Sunday, September 6, 2009

Guides Canins trial

Woo hoo! Fall is here and with it, the start of Walter's trial season. We don't do much agility in the summer due to the heat.

Just three events both days for Walter, and camping onsite Saturday night, fun! Except for the nearby snoring, which this time definitely wasn't coming from Lucy, unfortunately... Oh, to be able to sleep through anything like the dogs can.

Saturday Gamblers: Not really our best run ever, though much better than Walter's first ever run here last year - just watched the video of that run again and it's frigging hilarious - we must have had a thousand faults! Anyway, back to this weekend: Opening was okay but his confidence wasn't there for the mini, and then for the main he was sure the fact that the tunnel was snaked under the dogwalk meant that he was to take the offcourse dogwalk after the tunnel. Oh well.

Saturday Snooker: The darned weaves were #5 so I had to decide whether to run for the safe Q in case he botched the weaves which would mean 4 7s and a very choppy course, or just say what the heck, go for a nice flowing course and see what happens at the weaves. I went for the latter and lo and behold, he did all of the weaves! and finished the course in time. Yay! Q.

Saturday Jumpers: (Video below) Rats, in watching the video back it looks like I went way too deep in the pocket of the pinwheel at the start of the run and pushed him off the far jump. Later on I watched as he headed toward the offcourse tunnel and didn't call him off it in the interest of keeping his motivation up. But then he had a weird spaz moment when something outside the ring (no idea what) caught his attention. Bizarre!

Sunday Snooker: Weaves #6. Decided again to just go for a flowy course, come what may at the weaves. This time he entered at the second pole and then popped at the end, so no cigar.

Sunday Jumpers: (Video below) Walter came flying out of that chute and I did a crappy job of telling him where to go next so we totally missed the jump after the chute. Would probably help if I actually practiced leadouts and being in the right place for them, but leadouts with Walter The Creep are such a headache, in more ways than one! Anyway for the rest of the run I ran mostly silently to focus on body language and was pleased with how he responded to that.

Sunday Gamblers: Missed both minis, then on the main had trouble with a send ahead to a tunnel. The judge blew the whistle but then realized she shouldn't have so we got a rerun. Better with the opening this time, and managed with some difficulty to get the tunnel in the main and got a Q, our first Gamblers Q this year! The main gamble was a go-on jump to far-away tunnel (a known problem for us), then layered jump and a tire. After he took the first jump he turned around, but I held my ground and what a good dog, he turned back around to take the tunnel instead of backjumping toward me. Probably 90% of the dogs got this gamble no problem. There are some drawbacks to not having a tunnel suck!

I didn't feel like hassling people to film most of our runs but did want to see our Jumpers to see how he's handling the jumps (seemed choppy in Jumpers at Nationals) and what my handling is like, so thanks to Indy's human and a kind stranger, here they are:

He looked comfy with the 22" jumps so no plans yet to drop him to 16". Very glad I stuck to my plan to not "fix" mistakes. Overall I was very happy with how he ran this weekend. That's my Walta-boy!


Sam said...

Congrats on your Q's! I enjoyed the videos. Reading about your handling and trial experiences really helps for a beginner like me.

Elayne said...

Funny, Lola did that spacey run off thing to me twice this weekend-ran to a jump setter during one run and to the side of the ring during another. Who knows what catches their attention?

I love how Walter's all sassy and barky at the start line. What a funny boy.

Elf said...

Does he do the creepy start-line thing in class/in training? With Boost in particular, when we started, i tried to reward for staying at the start line as often as I rewarded for coming out and doing obstacles. I STILL do it in class, at least once or twice per class--lead out, then toss the toy behind her and release her so she goes to the toy, then run back and play there. Or just lead out, then turn and go back, praise & release & play there. I try to remember that class & training sessions aren't just about doing obstacle, they're about doing agility, and that includes working on the start-line stay. I did similar things with Tika, but she has always been less able to control impulses. With her, I discovered that putting her in a down was more likely to keep her where she belonged (although she still gets up and comes forward, she seems less likely to do that & less likely to actually break). I like watching walter. Nice to see a big handsome guy keeping his bars up.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Thanks Sam! I found the same thing about other people's blogs when I was first starting out. The internet can be a wonderful thing :)

Yes, Walter's startline bark is a sure sign that he is feeling good.

Class? What's that again? It's been so long! But yes, he does the same thing in training so I just avoid leadouts, period. I'll be the first to admit I've done little to help improve the situation. For his entire first year of trialing I didn't do a single lead out, and it wasn't a problem at all. But lately I've found either he's getting faster or I'm getting slower because I just can't keep up with him on the straightaways anymore (at least the ones at the start of the run, before he slows down), so I've been leading out more often. Your tips are definitely good ones, and I do incorporate some of them into our games of fetch at the park... just haven't made it a priority on the agility field yet. Should, though!

Johann The Dog said...

You look so calm, cool out there, nice speed! Congrats on the Q's!!

BTW - we started doing a down stay at the start and it really helped us too :)