It's been a very quiet couple of weeks for us in agility. My post last weekend about my cat probably an obvious clue! The weather has been pretty horrible here in Perth. In past years bad weather hasn't been enough to deter me from training, but this last week the decision between warm lounge vs oval and rain was an easy one. Sonic has been working pretty hard this year so having a week off from agility for him certainly isn't a bad thing anyway.
It was Gosnells Dog Clubs turn on the weekend to run a double header and I entered Sonic in all four Excellent level classes. The weather was crap with wind and rain all day. It really was quite unpleasant. Sonic and I had an OK day but the morning saw some serious arse creeping going on. However I was weak and I let it go (hanging my head in shame). The afternoon I had a bit of a think about what damage I was doing and I decided that it was time to blow runs if necessary to put a stop to it. Our first event was jumping with Sonic running the course really well, but unfortunately had one bar down. Next up we had agility with a course that was not the easiest I've seen, but Sonic actually handled it really well. I wasn't thrilled with his contacts and independance on his dog walk is something that I really want to do some work on. Unless I'm in front he is slowing down quite a lot. The refusal that he got on course however was entirely my fault. I put in a front cross before the weavers and didn't realise until it was too late I was almost on top of them when I turned. I doubt he would even have seen them let alone found the entry!
The afternoon saw our performances improve somewhat (no start line creep in jumping) with a really nice run in jumping giving us a clear round and the last leg of his Excellent Jumping title. Not a bad effort for a dog who is not quite 23 months of age. I still don't think he's ready for Masters though... Agility was also a better run in my opinion, but he did a BIG start line creep and I ended up having to go back to him four times before he stayed put. Obviously after the first time I went back to him I DQ'd us, but as it happened he did an off course. So even more pleased that I bit the bullet and didn't let him get away with blowing his criteria on the start line. His contacts were better and I felt it was the best see saw he's done so far in a competition.
So my immediate decision is what to enter him in for the next few trials. I'll be leaving him in Excellent Jumping next weekends trial. After that is Geraldton so I may put him into the Masters class to see how he fares. If he doesn't handle it well then I will do some Not For Competition runs back in Excellent until I think he's mature enough. I'm really not sure whether to run him in Masters and just let him grow in confidence with experience or if leaving him at the same level will encourage the confidence. I shall have to ponder some more.
A big thanks to Kriszty for filling in as videographer extrordanaire for the day. Colin was unable to come to the trial so it was great to still be able to get Sonic's runs on tape.