Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Western Classic - continued

Last Sunday night was Agility and Jumping Teams, which wrapped up the Classic for 2009. Our team “The Masters & The Apprentices” was made up of Kriszty with Jess and Terra and myself with Riot, Lexi and Sonic as Reserve. Our other regular team member Simone with Cypher was over in Canberra winning everything at the BC Nationals!

The jumping course was lovely and flowing although quite tight with a couple of off course traps. With Sonic running as the reserve there was no pressure on us and he ran a stunning clear round that was tight, controlled and hard to fault in any way. Certainly a much better run than Saturday in the Novice Jumping class.

Agility was another matter entirely though… It was the total opposite of the jumping course in that although not particularly technical it was spread over the entire ring with close to maximum distance between each obstacle. Not a hard course by any means, just a damn long way to run! Sonic managed most of it however in between some of the bigger gaps he was a bit lost and I have to say my handling of it was sloppy and inaccurate. The positives were that his contacts were solid. He missed his first weave entry from the A-Frame but picked them up again no worries on the second attempt.

I now have another month before he is entered in any more trials so it gives me a bit of time to improve some of our skills in a few different areas. Firstly our circle work needs to be revisited. I was mainly concerned about our inside circles and the effect it’s having on rear crosses however last night showed that our outside circle work could also improve. He was drifting all over the place in between the agility obstacles, which shouldn’t happen if his circle work was better. We also need to continue working on our entries into the weavers from different obstacles. He’s never done weaves from an A-Frame before and last night it showed. Another issue was he started going from a sit to a down on the start line. He has done it before in training but I’ve always gone back and reset him. Although he’s not actually breaking forward he is breaking criteria going from a sit to a down so we will do some start line revision.

On a more positive note his jump work over the weekend was flawless. I can’t say 100% if he’s just a natural or if the Susan Salo grids have played some part. Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Whatever it is it’s a great relief, as bar knocking seems to plague many working border collies here in Perth. Over the next month I also need to finish off teaching the see saw so I can have the choice of entering Open classes with him.

In the end our Jumping team placed second but the agility team was a bit of a disaster. Between Kriszty and me, we managed to make a pretty big mess (except for Jess who was a star as usual). Lexi decided that the judge was scary and spent the entire agility run having an anxiety attack about it. She is normally Miss Casual about everything. I had to DQ us and take her over to the judge to say hello. Go figure!


Sam said...

"as bar knocking seems to plague many working border collies here in Perth"
Do you reckon? I can't say I see any difference in bar knocking between working border collies and show border collies/kelpies/crossbreeds/whatever- I think any issue is probably more to do with the proportion of fast, high drive, throw-themselves-at-jumps type dogs.

So maybe it is the early jump training with Sonic, or maybe he's just a natural, or maybe he's a slightly more cautious type who might get a bit more feral as he gets older ;)

Karen said...

Hi Sam. My comment regarding wbc's and bar knocking wasn't intended as a blanket opinion on every dog doing agility in Perth. Rather a comparison between Sonic, (being a wbc) and other wbc's here in Perth. I absolutely agree that there is bar knocking in all breeds of dogs, not one particular breed.

Sonic has definatley been more cautious in his five trial outings than what he generally is at training. So will be interesting to see how his jumping goes once he he gains confidence. I'm rooting for the bars stay up obviously...!