Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reflections of the past couple of months

Here we are mid-January and I have not written when I should have. I think since I last wrote, we have done a USDAA and an AKC trial.

I will comment on Tip first. Tip had an amazing USDAA trial. I always think about where we came from to measure what we are currently doing. Not sure that I have ever really blogged on Tip's start in agility. Our first agility class was a drop-in. I took Tip through the course on leash, yes a course on a leash. We did all the obsticles-over the A-frame on leash, through the weaves, kind of pulling her through, you get the picture. Well, after several classes we tried the course off leash. Took me about 6 months to get the weaves, thankfully there was a pair of channel weaves to practice on. Tip was one of those dogs that did it all willingly (thank godness huh?). Not sure how we did it, but she had beautiful running contacts, willing to go over any jump, drive ahead to the next thing. She was FAST from the start and MUCH perferred distance. If I was 10 feet behind her she was a happy girl. WOW, what a start!

So, after that beginning I had a ton of ground to cover to teach her fundementals that she/I missed once I realized that I was missing them. That only took about 1.5 years :)

So, we had an amazing trial. Tip was focused in every run, watched me really well, came into me when I asked, tight turns when I asked, the contacts were to die for--I am a lucky girl. We did team and got our first Q in that! We did Grand Prix, she dropped a bar, but her time was 2/100th of a second behind Steve Moon's Slick. That felt great. We picked up several other Q's we needed. The only one that I did not get was a standard Q. Dropping bars was the issue of the weekend. I have since gotten her adjusted (chiropractic) and that problem looks like it is on the way out.

Tip at AKC blew start lines! I decided that was the last time I was going to put up with that. I am sure that will be another blog topic.

Split had a great weekend as well. I measure Split a little differently. Since I had more of a clue when I started him, he had a much better start to his career. Split is a really soft, kind of velcro dog however. How I deal with Split is so much different than how I deal with Tip (who is hard as nails). I wasn't worried about Q'ing with him. My goal was to keep him driving through every course. To do that, I must cue him much earlier than Tip, run slightly ahead (and he IS faster than Tip), and completely support him ALL the time. This is hard!! Run fast, don't make any sudden moves, know where I am going, think ahead to where he has to go, cue that. I am just not as good as I need to be yet. I will get there however. Both dogs are making me a better handler!! So Split walked away with several Q's, but a ton of GREAT runs. My minor challenges with him right now are weaves the first time, cueing ahead of time, trusting so I can cut some corners to stay ahead, and managing the A-frame. He is inclinded to leap so I am managing it until we get enough repititions to build muscle memory.