Saturday, June 26, 2010

Agility Club of Indianapolis Trial, day 2

I am exhausted!! I woke up at 2 a.m. this morning, still dreaming of what an awesome teeter Devon did and still with that silly smile on my face. I felt like it was the day after Christmas!

However during my 1.5 hours of laying in bed wide awake, I did realize something else. Devon has struggled with off-side weave entrances for about a week now. I assumed it was just something in training breaking down, but then I remembered I didn't like Devon's stride right before take off on a couple of jumps in her JWW run on Friday. I realized Devon doesn't do anything to be difficult (i.e. the weaves), and I needed to have her checked out by Dr. Bonnie when I got to the trial.

The morning was chaotic. I thought I had to get Page measured (turns out I didn't since she jumped 24 inches); I was chief ring steward in the JWW ring, so I was in charge of making sure all the volunteers showed up; I needed to walk the Novice JWW course since it was Page's debut and she was second dog on the line; and I knew there would be a conflicted with Page's run and my turn to walk the Excellent Standard course for Devon, so I had to walk that course early (and I was standing in line to get Page measured!). Combine all that with not sleeping between 2 a.m. and 3:3 a.m., and it was a lot! I'm glad I've run multiple dogs before!

Page's Debut!
Ok, Page gets top billing today, since it was her debut. I had said I wouldn't trial until she was 2-years-old; and then when Page started doing well, I thought Labor Day weekend would be good. But she was doing so well, I couldn't miss the opportunity to run her in a local trial this weekend even though she's only 16-months-old.

Page was unfazed by the building and the trial environment. She's been to trials with Devon for the last year, and that helped a lot. The normally mouthy girl was quiet in her crate all day long.

I am running her at 24 inches, because when she was 12 months old she measured 22.5 inches tall. I decided to jump her at 24 inches to start, since it's easier to drop her jump height later versus trying to teach her to jump higher. Because Page is handling 24 inches so well, I decided to leave her at 24 inches at least until I get her permanent height card.

This was a really nice Novice JWW course. It flowed well and gave me three opportunities for forward moving front crosses. Unfortunately I only executed one of those well, and it was the one before the weaves. I pulled Page off of two jumps with the other two crosses.

Page's weaves were solid, even with the off-side entry. I knew the last line of jumps would be a challenge, and when I pulled her off the jump in the back, I got discombobulated! I turned her around just so I could reconnect with her. Even with the turn around, Page ran this course in 23 seconds! My goodness, I've never run a dog this fast before!!

After being on the line at 8:30 a.m. for JWW, it was about 3 p.m. for Standard. I had crated in the JWW ring, since I was working over there. I had a crate set up on the Standard side, too, to help me manage the girls on that side since it was a long walk between the rings. Page was so funny when we walked into the other ring. She had no idea there was ANOTHER whole ring of agility equipment! She was like a kid who walked into FAO Schwarz for the first time! She couldn't WAIT to get on that equipment, too!

This was also a nice Novice course, but the chute to the weaves (again best handled off side) was tricky. I knew Page could handle the weave entrance, though. Regarding my handling choices, I chickened out on the front cross before the teeter. Page was really moving and she didn't stick her dogwalk contact. She did come all the way down, stopped and looked for me to to release her, so I let it go. I should have made her wait and walked a couple of steps and then released her. That would have given me time to do the front cross I wanted, but I knew I'd be too far behind where I was.

Then I did a real no-no and sent her for a take off side/forward send rear cross on the double, which she didn't read -- DUH!! What was I thinking?? I should have and planned in a pinch to run through the double and then rear cross on the flat to the chute. Page didn't need me to manage that weave entrance! However, I let her speed push me into bad decisions. This is something I'm going to have to stop!!

The funniest part of this run was the table. I did SUCH a good job of teaching the automatic down, Page wouldn't sit. Judge Carla was laughing, and I even said, "Nice automatic down I taught!" She finally sat, but we lost about 8 seconds there. Funny, how I knew we'd have time to spare!

I also made Page stick that A frame contact and hold it. I thought I'd need to be ahead more for those last two jumps, but she read my forward movement just fine and ran straight. Page was 13 second below SCT, which included an extra 8 seconds at the table and an extra 3 seconds on the A frame. I don't think I'll have to worry about time!

In all, I'm pleased with her first qualifying score in Novice! The lessons for me are to concentrate more on my handling and support her jumps better. We'll get there, but for the first time out with a 16 month old puppy, I think we did pretty good!

Devon's runs
Devon did a super job today! I realized this morning that this is Devon's first weekend in Excellent Standard. She got her OA a year ago, but then she was doing field work last fall and got spooked on the teeter before we did any fall/winter agility trials. Today's course was challenging, but flowing. Devon did look long and hard at that teeter again, considering another off course to it! The still photographer's shots proved that!

But Devon did everything in sequence and really nailed this course. I was so thrilled with her teeter, again confident, that I told her so the entire time she was on the table how brilliant she was. Judge Carla said something to me after the class about another confident teeter. I really like her!

Devon's only problem in the whole course was in the weaves, and again I resolved to find Dr. Bonnie and see what was up. She was comfortably under time, so I was thrilled with this run!

Before Devon ran JWW, Dr. Bonnie spent a few minutes with her. I was right; Devon's left shoulder was out. Dr. Bonnie confirmed that would make the weaves very uncomfortable, especially the off-side entrance.

Devon's JWW run was again pokier than I expected, but she ran the course flawlessly, and I handled better than yesterday! She got slightly distracted by the ring crew after that rear cross, but she was in good company with many other dogs.

Devon really didn't want to do the weave poles. I never mind them popping weave poles as long as they give me effort. Devon didn't give me effort, so I turned her around and asked for them again. The second time she gave me very nice weaves.

Dr. Bonnie agreed with my handling choice, saying it proved to Devon her shoulder didn't hurt anymore and she could (hopefully) do the weaves tomorrow. I figured the adrenalin from yesterday's runs had carried her weave performance yesterday, and today it broke down since she was a little more tired.

Devon was right on SCT in JWW with the repeated weaves, so I was again pleased with her time. Since this was only her second weekend in Excellent B, I'd say we're doing very well!

Both girls did incredibly well today, and I was pleased with all four runs. Devon and I are a little rusty since we haven't trialed in 4 months, but we're doing great things in Standard! Page and I are a new team -- plus Page gives me the added challenge that I've never run a dog this fast! What a journey this will be with both my talented girls!

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