Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day One Review, Day Two Preview

We had a great day today!  A basic, bulleted summary:
  • The weather was wonderful.  It never rained but it stayed cloudy and cool.  
  • We got our Level 2 title!
  • We Q'd in all four rounds.
  • No faults on the day.
  • First or second place in every class, many of which were big classes (as many as 10 dogs).
  • Good focus in a busy outdoor environment.
  • A-frame contacts were great.
  • Dogwalk contacts were iffy.

Our first round was snooker.  I'd walked an ambitious 7-7-7 course which required taking the first red and running all the way across the ring to the 7 (broad jump).  I didn't think it would be a problem because the only thing in his direct line of sight was the back side of a curved tunnel--you couldn't see either of the entrances.  Well, as I warmed Jonah up he was really, really high.  More excited than I've EVER seen him for agility.  When we went into the ring, he started barking and leaping all around.  It was not like anything I'd ever seen from him.  Anyway, he took the first red and then saw the tunnel and before I knew it he had run all the way around and into the entrance.  Oops.  There goes our 7-7-7.  After that, though, he locked in and got the second two 7's and finished the closing beautifully.  One other dog got the 7-7-7, so we ended up in second place, but other than the initial whoops I was very pleased with the round.  It was so exciting to see that he was SO enthusiastic to play agility.  

Round two was wildcard.  This course was exciting because I looked at the map and figured out what would be the easiest course for us.  Then I looked at what the fastest course would be.  They were not the same.  The faster line required two rear crosses.  There is no way that I would have chosen to do this (or possibly even recognized it as a handling option) before I started lessons at DogStar.  I thought, what the heck?  I'll give it a try.  So, we ran a 10 obstacle course and put in three rear crosses.  Definitely a record for us!  All that went beautifully.  What didn't go so well was that Jonah went into a tunnel and couldn't get out!  The bags had fallen in front of the exit, and Jonah had to try to jump over them, bumping his head on the top in the process.  His feet got kind of tangled in the straps.  He got out alright, but both of us were frazzled.  I didn't give him a good approach to the weave poles and he missed the entry.  Once I brought him back, he nailed the poles and got back in a groove for the rest of the course.  I told the judge what had happened and she fixed it for the next dog, but I kind of thought it would have been nice for her to offer to let us re-run the course.  I don't know what the rules are for that, but it slowed us down significantly.  I know handlers are responsible for making sure jump bars are up and in the right heights, but I don't know how we could be expected to look at the far sides of tunnels.  We ended up with a Q and first, so I shouldn't complain.  

Round three was standard.  It was a pretty basic course and it went great.  Only problem was that he was moving so fast on the dogwalk he didn't stick his contact.  He wasn't even close to blowing the contact, but the 2o2o position didn't happen.  We were half a second out of first place, but other than that dog we were at least 6 seconds faster than the next dog of any height and of either level (2 and 3 shared the same course).  That finished our level 2 title!

Our last round was our second standard run, which didn't count for anything since there weren't any day-of move ups.  Jonah came with full excitement, but I didn't bring my full focus.  I forgot to front cross the weave poles because he was moving so fast, and when I tried to throw in a front after the A-frame I was late and pushed him off his line.  I was late with another front cross later on, but Jonah was generous and got the job done.  Again, we were less than a second out of first and six seconds faster than any dogs any height and level other than that (the same dog beat us both rounds).  

All in all, it was a great day with great enthusiasm from Jonah.  We came home with nine ribbons in just four runs, and there were lots of people in our classes who had clear runs and did not place.  

Tomorrow we'll head back for two more standard runs, this time in level 3.  Should be good!

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