Friday, December 12, 2008

Blaze's Agility Debut

This weekend is a DOCNA trial at our training building and there are usually two classes on Friday night. There typically aren't a lot of runs and not a lot of dogs or people, so I thought it would be a good place for Blaze to actually be in a trial.

He was manageable in the building ... as long as I had his tug. But he was listening even when I didn't have it ... would sit, give me his paw, nose touches in between the yelping. I need to teach some more tricks though ... calm tricks.

We did the jump and the weave poles in the practice area and he totally was focused on me and not on the dog in the ring. Very good!! He couldn't do that the first year I had him.

First was Strategic Gamblers. He held his stay at the start. He did NOT knock every bar Yes, he knocked a couple, but left most of them up. Most important ... he STUCK his aframe (twice!!) and teeter. I mean 2on/2off and didn't leave until I said OK!!!! He was going so fast that he ended up falling off of the dogwalk. And he got his weaves and FAST! We didn't Q because we crossed the finish line way too early .... like 2 seconds too early. I haven't run him before so I had no idea how many obstacles he could do .... looks like I need to plan for a LOT more with Blaze than I do with Luce :-)

Second was Snakes & Ladders. Did NOT stay at the start. I couldn't find the smaller tug, so he was ramped up too much coming into the ring. Lesson learned. BUT ... again, he STUCK all 3 contacts ... 2on/2off until the OK. And got all 3 sets of weaves!! But we didn't Q .... I wasn't fast enough and direct enough so my pull to the finish line was weak, so he turned and put his paws on the aframe again for an "E". Oh well :-) I need to be quicker with this boy :-)

So, I was ecstatic with his contacts and weaves. I had decided to put him in this trial to see if he could do them in this situation and he can!! But .... as I suspected, it isn't the obstacles themselves, it is everything in between! One small forward cue too many, and off he goes. And I am SO used to giving lots of forward cues for Luce .... this will take some time. It didn't matter with the Strategic Gamblers as he just racked up more points. He took the wrong tunnel after one of the sets of weaves in Snakes and Ladders which altered my plan .... I put one step forward and off he went!

That was the purpose with this trial ... to see where we are. He hasn't even attended a class yet, so I'm not upset. He has two classes tomorrow as well, but for some reason, I didn't sign him up on Sunday.

I also got Blaze measured ... the judge was Bud Houston who has been judging for quite a while for various venues, so I think it is a good measurement. 20-7/8" Woohooo, under 21!! Doesn't matter for DOCNA as 22" is the cutoff for the next jump height, but he needs to be 21" or under for USDAA. He didn't snap at the judge and was fairly calm for the measurement which was good too ;-) I always expect the worst LOL Unfortunately, he will need another measurement as he isn't 3 years old yet, but he is good for the weekend. I think Darryl said he didn't need another measurement now until he is 3, but there are 3 spaces on the form ... guess I should read the rules again.

Oh yeah, I also phoned the vet today and Blaze is officially heartworm free now! So the treatment in the summer worked and we don't have to worry any more.

Luce did well ... she Q'd in Strategic Gamblers for her Specialist Gamblers Title and also Q'd in Snakes & Ladders .. that is her first Q at the Specialist level as we had to start at Beginners for that class. She was moving too, I didn't have to drag her around the ring. And she got all of her contacts - not 2on/2off at a trial like Blaze gave me, but in the yellow without leaping off.

Luce is entered in everything this weekend but I might not go on Sunday morning ... other stuff to do.

I'd been apprehensive about this trial, but it went pretty much as should have been expected. I need to manage him BIG time outside the ring. I need to work on his start line stays. He has good contacts and weaves. And we need to work on handling BIG time.

But, I was able to manage him for the most part - so I am feeling better about getting him into a class situation now. I need to figure out which class and when and how I am going to manage that. He would be eligible for a class on Thursday night at Keystone ... Luce's class is Wednesday night. Two nights in a row ... eeek. But I need to keep going to class with Luce for those 2 elusive gambler legs for her APD (Performance ADCH). We are also working towards the Silver Snooker and Bronze Standard titles as well ....

Off to bed ... we are going back tomorrow and the first dog is at 7:15am ... EARLY!!

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