Saturday, January 29, 2011

Riverside Trial Day One

It's amazing how much less stressful today was than the Saturday of our first trial.  Most of it was just because we'd done it before, but the day was also a lot shorter and it was warmer so we hung out with Jonah in the car rather than having him in a crate.  He seemed to prefer that a lot, and I was able to actually get some work done.

We got there and got measured right away.  Jonah was still nervous about the process, but he stood up tall enough that he did measure over 20", so I didn't feel so silly jumping him 20".

Our first run was snooker, which was the round I was most nervous about.  I'd never done snooker and I knew that if we didn't Q we wouldn't get our level 1 title this weekend.  We'd have two shots at fullhouse, the other leg we needed.  Anyway, the setup wasn't too bad, although it still took me a few minutes to figure out a course that flowed well.  We did 2-7-7, so it was 5 points short of the highest possible score, but I really just wanted to qualify.

We ran around outside for a few minutes, jumped the warm-up jump a few times and then headed in.  Jonah was much more relaxed than I'd anticipated.  He was actually wagging while we waited to go in.  I went in, took off his collar and leash and off we went.  Jump-tunnel-jump-A frame-jump-A frame, course of 2 through 7.  His A frames were slow again on the way down.  I rushed his contacts a little because once he was in the yellow I felt like we needed to get going and he was just walking down.  Bad me.  I was getting too competitive at the sake of his training.  Other than that, things went well until the 6 obstacle, which was a tunnel I had to rear cross.  There really wasn't a good way to get a front cross in, so I figured he'd front cross alright since he hasn't had trouble with that in a while.  Well, he didn't go in at first and I had to bring him around so I wouldn't rear cross.  Then he went right in, and he was on the way to the A-frame (7 obstacle) when the buzzer went off.  He was already committed to the A frame, so he went up, down, into a good 2o2o, and then went nicely to the table.  So, we ended up with 39 points and we only needed 26 to qualify.  Q and first place.  Also finished our CL1-S title.  We need to work on rear crossing a tunnel and speeding up the A frame, but other than that he was great.  I wouldn't say he was full speed, but he was running nicely except in those two problem spots (A frame, tunnel).

Our second run was wildcard, our level 2 debut.  The first option was a straight tunnel or an A frame.  I chose the straight tunnel since he was being slow on the A frame.  This class had 5 dogs in it and so I wanted to be a little bit competitive, hoping for a ribbon (first-fourth place).  Then there was a pinwheel, which Jonah did well.  The second option was a tunnel, one end was the 1-point obstacle and the other end was the 2-point.  The 1-point actually worked best with a rear cross, which I knew he'd had trouble with, so I did the 2-point where I could front cross while he was in the tunnel.  He took that fine.  So, everything was going great until he came out of the tunnel and latched onto a jump behind me.  He shouldn't go behind me and I don't know what was so enticing about that jump.  Anyway, that counted as an off course.  After he had done that he came back and we finished the last line easily.  Overall, most of the run was great except for that one incident, but I wasn't too happy with it because I don't know what I did wrong.  I'm sure I did something, because I'm a firm believer in the 'it's never the dog's fault' philosophy, but I can't put my finger on it.  Anyway, that was frustrating.  We still Q'd, and another dog had more faults than we did, so we got a fourth place ribbon.  It wasn't our greatest run, but I guess we got the job done.

Our third and final run was full house.  It was my first time doing full house, and the biggest challenge was that I just don't know how to judge how far he'll be able to go in a certain amount of time.  We had 30 seconds before the buzzer and then 5 seconds to get to the table.  Anyway, I made a plan, changed the plan, and then changed it about three more times before I ran.  In the end I chose to do a loop with the weaves and tunnel twice, along with two lines of jumps, a tire, a tunnel and an A-frame.  He did a slightly faster A-frame, but then when he got to the weaves there were funny noises on the other side of the wall (that's where the grill was set up) and he stopped dead in his tracks, looking at the wall.  After I shook him out of his funk he weaved fine, went into the tunnel and then came back to the weaves and cruised through them.  It was funny, and ate up a good five seconds or so, but he had a legitimate reason for concern.  We finished the last line and I was going to start a loop around some jumps near the table when the buzzer went off, so we went to the table to stop the clock.  It was 27 points and we needed 19. It was a Q and second place.  I think we would have won if it weren't for the nervousness at the weave poles the first time.  Anyway, it was a good run and nothing to be concerned about.  As he gets used to trialing he'll get more used to different environments.  This finished his CL1-F title and his CL1, full level 1 title.  There was no one at the awards table to ask about the CL1 ribbon, but I think we will get one.  I'll ask tomorrow.

Overall, it was a very good day.  I'm proud of Jonah and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  Here's to three more Q's!

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