot focus on that. If it’s speed that I want (and I desperately do) then I need to just focus on that. His yps at this trial were definitely below average 😦 Granted I cannot base a trend on one weekend, but I do think I need to make a proactive attempt at correcting that possibility! Miles had perfect aframes all weekend (5/5) so I can’t complain about that!
Rue’s goals for the next couple of trials are speed and connection to me. We will continue to work on our crazy warm up/startline routine as I really think she digs it 🙂 Our next trial, she is only entered in JWW and then she has 3 weeks off before we travel for 2 days of AKC in Columbia, SC. She is entered in Standard there, yay! It’s interesting to me that while it’s natural for her to run faster in class/practice when I have a reward on me, but she really really seems to dig the international style courses that we train on much more than these AKC type courses. Something to think about as to why. I would imagine it’s because the international style requires more quick send and chase type movements from the handler than a big ol’ pinwheel does. I wonder how I can keep moving more in these trial situations. Hmmmm….
Up next: 2 days of AKC indoors in a horse arena this weekend followed by Miles only in 2 days of AKC at his favorite trial location–Teamworks! Then a couple of weeks off before heading out of town for more AKC agility!