Monday, October 31, 2011

Dogs So Good, It’s Scary!

In honor of Halloween, the girls decided to try and shock me to death with their awesomeness.  They almost succeeded!  This was a weekend of firsts.

Requisite Halloween picture- NOT the first... or last!
The first ‘first:’

The Pup ran in her first fun match!

It was adorable.  Video (Disclaimer:  video taken by nice stranger unfamiliar with iPhone camera location, please excuse the finger ghost at the top of the screen, and also the terrible lighting):

I won’t lie; I had no clue if she’d run away, or visit the people milling around in the ring, or sniff the new place… in fact I was pretty sure she’d try at least ONE of those out.  But I was wrong, The Pup was great!  All her contacts were solid and she stayed on track.  I proved to have some lame handling at the end (I was out of gas after running The Dog already just minutes before) and she responded (like a good girl) by following me rather than going to a few obstacles.  (Shame on me too, didn’t I just admit that tunnels are weak as far as sending?) She ran around the teeter too by way of inspection; it was the first she’d encountered without an obvious base/pivot.   After we ran the little course, we did go back to the jump-teeter and tried the end again and the second time through she was perfect and had an amazing teeter and dogwalk.   

So I learned that she likes playing more than I anticipated, and that she really needs me to give 110% on drive and focus.  NO cutting corners or general laziness!

I also learned that agility is the secret to creating Perfect Pup. Perfect Pup will go lay down by herself without being placed suggestively in her crate.  She will chew a bone instead of the walls.  She will sleep instead of bark at The Dog.  Amazing!

So her chosen sleeping place is under a table... I see no issue!

We of course went to the fun match mostly for The Dog. There is an AKC trial at that site at the end of November so I wanted more exposure to the dogwalk in advance of that.  She nailed all the dogwalks we tried, though was a bit flighty on her attention- or maybe I was being too lazy there too? I wouldn’t put it past me. 

Just in case it was me, when we went to the USDAA show yesterday I set the goal of handling The Dog like I would The Pup (when not exhausted).  Trust her, but no cutting corners and absolute attention to my cues.  Since we’ve been a bit off recently it was pretty important to re-establish our prior Avatar-like connections.
We started with Grand Prix, since I elected not to enter Jumpers in the early morning.  The dogwalk entries and exits for all three classes we were to run were terrifying, but Grand Prix took the cake as worst since there were issues with both the on and off.  I hemmed and hawed and decided it was either going to happen or not, but probably not if I did anything weird so enter that little Trust thing I mentioned.

Frankly, though I knew we could technically do it, I had very little expectation for a Q in Grand Prix.  The course played to none of our strengths.  It was really very Anti-Dog.  But off we went to make a go of it. 

The dogwalk was at the start: entry a wrap from a tunnel underneath, exit a pull to a far offside tunnel, with the wrong entry staring the dogs in the face about five steps away.   Imagine my shock when she a) wraps tightly and accelerates from the dead stop onto the dogwalk into a run, b) nicely hits her down contact without leaping, c) pulls easily off the wrong tunnel and d) finds the correct side without hitting a tunnel bag. I think I yelled GOOD DOG but I may have just stood there slack jawed for a minute. Eventually I remembered to keep running and we finished up clean. Hooray for our first 2012 GP Q!

The gooey delicious icing on the cake?  She won! She had a scary good time too. So we got a bye as well, our first!  Oh curses for not having video, it felt absolutely wonderful but I wish I could see it! 
Seconds later she tried to eat the Bye. Oops.
Standard was next, the same exit on the DW, the entry was straight on, but with the first obstacle actually pointing at that naughty tunnel still sitting there so it proved pretty difficult.  The Dog chose wisely and had an even better dogwalk.  I let her run all the way off before calling so it was a bit dicier getting the tunnel but she listened really well, again getting the correct side without hitting the tunnel bags!! (Can you tell this is an issue for her?)

It was a really nice run; the place that I didn’t run in a crystal clear way I caused a bar.  I’m grateful for the reminder to not be lazy!  She was really awesome on her weaves and teeter, though naughty slow drop on the table and did some obstacle shopping at the end (“I can do DW again???).  Even with that, she had the best time at least so still happy.

We ended on Pairs with Diva Black Dog. The Dog needs Pairs for her Silver ADCH so it was my goal for the day.  Oddly, when choosing sides I stuck Diva with the side less friendly to her and took the evil DW half for the Dog because I couldn’t pass up the challenge.  So much for playing it safe! 

Not only was it a terrible DW exit (pull off a dead-on jump to a 90 degree turn, then an awkward send through a box), but it was an awful weave entry (for us) which required babysitting and potentially getting behind for the DW.  The Dog nailed the weaves and I took a millisecond to shoot her in the tunnel before bolting to the end of the DW. I don’t think I bothered to see if she took the tunnel OR the DW, so I am really glad she did! All that mattered was me beating her down for a pivot to the correct jump and I DID!  And she had a great DW contact! Then she saved me on the box and Diva Black Dog did her half like the champ she is.  Totally vindicated for not playing it safe.  One down, two to go!
In sum, dogwalks are now our beotch.

The dogs are awesome.

It’s Halloween.

That’s really all there is to say about that!
Closing Monday Humor:

Apparently my spot on the bed is a hot commodity.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow, sounds like a fabulous trial! Pretty sure I would have cried if I had seen that DW exit!

    And Dynamite looks fantastic! So confident and happy!