Thursday, September 9, 2010

Derby City Agility Trial -- Devon

This weekend we attended the Derby City Agility Association's 3-day trial east of Louisville. It was a fun weekend with friends, and oh yeah I had to run dogs, too! While I probably am more focused on my runs when I'm trialing by myself, I did enjoy the fun times with good friends.

Devon had a good weekend. I decided not to run her in Standard at all, due to her teeter issues away from home and known teeters. I also pulled her from Novice FAST on Saturday since there was a teeter in the ring. I didn't want to stress her since I know she looks for that teeter as soon as she goes into the ring.

However, based on advice from Jenn Crank, I ran FAST on Sunday. I planned a "get in, get the points and get out" course that would be fun and motivational. As soon as I sat Devon on the line, I could see her ducking her head under the first bar and looking over it trying to see the teeter. She did see it in the back, but as soon as I directed her away from it on course, she started flying!

Devon did have fun on this course, earning 54 points in 17.72 seconds, for a Q and a second place finish.

Devon had three Excellent B JWW runs over the weekend. All three were very good, except for the weaves. I know I've got a ring/trial issue with the weaves. Devon hits the first pole and then walks out of them. This is what she did a couple of years ago when she wasn't sure how to collect. Now I know she knows how to collect because she's solid in practice/training.

I am asking her to redo the weaves in trials since I do want to have her give me effort. But asking for the retry is giving her stress in the ring. I also agree with a friend who suggested that because Devon is so environmentally aware, she may be having problems going between 22 inch poles and 24 inch poles. Most of our training is done on 22 inch poles, and she sees 24s in trials. I agree that weave spacing plays a part in the problem. This is just something I think we'll have to work through.

Saturday's JWW run was very pretty and it was a tough course. Devon went off course after jump 3. Before we started our run, we heard noise and movement behind the wall of the arena. When Devon went off course, I thought it was due to that noise; however when I look at the tape I realize she committed to that off course jump very early and I didn't give nearly as much indication of the turn as I thought. In fact, I think all my turns on this course were late for Devon. She commits much earlier than I ever realized. I think she's anticipating where the course goes trying to be helpful to me. That means I need to cue her a lot earlier than I am.

Sunday's JWW run was the best of the weekend. Devon was slow off the start, I'm sure in anticipation of the weaves. But she handled this course very well. Her weave entrance was very pretty, so it's really too bad she didn't hang onto them. I think my handling was much better on this course.

After many, many runs, I was really tired on Monday, and poor Devon paid the price. I was mentally not there for her JWW run. I didn't run the course as I had planned, and frankly I was lucky to remember it. Devon hung with me until an off course after the weaves. I'm not sure you can tell in the video, but after the weaves, she really blasted through the rest of the course. I could tell she was burning off stress, just like she did in her last run of the 3-day trial in June.

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