Our First Elite Qs!

Yawn.  This morning is a very slow morning.  I’m exhausted and achy, and likely the next couple of days will be slow moving resting days.  But the recuperation days are worth it because yesterday we went to a local NADAC trial and we earned our first Elite qualifiers!!!!  Yippee!!!  I was so so so proud of my little Zora baby dog.  She was fantastic.  Such a good little girlie.

The early morning began with my taking the dogs out.  They both knew it was a trial day.  And were so excited!  I have a specific back pack that we take to the trials that has their water dishes, treats, leads and such in it.  The pack only comes out when we are getting ready to go to a trial.  This was only Zora’s 4th or 5th actual trial, so the fact that Zora recognizes the “We’re going to an agility trial!” packing pattern already and was so enthusiastic about it made me so happy.  It’s not fun for me if my dog isn’t also enjoying the day.  Seeing her happy and excited, wanting us to “Hurry up!  Let’s get going!” made the day already perfect.

Once at the trial, the day started with Elite Jumpers, which quite frankly I did terrible in.  Zora was perfect, I was a bad handler.  I need to remember Footwork, footwork, footwork and trust that if she misses something it’s me and I need to reinforce the following what I did tell her by continuing to move on not try resend her to the jump.  As all that accomplishes is to make her start second guessing my body cues and as a result we then have further bobbles and miscommunications.  I’m finding I tend to slow myself down and watch her more in jumpers, the fear of a bar falling, trying to micromanage.  Which I don’t do nearly as much in other classes.  Funny the baggage that my poor training skills in jumps with past dogs has brought to the table.  Especially since this time I around with Zora I have, I think, done a significantly better job with jump training and it’s knock on wood pretty rare for her to knock a bar.  The message of Jumpers for me, “Be a better handler!” and “Trust my dog!”

We then moved to Elite Numbered Hoopers.  Which she seemed to have fun on the course.  We had some nice tight turns I was happy with.  Efficient path, what I strive to train for.

Next was on to Elite Regular 1 and 2.  Which we Qed and 1st place in both runs!  I was very happy with her discriminations, and I was thrilled with her collection on round 1 to hit the weave entry.  Her weaves in trials are still very pokey, at this stage as her at home weaves are not only faster but a more consistent footfall performance I’m going to try to find a set of poles with the similar thin raised bases to train on.   Our poles we practice with at home have wider flat bases.

From there the day moved through Touch N Go, Chances and ended with Tunnelers.  Which was fast and fun and we ran it at over 5 yards per second!  Which is currently pretty quick for the short dog.

All in all we ended the day with 5 qualifiers with four 1st places and one 2nd place, some further skills to train (which is always a good thing) and some skills we have worked hard on that I was very very happy held up in the competition ring.  Our next trial isn’t until the fall and that will be our first outdoor trial.  Can’t wait!

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