Friday, March 14, 2014

AKC Agility Trial @ In The Net (YCDTC)

Either Molly's muscle therapy is really really helping her, or she ate Awesome for breakfast today.  Possibly both!  We returned to "In the Net" for another AKC trial today.  This facility is a huge three ring event with very low ring gating that is open on all four sides.  It completely freaks me out!

We started with FAST.  My friend and I got there later than we had planned.  We barely had time to get crating set up, form a plan and walk the course.  We missed the briefing.  Yikes!  We normally like to be at least an hour early.  While I have run FAST before, I feel like I still have a lot to learn about the rules, so I did feel a little skittish to have missed the briefing.  Ah well!
The FAST (Fifteen and Send) rules are that you must complete the send (the obstacles within the dotted line) for 20 bonus points at any time during your course time, and then you must earn 30 more points for 50 total.
I really have no clue what Molly and I did!  I know I set her up for a start line stay just beyond the "Start Line" at the middle 1 Jump.  She ran around it, she did the send and got the bonus points.  I talked to her while in the tunnel (something I am learning is a must) and we did the 1-Jump to the 4-Jump to the 8-Teeter.  I felt so lost there because I barely walked it or had a plan, so I just did the Aframe and another jump and the Finish jump.  We had a few seconds to spare and I could have done more, but I knew we had plenty of points (56!) and a nice gallop around the ring - mission accomplished!

So next was Novice Standard.  The bane of my existence.  The video definitely puts both Aframe and Dogwalk in the category of "toenail on the contact zone" , and while running Molly, I could see that she did hit it with her rear feet.  Barely.  That four open sided ring makes contacts horribly difficult for us.  Ignore my shriek for Molly to not leave the ring after that dog walk, she was about to.  She saw that other dog running in the adjacent ring and really was about to head on over there and join the fun.   Sorry, Molly, you have to earn your way to Masters - so for now you have to stay in the Novice ring!  I also like how she came out of the tunnel, saw the weaves and hooked off to the left "Ohhh no!"   We qualified, clean.  We were first place, and not by default.  Other teams had better times than us, but we were the only team who ran totally clean in this run and I was proud of that First Place.  This run made our third leg of Novice Agility and that means Molly is Ride the Lightning NA NAJ!!!!!  We will probably be in Open Standard for the next year, but hey - we got that NA title!  So proud of my girl - and this was the only time she has run AKC Standard clean.

I was totally on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day.  No pressure in Open Jumpers with Weaves.  We had a nice go at it, but NQ'd for two refusals in the weaves.  She popped out twice (after unbelievably entering correctly!) and both times due to staring at or hearing other dogs on the far end of the ring in the crating area.  You know what?  I am happy with our run.  We have NQ'd Open JWW for: Time Faults, an Off Course and now 2 Refusals.  Our "luck" and focus is bound to change, right?  I am just happy to be in Open, I am proud we have made it this far.  That last line, 12-16 in the video?  Molly never could have done that in the early days.  She was famous for not being able to do a straight line of jumps without running them out.  Look at her now.  Look at her now.  Running that line, focused, like a boss - and going right to her leash afterwards.

Thank you Katie!
I have no idea how my dog and I have had two wonderful trials since that day I was at rock bottom swallowing tears and wanting to give up at a NJ AKC trial.  No idea.  I don't know if she was half lame and the therapy has brought her back to feeling great, I don't know if I realized so hard that she needs to become engaged with me before runs, I don't know if we are just having a good run of luck and focus.  We aren't a team that you watch and your jaw drops - although we are a team often praised for all of the "fun" we are having.  We are a team in the hard grip of learning to trust each other.  We are learning to dance with one another.  And I am having the time of my life.  And Molly is cool that as long as I remember to feed her the meatballs after every run.

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