What a weekend! Friday and Saturday were spent up at Teamworks for AKC. This was our second AKC trial and our second time at Teamworks. We were entered in Novice Preferred Jumpers with Weaves (JWW) both days. If we Q’d in both, we could get a title….pressure is on!
Friday was a beautiful day, upper 70’s and clear blue skies. I got to the trial site around 1:30 knowing full well that AKC trials tend to run quite late. I arrived just as they were setting up for Excellent JWW which had about 80 dogs entered, then Open would run, and then Novice. Fortunately I knew some folks there, so the wait was quite palatable. Plus the doggie swim pond was open–much fun for the Goldens indeed!
I grabbed a course map and my number when I arrived and then found a spot to sit down and study the map. Holy moley…it looked tough! I like to start with Miles and push him back some before we start running (push back and jam), but it didn’t appear to be possible with this course…I really needed to do a lead out. Miles has no problem staying, it’s just that we lose a little bit of the connection and his runs tend to be a bit slower. I decided to just put it away for now and concentrate on relaxing with the pups at the pond and soaking in the sun.
Finally at about 4:45, we were able to walk the course. Just as depicted in the map, there was no good way to start without a lead out. Fortunately, what I thought was going to be a 90 degree hard side entry to the poles ended up being about a 15 degree entry–no problemo. I walked it a few times and then went to get the boy. It was running small to tall, but there were only about 8 dogs entered, so I didn’t have a lot of time. We played with his orange ball near the ring and he was happy to tug with it and speak for it. He was EXTREMELY comfortable and seemed quite fired up. Unfortunately, no one I knew had stayed after their runs to watch Novice, so my new video camera wasn’t going to be used 😦 We got to the start line and I decided to leave him in a stand…he didn’t like what was happening behind him and as I went to lead out he crept up. I stopped him still with enough distance to clear the first jump thankfully and continued my lead out. I tried something new–a lead out pivot. I have never done this in class or anything, but have seen it done and thought I’d give it a try. It worked and off we went! I almost sent him into an off-course tunnel, but called him off in time. He slowed a little with the call off, but picked back up again to finish strong! Q and a 1st place for the boy with a speed of 3.77yps which is slow because of the little bobble before the tunnel. His title was depending on tomorrow!
I ended up staying in a hotel in North Raleigh Friday evening since Teamworks is quite far, but also because the girls had dance rehearsal in Raleigh in the morning and we thought it would just be easiest if we all stayed the night there. It was a Homewood Suites, but was set up like a huge hotel with 8 floors. We were on the 7th so a great opportunity for more elevator socialization for Rue and just general hotel manners. She, of course, did great! She discovered that the corners of the elevator contain much sought after treasures too–old tissues, dirty napkins, etc. She’s so scummy.
So Saturday morning arrives and it is POURING rain. And cold. Ew. Thankfully I had brought my rain coat, so off we went to the trial site. The rain got much worse before it got better and a lot of folks in the Excellent JWW class were scratching their dogs. It was quite slick out there and just miserable for the handlers and many of the dogs. As predicted, though, by the time they had finished with that class, the sky had cleared and the sun was showing signs of peaking out. As they got ready to set the course for Novice, the sun had completely come out and it was gorgeous–yahoo!
The course today boded much better for a PB&J start with two jumps leading straight to the weaves. I decided to rear cross the weaves to set up a smooth tunnel entry and then do a front cross on the landing side of the jump after the tunnel to get him into the tight pinwheel. The rest of the course was rather straight forward with a few spots for Miles to really stretch out and run. I was excited to run this one today because it looked like fun and something that would play to his strengths. Plus, my friend and training buddy Jasey was there with her Labs, so I was going to have someone able to record this run!! We had spent some time during the Open level using the warm up jump and playing with the ball and he seemed raring to go. So when I went to get him out for his run, I wasn’t surprised with his excited wagging and happy smiling face. We played “speak for the ball” and tricks for his breakfast. It was tall to small today, so the wait was very short and into the ring we go! Unfortunately the dog before us was out of control and got into Miles’ face a little bit which in the past has caused him some stress. He seemed ok, so I kept positive. I set him up at the start and he was very bothered by something behind him which I discovered after watching the video that there were folks and their dogs very close to the ring right behind us (they’re supposed to be at least 10ft away–grrr). Anyway, I got him focused and off we went. Everything was PERFECT and he was going sooo fast!! We finished well under course time–another Q and a 1st to get his NJP title with a speed of 4.5yps!! Hoorray!
I got so many compliments on that run. It felt so good to have people saying what a great dog he is and what a good handler I am. I always knew we had it in us, it’s just been hidden. Many folks asked who I trained with because the run was “so smooth for a Novice”–ha! Sweet!
I’m not quite sure what happened to the video once I downloaded it, but here it is for what it’s worth. Please excuse the pixely jumpies…..