Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weaver wobbles

Last weekend saw our last trip to Geraldton for the year for two days of agility trialing. It was another early morning as Kriszty, Terra, Sonic and I hit the Brand Highway to try and make the first agility class by 11am. Masters Agility, which was our first event of the day appeared "interesting" on the walk through but unfortunately not in a good way. Obstacles were on angles that beared no logic and I was somewhat concerned about Sonic's first foray into the Masters Agility class. Sonic also seemed unusually quiet which I thought wasn't a good sign, but as he'd been in the car since 5.15am not that surprising. As it happened Sonic didn't do too badly but although moving out at a reasonable speed he seemed unfocused and wasn't reading my body as well as he normally would. He also seemed really unbalanced in the weavers and missed both entries on his first attempt as well as banging into a weaver on one run through.

The Masters & Open Jumping classes saw a different judge and thankfully a big improvement in the course design. Sonic had a bit of a break and seemed a bit brighter in the afternoon. I also spent some extra time warming him up to see if I could get him more focused and settled. I'm not sure if that was what helped or not but his Masters Jumping run was fantastic and if not for my poor position on the second last jump, would have been his first clear round in Masters Jumping. Time wise he was about 2 seconds off the class winner who incidently was Kriszty and Terra. Open was a really nice course also but the distance challenge involved layering so I chose to run over the line. This time Sonic was all set to nail the weaver entry but slipped as he went into them which clearly worried him so he stopped and we had to reattempt. Other than that it was a strong run.

That night we all headed off to bed nice and early and I did not hear a peep out of Sonic from 8.30pm through to 5.30am. Clearly he needed a good night sleep! We got to the trialling grounds early enough to take them for a nice walk and give them time to settle. First up again was Masters, followed by Open Agility. Sonic was "up" to say the least and after squawking like a crazy thing at the dog before us was ready and rearing to go. It was a pretty good run with our biggest problem being weavers AGAIN. Sonic totally missed the entry and took another couple of attempts to get going. Next up was Open Agility where we finally achieved our first and only clear round of the weekend. It was a good run with a tricky weaver entry, that although not perfect, we got through.

After agility it was the Masters & Open Jumping classes. We had our judge back who had an affinity for angles that should never be seen on an agility field so I was unsure how the young fella would handle things. Sonic was still nice and fresh, sitting in the car anxiously waiting his go. I was really interested to see how Sonic handled the course as there was a couple of places where he would need to go from flat out to tight turn very quickly. As it happened it was a great run. The weirdest thing was that for the second time we missed the second last jump! Unfortunately I thought he'd committed to the serpentine cue but at the last minute he went straight past. The last event of the weekend was Open Jumping and I think it was the best run of the two days. Sadly he knocked a bar.

On reflection of all the runs the biggest weakness that we had was definately the weavers. When he wasn't missing the entry he seemed unbalanced and struggled to get any rhythm. Kriszty was teasing me that Sonic hasn't been through the novice dog crappy weaver stage yet that most young dogs seem to go through so perhaps this is our time. Clearly I need to do some work with him on the weavers to help build his confidence back up. They have never been his strongest obstacle so guess I'll have to work on changing that. The only other thing that stood out for me was that he was a little unsure of following my body around the course. I could feel him as he landed after a jump shifting all over the place. I really look forward to the day when he can just check in with me briefly and know where it is that he needs to be. But I guess that's just part of the journey that we're on.

This weekend we are back to trialling at the Canine Grounds for the first time in a month. I haven't made it to training all week as Colin and I are mid move to the new house. I took all the dogs down the the property last night and they had a great time running around through the bush. They were all pretty excited. I think they are going to be pretty happy when I finally move down there for good.

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