Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rain rain go away

Another trip to Geraldton was had last weekend with some positive runs and interesting learning curves involved for both Sonic and I. We had two Victorian judges in Ray Ashman and Trevor Moore alternating the Agility and Jumping classes over the two days. I really enjoyed all the courses that were set. They were challenging but not unreasonable and once again it was great to compete under some different judges. It was also Sonic’s very first attempt at Masters Jumping.

I was on the road at 5.30am on the Saturday morning, and after collecting Kriszty and Terra, arrived in Geraldton at the agility trial grounds about 10.30am. We had a pretty good run on the road and we were all feeling ready to go after getting out of the car and stretching our legs. Sonic’s agility runs on Saturday were really focused and confident and saw us achieve our only clear round for the weekend in the Excellent Agility class. On Sunday Sonic was a little distracted and although his runs weren’t bad by any stretch, he just wasn’t quite as with it as he was on Saturday. It was a shame as the Open distance challenges were very reasonable for a change instead of the “Gamble” that we often see from some of our local judges.

Just to be different Sonic’s jumping runs were better on Sunday than they were on Saturday. His Masters runs were really fun and the mistakes purely due to inexperience. Now that there are so many more jumps, naturally there are many more choices. We need to work on our grids and I need to help Sonic to understand what my body is telling him to a much finer degree. Masters means team work with a capital “T” and it takes more than 5 months of competing to develop a team with your dog on an agility course!

The other achievement for the weekend was definite reduction in Sonic’s bum sliding. I think I only saw him have one start line fidget in eight classes. Fingers crossed we have managed to eliminate that little problem.

Training of late has been a scaled down affair. I don’t know whether everyone needs a break or it’s too wet and cold for the usual suspects to want to leave the comfort of their homes. Either way with not many bodies at training means that not a lot of equipment gets put up so it is a bit restrictive on what you can work on. I’m still getting as much grid work in as possible but I’d really like to continue working on improving our contact performances too. I am sooooo looking forward to moving in to our new 5 acre property and having my own equipment to knock myself out on at home whenever I want!

Things on my radar for the next couple of months are building on his motivation so I fully intend to spend quite a bit more time doing small grids with high level reinforcement with a toy. I think it’s a tool that I'm underutilising and seeing as I have such a toy driven dog, it is important that I incorporate it to a higher degree when I’m rewarding a performance. Especially with the contacts and weavers. Then I would hope to see some more drive off the ground over a period of time as the value of the toy is transferred to those pieces of equipment. Well that’s the plan anyway... Now I just have to hope it stops raining long enough for the training grounds to dry out and to get a decent night of training in!

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