Friday, September 9, 2011

Riverside USDAA

Jonah kicked some butt.  Funnily, our results don't really look that great on paper, but it was one of our best trials and I couldn't be prouder of him.

First off, we got there for measuring.  He hopped right up on the table and actually didn't look especially nervous.  Good boy.  As I've come to expect now, he measured under the cutoff of 21" and even under 20".  To our surprise, though, the judge was a CMJ!  That means that we're probably done with measuring!!  She said I should go ahead and send it in to USDAA and they'd most likely give me my permanent card.  There's a chance he might need another measurement after he turns 3, but she said it's unlikely since his measurements aren't right at the cutoff.  Awesome.

Round 1:  Starters Gamblers
     My goal was to make a better plan this time.  I might have been a little better, but I still screwed the poor boy up.  We had a lovely opening.  He nailed his weaves entry and flew through them, raced through a chute, happily tipped the teeter and was generally racing around all the obstacles.  Yet then, when the whistle blew, I was not where I wanted to be and I sent him right past the first gamble obstacle.  I was able to call him back and get him through the gamble, but the second whistle blew right before we took off over the last jump.  When I checked scores, I confirmed that we were really only one second away from the Q.  Anyway, I take full blame.  We still finished third, and we had the same number of points in the opening as the winning dog.  So close!  Still, though, I was very happy with Jonah.  He did his job very well and his handler just screwed him up.

Round 2:  Starters Standard
     This was a nice course for Jonah and he did it very well.  It started with a chute to weaves which were a little tricky because he came racing out and didn't have a lot of time to judge his entry.  He had no trouble, though.  I think I was the only person who ran the weaves on my right, and I think I was the only person whose dog got the entry (at least of the 22" dogs).  Curious.  Handling them on the left was the inside line, but it meant the dogs were turning away from the weaves and didn't see them until even later.  Anyway, he cruised all the way through the weaves and flew through a line of jumps and tunnels.

I was glad we'd practiced straight tunnels in class last night because we had lots of them today!  They were another curious thing.  Similar to the chute, people didn't seem to consider which way the dog would turn out of the tunnel.  I ended up rear crossing the tunnel so Jonah would turn towards me and the next obstacle when he came out, but lots of people went the other way and nearly collided with their dogs.  One woman actually collided and twisted her ankle.  A few other people did RCs, though, and their dogs still turned the wrong way.  I guess I'm lucky that Jonah has a good sense of where I am.

Anyway, then we got to the table.  This time Jonah hopped right up on the 24" box.  Then he stood there.  Eventually he sat down.  It felt like an eternity before he lay down.  He suddenly got his scared face on and wouldn't make eye contact with me.  He looked around at everything outside the ring.  I hope he gets over this soon.  Once he was down, though, he stayed down.  Five seconds later we were finally done with that.

The rest of the course ran nicely.  He got a discrimination, had a nice A-frame contact and then...DID HIS 2o2o ON THE DOGWALK!!!!  Luckily that was the second to last obstacle so I got to party pretty immediately after his contact.  This was the first time in trial he's done his DW contact correctly since June.  Yikes!  I'm hoping it's a trend, though.  I need to keep being strict with my criteria, but it's nice to know that he was not scared today and he still can get his 2o2o in a trial setting.

Here's the real kicker...we were the only dog to qualify on this course...which meant we got FIRST PLACE.  Against real BCs.  Us.  I didn't think we would ever win a USDAA class because the competition is so stiff.  But we did it!  This also means he earns his Starters Standard Agility title for 3 Qs.

Round 3:  Starters Snooker
     I think we probably could have gotten 51 points, but I really wanted to qualify, so we did a more flowing opening of 2-7-7.  Jonah was a little hot and thus not his sharpest, but I kind of like that in Snooker.  He was attentive and obedient even if he wasn't full speed.  The whole course flowed well.  He stopped on the peak of the A-frame for a second, but that meant he came down more slowly and wasn't even close to missing the contact.  He had a lovely RC weave entry that wasn't easy.  We finished a full 20 seconds under the course time.  Good boy.  Ready?  Time for another kicker...yup.  Another Q and 1st.  Amazing.

Round 4:  Starters Jumpers
     This was a fast, easy course.  I took Jonah to the kiddy pool before the run to try to cool him off and get him excited.  It worked, but I timed it poorly so he peaked a few minutes too soon, but he still barked and was enthusiastic at the start.  A few obstacles in I could tell he wasn't as fast as he sometimes is (although he wasn't slow, he was still moving along), so I thought I'd take a handling risk.  I sent him hard to a straight tunnel and then busted my butt and managed to get a clean blind in at the end of the tunnel.  Woo!  I think he saw me and picked up the pace a little bit.  Then there was a pinwheel into the closing line.  He was pretty confident if not full pace, so I trusted him in the pinwheel and got out of there once I had cued it, racing down the last line encouraging him verbally.  Well, he dug in and cruised after me, but I guess I pushed a little too hard because he pulled the second to last bar.  Again, we were really, really close.  He had the second fastest time in the course (the fastest, curiously also pulled a bar) by 2 seconds.  If he'd been full speed I think he could have shaved 2 seconds.  I don't worry about the dropped bar with him because it's so rare, but I have to say it was a little disappointing to not get a Q.  We're so used to CPE where a good run with a bar down is still a Q.  Anyway, our fast time meant we were fourth so we at least got one ribbon for the class :).

Overall it was a super day and I'm very proud of Jonah.  It seems funny that we only Q'd in 50% of our runs, but I'd rather have nice runs that aren't Qs than Qs that are messy.

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