Sunday, May 15, 2011

May AKC Trial

Philip and I went to another trial this weekend. I wasn't originally planning on going to this as it was a little father than I'm used to, but I signed up for it because it offered FAST both days, hoping we'd get at least one of them and finish the elusive Excellent FAST title.

This trial ran FAST first thing in the morning, which was nice for a change, and Philip was full of it and ready to go. On Saturday, the Send bonus was very difficult, having to do the A-Frame, then take the back side of the tunnel, and go back over the A-Frame again! I don't know how in the world the judge expected dogs to get this one, but I'm pretty sure only 1 or 2 dogs qualified this course among all jump heights. Obviously, Philip wasn't one of them. He actually did the A-Frame nicely both directions, and even took the tunnel, but unfortunately he took the closer (incorrect) end of it. Otherwise, he ran a bit crazily, and even broke his lead out stay at the beginning, but I figured I should let him since it gets his energy out for him.

Next up was Standard. The course was a bit tricky, and I thought to myself that Philip might mess up one particular spot (the tunnel before the A-Frame), so I decided ahead of time that if he would mess that up, I would demand for him to stick his 2-on-2-off on the A-Frame or otherwise take him off course. Philip had an idea of his own though - he took off running like the wind and took a wrong jump right at the start, then ran past the chute and around it, and when we reached the tunnel I though he wouldn't get, he actually got it right. However I was set on my plan and the run was already ruined anyway, so I had him go up the A-Frame and asked him to pause at the end. Of course, he didn't even flinch an ear, and ran off. I was mad at his antics at this point, so I yelled at him to lay down, told the judge thank you, caught Philip and carried him out of the ring. I told him he was bad and didn't give him any treats (normally, I give him some no matter if he runs well or not, but not this time!). He looked confused, but eventually accepted his no-treat fate. Hopefully it taught him a lesson!

Last of the day was Jumpers. This course actually has a very nice flow and everyone ran it very fast. Sometimes it's boring to have easier courses like that, but this day it was a relief to me consider how Philip has behaved up until then. I don't know if the course was just really that much easier than usual, or if the lack of treats earlier has left a mark in Philip's brain, but he paid very close attention to me, and ran perfectly. He was a bit tired and not too fast, but we finished clean in 6th place, earned a Q and 7 MACH points. Yay, day not totally ruined :)

On Sunday, we woke up early again to head to the trial. About a third way from home I saw light rain drops on my windshield. No big deal I thought, but as I kept driving, the rain got harder and harder. When we got to the site, it was raining fairly hard, and it was windy and cold. On top of that, while I really hoped that Sunday's FAST would be easier, I came to find out that it again required a back-end of the tunnel :( Philip just doesn't know how to do these send, and I knew right away he wouldn't get it. I really contemplated not running considering the crappy weather, but figured we should give it a shot, plus it would be a chance for Philip to get his craziness out. So I walked the course and made up a vague plan to get minimum points necessary. Philip ran fast and seemed to have tried hard to pay attention to me. Still, as expected he took the wrong side of the send tunnel. I even did another approach to try it again, but again he took the closer side. I let him do the rest of the send, and then over the finish line. This weekend FAST just wasn't meant to be for us I guess.

The rain kept going, and the disappointing morning run made me think I should just head home rather than continue getting all wet and cold. I was already there though, and it was already paid for, so I tuckered into my car, and waited for out next run to be ready. Both Jumpers and Standard courses were moderate difficulty on map, so I figured we'd give it our best shot, and if all else fails, maybe get another lesson or two into Philip's head about listening to me on course.

Standard was up first, and right away Philip almost messed everything up. The run started with a C-shaped tunnel, so I placed him in front of the entranced and stepped to the side before telling him to go. He darted off towards me instead of the tunnel, and i scrambled screaming "NO!" and pointing to the tunnel again. I don't know how I stopped him from going into the wrong side, but he turned and went the correct way - whew! Judging by that start, I expected Philip to go crazy again, but he was actually very attentive to me and ran the rest of the course well! He didn't stick his contacts, but I did exaggerate slowing him down, so he still didn't miss them. As we finished the run, I was worried that a refusal might have been called at the beginning, but when the results were out, we had a Q!!! Guess since he didn't actually trip the timer, he didn't technically start running yet, so that's why no refusal :) In fact, he ran so well that he took 3rd place with 18 MACH points :D

Finally, we got ready for Jumpers. I walked it again to ensure I knew the course, and tried to keep Philip's attention on me. We walked out to the course, and he seemed a little tired, so he wasn't overly fast. This is good since I can keep better control of him when he isn't running like lightning. He came close to taking a wrong end of the tunnel before the weaves, but saved it in the last moment. He then sprinted ahead of me at one point, but I managed to slow him down when staying on track. A couple more jumps and we were done. I couldn't believe it, a clean run, a second one of the day! Philip got his first ever Double-Q!!! I waited for the results just to be sure, and he did it, he really did. He earned another 9 MACH points in this run, and we had our very first QQ!

What a way to finish the weekend. Our grand total is 2 jumper Qs, 1 standard Q, a total of 34 MACH points, and a Double-Q. I don't even care that Philip didn't get the FAST leg any more. The QQ was totally worth it. I'm so proud of my little man! We'll get that FAST another time (gonna be a while before another trial pops up with it), but thats okay, we are officially on our way to MACH. Good job Philip!

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