Not sure if I should thank the club or the judges, so we will go with both. THANKS, BOTC and Judges DAN BUTCHER and DAVID MANCINO!
I was REALLY looking forward to running some of Dan Butcher’s courses. I’ve seen them around; he seems to enjoy throwing in little (and big) curves at competitors. Comments I’d seen and heard ranged from “fun” to “deranged” so I knew we’d be in for a good time. And let’s face it, I do like AKC, but if I had to do one more weekend of Excellent courses with jumping sequences comprised of only 90 degree turns and straight lines The Dog and I were going to fall asleep mid-run. (Well, probably not her so much. She doesn’t love those pinwheels but she’s a sucker for a long line of jumps.)
I wasn’t disappointed. Actually, even was pleasantly surprised as the other judge also brought intriguing courses with too.
(OK, so I was a LITTLE disappointed when we didn’t get any backside jump approaches but I can learn to forgive.)
Honestly though, the first course we walked put a smile on my face right away (270...yayyyy!!) and that smile just kept growing all weekend long. Fun courses! Challenging! Different! Engaging! Ahhhh…. Nice. Better than cake.
Normally, this alone would be enough to make it a good show weekend. Period. End of post. But The Dog… she was just… Amazing. Literally? Perfect. I can’t believe I can say that. I don’t have much to dissect about our runs. The little ‘room for improvement’ things seem so very insignificant in light of the one thing that was there and present and perfect all weekend: connection. Same page-ness. Whatever you want to call it. I was there to run fast and have fun and she was too. Consistently in tune, being a team. Ahhhh… Nice. Way better than cake.
I have three favorite things: Her happy, wild-eyed starts in every class (wild eyes are a really good sign!), her dogwalk on the first day, and her flawless JWW run in the first class. JWW Qs usually end up in one of three camps: technically perfect but slower, fast but slow weaves, or fast but with China turns. I can’t really say what it meant to have that run without any buts, but it was a lot.
I did also have the fun bonus of running a Very Good BC Boy too. I LOVE running other people’s dogs. It did not go very well, I felt bad that I didn’t adapt more quickly to his honest running style (handler errors... so many!!). Hopefully his mom just gets a kick out of letting him play for the experience? But he was a lot of fun and I appreciated the opportunity. I got to try out the concept of ‘crocodile calls’ on his last run. The idea (Jenny Damm I think) is that if there is an off course call-off opportunity, you better be calling your dog as if there was a gaping maw of a crocodile sitting there on the off course obstacle looking to nom your dog. The Dog usually only needs Fuzzy Bunny with Slightly Sharp Buck Teeth calls but I had to employ some big scary croc calls with the VG BC Boy and they really worked- I think my voice was quite urgent enough to communicate the importance of staying on course (which is the whole idea- to get your voice to that crucial ‘I mean it FOR REAL’ state. Much like the old school ‘Rape Call’ but with a cuter visual when it comes to the necessary imagery).
***Poor Pup. Relegated once again to the back of the blog. I really can’t wait to start showing her. And she can’t wait either. She’s starting to get really mad about not getting a turn at trials. I bet it will be an unholy disaster-especially if there are flowers or long tendrils of grass at the side of the ring- but it will be quite entertaining.