1) It snowed a lot.
2) I found out I'm going to Greece and Turkey in May. Not so much good for Jonah's training, but I'm really looking forward to it.
3) We got our digital files from the professional photographer at the All Dogs Gym trial. Here they are:
(Jonah in his first run: Saturday, Standard Level 1)
I think this picture is an illustration of success: our very first run and he looks focused, fairly relaxed, and most of all, happy. He's taking a nice tight line, jumping near the stanchion. Note how he pushed off his left hind. In this case, that's normal because he's turning left, but curiously the one picture taken of him turning right was awkward looking. It could definitely just be an unlucky picture, but I'm suspicious since his right hind is his weak leg. I'm going to keep an eye out for that.
(Jonah in his great Colors run)
He might look a little less happy here, but he's very focused and again he's taking a nice line, jumping near the stanchion and he's on a reasonable angle. Again, he's jumping of his left hind leg but it's appropriate here, as well. He's a little less relaxed here, but I still think it's a good shot.
(Jonah's leaping landing gear in his Jackpot run)
I love this shot. He looks like a little sheltie, his legs are tucked up so high they look really short. You can also see the pads of his feet that he's showing off to the camera. He got on the table just in time on this run. I'm not good yet at judging the clock, and if we'd been a second later we wouldn't have qualified. He looks like he's having a blast, though!
(Focused smile in Sunday's Standard run)
I think his form is great here. (And my only standards for judging form are horses, so if dogs are different I don't know what I'm talking about.) He's really jumping up through his shoulders with a nice arc. In the jumps where his head's up more, he can't get his back arced as well. He's taking this jump straighter, so his hind legs are more even. He's very tidy up front, too. You'll notice in some of the other shots that he starts to cross his front paws a little, but here they're straight next to each other. Then the expression on his face is happy but highly focused, ears pricked and looking ahead to what's coming.
So one thing I noticed while looking through proofs is that some dogs jump with their front end curled in like Jonah does while other dogs just reach their front legs straight out from their shoulders. I prefer the appearance of Jonah's style, but I wonder if there's a 'better' technique, or if it's breed specific or what. If anyone reading this knows, I'd love to hear.
Thank you to Donna Kelliher Photography for catching such great moments. They're great memories and I can learn a lot from them. Of course, I might analyze his form but I don't know too much about how to actually improve it. Gymnastics, maybe.
Thanks also to Dave for giving the blog a facelift. It looks great!