Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bonus Course!

At the trial on Saturday the Starters & Advanced participants were given a "bonus course" on their print-outs.  There was a bit of confusion since only Masters Jumpers was on the schedule for that day.  I enjoyed the courses that Tim Verrelli brought for us, so I thought it would be fun to take this one home and run to see what he had in store for us, would we have ran Jumpers that day!

Considering it's a Starters/P1 course it wasn't terribly technical or challenging, but we had fun with it.  Honestly, I don't know that I would have had it in me to set/run anything more complicated last night.  lol  As it was, I set this when we got home and then went and sat in the house for a good half hour before bringing out my first dog (Secret -- why is Secret always first?).

I made a point to handle it several different ways.  The opening sequence could be handled entirely from the right with a long enough lead-out (which even Kaiser gave me -- apparently pulling him off that course on Sunday made a big impact!).  Or one could run with the dog and opt for a rear cross from four to five.  Secret's preferred handling was a front cross between three and four, no surprise.  Front crosses always seem to get the most speed from her.

That theme pretty much held throughout.  I made myself run the course entirely with rear crosses once and she was noticeably slower.  She still maintained decent speed, but there was certainly an appreciable difference from when I stayed in front.

Overall I was very happy with her speed.  I think she even bounced 7 to 8 a few times.

I staggered my final line a bit more than pictured on the map to up the difficulty some.  I was behind by a bit the first time and Secret totally didn't see the final obstacle.  A rear cross at 14 (which was the tire in my case) helped solve that, as did making sure I was able to get into position for the push.

It was a warm evening and Secret did great with the jumps at 22".  She knocked 13 once, but I believe that was her only bar of the night.

I ran Kaiser at 12" to get a comparison of how he jumped this weekend vs at home.  Sure enough he was awesome.  I can't say that the Adequan hasn't helped him, because I do feel that he is faster and smoother at home now.  He didn't have a single hitch the entire night and was really jumping beautifully.  I just keep coming back to the fact that so many of his jumping issues are mental.

I brought it up to my vet at our appointment this morning and he mentioned doing an experiment with an anti-anxiety medication.  I'm not thrilled about the idea of medicating my dog for agility -- especially since it's a full time every day drug, not something I could just give him the morning of a trial.  I can't deny that it would be interesting to see what it did, but I happen to like Kaiser's quirkiness and am loath to drug him to possibly get more clean runs -- especially since he rarely stresses at 8" anymore.

I did try a "calming" essential oil on him many trials ago when there was a vendor at the trial.  All it did was give me a headache, so I don't plan on going that route with him again.  Ultimately, he eventually got over his issues in NADAC and maybe he'll do the same with USDAA.  Hard to say, especially since I've more or less decided that if I go over to New Berlin at the end of the month I'll just take Secret.  Have to send those entries next week if I'm going.  I wish I wasn't so broke.

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