Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deuce's second and third day of trialing

This has been a very emotional and trying weekend. My best friend barb lost her heart dog on friday morning while we were at the trial. I don't want to get into it here, have cried alot of tears this weekend and am still very emotional. Instead I want to talk about the good stuff. I got to run my baby this weekend for two whole days! After the first show, I was so excited to get to run him and see what we still had. Tulsa is a new location for him with new footing and new equipment. We started out on friday with jumpers and had a very nice run. The weave poles were situated right where our crates were so he got a little distracted and veered off and missed his entry but I got him back and he finished nicely. I need to train more on just 6 poles so they look more familiar to him. I am also sure that he is getting so hyped that he is not wanting to collect and I am okay with working through that. All of my dogs have had this problem in the beginning, even though we work entries in class and practice but you know how those novice courses are! Straight lines, three jumps into them or straight tunnels into them. They build up a TON of speed going at them and this is something we are just going to have to get over. This was Deuce's first Q in novice JWW as he knocked a bar the first time we ran it in wichita. He got a second place and had some nice speed and a nice turn at the end that i was super proud of. He is staring to get confidence in the ring and leave me in the dust (YIKES).

Our next run of the day was novice standard. I had heard that the dog walk up and down ramp had been bouncing alot and that dogs were falling off of it. I didn't remember Miller having any issues with it when he ran, but our seasoned dogs probably adjust better and it isn't as much of an issue as it is for our baby dogs. I think the theme for novice in AKC is straight line, gentle turn, straight line back down, another curve, almost like a Z pattern sometimes! No real handling like in USDAA novice, but i digress. The dog walk was the second obstacle and he ran it with great speed but for whatever reason, released himself from the dog walk contact before I said the magical words. Now, criteria is a bitch so I gave him a verbal "uh-oh" and then continued on. I was hoping it was just the bouncing that scared him. I seriously want one of my dogs to have good contacts and I swear if it kills me and costs me a Q or placements or a title, I am going to uphold my freaking criteria. Again, I digress. SO the next contact was the teeter. Again, on the teeter, release before I say anything. This time, bigger verbal correction. What does the little stinker do? Of course, he bangs the board back down and goes into two on, two off! Everyone was laughing and i have to say it was pretty cute. Next contact, three or so obstacles later is the a-frame, creeping down the down ramp, WHICH I HATE, but holding into position and waiting for release. GOOD BOY! Of course the obstacle before that was the broad jump and he had ticked it so we were already DQed at that point but might as well work the rest. Got discombulated at the tunnel but got him in the correct entry and then he got his weaves out of a tunnel at a dead run. GOOD BOY! Ended on a good note but I was a little concerned. He never blows his release in practice on contacts so I hadn't even planned on what to do if he did so in a trial. Never even entered my mind. I have to say it did blow my mind a bit. We are still figuring each other out in trials. I think he is testing me a little and I am going to have to learn to roll with the punches.

We still had novice FAST to run and we had a teeter and an a-frame. Started out with a nice two jump lead out and then to the teeter. He still stopped before he got into position and I had to ask for "toes" again. He did come into it and wait for his "good boy, okay" before he released. He got the bonus fine (distance is probably not going to be a problem for this red head), but I was out of position and forgot i planned on doing the weaves after he came out of the tunnel. Bad handler, did a jump and got him through the weaves. Also got the a-frame in as the buzzer was sounding (stupid creeping) so we didn't get the points but I was proud, I held his contact again till he got his good boy, okay and then sent him over the finish jump, even though it was ticking off points from my total score. I think we got fourth or third, doesn't matter. His contacts were a tad bit better this time and I am so glad we had fast last so I could work him. Again, sometimes he puts on the jets and leaves me in the dirt and I am so not anticipating that. I think once he gets confidence and I get confidence in knowing what dog I am running, we will be a very fast team.

The next day dawned and I was excited and a little nervous to see what dog showed up with me that day. We ran jumpers again and I didn't get it taped so I think he knocked a bar or would have qualified but I can't remember exactly. I wish I could see the tape to know for sure. We had standard next and again I got horrible creeping on the a-frame. I then had to handle him coming over a broad jump and going into the wrong end of the tunnel that they were to land and take. I said his name over the broad jump as I was going to pull him and turn him back to the correct end. For whatever reason, he decided to run around the tunnel, then offer me a 2 on 2 off on the dog walk and then get into the tunnel. Silly boy! We then got going again and he had a much better dog walk contact. I notice that I was helping him with my body by holding up and slowing down and I never do this in practice so once again BAD HANDLER! His teeter was much improved with him driving to the bottom and holding till i got there to make my cross and get him into the tunnel. I am trying so hard to stick to my criteria of telling him good dog and then releasing him with his okay but dang it is so hard!!!! I am competitive and I can just feel the seconds ticking away as I do everything in slow motion but I know it will help me in the long run! Next was the weaves and they were a little set out and I know I mishandled him and did not tell him out weave soon enough. Oh well, got him back and finished and we got a Q!!!! Not the prettiest run but I think it was 100% better than the day before for sure! We placed but of course low down because i am holding contacts. I loved the fact that this club had a give your ribbon back, get a box of cookies for your dogs. I gave all of his ribbons back this weekend, except his new title ribbon.

Last run of the day was Novice FAST and we had a teeter and an a-frame again (YEAH). Blew past the weaves again after taking three jumps. Not getting his attention enough to collect into the weaves but we can deal with that. Turned nicely out of the weaves to the tunnel jump send, no problem and even worked the teeter at a distance. Teeter was AWESOME this time, probably due to the fact I wasn't baby sitting it and was running it like we always do in class or practice. Took some jumps across the ring so I could get the a-frame and again, he did much better this time because I was running and not baby-sitting. Please feel free to knock me up side the head and tell me to stop making stupid mistakes and trust my dog. Was planning on going back over the a-frame but the buzzer sounded so we just headed out.

Overall, pleased with how we ended the weekend. We now have our Novice FAST title, one Novice JWW and one Novice standard leg. We need to work on collection into the weaves for sure and I need to work on not baby sitting anything and trusting him. Why must I have to tell myself that yet again with yet another dog? URGH! Anyway, I know puppy brain can show up and I am prepared for that. We are entered in a two day show in january and then a three day in february, plus USDAA (YES, YES, YES) in which we will probably do team and then a few classes the other days. We are still feeling each other out and I know that will continue for a while. He continues to build speed and surprise me sometimes. I have got to learn to handle differently because he is so unlike miller and I LOVE that! I have to give myself a pat on the back for holding his contacts and not giving into the competitive side of me. I so want some pretty ribbons but I keep telling myself that this will help build the foundation for years to come. Letting him get way with crappy contacts could haunt me and I don't want to have to go through what I went through with miller and his dang dog walk contact again. I want a dog that I can take to the line and know that he is solid on everything and to not worry about any what ifs. I am super proud of his start line stay. I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to walk out calmly, get into position and then release him. I am sure he will test me on that at some point and if so, we will have the walk of shame out of the ring:( Anyway, this whole weekend taught me so much and if you are reading this, hug your dogs because they love us even when we are bad handlers! Rest in peace dear Haley, you are loved and will be missed. Driving home tonight we saw a shooting star right in front of us and it wasn't even dark. Haley's name was wish upon a star so I am sure it was a sign from her!!!!!

Here is the link to deuce's video, enjoy! Love the music (problem child by ac/dc)!