Saturday, June 11, 2011

AKC Agility Trial Day 1

In an effort to stay on top of things this weekend, I am making some time to update on the agility trial that Heffner and I attended today! In a nutshell, we had two NQs unfortunately, but a Standard run that was otherwise fantastic and I was really pleased with! First up was my favorite, Excellent Standard.

Both judges today put together lovely courses that were very enjoyable to run. Our Standard run started off so well! Heffner was nailing his weaves and once he was finished I was so caught up in telling him what a good boy he was that I forgot about the location of the table that was our next obstacle. I almost back right up into it! I swerved at the last second, pinwheeling my arms a bit, causing Heffner to jump onto the table, and then right off. Damn! Freaking clumsy handler! He did knock a bar towards the end, so the run wasn't entirely otherwise clean, but at that point I was out there running with him and just having fun and going for a little bit of speed on the course. Even though we had an NQ, I REALLY had fun out there with him and he seemed to really enjoy himself! Next up was Open Jumpers With Weaves.
This was another nice course. I was debating on whether or not I should hose Heffner down before our run. Our Standard and JWW runs were pretty close together. I thought that just hanging out and being calm by the ring entrance would hopefully be enough to cool him off a bit. I don't think that it was. He was a bit pokier on on the jump sequences and ended up going around jumps 5 and 6. That's something that he usually only does when he's hot. While the temperatures were only some where in the high 60's, he's sensitive enough and didn't get much of a break in between runs that I think it affected him. Instead of turning him around to go over the first jump that he bypassed, I just continued on in order to not kill his momentum. I can't remember if we knocked a bar or not, I kind of think we did. If we didn't, the run was probably salvageable if I had just turned him around and taken him back over the jump.

And this is where we come upon my current problem. I, as a handler, need to care about our jumpers runs. I've gotten into the habit more recently of not really caring about our jumpers runs. I really enjoy standard courses. For some reason I have a hang up on jumpers. I find myself thinking "oh well" or "I don't really care" before we go in for our runs. This is NOT a good mind set to go in the ring with. It's very self defeating. If I'm paying to run my dog in the event, then I need to make the effort to mentally be into the game and support my dog. Otherwise there's really no point in me entering that class at all. I think that my original hang ups came from my ability to easily botch our runs due to crappy crosses. Why did we have crappy front and rear crosses? Oh yeah, because I didn't practice them. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! So now that I've actually put the time in and my dogs for the most part understand what I'm asking of them (I'm not going to go so far as to say that I don't still screw things up) I shouldn't have any reason to dread the jumpers courses and the inevitable crosses that are necessary to complete the course. We are to a point now where a cross does not mean that we're going to get the dropped bar that is the kiss of death in AKC jumpers courses. We can do this! I just need to change my mind set and be totally engaged in the run. So that's my goal for tomorrow!

I hope that everyone's weekend is off to a great start! And here's to hoping that tomorrow I won't get stuck on damn I-5 bridge when it's up both coming and going from the trial!!

1 comment:

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

Those courses look really fun! I especially like the Excellent Standard course. Now that we're in that class too, I can really appreciate the importance of a good flow.

As for Jumpers, I kind of have the same issue regarding a frame of mind. I also enjoy Standard better. I've developed some kind of self-defeating mental block about Jumpers. Out of 18 tries, we have 2 Q's. We're in Excellent both in FAST (one Q away from our XF) and Standard, and still can't get our NAJ?! We finally got our second Q last month after 11 and a half months from our start in agility. No, we don't trial every weekend, but come on!

I like your mindset about how, you paid a lot of money for a Jumpers run and might as well get your moneys worth. I'll try that next time.

Hope the rest of the weekend also has nice courses!