What a nice break from winter we all had in Arizona attending 2 NADAC Trials and a 3-day distance workshop with Paula Goss, which I’ll be writing about in a separate post.
Here are a few of Jake and Lil’s runs. They both ran so well on turf and stayed perfectly clean. What a nice change of pace from running in horse arenas around Boulder.
(above) Lil Elite Jumpers Bonus Box
Lil ran a great Jumpers Bonus Box course on February 1, which happened to be her 6th Birthday. I could not be more proud of her. She ran with full confidence and really nice speed. Feel free to MUTE the audio. I was a total blabber mouth but Lil is used to me doing that and ran really really well in spite of it….. or maybe because of it (GASP)!
Too bad I didn’t believe we’d make it through a couple of tricky turns when I walked the course because had I formulated a handling plan for that last turn away from me towards the closing line, I may not have been SO LATE and I think Lil might have gotten it. In the future, when my handling fails, I hope I can resist the temptation to jump in and finish the course running with Lil. I need to remember I can just take a few steps and continue working at a distance. Regardless, I feel GREAT about this Bonus Box attempt and based on the huge round of applause and YAHOOing Lil earned, I think our fellow competitors agreed. 🙂
(above) Jake Open Touch N Go
Jake’s new 4-on contacts were stellar and he earned his Open Touch N Go Title. The only time he didn’t stick a contact was when a disconnect occurred between us earlier on course. He still hit within the contact zone but since stopping 4-on is now part of our criteria, I asked him to return to a 4-on once as a test. It seemed to have a calming affect on him. After a brief pause and praise, I released him and he appeared completely centered, reengaged, and I could tell he did not perceive it as punishment. If I had to guess, he experienced it as a reset (physically and mentally) and he finished the course running beautifully. I wish I had a video of that run.
(above) Lil Elite Touch N Go
I have been playing around with asking for 4-0n the A-frame with Lil but after seeing her response at this trial, or should I say lack of response over the first two A-frames at our first trial since training a 4-on, I decided I didn’t like it for her. I think her long history of running over A-frames trumped her short history (under a month) of stopping 4-on and I really didn’t like how it caused her to shorten her striding down the A-frame which made her dismount higher. So instead of trying to “make her stop” and potentially creating an issue with Lil and the A-frame, I decided to just say GO ON like I always have and she went back to her typical style of running over A-frames.
For the record, the only reason I had contemplated switching Lil from running to 4-on was because NADAC trials can have 8′ or 9′ A-frames and Lil doesn’t automatically adjust her striding when she goes from 9′ (at trials around Boulder) to 8′ (in Southwest Colorado and at Champs). A stopped contact would have saved us the hassle of needing to train a few sessions on 8′ A-frames before we encounter those shorter A-frames in trials.. and at Champs, which is not convenient since I don’t have an 8′ A-frame. Oh well. Its not the worse thing in the world.
(above) Jake Open Weavers
I almost scratched Jake’s last two runs after he lost focus on a Chances course mid-day. I thought he was mentally done but I’m glad I changed my mind because he finished up the day with two fantastic runs, including this Open Weaver’s course. Jake has a bunch of Open Weaver’s Qs. The reason I have not moved him up to Elite is because I don’t think he needs to weave three sets of 12 poles and Open Weavers has two sets of 6 and only one set of 12.
(above) Lil Elite Weavers
Too bad the video starts mid-course because Lil ran the opener super fast and weaved the first set of poles much faster than she has been weaving lately. I have wondered why her weaving has slowed down this past year. Is it mental? physical? emotional? Or maybe its due to weave pole bases being a little wider than the poles we train on at home. Regardless, I was very pleased with how well she ran this course.
(above) Jake Elite Tunnelers
Jake has been running so well lately, I ran him very similar to the way I ran Lil in Tunnelers and Weavers… just a few feet less in terms of distance but the same basic handling. YEY Jake!
(above) Lil Elite Tunnelers
Lil ran this course beautifully with me mostly staying inside a self-imposed Handler’s Box. I lost my nerve while leading out and released her before I got to my intended position but other than that, I stayed in my box, and Lil ran with full confidence. YEY Lil!
It was so much fun to run agility outdoors and to reconnect with friends from Champs and Yellowstone Dog Sports. Plus I love having Sarah Fix as a judge. She always creates such a fun, upbeat vibe and this trial was no exception. Also agility folks in Phoenix are very welcoming. We’ll be back next winter for sure.