Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bo-Gee Day Two

Another great day!

Today we went back to the Deerfield Fairgrounds for two more rounds of Standard...our first at level 3.  Today Level 3 ran separately from Level 2, so I at least felt like things were a little different.  This was a new judge for us (although I guess at this point most of the time we haven't had a judge before), and the courses really had a different feel.  They flowed nicely, were a little more spread out, and had multiple tunnel-to-contact tight turns (as in, he'd go in a tunnel next to the contact and it would curve out until it was parallel to the contact.  He'd take the tunnel and then make a tight turn back to the contact.  For an example, see the tunnel to the dogwalk in the AKC finals this year, starring our teacher!

Our first course had quite a bit of looping around, and included 12 weave poles, which I've never had before at CPE.  Apparently in level 3 if there are 12 poles you just have to get them done but if there are 6 you can be faulted if the dog pops out.  The first jump was very close to the fence and the entrance to the field (maybe 8 feet?), so I was worried that his excited bark-and-leap routine that has now become a habit would end up with him being so excited that he would go take the first jump.  He was good, though, and just leapt pretty much in place.  Then we were off.  He wasn't as super-fast as he can be, but he had good pace and flowed around the course beautifully.  He nailed the weave entry which was on a funny angle and cruised happily.  The only thing I would fix was the dogwalk.  It was set up right next to the fence and there were spectators right on the other side.  As he was coming down the ramp, they startled him a little bit and he sort of slid on the dew covered plank.  Again, there was no question that he got his paws in the yellow, but we missed the 2o2o.  Other than that he was super.  First place and Q.  One dog in another height was 2 seconds faster, but Jonah was next.  He beat the second place dog in our class by more than 10 seconds.

Round two was a similar course with a little less looping around.  It only had one of the tunnels with a quick turn to a contact.  This time we only had 6 weaves.  Jonah was pretty much full speed this round, and handled everything with ease.  Again, though, he ran through his dogwalk contact.  We're going to have to really drill this, and if he misses it again in a class or trial I'm going to have to be more strict and not just go on.  A few times this weekend I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but this time it was clear that he could have stopped if he'd wanted.  Anyway, he handled all the tricky parts of the course beautifully:  far side tunnel entry, tough weave entry, a rear cross, etc.  He did slip on the grass at one point but he recovered.  Two obstacles later I slipped but also managed to stay upright.  I guess someone had fallen pretty badly on Friday.  I'm glad we kept our feet under us.  It was the fastest run of any height, so good enough for 1st and Q, beating the next dog in our class by 15 seconds this time.  We got a bunch of compliments.

In general, it was a great weekend.  All his runs were great.  There are three things that stand out for me:
1.  I can be more confident in our handling.  If a rear cross is the best option, I should try to go for it.
2.  That said, I shouldn't be lazy.  I've gotten more comfortable with blind crosses, which are definitely faster, but I know I can get in place for front crosses and the eye contact really is better with a front.  He's focusing on me 100% of the time, and I owe him the favor of doing the same for him.
3.  Our dogwalk contacts need drilling, big time!  This has been a strong suit for him in the past, and I don't want to let it slip!

In other news, a tree fell in our agility area out back so a project for the week is getting that cut up and out of the way.  Hopefully I can work on the stumps at the same time and really get that area in working condition.

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