Monday, December 7, 2009
Sonic & I competed in our second ADAA trial on Saturday night and once again enjoyed some lovely courses, this time courtesy of Nat Kirkwood and Tracey Harrison-Hill. I entered him in eight events for the evening but decided to withdraw him from one of the Regular Open A Jumping classes as I felt it required too much interference from me with all the changes of direction. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the course, just not what I want him running until I feel his confidence grows. All the other courses where very open and flowing with changes of direction where I could be in front, that allowed me to easily redirect him without stopping his forward momentum to do it. His rear crosses, if on a tight angle, are a bit dodgy so I’m inclined to avoid those until I can do a lot more skill work on them. They surficed for Novice and Excellent, but not really adequate for tight Masters courses.
Sonic ran on beautifully for most runs and showed me some lovely shortening of stride when asked to corner tight. His weavers were strong and I made the most of getting in front to help encourage him to drive forward. He popped out of one set when Nat came up behind him and he caught her out the corner of his eye. Obviously he wasn’t focused enough on his job at the time. I just brought him back around and redid them without any drama. In that particular run I wasn’t able to get very far in front and I did think he was slower through the weavers so clearly getting him to drive through his weavers when I’m behind him is something that we need to continue working on to improve. Other than that the main problem was dropped bars. A few of those came down when he was trying to bounce jump and just didn’t quite reach far enough. I never train him on anything other than 500mm so I have to take some responsibility for it.
I have to say I do really enjoy handling an ADAA course. They are generally much more naturally open and flowing than a lot of what we see in ANKC. So often a Masters ANKC course includes a lot of pulling and pushing to get your dog around as opposed to natural bends that simply require a well placed front cross or serpentine. Speaking of serpentines I made a big botch of one in the last class that I ran Sonic in. I got him to come around onto the jump without any problems but Sonic continued on straight past me to go to a tunnel. By the time I got him to turn back he had put himself back behind the bar and back jumped it. At the time I thought that Sonic had missed my cue, but when I watched the video back I can clearly see that my cue for him to turn after the serpentine was soooo late that he had every right to think that his next obstacle was the tunnel in front of him, not the one to our right. Very BAD handler! He did some cracking weavers on the run home though so was far from a complete disaster.
We have a midweek trial this week for ACWA. They are valiantly trying to help raise funds for the National Agility Trial that is being held in Perth in 2010. It will feel weird going to a trial after work instead of training but I am looking forward to it. Then this weekend is going to be very busy. We have our two last ANKC agility trials for the year on Saturday and Sunday night and then Riot has in store appearances at the new Better Pets and Gardens store in Myaree on both those days. Riot hasn’t done any in stores for a while so will have to dust off his backpack and spruce him up to mingle with his adoring public!