What a wild roller coaster ride NADAC Championships was for me this year. It took a few days to process everything Lil and I were able to accomplish two and a half weeks after breaking my ankle. I also learned something new about myself… that my brain is very good at being in denial. I was certain my ankle would be well on its way to healing by the end of Champs (3 weeks), even though the doctor said healing would take between 6 and 10 weeks. I guess I needed to believe my ankle would feel better vs. worse to get me through each round at Champs.
After Round 3, my ankle really started hurting and I began to wonder if I’d be able to make it through another round and from that point on, I took it one run at a time. I barely made it through Round 7 and knew it would be impossible to run in the Finals. This was hugely disappointing but in hindsight, I should have stopped after Round 6 but its impossible to know where the sanity/insanity line is until crossing it. Enough about my ankle though. I’d rather focus on Lil.
(above) Pre-Champs Touch N Go
Before breaking my ankle I entered a few pre-champs classes. I decided not to scratch so I could see how confident Lil was running at a distance in this new exciting setting. She did very well.
(above) Pre-Champs Chances Q
(above) Paula Goss and Sharon Nelson (in the center of frame) are two people who have taught me so much about distance training and handling. Lynn Smitley was not at Champs this year, but she is responsible for encouraging me to attempt our first Bonus Boxes and continues to be a very good friend and great training partner (albeit from afar these days).
(above) Champs Round One. I made a handling error that caused Lil to “lose flow” which cost us our chance to earn a “Sash for Excellence” but we still Q-ed. We scored 104.12 and needed 105. I’d like to think I will NEVER make that mistake again.
(above) Round Two. Had I been quicker to step over the line, I might have avoided that off course tunnel before the barrel. Regardless of that bobble, I loved how well Lil ran this round. She had great drive and nailed the opening and closing distance challenges.
(above) Round Four. This was the LONGEST lead out I have ever taken and Lil held her stay with full confidence. I was so proud of her willingness to wait so patiently at the start line all week long while I slowly hobbled out to get into position.
(above) Round 6. The highlight of this run for me was being able to stay behind the bonus line the entire run when I didn’t even think we’d get through the course. We earned 29 bonus points on this run. In hindsight, I think Lil was distracted by my “hop, hop, skipping” and knocked a bar as a result. The only other fault on this run was a missed dog walk contact, which has not happened for so long, I can’t even remember when Lil’s last missed dog walk contact was so NO BIGGIE.
(above) Doggie Luge track in Woodstock. This is one of the many ways I train and maintain GO ONs / driving away with confidence and speed. This is NOT hardwired in Australian Terriers like it is with Takoda, my Border Collie puppy. Its been enlightening to see how much I am getting “for free” with Takoda. It makes me REALLY appreciate what Lil has been able to accomplish.
(above) A more complex Doggie Luge track in Boulder
(above) Lil at 5 months. At 1:11 she was already showing me what a great distance dog she would become.
(above) Another video of Lil at 5 months old working on baby contacts and sending to a mat.