Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nationals--The Middle

Round 4:  Standard Level 4
     This course was much tougher.  Once again Jonah was a little slow off the start line.  The course started with two jumps and then a tight 180 degree turn back to a tunnel.  Jonah took the jumps and then read my deceleration, turned, but didn't see the tunnel right away and missed the entrance.  I had to point him back towards it.  Then he got a tough weave entry and started to pick up a little bit of pace, but he was still pretty darn slow.  A pinwheel slowed him down again, but probably helped us nail a dw/tunnel discrimination.  He was a little faster on the dw than on Friday, but then I was so busy watching his contact I didn't pull hard enough to the next tunnel entrance, and he took the wrong one.  Normally he pulls really easily, but he was distracted and the off-course entrance was straight ahead.  Oops.  Then he missed a weave entry, but once he was in correctly he was fast!  He finished speedy but then was immediately looking for his dad instead of being happy and playing with me.

Round 5:  Jackpot Level 5
     I was not super pleased to see the jackpot.  It looked like this:

There were lots of off-course possibilities:  lots of dogs came out of the tunnel and took the back side of 2.  If you pulled too hard and picked your dog up on your right, dogs took the tire.  If you picked your dog up on your left to flip out to 2, a number of dogs saw the other tunnel and went to that.  Fun stuff.

Being worried about the teeter (probably Jonah's least favorite obstacle to do at distance), I decided to do it in the opening.  I got there through the jump and tunnel fine, tried to layer the tunnel from just on the other side of it, and Jonah wouldn't do it.  I went over and did it right next to him.  Then I pulled left to the tunnel.  What did he do?  He went straight to the jump, of course.  Negated the gamble right then and there.  Yarg.  I did pretty well creating a new course, and when the buzzer rang I figured I'd give it a go even though it wouldn't count.  He did the first tunnel, and I picked him up on my left next to the tire.  I tried to flip him out to the jump, but he didn't read my cues, despite our practice on the practice jump seconds earlier.  I called him back over the line and sent him from my right.  He went out, jumped it, and of course went straight to the teeter.  He did it nicely and ran over the jump.  Bugger.  I was good about being super happy with him.  I was legitimately very proud of him for doing it even if it didn't count.

In other news, I later was talking to someone who said she'd been told ahead of time that the gamble would be a teeter.  That really bothers me.  It's like how no emails or anything went out when the signups for run-thrus, seminars and the like were available.  Only people with the "in" got the benefit.

Round 6:  Jumpers Level 5
     Ok, this was a novice course.  A level 1 course.  Whatever you want to call it.  It was easy.  I was so pumped that our third run of the day was going to be fast and furious like it had been the day before.  I got him super excited before we started.  He was barking and leaping and grinning.  But the excitement didn't transfer.  We started down the opening line and he was running, but not full speed.  Then, we were on a straight line towards a tunnel.  I said tunnel, and he veered off to the right towards the other end.  I tried to call him off it--I saw it happening--but he kept going.  Sigh.  The rest of the course ran as easily as it should have, but still not full speed.  For the closing line, I just left him and sprinted to the finish.  He followed, but trailed behind.

So, day 2 was not so good.  I think the hardest thing about it was that I was actually doing really well with my mental game.  A few other people commented on it, too.  I was doing everything I could to get him excited before he started, to run with enthusiasm, not to let my body language show him when we went off course, and to have a mega party at every finish line.  Nonetheless, he wasn't enjoying it.

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