As of Sunday Evening (day four of the DockDogs event at the Hopkinton Fair) Kipling was standing in 4th place in the amateur division after 16 'Big Air' waves (Amateur 0' to 17'11"; Semi-Pro 18'-21'11"; Pro greater than 22') with his best jump on Thursday (16'11").
So I decided to drive down for finals today, hedging our bets that we'd keep that position after the two waves this morning. So 5:15 alarm, 6:15 departure and a 8:30 arrival for 9am practice.
Once I got there we had to come up with a strategy. I put him in practice and he's consistently jumping 20'+ over the 6 jumps he got in practice. So I watched the first wave - there were quite a few jumps in the 17' range, but I had no way of knowing which of those dogs had already jumped out of amateur over the weekend. Was 16'11" good enough to get into the amateur finals? If I could get a 17'6" jump we'd be solidly in the finals, but if we went over 18' we'd be out of the amateur division and into semi-pro where a 20' jump wouldn't be good enough to get him into finals. What to do, what to do?
I gambled and entered that second (and final) wave. Kipling blew me out of the water with a TWO FOOT improvement for an 18'11" jump. There goes finals baby! For our second jump I threw (and sent him) too early and while I think it was our best 'official' jump of the weekend it wasn't scored - manual scoring of that jump put it in the 20' range. Our second official jump was a solid 18'9".
In the end, that 16'11" score would have put us in second place in the amateur finals and that 18'11" would have won the amateur finals. That was my miscalculation and a credit to Kipling's willingness to do whatever I ask of him and do it BIGGER and BETTER than the last time! I'm happy with the drastic improvement and I'm psyched that he loves playing this game too. From a training standpoint, I love that he held his stays (waits) on the dock. He was barking and bouncing back there AMPED and ready to go, but he did not go until he was released. The barking was a surprise to me, I'm used to whining in waits poolside at home - but the barking bounce was a new trick!