Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Busy Weekend! ... full of Agility

I'll warn you now, but there's lots of writing and not enough pic's in this post ... but there's some stuff I want to share with you ...

This weekend just gone, was three evenings of agility, jumping and games trials … phew … bit of a marathon but I really enjoyed it!

This was Summer’s re-introduction to the Agility Ring (she’s only been running in Jumping Classes so far). I wasn’t really happy with her contacts when she first started trialling so this weekend was her second chance to get it right in the ring. In training, she’s been doing really well and I felt the games were a good chance to have a “play” and see how she went. This little girl is quite outgoing and full of herself at home, but easily cut down to size with a frown. Out and about, around the trial world, she has slowly grown and gradually gaining more and more confidence. I still can’t identify all the little things that affect or influence her and she often catches me by surprise with some of her little behaviours that turn up.

For some reason, on Friday night she decided that the top of the A-Frame was a nice place to be, and after performing a really nice A-Frame in her first run the second time she decided to loiter at the top for a while … whilst I danced around on the ground, turning myself inside out, trying to get her attention and get her to come down! This behaviour is one of my pet hates and really frustrates me … she has never done this in training, and I mean never. Yes, in the very beginning she started to creep into her contact position (2on 2off) but she never stopped at the top!

She presented me with a few other new tricks over the weekend … just to remind me not to become too complacent and that my job is never done as her trainer. She had a few vague moments in the ring where she would take a detour, like she was taking in the scenery and sniffing the night air, totally oblivious to me or what I was saying, then she would suddenly snap out of it and come back to finish the course … displacement behavior maybe? Maybe she’s not comfortable enough in the trial ring environment yet, maybe she’s unsure about what I really expect of her, maybe I’m asking her to do stuff that's too difficult for her yet? Who knows … but we’ll work on it.

Her weave poles were really nice up until an Open Jumping run on Saturday night where she took 5 steps to walk r e a l l y s l o w l y around each pole … goodness knows what got into her. She ran the rest of the course OK - but still hesitant-like.

Dog Walk was nice and smooth, however (only I would notice) she was consistently a toenail away from 2on 2off each time – I battled with myself whether to release her and keep her on the course (stay positive) or whether to take her off the course and let her know she was wrong – I chose the first option, seeing that she wasn’t bursting with confidence to start with … maybe I made the wrong choice, who knows?

Ticket only ran in games classes this weekend, I wanted to give her a “no pressure” weekend where Q's weren't our priority … and we had a great time. Of all her runs, she only knocked 2 bars down, her contacts were AWESOME! Absolutely AWESOME!!! Now I’ve just got to work out how I actually taught this!? Oooh, bad trainer … I should know what I’ve done, have it all noted down and tracked in my training diary and be able to apply again … shouldn’t I?

Anyway, the results were still pretty good over the whole weekend and we also managed to pick up a couple of titles along the way.

Ticket Q’d in 2nd Place Novice Gamblers and 1st Place Novice Snooker on Friday night, gaining her GD (Gambler Dog) Title, then another Q in 2nd Place in Gamblers on Sunday night.

Summer Q’d in Novice Snooker, Novice Gambler and also 2nd Place Novice Strategic Pairs on Friday night. Saturday night she Q’d in Excellent Jumping and Novice Agility taking 1st Place. Sunday night she Q’d in Novice Gambler and 4th Place in Strategic Pairs giving her and her partner, Brynbank Juston Midnite, their SPD (Strategic Pairs Dog) Titles!

Chilli redeemed herself, after missing the last jump on a number of courses, she qualified in Novice Gamblers on Sunday night.

I'm happy with that ... and I've got some homework to do!

The Western Classic Dog Show is on this weekend, starting Thursday night thru to Sunday night. I am showing in the conformation ring Thursday and Sunday with the Malinois, and Mum & Rene also with their Papillons, and Agility on Saturday night with Ticket and Summer. Hope it’s not too hot!

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