At our July AKC agility trial held at Queen City Dog Training Club, we had four really tough courses. I love the ones that make you think, except when I'm stressing about LaMesa and wanting a Q. But, still, they make you think of how you can help your dog through the course in the most efficient matter.
I've decided I need to start taking copies of the course maps and taking photos of them for the blog to share, so you know how the course is laid out. Unfortunately, I think I threw the maps from this trial away. Oops. Blogger fail. Sorry about that, folks.
Saturday's Excellent/Masters course started off with a tough opening. It involved a 180 that you had to call your dog off an inviting off course tunnel. I didn't really get to see how the tall dos handled it, but I knew I wanted to handle it with a Ketschker. I've been working on those with LaMesa a lot lately, and a little with Dally (Dally doesn't get some of this "new-fangled" agility stuff like backside jumps, Ketschkers, etc., but she somewhat does them). I saw a few handlers do them successfully, so I did mine with LaMesa and it came out beautifully (I was a little over-exaggerated on my handling for it with her, but it still worked). Dally, though, saw the tunnel and tried to go towards there, so I changed my handling and did a front cross to call her back. She came back just fine, just burned up part of a second.
In this run, I felt strong about LaMesa's chances for that ever-so-rare Q. When she nailed her weaves I knew if we could just keep the bars up, we had it. She was right on point with everything, until the second-to-last jump when I should have supported it just a split second longer...and she pulled off. I was heartsick. I thought we had it. So frustrating.
Dally ended up with a QQ on Saturday with some great runs--you couldn't tell she had been on the injury reserve list for three weeks before the run! LaMesa and I struggled with an off-course and missed weaves in Standard.
Sunday was a frustrating day. LaMesa never again got close to nailing her weaves the rest of the weekend. And Dally and I had some miscommunication on a wrap in Standard that blew another QQ. (A lot of dogs were struggling with that wrap, of all sizes.)
I didn't upload Dally's runs from Sunday, but here is LaMesa's attempt at Standard, which shows the difficult wrap that we also messed up on.
I know the wraps was my fault with both girls--I just need to work those more. It's so hard to go from fast forward motion to a quick wrap around to the table like this calls for--the sudden stop of forward motion from me causes both LaMesa and Dally to stop right in front of the jump. There's that fine line in a wrap where you can go too far and risk a back jump, or not enough and risk a refusal. I just need to find that line.
We're off trials until September now--money is very tight with some circumstances, so we're taking a break and hope to get back on track soon. Dally has all of her Qs and QQs for her 2014 AKC Nationals qualification and she just needs less than 200 points to wrap it all up. With taking a full month off, I'm not sure we can get it now, but who knows. She's been running really well lately (as you can tell in this video from Saturday's Standard run):