Sunday, April 25, 2010

When he was good he was very, very good and when he was bad.......

Agility trialling mayhem in Perth continues with the State Trial won and run with some seriously awesome agility on display by my fellow competitors. I managed to qualify Lexi in the Masters Agility State final which I was very pleased with but I couldn't quite get it together with Sonic. We had some very close calls but managed to be thwarted between bad timing on my behalf or not being able to get him focused and having an absolute disaster.

This weekend we had our first group of eastern state competitors join us in Perth as we build up to next weekends Nationals. It was great to say hi and catch up with those that we haven't seen since the 2007 Nationals in Victoria. There was some great runs on some pretty challenging courses. Sonic and Lexi both started very badly and not a brain cell could be seen functioning for the first couple of runs. I didn't even complete the Masters Agility course with Sonic. They did settle in though and Sonic even managed a fifth place in Masters Jumping. I was impressed with the placing, firstly because it would be enough to get him a run in a National final, the fact that we had a lot of eastern staters running so the class was bigger than normal and it was a far from perfect run. He was driving nicely around the course but was wide and almost ran past a couple of obstacles that would have cost us time. His afternoon Masters Jumping run was actually much better but he unfortunately missed a jump which was a bit of a shame.

Then on Sunday we had a really good day with Sonic going three out of four clear! That finished off his Open Agility title and gave us our fifth Masters Jumping leg, and fourth Masters Agility leg. His runs were very solid. I thought I handled him probably better than I have in a while too which kinda helps. I was very happy with his contacts and weavers but I do find his lack of focus at the start line frustrating. Mind you he is in good company with his siblings with regard to that annoying habit! One thing I also noticed was he tends to decelerate into tunnels. He's driving out, just not in. I shall add it to the list.... Overall I was really chuffed with him. He is such a cool little boy and I'm having a ball with him.

I have to make note of two special things on the weekend. Firstly, Lexi did the most stunning Masters Jumping run. She was absolutely flying and I couldn't have been prouder of her efforts. She is well and truly back to the great way she was running last year before she went on maternity leave. I'm thinking that a puppy from her could be just what I need as my next agility dog.... :-)

Secondly, Sonic's big sister Secret got her Novice Agility title with a really nice run on Sunday. She even controlled herself when there was a magical, mythical fast kelpie running in the next ring. Congratulations Kriszty and Secret!

So now its time for the Nationals. Good luck to everyone involved.

Super Lexi's awesome run on the weekend!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

State Agility Trial 2010

Video of Sonic from the State Trial 2010.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Progress - Just In Time?

Last weekends ADAA trial was good. For the first time in a while I felt really positive about Sonic’s performances. ADAA have created their own NFC (Not for Competition) entry that waaay surpasses our own WA created ANKC NFC entry. You basically enter the class as normal but when you go up to the start line you let the judge know if you want to run as NFC. You can pick any class you want on the night. It’s up to you whether you run the set course or do your own thing for the duration of the standard course time. You can also take a toy into the ring to reward your dog, as long as the toy isn’t thrown. How awesome is that!

So my plan with Sonic for the night was to pick a couple of agility classes to run as NFC. I wanted to run them as if we were competing but if he performed a contact particularly well or drove hard through his weavers I wanted to be able to reward him with his toy. Or on the other extreme, if he didn’t hold a contact I wanted to be able to put him back on. I’d actually been working through some distraction training and proofing on the contacts the couple of weeks before so it ended up being all about me being able to reward his performances.

The brilliant thing that happened is that you could see his confidence grow every time he got his toy for doing great weavers or hitting a great contact. I’ve taught him to tug while still in two on two off position so that came in really handy as well. His runs still need a lot of work and handling skills are a work in progress but he was confident, fast and happy so I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. I also thought that I handled him better than I have in ages. With our State trial this weekend and the Nationals two weeks away it gives me some small semblance of hope that they will go OK….

Sonic and Axl also had their first attempt at running an ADAA teams event together. Mmmmmmm, was an interesting experience! Simone ran the course with Axl first and he was great, powering around with a perfect clear run. While Axl was running Sonic was getting more and more wound up. I couldn’t get him to sit at all and when Axl came past to do a couple of obstacles Sonic wanted to go and chase him off. Somehow I managed to get him back and then it was time for our half of the course…. Well, he may have been with me in body but definitely not in mind. Somehow I managed to get him around the course clear after about five almost-off-courses. Poor Simone having to watch, it would have been horrible! Axl and Sonic are entered in Novice Strategic Pairs at the Nationals so the moral of that story is that Simone and I need to get Axl and Sonic used to working close together otherwise that may not be very pretty or fun experience. Both are highly charged “get dat damn utha dog offa my course” kind of boys.

We have a massive few weeks of trialling ahead. I'm really looking forward to getting on with it all. It feels like the last Nationals was forever ago. You spend so much time getting your dogs and yourself prepared for these things that now I just want to do it!