Trial #9 & #10: April 24th Southern River Double Header Trial. Back to success!! In the morning she won 1st Place Open Jumping. In the afternoon even better Raven wins 1st Place Masters Agility! This time there were alot more clear rounds and so her time was a very competitive 35 seconds on a SCT of 50 seconds under Victorian Judge Mr T Moore. I must admit we did not have the ideal start to this one – we have been having start line issues – I say wait and she says “Make me” – her whole body is leaning forward on her front toenails her eyes are riveted to the first obstacle – I could have whole chickens hanging off the end of each hand and she would still pretend like I don’t exist. So at the startline for Masters today I have her on my left and I take a couple of steps after the judge has said you can go – I go to turn back to her to repeat my rather strong “wait” command and she’s off! She’d done two jumps and was on the seesaw before I had the presence of mind to yell WAIT!!! which she luckily did so that she did her contact – the rest of the course was done completely with me behind her and by thye seat of my pants since her start had blown my carefully thought of plan out the water! She’s a little lunatic this one!
Trial #8: April 9th Perth Training Club – This one was also not great – slightly improved on Bunbury though with a great run Open Agility apart from a missed down dogwalk contact. Masters Agility she dropped a bar and we left and the same went for Open Jumping and Masters Jumping.
Trial #7: April 3rd Bunbury Dog Club – well we are just going to pretend we didn’t even enter this one! Her first run was Masters agility and it was going well untill the 3rd last bar which came down. Bad handler (me!) didn’t stop her and I’m pretty sure this set the tone for the rest of her runs – where she took down the first bar in each just about! So just over 3 hours driving and NO legs today :-((( But I must admit I learnt a valuable lesson today. We have been working very intensively on her jumping – and targeting the dropping of bars. I have sought advice and I am sticking to a very clear, concise and stringent criteria for her jumping behaviour. And I have been noticing a steady but slow improvement – today it felt like she wasn’t even bothering in her first few runs. My mood with her got progressively worse after each of those runs and I actually wondered why her efforts were so so slow and lazy off the start lines. Then I realised – as hardnails as I feel Raven is (she is not soft in any way shape or form) she certainly is affected by my moods. I put her over a couple of jumps before our last run and just kind of ‘made up’ with her as if we’d been arguing. I let her know that she was still my best friend and we were going to have fun. She still knocked a bar on that last run but we got through most of the course and she was her usual grinning speed freaky self. Mental note to self – if shitty with her about a run then I leave it on that course (my shittyness with her I mean) She knows why we’ve stopped – she gets it, not finishing the run is what she hates most, her 2nd most hated thing is me getting shitty with her – but that has a more lasting (and far more negative) effect than leaving the ring. Once I’ve clipped that lead back on I’m looking forward to our next run as the first of the day. So whilst the day was a total waste in terms of qualifications it was a very valuable day in terms of me figuring out a very important lesson about us.
Trial #6: April 2nd Cloverdale Canine Companions. This evening’s trial was a historic one for this team of two. Raven and I finally got it all together on a rather tough Masters Agility course (only 2 qualified) amongst the best dogs in the state to go clear and win 1st Place Masters Agility! and if that wasn’t enough she ran clear in Open Agility for another 1st Place Open Agility. This was one happy handler! Leg #2 down – 5 to go!