Jonah and I went up to All Dogs Gym today for our third trial. It was a bit of a roller-coaster day, but overall good.
We got there nice and early and I got a chair set up and everything. The course maps weren't available yet, but I went ahead and got Jonah and brought him in for measuring. Well, the judge didn't come for about 10 minutes after measuring was supposed to start, which meant that about 15 dogs were waiting in about a 5'x10' little area. Jonah was initially really excited to be there, which I thought was encouraging. As more and more dogs came to be measured, though, he started getting anxious and would bark at dogs that got too close to him. Then, when the judge finally arrived, an actual line formed, and I didn't want Jonah in the line because dogs were just too close for his comfort. Anyway, we waited until the line subsided and ended up being the last dog. At this point Jonah had pretty much melted down. He did jump up on the table, but then as soon as the judge came near him he would jump off. He did not want to walk right up to the measuring device, and each try to get him measured got him more and more flustered. Eventually we had to had to move the measuring device into another room where there weren't other dogs walking past all the time. He measured 20.5" and finally that ordeal was over. Unfortunately his concern for being too close to other dogs lasted most of the day.
...But I had missed the briefing.
...And they were already walking my course.
I ran Jonah out to the car, grabbed a course map and ran back to the arena. There were a few last course-walking stragglers, and I nearly ran through the course once before going back out to get Jonah again. Luckily it wasn't too tough a course, and the quick course walk didn't hurt me.
Our first run was Jumpers. It was probably the best run we've ever had. Jonah was totally happy and relaxed by the time he got to the line. He charged out over the opening line, drove out away from me to jumps and tunnels, took tight turns and was very attentive. The whole thing just flowed beautifully. He maintained a fast speed throughout the course and was happy and wagging when we finished. Our time was 18 seconds. We won our class by 4 seconds and Jonah was the fastest dog of any height in either level 1 or 2 (the two levels that ran this course). Very good boy. Also that was our last level 2 Jumpers run.
Next up was Snooker. I feel like I really let Jonah down on this one. I must have stared at the map for 20 minutes and I just couldn't see any nice, flowing routes. 7-7-7 seemed as good as anything else, so I went for it. It required a good bit of looping back and forth, and Jonah just never got motivated. He seemed a little concerned and actually slowed down to a walk at one point. We got the 7-7-7 and then started the ending but he dropped the bar on the 4 jump. That meant we just barely qualified (we needed 28 and got 29), but it just didn't seem like a satisfying run. I tried to be fully excited for Jonah, but it was overall a disappointing run. Only one other dog in the class qualified (they got 44 points!), so we ended up second.
Our third class was Fullhouse. This was another one where I had trouble deciding on the best course, but I ended with something a lot better than Snooker. It actually worked out that I just did a whole series of loops with Jonah on my right the whole time. I had hoped to try some weave poles and a teeter to warm up for Standard, but neither ended up being on the course. We did get to do the A-frame. The 5-point obstacles were the A-frame, a combination of jumps and a double jump. I wanted to do the double and the combination twice each since I thought they would be faster than the A-frame. Anyway, I'm still trying to get a sense of how fast Jonah will go and how to plan my courses to be near the table at the end and I didn't get it perfectly lined up, but it all worked out alright. Jonah started fast but when he was on the A-frame the judge was very close to him and I think he got a little worried about the judge. He stopped for a second and took a good look at him. Then he kept going but had lost his speedy edge. In the end we got 31 points, a Q and first place out of 6 dogs. This was our last Level 2 Fullhouse leg, and it finished our CL2-F title.
We closed out our day with our debut Level 2 standard run. I had developed an annoying headache and wasn't as sharp as I should be. I think Jonah picked up on my less-than-maximum-enthusiasm, but otherwise he was good. The course was two jumps to weave poles. Jonah collected nicely and nailed his entry. He wasn't especially fast through them, but he was independent enough that I was able to front cross while he finished them. His A-frame was good, he was good through a pinwheel with a cross, and then he aced a discrimination of a tunnel and dog walk. He really slowed down up on the dog walk, but his contact was solid. Then the course ended with some tunnels and the teeter, which Jonah didn't blink at. They'd put some padding on it so it didn't bang as loudly, which was nice. The course was generally a little dull but it was very accurate and obedient. It was good enough for a Q and first.
All in all, I wish I knew what made Jonah come out speedy in some runs and slow in others. It's so much fun when he's fast and I don't have to be trying to generate all our energy. I was really pleased, though, that we didn't have any off courses or even near off courses. He was always paying close attention to me, and the only problem we ever had was that he was just slow. I am once again really looking forward to spring when we can set things up at home and get more practice in. Luckily this week I don't have class so I think I can go to Riverside for a lesson. We have a private lined up the following week, so we'll have some good practice there. It's just not the same as being able to do things every day at home, though. Even the area where I shoveled the back yard is now so frozen it's unusable. Especially when I want to be working on speed, I don't want to risk bad footing. Nine out of the next ten days are supposed to get above freezing, though, so maybe we'll get some good melting.
I've been putting our ribbons up on a wall in our bedroom. The space is filling up fast!