Monday, September 6, 2010

August AKC Trial

Philip and I went to another trial in mid-August, so let's play a little catch up :)

This was a 2-judge trial and had FAST scheduled for both days, so I was excited and entered all three run both days. Shortly after entering, my instructor warned me that this particular club (one holding this trial) was notorious for being very slow. So when the time came to go to the trial, I had prepared for things to be a bit slower than usual, but how bad can it be with two judges and two rings, right?

Excellent standard run was to be the first run for Philip, and I calculated that getting there around 9 should give plenty of time for previous runs to finish. When I got there though, I noticed that they weren't even half way done with the previous runs… As a matter of fact, we didn't get to our first run until about noon! I was so frustrated at this point, that I was ready to just pack up and leave, but I was already there and the runs were paid for, so I stuck it out.

Our run didn't go so well, probably partially to my frustration with all the waiting, though I had a feeling Philip must have gotten worked up too. He wasn't paying any attention to me - running totally wild and taking obstacles he wasn't supposed to. He went so far that he ran for a jump, and right when you would think he was going to jump, he just changed directions and went right around it. Sigh… of course a shameful NQ.

My instructor watch our run and said that Philip looks like he has too much energy. Not surprising really, considering he'd been sitting in his crate for 3 good hours waiting for something to happen. So she suggested I have him sit out in the sun, so that he "bakes" a little and hopefully mellows out. I estimated an hour wait or so for our JWW run, maybe two seeing as to how slow these folk were, so I sat us out in the sunny spot to wait.

Of course this was all wishful thinking as we ended up waiting another 3 hours before the Open JWW ring was even open for walking. I wasn't prepared to sit in the sun that long, so I had long retired back into the shade by then. The jumpers course didn't look too hard, but the sun-baking was all reversed in the shade, and Philip again made a fool of himself on the ring, earning us another NQ.

It was close to 4pm when we were done with the run and I had made previous plans to meet a friend at 5pm (I was sure we'd be done by 5, even one-judge trials usually finish by then!). Of course, we still had FAST scheduled, but before that the Novice dogs had to finish their Standard and Jumpers runs. So seeing how slow the day had been, and unable to stay past 5 anyway, I decided against waiting, and we left to go home. Good thing too, as I found out the next day that the FAST dogs didn't finish until almost 7pm! Seven!!!

Sunday morning I took my time getting to the trial as I now knew just how slow things were trudging along there. I believe we got to the site around 10:30am, and still ended up sitting around for a couple of hours before our turn to run. This time I came prepared for sun-baking though, so I armed myself with sun screen and a hat, and took Philip with me to watch the other dogs in the sun rather than resting in the crate.

The Standard course looked tough - it started out with a jump follow by two C-shaped tunnels right behind it to each side, with exits and entranced facing each other, and then another jump straight out. The dogs were supposed to go over the jump, to the far end of the left tunnel, out the close end and into the far end of the right tunnel, and then out the close end and over the far jump. I'll see if I can dig up a picture, but basically the dog had to do a figure eight in the tunnels between the two jumps. When Philip's turn came to run, I set him up for the jump, and lead out towards a tunnel. I called him over the jump pointing to the tunnel, and he ran right past me to the next jump - sigh! I don't think he was even listening to what I was saying, though he was a little better for the rest of the course.

Now, the jumpers ring was moving quite a bit faster on Sunday, and the Open runs ended up catching up to our Excellent Standard. I has them move Philip up, and still ended up having almost no time to walk the Jumpers course - only got to walk it once before being kicked off. Of course I could have asked them to let me walk more seeing as it wasn't my fault, but I didn't want to hold up the trial any longer. Instead I parked Philip in the sun for some more baking and watched other dogs in front of us to memorize the course better.

The course wasn't very difficult, and I paid good attention to the could of tricky spots while watching gopher run. Our turn came up and I set Philip at the start line to lead out a little. As I called him over the jump I saw that the "baking" was actually working! He was a little slower than usual and almost looked slow-motion, this was a good sign. I decided not to push him and just went along with his pace. He gracefully took every jump that I pointed to, mastered the weaves on the first try, and paid good attention to me even when I almost messed up one of the turns.

We finished the run cleanly! I couldn't believe it! Oh yes, let me remind you that we've had 2 legs in Open JWW since May, and been needing the one last one for all this time. This was it, Philip got his last needed Open JWW Q!!! It was practically surreal - I probably made lots of weird noises and I cheered in excitement, and our instructor and a few other people in the know clapped for us. All the waiting was worth it to me at this point, finally we are out into both Excellent levels, and it even means we no longer have to stay as long at the trials waiting for the Open run. Yay! Philip got a beautiful ribbon for his new title too :)

The day wasn't over yet though, we still had out FAST run to go, and this one also needed only one more leg to move out of Novice. Philip has never had any problems with FAST, but it's offered so rarely that we just haven't had a chance for 3 Qs. Seeing as he was finally doing well, I was determined to wait this one out. I don't remember exactly now, but I think I waited another 4 hours before it was finally our turn to run FAST. Meanwhile, I baked Philip in the sun some more :) The course was very easy as usual, and Philip did great. I decided not to wait for results and took off as soon as we finished our run, but I did check to make sure the scribe sheet was correct, and the results came in affirmative a few days later - Philip earned a total of 64 points, and took first place, finishing our Novice FAST title.

So there you have it, our very long weekend, but one that was totally worth it in the end. Next time this club holds a trial, I will most definitely not entering FAST though, as there is no way I would purposely want to wait around till 6-7pm again.

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