Monday, March 22, 2010

And then there was a blindcross: Schenectady Dog Training Club AKC Agility Trial

We day-tripped to Greenwich again this weekend for the Schenectady Dog Training Club agility trial. Amazing spring-time weather - both Saturday and Sunday temperatures were in the low 60's with gorgeous sunshine and just a hint of wind on Saturday. I remarked to some friends this weekend that if we had only known (six months in advance) it would have been a lovely outdoor trial weekend!

In general there are more positive things to say than negative. Teller must have had his B-vitamins again this weekend as he was really "up" all weekend. When I brought him ringside on Saturday morning - even after his relative long walk and jog around the farm - his entire body was vibrating as we prepared to go into the ring. Pupils dilated, quivering with excitement and anticipation. Lord knows I love that he's so into the game that he's so excited to play - but it's still hard for me to run that dog in trial. I think we're getting closer and working more as a team. I can't take anything for granted because he'll take and do what he thinks I want from him. Those off-courses are my fault, I feel like I'm about three-quarters of a second behind where I need to be in my cues and my positioning. I'm hoping that I'll see that energy in training once we get back outside and he can really start moving out again - extending and Wheeeee.

I think a lot of people want to trial the dog they have in training - it's the opposite for us, I want to train the dog I have in trial. Semantics? I don't think so - I think it's a different animal - and I think its easier to get the trial dog in training than it is to get the training dog in trial. And I'll sacrifice the consistency in Q's (particularly standard Q's) for progress towards that "grab your butt and run" dog in training. And in all honesty - Q or no Q - he's a rush to run - as a result I tend to walk around the entire weekend with what my mother would call a $hit-faced grin on my face. The JWW gods favored us with a gift and delivered an MXJ leg on Saturday - that's MXJ #6 for Teller.

Sunday's JWW run was decent. I had the same jeeped up dog for the first run - despite more time to warm-up before his first run (small to tall on Sunday). Again I was late on a couple of cues and we had a wrong course. The funny thing is that he "got" the technical part and I goofed on what amounted to a straight run of four jumps into a pinwheel.

Yesterday's standard course was a nice run. There wasn't a particularly high Q rate in the 4" through 20" dogs. Lots of off-courses into the tunnel (at the #2 dogwalk) and lots of wrong courses on the #12 tunnel (wrong side of the tunnel). There were also quite a few dogs that took the off-course double instead of coming around to the #14 weaves. So we got all of those. We missed the a-frame contact and had a bar on the #17 jump. He was close on the a-frame - but you don't get any points for "almost". And I almost forgot - I actually squeaked in a blind-cross in this run and it'll be pretty obvious why I don't often (ever) throw those in on-course. First because I got too far over to the left to get the #12 tunnel entry and secondly because a less honest dog wouldn't have found his way around me to take that #13 jump. Then there's the real possibility that he could have taken me out at the knees and laughed his little Teller laugh about it the whole way home.

Here's our Sunday afternoon Excellent Standard run:

Keith and Denise VanHousen had beautiful courses all weekend. They asked good questions of the dogs and handlers while allowing dogs of all sizes to really move out.

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