We've been fairly busy this weekend and hence my lack of usual posting frequency. But all for the good!! On a non-dog related note, we went out with some friends Friday evening and saw the A-Team movie!:) I will preface this by saying that I am a big fan of the A-Team. I loved it as a kid, and while the old episodes don't quite hold up as well, I still can enjoy them for what they are. I actually was so in love with the series as a whole and Mr. T in particular that I wanted to get my hair cut just like his. I distinctly remember being very put out with my mom for not allowing this. Thankfully, she stuck to her guns on that one! Anyhow, I freaking LOVED the movie!!! OMG!!! I was laughing and squealing so much throughout!! It was ridiculous! Originally, I was a little hesitant about how they cast Murdock. I saw the movie District 9 and wasn't terribly impressed with the actor. However, he was FANTASTIC as Murdock!! OMG! So good! The movie as a whole stayed pretty true to the series. There were so many little things throughout the movie that were from various episodes that I was just bouncing in my seat.:o)
Now on to more dog related things! On Saturday we had an agility trial! I was really hopeful that things would be better than last weekend. I was so incredibly disappointed and frustrated with how Heffner was that all I really wanted was a glimmer of something to keep me going. And we totally had that!! There will be videos forthcoming. Kennedy was competing with Vegas as well (they're shooting for getting a spot at the AKC invitational, so they're trialing a fair bit, not to mention wanting to earn that coveted MACH title) and was nice enough to record our runs!
Our first run of the day was FAST. The send portion of the course was worth a whopping 34 points out of the 50 needed to qualify for the Novice level. It was also quite straight forward and easy. It was just a straight tunnel to a jump. The lateral distance to the line that I couldn't cross was 8 ft. at the widest point. I really felt confident that we could nail it. I had a new plan of sorts for warming him up prior to our run and I think it helped. It was really simple. Get him out far enough in advance that I could walk him around a little bit to pee and do whatever. Then jog for a little bit to warm him up and sort of play a chase game where I slow down and go the opposite direction. He has to pay attention to what I'm doing in order to stay with me. I think it helped. My plan for the course was simple and looping. I had put together a course that was nice and looping that would put us with well over 50 points at the end and lots of buffer space. And he nailed it! After we finished the send portion, my plan was to just head straight for the final jump to stop the timer. I let him do whatever the heck he wanted to on the way there. I thought that he would just run with me, but he chose to take a few jumps on the way. There were several bars knocked, but I'm not terribly surprised since I was just heading for the final jump and not really paying attention to what he was doing or trying to direct him or set him up. He maintained speed and did so well!!! I was so incredibly happy at the end! After being so frustrated last weekend and feeling so out of sync with him, I seriously could have started crying I was so happy with our run. We got our Q (his second novice FAST Q), 1st place for our jump height, and were the only ones in our jump height to Q!
Next up was JWW. It was a really nice flowing course that I couldn't see any particular problems with. This was a course that he was fully capable to doing and I was fully capable of not screwing up. The only slight concern that I had were the weaves. My plan was to give him two tries and then just move on. I also was working to keep my mouth shut for most of the course so as to hopefully avoid giving those late verbal cues. And I think it worked! He nailed the course and nailed his weaves!! I was again soooo thrilled with our runs. I couldn't have been more thrilled with him! We earned another Q, another first place, and were again the only novice dogs in our jump height to qualify.
Our last run of the day was standard. It was starting to get warmer. I think it was in the low 80's at this point. That's generally the temperature when Heffner starts to melt a bit. He seemed to be holding up just fine though. It's a lot harder on him when we go from cool temperatures to warm temperatures like we just did. When he's had time to acclimate, things are much better and he can handle it better. Though he really can't deal with an all day agility trial with temperatures in the mid to high 80's. The standard course was really straight forward and also something that I felt we could handle. I was really proud of the way he handled the course. He really tried and had a very accurate run. No dropped bars. We did have to make a second attempt at the chute because he bypassed it the first time (something that I know was due to him being hot and tired). Otherwise, he had a clean run. It was just really slow. We were 21 seconds over on time. No Q there, but I was still so happy with the fact that he was working with me and we were actually a team! At this point, I would rather have to work on speed with him than accuracy.
We do need to work on our jumping though. He's big enough that all he really has to do is hop over the jump. He doesn't have to put a lot of thought into it. However, as we move up, the courses will get more difficult and he needs to have a better understanding of where to take off for each jump. He also tends to be more front heavy and pull with his front instead of pushing off with his rear. We will definitely be working on all of that over the summer! This will be Heff's last agility trial until probably late September, depending on what conflicts I have.
Bess was originally entered to run today, but I pulled her for obvious reasons. As of Tuesday, she was operating on less than 50% lung capacity. While she is acting totally normal now, with hardly any coughing, I have no idea what her lungs are looking like. She could probably handle some physical exercise, but I'm worried about her oxygen saturation. I probably wouldn't know anything was wrong until she passed out. And that's just not what either of us needs! On the up side, we are already entered in a CPE trial in August!!
After these past two weekends of trialing, I really realized just how much I have missed this! It was so much fun, even when it was frustrating at times. I have missed not only the competing, but just being in that environment. It's one thing to go to class every week, but it's a whole different thing to be surrounded by a ton of other people who love this sport and are really invested in it. It helps to buoy you up! I am definitely going to be trying to trial more with both dogs in the fall. I may even suck it up and enter both dogs both days. We'll see.;o)