We had another fun weekend playing AKC at Family Dog Center this weekend. We had two new occurrences this weekend -- Secret got her very first AKC NQ on Sunday (phew, the pressure is off!) and Kaiser FINALLY got his last Novice JWW Q to get out of that class!
Kizzy got to come with this weekend, but she spent most of her time in the car. It was planned that way and I really didn't even give her any opportunity to sit and scream in the kennel indoors. Amazingly enough I never heard her make a peep in the car (by the way, her crate was clipped shut for extra security despite the fact that the windows were up...), not even as I walked away. I've never thought she has an issue with being crate, though -- it's more an issue of being pissed off that she's missing out on all of the fun stuff in front of her.
Because there is so much dang downtime at AKC trials, I knew I'd have plenty of opportunity to get the little screamer out to play and socialize. We got in lots of time at the warm-up jump playing and tugging and I did have her spend a few short stints in the crate with me standing there to reenforce the rules. We only had one real over-the-top reactive episode where she went freaking nuts as an older lab puppy walked past us. I pretty much scooped her up and took her straight out to the car after that, so hopefully she made the connection. Likely not...
Secret's first time in Excellent was a Standard course. Our judge this weekend was Joan Mullen and there were several opinions floating around about her, but I liked her courses well enough. She made several tweaks to them over the weekend that resulted in more flowing paths than what you see presented in the maps.
The only real spot I was unsure of on this course was from the dog walk to the tunnel under the a-frame. My first inclination was to front cross after the dog walk so that I could push into the tunnel. After watching the small dogs run, however, I determined that this presented a very ugly path with 99% of the handlers who attempted it. The walk-through was split, so it was nice to have already decided my plan by this time and I walked/planned for a rear cross at the tunnel. It worked very well and put me slightly behind so that I was driving as Secret came out of the tunnel, which made for a nice speedy finish. Secret was the only Q in 24" Excellent -- her time would have taken 3rd place in Masters.
Kaiser was up in Open Standard next. He would need to Q in both Standard runs this weekend in order to get his title and move up to Excellent. Well, it quickly became evident that we didn't haven't to worry about that. :o) I lead out all the way between 2 and 3 in an attempt to catch his attention for the turn and avoid the off course tunnel, but he went right past me and took the tunnel anyhow. After that he got two refusals at the weaves (?!). I knew the table was going to be difficult for us coming off the a-frame since he's always hauling ass off that obstacle and I was right -- springboard! Then he hopped on from the back side because I didn't correct it, so that was likely another fault. We finished strong, though, with a fantastically speedy dog walk where he totally skittered to a stop right at the bottom -- GOOD BOY!
Secret saved my butt in JWW! I don't know if it was the knee brace that caught me up on the front cross from 1-2 or what, but when Secret went into the tunnel I suddenly found myself toppling helplessly forward. I wish I had it on video to see what happened and how I actually managed to recover, but it felt like it was happening in slow motion for about a million steps! It was a 20' tunnel and by the time Secret came out I had almost gotten my feet back under me (seriously, at one point I wished I would just fall over to make it end, lol) and we somehow managed to keep moving forward to jump 3. I was so out of position by this point and did the ugliest rear cross you've ever seen on the landing side of 4 and bless Secret, she kept the bar up and kept going. After that I regained my composure and managed to finish the course with a series of blind crosses as planned. I had a few people come up to tell me they were impressed with my recovery and thought surely I'd fall over. lol
Kaiser was a fabulous little man for his JWW run. I did a short lead-out to avoid the front cross this time. ;o) I was able to stay ahead of him to keep his attention for the turns, so no off-courses this time! In order to be able to beat him to the front cross from 14-15 (to pull him off the tunnel) I needed to keep some fairly big distance at the weaves, so I stayed behind the 10/12 jumps. Admittedly I was a little concerned about his ability to nail the weaves after his refusals in Standard, but he was back to himself by this point and sailed through them. I got in the front cross and he Q'd with a time that was like twice as fast as any other dog in the class.... I think it was only like 5 yps, though, so nothing mind-blowing. But hooray for our Novice JWW title! That took long enough. We got several compliments on his weaves at a distance for that run. I try to avoid saying stuff like, "I would hope a dog who has his V-NATCH could weave from 15' away" and instead say thanks. lol
JWW Started the day on Sunday. Big dogs were first on this run and I don't think I spent enough time getting Secret ready for this run. She was moving nicely, but not quite as into it as I feel she has been lately. I ran the course with a whole slew of blind crosses again and was one of the few to (successfully, at least) run the left side from the weaves up to 17 (yay for being fast(er)!). I was ahead of Secret on the closing line and okay, I'll admit that I just ASSUMED she'd continue on down the line with me. I'm not typically in the habit of having to tell her to take something in front of her, so I was a little surprised to see her go just to the outside of the last jump. Say what? I have no idea why -- the only possibly reason I can come up with was that it was a funky/weird looking set of wings unlike any others on course. I believe we've had refusals on that set of wings at previous trials and then Kaiser went and refused a jump with those wings in his JWW run as well, so who the heck knows. It's something I will definitely be conscious of in future runs at FDC, though! Oh well, in a way it's a relief to get her first NQ out of the way, although it would have been kind of nice to have waited until she was in Masters so that we'd at least get some speed points out of the one Q run. :o)
Kaiser's debut in Open Jumpers went very well. Jump number 8 was the one with the wonky wings in this run and he cut to the outside after doing a slight stutter in front of the jump. That's why I feel there is just something about this wing design, but that's so weird. I've never sensed that they pay any attention to wings on other jumps! You can have one refusal at Open and still qualify, so I knew Kaiser had to hit his weaves. Seriously, I normally don't even think twice about this being an issue with him, but he's been perplexing me with some minor weave issues lately... He was fine, as he normally is, and we finished the course great -- taking care to actually direct him down the last line instead of assuming he'd take the jumps as I'd done with Secret... Live & learn! First Open JWW Q!
Secret was more like herself for our Excellent Standard run later in the day. She had a bit of a wipe-out from 8-9 like numerous other dogs (sigh... the flooring...), but this was otherwise a very nice run!! My only concern here was the weave poles, as someone went a little crazy taping them with black duct tape (on green turf) and it really, really stood out and presented a much different picture than we are used to seeing (weaves are never taped here for NADAC trials). Secret didn't seem to have a problem with this and picked up speed in the weaves as she went. Her time on this course would have been good enough to win the 24" Masters class! Both days she would have gotten in the neighborhood of 18 speed points in Standard, I believe.
Kaiser finished the weekend strong with a perfectly clean run in Standard!! Has he had one of those in AKC yet? lol It was a very nice run and he even nailed the table! I knew I'd have a better shot at this one because I could ease him over jump 9 and hopefully have a little more control at the table. He certainly thought about bouncing, I could tell, but skittered to a stop and waited. His dog walk stopped a little high this time but was still pretty nice and he had no problems with the excessively taped weaves. That's our second Open Std Q, so just one more before he, too, gets to play in the fun classes!
Because this is not nearly long enough already..... Look what happened! Kizzy learned how to weave! In just a week of once-daily sessions the little squirt learned how to weave six straight/closed poles. I'm fantastically pleased with the wee girl. She's doing great!
Tonight I set up a long straight sequence into a tunnel to work on driving forward (and to see if I'm fast enough to beat her...). She did well, but she does have an issue of running around jumps when she's going super fast, so we're working on that. I also wanted to see if she was ready to do contacts for toys -- and the answer to that would be no. She's a wild woman on the dog walk and didn't give any thought to stopping and she was hesitant at the teeter with just the tug as incentive. I brought out treats and she had no issues with either -- giving me auto stops on the dog walk and running all the way to the end of the teeter.... So I guess we have some work to do there.
I've also continued to work on being able to touch/handle her in the middle of our working sessions when she's high as a kite and there has been significant improvement. Still absolutely no idea what she'll do in a trial setting, though! I really need to do a ring rental to get her some training time out of our yard....