Hello again! March is a busy month in the Agility world for us. We have 3 trials this month, and just got back from the first one this weekend!
This was a really big 4 day long event, but Philip and I only went on Saturday and Sunday since I have to work and all :) The event also had Obedience, Rally-O and other fun stuff going on, but more on that in a bit.
Saturday's Standard run was a usual disaster, though it was an extremely tough course. Our fiasco started off with a missed contact on the Dog Walk! That was definitely a first for Philip, and I actually didn't know it even happened until after the run. I really need to enforce the contacts with Philip more. He tends to run off without stopping in trials, even though he does his two-on-two-off in class. Besides that, he also took a wrong jump (I totally expected that one, it was a really tough turn), and made another mistake that escapes me right now.
Before having our JWW run, I went to check out the Obedience rings, and saw the CGC testing area (that was going on the whole weekend as well). I've been wanting to get Philip his CGC for a while now, but I always felt like he'd fail the dog greeting and stranger greeting parts of the test, since he is a jumpy boy. I told the CGC lady that I wanted to watch a test before trying it, but she encouraged me that Philip is behaving really well and I should just try it. I wasn't convinced yet, so I told her I had an Agility run to do, but that I might come back later.
The JWW run was a much better turn out. Philip was getting nicely tired by the time it came up, so he paid attention to me, and he did the course very nicely. There were a couple of spots where I had to scream for him, but he actually listened and came back to me. He got a Q taking 7th place, and earned 4 more MACH points :)
Being such a big event, there were a lot of dogs there, so we had to wait quiet a while for our FAST run. So while waiting, I went back to the CGC area. I thought I would sign up for a spot with Philip, but apparently the tester lady figured we came to test, and started it before I even realized it! She petted him, looked at his ears and teeth, lifted his paws, brushed him, and Philip just sat there like a sweet little angel boy! I was so amazed at it. She then asked us to do some commands - sit, down, stay, come, as well as walking nicely on leash, and working with distractions (two girls did some hula hoop spinning near us). We walked by a dog, and shook hands with the tester. Last but not least, I left Philip with the tester on leash, and went behind a trailer to fill out paperwork. This is usually the hardest part of the test since dogs don't like having their owner out of sight, but Philip has a great stay and has been out of my sight many times, so I knew he'd have zero issues with that one. And so we passed our CGC test! I never imagined it would be so simple, I'm so proud of my boy :)
Anyway, back to Agility, the FAST run. As you might remember from our last trial, Philip had finished his Open FAST title, so this weekend we got to try Excellent FAST. In Excellent there are 5 more points to earn (for a total of 60), and 5 more feet on distance (for a total of 15). Saturday's send bonus included a tunnel, out to a jump, then having to do a 180 from the jump back into the same tunnel. The points weren't so bad to get in this course, but I decided to go for the send first. With Philip's love for tunnels, you'd think this send would have been easy-peasy, but the U-turn proved to be a little too much. Philip took the tunnel, and the jump, and came back around it, but the turn made him lose his momentum, so I couldn't get him to go back into the tunnel. He was just so confused, and then found something to sniff in the grass, so we got a fault for our send. Of course, no send = NQ in FAST.
Before walking off course though, I figured I'd do a little contact practice. In our class just a few days earlier, the instructor was talking about how if you mess up your run early in the course, you might as well practice things you have trouble with, and pointed out the contacts is one of those things for Philip. So I took him to the A-Frame, and he blew off it as he usually does in trials. No contact meant no running for him, so I turned around to the exit. In hindsight, I should have picked him up and carried him out (as our instructor told me, but alas - I forgot). By running him out, he still got to take a couple of jumps and have some fun on the way, so it might not have stuck so well that he did something wrong. Oh well, next time I'll hopefully remember.
That wraps up our Saturday shenanigans, and this post is getting long, so I'm going to split it up, read up on Sunday shortly in the new post! :)