Saturday, March 28, 2009

Syracuse Day Three

Greetings from Syracuse! Another long and successful day - another double Q with two first placements. I spent an obsessively long time last night watching Teller's jumper run - and came to the realization that there was nothing I'd have changed with that run - I've never had that kind of run before - I'm still in awe. It was smooth and fast, my crosses were in the right places, my timing was good - Teller was amazingly in-tune with my cues. It was such a rush.

I didn't move him up because I wanted to play in my jumpers run today - push some buttons and see what happened. My lesson of the day in both runs was to trust my dog more. In jumpers he made his weave entry and then I called him out thinking he was heading in at the second pole. I didn't trust him and I should have. In standard I went on the left because of the MASSIVE crowd of spectators assembled outside the ring next to the weaves, then rear-crossed the double. I did a lead-out that really killed me - he never saw the poles and went towards (but didn't touch) the table (he's gotten a lot of reinforcement for the table lately because I went back to work the 16" table). If I hadn't been lead-out crazy I would have been able to send him to the poles and I'm almost certain he'd have made the entry. Again - I need to trust him more. Further through the course I was so concerned about the frame contact that I bobbled what should have been a rear cross on the tire - which cost us time. My fault - thankfully he's forgiving and doesn't get bent out of shape over stuff like that.

When I started Teller in agility he was a committed bar-knocker - a problem I never had with Murphy. Over time I've worked to be very consistent that when bars came down we stopped, reset the exercise and rewarded the bars staying up. This has really paid off for us - and now that the trial is over I'm pleased to report that I didn't even hear a tick all weekend. Not to say that I can stop being consistent when the bars do come down - but I have to listen to Lori and trust my dog more. Do you sense a recurrent theme in these posts?

I did think that I did a good job of running Teller like he's Teller - not running him like Murphy - it's been hard to run the two dogs and handle them both like they need to be run. I think this is on-going and will continue to be a challenge. I certainly need to get faster - but I am already faster than I was a few months ago and I have some nice lateral distance when I (again) TRUST him to do what I've trained him to do. I've said it before - he's such a bloody honest dog - he does what I've trained him to do - he is as good as the consistency and effort that I've put in. His holes are bits that I either haven't put time into or I haven't rewarded consistently enough. I need to be clear on my criteria because if I'm not he's not going to magically pull the right answer from the hat.

Tomorrow is an obedience day - just Open A and we'll hit the road. Novice Standard didn't finish until almost 5pm - not fun when I've got a 5 hour drive ahead of me tomorrow afternoon.

So the agility stats for the Onondaga cluster:
6 runs
5 Q's
2 Double Q's
1 2nd place
4 1st places
1 new title (NJP)

What would have made this weekend even sweeter is if my agility buddies were out here with me...trialing solo is not as much fun as trialing with friends - though the agility world is a friendly place and I got to catch up with a lot of folks I haven't seen since the GMGRC trial in July.

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