Not that I mean to come off blase about it or anything. :o) We had lots of fun down in Davenport again this past Saturday! Although I could *really* do without the whole getting up at 3:30 a.m. part. The dogs didn't care -- breakfast came early and they got to sleep the entire way there -- No skin off their noses! Thankfully it was a small trial and we got home around 7:45 p.m. We survived, and we (okay -- I) were happy to have a day of doing nothing yesterday.
As you can see, Secret had another successful trial! I was glad that I kept her in Open Regular, because she really does do better when she has a bit of time to settle in before her first run. Big dogs ran first at this trial, too, so had she been running Elite she would have been first on the line. Nope, I'm glad I kept her at Open. As a result, she put in two really nice runs and earned her Outstanding OAC title! First time I've put one of those on a dog....
Oh wait, I just realized that I'm completely mental. After a quick peak at the NADAC title chart, I just realized that you need 100 points in Regular for the Outstanding title. The 60 point requirement is for all the other classes. Well crap. I guess I take back the title. And now we have an unearned title ribbon (actually, two -- more about that later). Boo. Well, ignore that part in the video, I guess!
After two such stellar Regular rounds, I thought Secret had Touch-n-Go in the bag. A Q in that class would finish her Open Touch-n-Go title (like, for real this time, not the fake title I just discovered we didn't earn).
Cut to reality -- Secret totally FREAKED OUT at the judge. The judge was standing well inside the ring, next to the a-frame (the second obstacle on course). As soon as I took off her leash, Secret absolutely froze and fixated on the judge. I couldn't get her to acknowledge me for the release or anything. When she finally did start her run, she made her way to the a-frame barking and growling at the judge. Her entire mo-hawk was standing on end as she came over the a-frame. This behavior continued for the ENTIRE run, with Secret repeatedly whipping around to keep the judge in her sites. At one point I made a point to put in an unplanned cross just to keep myself between her and the judge. I so do not need an aggressive dog report on my record....
The run was an NQ for going off course and skipping a hoop (I wasn't going to correct ANYTHING on this run!), but I'm shocked that the judge didn't give us a big fat E for her behavior. When the class was completed, the judge did come find me to discuss the incident. She asked if this was normal behavior for Secret and I explained that no, she had never done anything like that before. She explained to me that if Secret behaved like that again she would be excused from the remainder of the trial (which would totally suck if one was doing both days, I suppose). I *completely* supported her on this and told her that I agreed 100%, and apologized profusely for Secret's behavior.
The judge stayed back against the wall for our next class, Novice Chances -- But I will admit that I was a little on edge and overly cautious about Secret's behavior. I did something stupid and took a step back during the send portion of the course, which caused Secret to cut in from a jump. I thought VERY briefly about trying to send her back out, but then I realized, "Hey dummy, you've never taught her that." lol So we just finished the course. I wrote a big fat NQ in her book -- So imagine my surprise as I was walking past the score table later in the day and saw the book open to Novice Chances. Kicking myself about my stupid handling error, I glanced down to confirm our NQ score. Q. What? How?
Normally -- Yes, normally -- I would go to the trial secretary about the error and inquire to have it fixed. I really hate to take things that aren't mine. That evil little greedy part of me won out, though. We *need* these Q's for Champs. We only have three days of trialing left to get them and Open Chances is going to be hard. So I took it. :o( It completes Secret's NCC title as well as her Novice Versatility Award. I hate it. I hate that I can't be proud of a title. It happened once with Kaiser in TDAA and I kept him in that class until he rightfully earned the Q. I'll make up for it with Secret -- Maybe I'll make her get an extra Open Q or something.
The last class of the day was Secret's first time in Elite Jumpers. I have to admit I'm kind of sad about this. I thought that as long as she stayed forward and we didn't have to make any corrections she would squeak in under time. Alas, she was 0.59 seconds over time. Obviously she was not going as fast as I know she is capable, but it was still disappointing.
Watching the video made me uncomfortable. I hate how she is jumping 20" when she is stressed. Her form is horrible and the landings look painful. I don't have any problem with how she jumps at home, but she is so tight & stressed at trials. I am okay with how she was moving in her two Regular rounds -- but she obviously started stressing at Touch-n-Go and never improved. Because of that, I've decided to move her back down to Skilled.
Now..... The hard part is whether or not to run her in any Elite classes (because points split at the Elite level) or if I should just start running her and see what happens. It may well be that I just keep her running at 16" -- although if that's the case, I'm pretty much wiping out my USDAA goals (she would be 22" in Performance). If I keep running her at Skilled, I can run her in Skilled at Champs, which I think she would enjoy more. There comes a point where it's hard to transition up to Proficient because you essentially "lose" your Skilled points. Alternatively, you can always transfer Prof. points down to Skilled.
Ultimately, I have to do what is best for her. And right now, that means jumping 16". I wish I could explain why I have an issue with Skilled. It is totally irrational! But I'm sure you'll understand when you see the Jumpers class.... (or even how she's jumping in Chances)