Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wild eyed boy

Today was a good day. Sonic had his first trial in a month since the Western Classic at Cloverdales 30th Anniversary Agility Trial. The young fella went clear in both agility and jumping classes taking out first place in both. Once again his agility was lovely. There is nothing he could have done that could have made me happier and his jumping round was the best one so far. We also ran in the Open Jumping class but I didn't really place myself very well so unfortunately he went into the wrong end of the tunnel. I thought the rest of the run was very solid though.

The last month of training has been a little less full on than the lead up to the Classic. Now that he has all the equipment down pat training sessions are more about building up his skill level (apart from his dog walk which I broke when I was proofing him and I still haven't gotten it back to where it was again...). His runs today showed me that he is really getting confident with the handling system I'm using. He is seeing the line that I'm setting him on and off he goes. He is still much faster in training but I have no doubt that with time and confidence the speed will come. We were actually having this conversation today about the speed of dogs when they start out compared to later on and whether it matters how fast they are when they start. I'm a big believer that the most important thing is to get the skill first, for example a dog that learns how to judge and execute it's jumps really well. I'm not worried about speed to begin with, just the skill itself. Once the dog has the skill then the speed should come and the dog should be able to handle the speed because the skill has already been built. All the speed in the world won't help you if your dog smacks down bars or goes off course because it doesn't understand how to turn.

Next up on the trialling calendar is the State Agility Trial. Although Sonic finished his Jumping Dog title today, the entries have closed for the State Trial so we can stay in Novice for it. There are two qualifying rounds and a final so with a bit of luck we'll get three more rounds in novice before having to move up to the Excellent Classes. It's not actually Excellent that I'm worried about, but I really don't want him in Masters too quickly. Plus I really enjoy Novice. The courses are normally really nice and it's great to give your dog the opportunity to stretch out around a course without having twists and turns every second. So heads down and bums up for the next two weeks of training. It would be great to do well at the State Trial. With a bit of luck I can fix his dog walk before then too!

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