Sunday, June 14, 2009

Finding our horsepower

The Agility Club of WA held it's double header today. We were back at the Dog's West grounds so that was a relief after last weeks distractions at Northern Suburbs. Children zipping around on scooters were no where to be seen! Sonic had some nice runs today but we only ended up with the one qualifying card.

First up we had Excellent Jumping which was a fairly reasonable course but had a couple of fairly "challenging" angles and a couple of nasty traps. Sonic made a pretty good fist of it but came unstuck at the second of the two traps, going over a jump instead of straight into a tunnel. Next up was an Excellent Agility course which was a nice open flowing course. Sonic handled it really well other than thinking the dog walk was the see saw, but unfortunately knocked a couple of bars in his haste.

The afternoon saw another tricky Excellent Jumping course with tough off entry tunnels and more tight lines. This was by far our crappiest run of the day but I did rush him into the ring after clashing with Lexi in Masters Agility. I didn't feel that he was near focused enough and to me it showed in this performance. Lastly we had our second Excellent Agility run. This was again a really nice flowing course and finally Sonic and I managed our first clear run of the day.

I came away feeling really positive about his performances today. He is definitely getting more drive off the ground and I thought he was noticeably faster in a couple of his classes. Fortunately this hasn't had any detrimental affect to his skill level (other than the arse creeping on the start line...) He is generally reading my body very well and is always tight around his corners. Sonic is also getting even more vocal as he goes around the course so quite clearly he is really enjoying himself. I still feel that he has lots more speed in him but I've always been slightly paranoid that although he is extremely high drive you never are guaranteed that the drive they have for general stuff will translate into the agility ring. I was reading Susan Garrett's blog yesterday and she actually writes about speed in your young dog. Part of her article says;

"You shouldn't want your novice dogs to be frantically grabbing obstacles, squirreling around like mad. The power and the speed will come, but the time spent working on the finesse will pay off down the road. It is far easier to teach collection and thoughtfulness to your young dog before they realize they are equipped with a 400 horsepower engine and a set of Pireili tires– then after!".

It is always a relief to me to hear someone of her calibre say that. It reassures my faith in the path I've taken with Sonic. For those of you who haven't been to Susan blog, I recommend a read.

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