I wasn't sure if it was the crate I used, the whistles he wasn't used to, a new dog?? It's hard to tell with dogs. After talking about it all with our instructor, Jessica, Pico had a very good class on Wednesday. We both worked together to make it fun and happy with lots of reinforcement. He ran fast and happy with no signs of stress (other than leashing and crating which are, for now, his baseline).
On December 1, 2012, we entered our third CPE trial at Medina Swarm and we were scheduled to run in 4 events. CPE trial days start early! We arrived at 7:00am, full of caffeine (me) and friskiness (morning Pico). When I discovered that all of the course maps were already taken, I nearly had a nervous breakdown! "You don't need a map!" exclaimed a friend. Technically she was right. Emotionally, she was very wrong... Luckily a higher-level competitor realized that she had a Level 1/2 map that she wouldn't need! Dog people are so very helpful!
Now under control, I settled in to study and plot my plan for Full House. I needed to do 3 Jumps, 2 Circles (Tunnels, Chute, or Tire) and 1 Contact (Dog Walk, Teeter, or A Frame) and get to at least 19 points before the judge blew the whistle. If we were still running when the whistle blew, we would need to get to the Table ASAP to stop the clock.
The course looked like this:
I planned to start close to the exit and take Jump (1), Jump (1), Tunnel (3), A-Frame (5), Jump (1), Tunnel (3) (at this point, my obstacle requirements were met and I would have 14 points). I could then take the Dogwalk for 5 points and work our way to the Table to stop the clock.
Here is how the run went:
Judge: "Go when ready"
Me (leading out): "Okay. Jump!"
Pico: Yay! Table!
Judge: "Thank You."
And so our Fullhouse ended before it even began! I laughed it off and made sure Pico knew that it was okay. Now I know not to start him near the Table!
118 runs later, it was our turn to run our Level 1 Standard Course:
If I remember correctly, we did okay up until the Double Jump (10). I Rear Crossed Pico over #10 and he jumped and then kept right on running toward the start line. I called him back and tried more than once before he took #11 and ran off again. He did eventually do all of the obstacles but we NQ'd for being over time. I was so happy that he didn't leave the ring and I rewarded him with his favorite trial treat, Chicken Baby Food! He was a happy guy.
We do not run Jackpot yet but most everyone else in the place went out for the Jackpot briefing It was very quiet in the crating area when suddenly, a dog started howling. Sitting on my lap, Pico very slowly tilted his head all the way back, drew his ears in tight and out came the smallest, cutest howl I have ever heard! A trialer nearby tried to capture it on video but wasn't able to! Who knew that even tiny dogs channel the wolf when need be!
After Jackpot, we all met in the ring to pose for a group picture for 'Team Brandt' , a young boy who is undergoing treatment for Wilm's Tumor. I haven't see the group shot yet but we posted this on his Face Book wall:
Next up, Wildcard. For Level 1, we needed to do 2As and 1B. The course looked like this:
My plan was to take 4A (single Jump), 6A (Tunnel), and 8B (Tunnel). I was trying to play to Pico's love of Tunnels here. Pico, had other ideas however. With him on my right, we took Tunnel, Jump, Jump. As I was running between 4B and 4A, he chose a Blind Cross and took the Double Jump. There went my plan! Trying to think quickly (not my Forte), I got him through the Tunnel and sent him over the A Frame (yay me! I thought). Over Jump 7 and through Tunnel 8A (this is where I thought I erred). Turns out, We did 3B's and thus NQ'd!
Pico however, completed his course so he got another big helping of Baby Food!
Last up was Jumpers. I memorized the course and felt good about my plan when I walked it:
I am still having trouble completing a front cross as Pico is a quick little bug. I planned to Rear Cross him over the Double Jump (5) and Rear Cross him into the Tunnel (10). We started with a Start Line Stay with him on my right and he did Jump, Tunnel, Jump, Jump. He was running well and paying attention to me. I RC'd him over the Double and I think it was sheer luck that he had nowhere to go but into the Tunnel because he looked as though he was lost and ready to zoom off. He came out of Tunnel (6) on my left and took Tunnel, Jump, Jump, and I RC'd him into Tunnel (10). He came out on my right and took Jump, Jump!!!!
PICO'S FIRST CLEAN RUN was on the books! He ran 12 obstacles in 22 seconds for a Q and a Blue! (Okay, out of 2 but still)
I was thrilled with him. Friends reported that not only was he running fast, but he was running happy with those big ears up!
For me, this is progress and I am thrilled. A year ago, I never would have thought that I'd be trialing with a small dog. Pico was just happy to finish that jar of Baby Food and head on home to see Gilda!
We are considering trying another TDAA trial this weekend at at new venue... stay tuned for more details!