Monday, July 5, 2010

July AKC Trial 1

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July! Philip and I spent a good portion of it going to another Agility trial :)

This weekend was a two judge trial so it went by much faster than the one judge trials that we usually have. We had an early start at 8:30am both days, but it was nice since the weather stayed cooler.

Saturday's Excellent Standard run didn't look too difficult, but unfortunately Philip knocked down the panel jump right at the first sequence. It was weird because he doesn't usually knock panels, but it did look like he took an awkward approach to it, so that might have been the problem. When we got to the table, the judge counted it off really fast, which I thought was funny, but I understood that she was saving time since we had NQed already anyway :) I actually wish more judges would do that so the trials can move a bit faster! At the end of the run, Philip messed up his weave pole entry yet again as well. I really don't know what's with him and the weaves lately...

The jumpers run looked really nice on Saturday, and I was very hopeful, but again Philip managed to knock the fifth jump in the course - sigh. Shortly after, he messed up the weaves entry for a good measure, and then I remembered that I'm supposed to be hurrying him through (he goes at a snail's pace in the weaves, and we are trying to break the habit in class). So I picked up the speed and he did okay, but then I continued going fast and totally forgot one of the jumps we needed to take - oops. So I gave Philip another wrong course and a refusal, went back to fix it, and we finally finished with 6 seconds over time!

Sunday's standard course was kind of crazy looking. The course was laid out in such a way that we had to run on a spiral (around a circle twice while closing in towards the center of the course), and then turn out of it for the finish. This presented a couple of lucrative wrong courses, one of which was a jump with the A-Frame straight ahead from it and a tunnel to the left. The first time around we were supposed to keep going straight, but on the second pass turn into the tunnel. When I watched other dogs run before us, all the handlers did a front cross between the jump and the tunnel to change their dog's direction. It was a good choice, and if I had a well trained dog, I'd probably go for it too, but I knew in my mind that Philip would prance for the A-Frame before I had time to front cross if I tried that. So instead I decided to hold back and cross behind Philip once I got him to the tunnel. I don't think I saw anyone else do it that way, but it worked wonderfully for us! Everything was going great through the whole spiral and I could almost taste the Q, but unfortunately Philip messed up the weaves entry, again! In retrospect, I might have messed him up there because I was being cautious and told him to weave 3 times. I think he knew what to do after my first command and might have gotten confused when I repeated it. Oh well, so close, but no Q because of that of course. Still, this was a very good run, we both handled some very difficult parts nicely, and there was no knocked bars!

Then we had a mishap on the field... skip this paragraph if you don't want to read a hurt dog story (I'm tearing up just thinking about it). While I was walking the Open JWW, some Excellent dogs were still running Standard, and I happened to be looking at them as a lab was running and took the teeter at a wrong time. His handler was trying to call him off, so he stopped in the middle and tried to turn around. Being a big dog, his right back foot slipped off the board, he flinched and stepped on the upper side of the board to catch balance. This in turn made the teeter start tilting and it pinched his fallen leg between the board and the metal supports. Words can't explain the screaming that followed this, and to add to the terror he fell off, completely twisting his stuck leg, as he lay there screaming. Of course, everyone rushed to his help, and while it probably only took seconds, it seemed like forever before they finally freed his leg. He couldn't step on it for a while and got carried out, but I found him later with lots of people huddled around him. They were icing his leg, checking the range of movement and feeding him lots of cookies. Thankfully he seemed okay - no breaks or dislocations, what a lucky boy!

This incident just goes to show what a dangerous sport this is for dogs. It might seem like all fun and games, but there are so many things that can go wrong. Even with all the rules that are there to ensure safety, we can't foresee everything. Please be careful with your dogs!

When our Open JWW run started after this, I think I was a bit out of it because I totally messed up my handling at the beginning. I planned to do a front cross, forgot about it, and ended up with a very awkward cross behind instead. This caused Philip to turn the wrong way while looking for me, and earned him a refusal on the following jump. Shortly after, we approached the tunnel - Philip was supposed to go into the far end of it, and I tried holding him back, but he was focused on the close end, and no yelling on my part could turn his head around. Tunnel entries like this have definitely been a problem for us, but we've been practicing them in class and doing well, so I'm not sure if I did something to cause it, or if he was just being a brat. The rest of the run went smoothly - no knocked bars, and amazingly, Philip hit the weave poles right on target this time, so that was a nice surprise of the weekend :) Since no wrong courses are allowed in JWW though, this was an automatic NQ.

So again we had a weekend with four NQs, but we have another trial this coming weekend, and I really hope we'll break this no-Q spell then!

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