This weekend the dogs and I headed down to Maryland with a friend of mine to attend the Pawzazz NADAC trial. It was great fun, and I’m glad I went, it’s been well over a decade since I’ve been to a Pawzazz trial. But oi it’s hard to believe back in the day that we drove down to MD and back for trials routinely. That was when most of us agility enthusiasts thought nothing of driving 4hrs or more each way to do this thing we love called dog agility. Getting to MD and back is a 7-8hr drive each way, so yea long days in the car.
Regardless, I got to spend my weekend with a lovely welcoming group of people, catching up with my long time friend on the long drive (which was nice as we don’t get to see each other very often now a days) and my wonderful dogs. And it was really nice to run indoors on dirt, not turf for a change. Sure dirt arenas are well filthy, but the traction, footing and speed of the dogs is much improved compared to turf. Zora was a very good little dog, though she found it quite the conflict that the judge was my friend and person she’d just spent a day in the car with. Ears go back and she starts her little wiggle then “oh wait! I’m doing agility, gotta focus! But he’s RIGHT THERE and I want to say hi…but agility…focus focus focus….But he’s RIGHT THERE…I can do this, focus…” she’s adorable. And she did it. 12 runs, 12 qualifying scores.
A few bobbles here and there, she did this one weird brain fart on a set of weave poles that I just had to laugh at, and we had one massively disconnected run when my fibromyalgia pain was over riding much of my ability to focus, but all in all a successful weekend. We had 2 really nice jumpers runs (unfortunately no videos of those) that I was really really pleased with, and our final run of the weekend, tunnelers (again alas no video) was a blast, she was flying. One very kind spectator was able to video the many of our runs, which I’m incredibly appreciative of. As then I’m able to review a run shortly after it occurs and make adjustments for future runs that day. On Saturday my first couple of runs I noticed my arm getting waaaaay too high, and was then able to remind myself to practice keeping my signals at more effective heights on the following runs.
Things that went well:
- Zora was able get and keep her head in the game despite: new venue, the judge being someone she is very social with, and having just spent the day before in a car she finds very stressful to be in (it’s a noisy van, she hated it)
- I was able to get and keep my head in the game despite: new venue, fluorescent lights, being cold and achy, having just spent the day before in a car I find stressful to be in, and sleeping in a hotel (which was actually a very lovely hotel, I was shocked and thrilled).
- Tom is a delight as always, and able to find the rest room in any truck stop on the planet, and keep me from falling down hotel stairs. I love him soooo much.
- Our chances run in particular on Sunday I thought about where I’d need to put pressure more concretely, and I did it and it worked very well.
- Touch N Go, there was an interesting off course potential, I decided to try a blind cross to work it and I was able to execute the blind as I’d intended and it worked very well.
- Jumpers had a slice to then 180 jump sequence that I had a certain way I wanted to try handling from a certain location where I could catch her head and better draw the line for her, and am glad I did as it went rather well and felt was more efficient for my dog than trying to do it with a series of rear crosses.
Things to continue to work on:
- Keeping my arm low
- Making sure my feet, verbal and arms are saying the same thing
- When the snow melts, again reviewing our dog walk contact criteria. She had 1 dog walk that she hit the contact on, so no fault, but definitely wasn’t her trained behavior, she launched but got lucky with her back feet hitting the zone.
- Working with people she knows distractions. It was really hard for her, though she did it, with our friend in the ring judging. Definitely a few runs where she had split attention and focus, and slowed or bobbled as a result in certain areas of the course. One chances run where I had to push her out to an out tunnel that had her traveling on a line directly toward our friend, she just barely caught herself from racing off to go visit him. And a regular run where the weaves had her weaving with him about 10′ away, half way through the set she missed a pole because she was distracted. So good thing to review and practice, have to recruit some of the many people she adores to assist this spring.
- Reviewing driving at speed over and beyond the final obstacle. I noticed her really slowing and pulling up at the last obstacle, which is not a behavior I really want. I want her flying as fast as possible over the last obstacle.