Friday, August 19, 2011

American K9 Country Trial Results

This afternoon Jonah and I drove up to Amherst, NH for our first trial at American K9 Country.  It's a nice facility and we had a great time.

Round 1:  Jumpers Level 4
     When Jonah first walked into the building, he was clearly very nervous.  As soon as he made it into the main ring and realized that he was there to do agility, he let out an enthusiastic bark.  As much as it's distracting for a dog to bark in the ring, I was so happy to see his response.  It was clear proof that he's come to really love agility!  He's usually tentative in new indoor facilities, but not this time.
     I had to lead out to get the line I wanted.  When I took off his collar Jonah barked, but then as soon as i asked him to sit he did and he stayed quietly.  He was even fast and enthusiastic as soon as I released him.  The whole course ran beautifully.  There was an off-side tunnel entry that was causing many off courses.  However, anyone who could get a front cross into the jump line before it had a great line into the tunnel.  The problem was that you had to trust and leave your dog for some sizable distance and be pretty far ahead to get the front cross in.  Well, I thought I'd take the risk and I got there in time.  I felt like I was in a tornado I had to get the cross done so fast, but Jonah's line was great and he roared into the correct side of the tunnel.  The rest of the course was done in a blink of an eye.  Q and 1st.  This was our first Level 4 jumpers Q.

Round 2:  Snooker Level 4
     There weren't too many smooth options for this snooker, but I picked a decent 5-7-7 opening.  The 7 was an A-frame with a tunnel under it for a discrimination.  I took the discrimination for granted the first time and we got the tunnel instead of the A-frame, but I was pleased with my ability to adjust and get a better red coming out of the tunnel.  We got the A-frame on the second attempt, and when we got to it in the closing we nailed the discrimination in the same direction that we'd missed it earlier.  Jonah was enthusiastic and running pretty fast.  His contacts were solid both times.  We finished the full closing for 45 points and another Q and 1st.  This was our second level 4 snooker Q (half way done!).

Round 3:  Fullhouse Level 4
     I thought I had more time than I did as I brought Jonah into the ring.  We walked in and we were next!  I think I was a little flustered and as a result I didn't give Jonah the best handling I could have.  He missed a weave entry where he just didn't have much time to see it coming (but once he got the entry he weaved super fast), and I tried to handle a jump line with increasing lateral distance in order to get in a front cross, but instead I pulled Jonah off a jump.  I was not very good on my feet and struggled to come up with a good back-up plan.  The buzzer sounded much sooner than I would have liked.  Somehow we managed to get enough points to qualify, but it was the lowest point total in our class.  There were only three dogs, so we got a yellow ribbon, but I was just happy with the Q.

General thoughts:
     CPE trials can go so long!  Jumpers went really fast, Snooker moved along, but then Fullhouse dragged on, and then I think it was probably a full hour after the last dog ran before scores were ready.  I don't mean to complain--I've never volunteered in the scoring areas so I don't know what goes on behind the scenes.  Still, I'm starting to think about not entering all the rounds in a day.  It didn't help that this trial didn't start until afternoon, but I just don't like getting home at 9pm.  I'm ready for bed!

     This trial showed me that we could benefit from going back to skills work.  Lateral distance, discriminations and weave entries caught us today and I know we could improve them.  Working on skills is fun because it's fast and can be high reward.  I just need to make plans and execute them, even if it's only a ten minute session.

     Volunteering is good!  I don't usually like leaving Jonah alone for a long time, especially since it was very hot today and there were thunderstorms.  However, it was fun to be in the ring watching lots of dogs.  I enjoyed the leash running, although I really had to move during Snooker because people often dropped their leashes in the opposite corner from the exit gate.  I think ring crew is my favorite job, but leash running was good, too.

     Jonah and I saw a snake.  I don't like snakes.  Jonah didn't seem to care.

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