Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Tails

Well, we're many hours into our long day and it's going well so far.  It's been a lot of driving and a lot of waiting, but we had three nice runs.

Round 1:  Jackpot Level 4
     There wasn't a great flowing opening to this course.  The gamble was in the middle of the ring.  You had to start on one side, and I wanted to handle the gamble from that side, but a lot of good obstacles were on the other side.  I thought about a lot of options but ended up with a looping plan on the start/end side of the gamble.  We did 2 A-frames, 2 teeters, and a bunch of tunnels and jumps.  I had worked the lower level class that had the same opening, and the fastest dogs were completing about 10 obstacles.  My plan was for 14, so I was a little bit concerned, but I stuck with it.  They had set up a smaller ring this time, which meant a much bigger waiting area.  It was fantastic.  We didn't have to be stuck in a corner trying to hide from other dogs.  Instead, I could keep him moving and excited right until we went in the ring.  It worked great for us, and Jonah started fast and kept going fast the whole way.  We flew through our opening before the buzzer rang, so I just pushed him wide in a turn and reved him up a little more while we waited for the buzzer.  We're really only talking a few seconds, but he was looking happy and excited.  Once the buzzer sounded, we raced up the A-frame again (all 3 contacts were perfect), then turned to a tunnel and pushed out to 12 weaves.  The line was much closer than the Advanced USDAA gamble we did with weaves, and Jonah was fast and happy.  What a star.  1st and Q.  Two small dogs in level C got more points, but generally ours was one of the very best runs.  Lots of dogs didn't Q (time in the closing was tight).

Round 2:  Standard Level 4
     I thought this was a pretty friendly course for us.  Unfortunately, we went in and then the judge had to figure out some timing issue from the last dog, so we had to wait on the line for a while.  It meant he started a little more flat, and the second obstacle was the DW.  He didn't stop, but he trotted instead of really running.  He didn't hold his 2o2o.  After that, though, he picked up some steam.  There was a fun line where I really had to RUN to get in position.  I can confidently say that, of all the dogs I watched (and I watched some of the best teams), we did that sequence the best.  Yay!  So, once we really got going Jonah was great.  I'd say in the first run he was about 95% of full speed, and this run was more like 88%.  Not bad, especially considering our last standard run at USDAA which was more like 50%.  His A-frame was a little messy (not 4 clean hits), but clearly in the yellow.  1st and Q.  One level C dog (a Masters USDAA BC) was a second faster.  Maybe once we have our running DW we'll be able to catch them!

Round 3:  Wildcard Level 4
     I'd say I had about 88% of Jonah's top speed in this run, too.  I don't know why he didn't start quite as fast as usual, but he didn't.  He never did anything wrong--his lines were tight and everything.  His A-frame was a little messy again, but no question he got the contact.  I had the fun pleasure of putting in a beautiful blind cross that I was worried I wouldn't be able to get to in time.  It worked awesome.  So, overall it was a good run, and the second fastest of all dogs in the class (this time another Masters USDAA BC ran faster), but I know he can do better.  Definitely a Q, and I'm pretty sure it won our level 4 class, although we didn't stick around to see the official results after we got our duplicate scribe sheet that confirmed our Q.  Good day.

Now this evening we're headed back to DogStar for our first ever seminar!  Wish us luck!

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