Sunday, August 11, 2013

50/50

Pico and I traveled to 4 Seasons K9 Athlete Center in Washingtonville, OH yesterday to run Jumpers Level 3 (our first level 3 run ever!), Wildcard Level 3, Jackpot Level 2, and Standard Level 2.
We had a great time, saw lots of old friends and made a few new ones too.

{4 Seasons K9 Athlete Center
if you look closely, you can see
Marilyn & Henry!}

Our first run was Jumpers 3/4/5/C. I could hardly believe that we would be running the very same course that Level 5 and Level C teams would be running! I also couldn't believe that I would have to learn a 17 obstacle course! Yikes! A very special thanks goes out to Judge Margaret Hendershot for the nice, flowing courses she designs.
The course looked like this:

I have always said that Pico loves Jumpers. I have heard other Agility peeps say the same about their dogs too. I think, in our case at least, that part of this may be that I have less stress for Jumpers. I don't have to worry, "Will he weave?", "Will he take the teeter? Less stress for me directly equals less stress for Pico!
I walked the course as many times as I could and felt confident in my handling choices.
With Pico off of my right, I led out to the Tire and released him. I was able to FC after Jump 4 to switch him to my Left side for Obstacles 5-11. I did a FC after 11 and sent him over the Double Jump and 13 and then pulled him over 14. After he committed to 14, I just ran as fast as I could up the line. Pico didn't miss a beat. It helped me that he was moving a little more slowly than usual because I was able to think and cue more clearly! He had a clean Q for his first-ever Level 3 run!

Wildcard Level 3 didn't have quite the same outcome!
For Level 3, we needed 2 'B' obstacles and 1 'A' obstacle. The course looked like this:


My plan was to run: Jumps 1-2-3, 4b A-Frame, 5,6,7b Weaves, 8-9-10, 11a Tunnel, 12. I figured out ahead of time (and this is a HUGE accomplishment for me) that if Pico chose 4a, I would need to do both sets of weaves. If Pico took 7a, I would need to do the second set of weaves. Unfortunately, when we got out there, things didn't go as planned at all!
I am pretty sure that in my mind, I was S-U-R-E that if I started Pico on my Right with a lead-out Recall to Heel between 1 and 2, I could then send him over 3 off my Right which would guarantee that he'd take the A-Frame. In hindsight, I think I was confident about this sequence and more concerned about getting him from the A-Frame to the Right side of Tunnel 5. I most likely didn't connect with him after 3 because I assumed the A-Frame was obvious... After a nice 1-2-3 sequence, he went wide and  took the Tunnel at 4a! I adjusted and sent him through 5 and over 6. I did a FC so that I could send him to the Weaves off of my Right (he does better from that side) only to find that he would not Weave! Knowing that we had another set coming up, I kept on going. When we got to the Weaves at 11b, he would not Weave again! I was really surprised because he had been doing fantastic all week at home and at the AU building... He still got a post-run treat because he kept his little self out there with me the whole run.

Next up was Jackpot Level 2 and it was a Traditional Jackpot! This would be our first-ever Traditional Jackpot which requires the dog to perform obstacles at a distance away from the handler. Pico is more than a little handler-focused which means distance work is not his forte.

Level 2 Jackpot requires that the team designs their own course to get a minimum of 16 points in 35 seconds. A whistle then blows at which time the team must move to the Jackpot and perform the required obstacles from behind the taped line before the final whistle blows.
Here is the course:




My plan was: Tire (3), Double (3), Tunnel (3), Tunnel (3), send him back through the second Tunnel (3), A-Frame (5), Combination Jump (5), Dog Walk (5).
My timing was pretty good as Pico was just descending the Dog Walk when the whistle blew. Unfortunately, this meant we earned a big fat zero for our Dog Walk, AND we were far away from the Jackpot!
I got Pico off the Dog Walk and ran to the Jackpot! He must have sensed the urgency because he was cooking along! He took Jump (2), Jump (4), and just when he committed to Jump (6), I yelled Tunnel! more loudly than usual and Godlove'im, he took the Tunnel!
For all of his hard work, we ended up with a First Place Jackpot Q with 45 points! I was so proud of my little teammate and felt that no matter what else happened, we already had a good day!

It's a good thing too because our last run, Standard Level 2, was a disaster!




After sending Pico through the Tunnel to start, he took Jump 2, started sneezing, took Jump 3, still sneezing, and half-heartedly attempted the Teeter. He got just beyond the contact and then bailed. Because of the '4 paw Safety Rule', we had to move on. He took Jump 5, started sneezing again and missed his Dog Walk entrance. I was halfway along the DW when I realized that he was on the floor  behind me and not on the DW at all! We restarted the DW and he took the Tunnel. Once again, he failed to Weave. I sent him back through, He missed the third pole and I kept on going. He did Jump-Jump-A Frame, and then took the wrong end of the Tunnel. I sent him through the correct end and then he finished the final 2 Jumps. Whew! What a train wreck we had! He still got his favorite treat because once again, he stayed out there working with me until the end.


{Hey Lookie! Mom got ribbons and I got a Chicken Foot!}




And thanks again to Judge Margaret Hendershot who always includes a Cartoon to make CPE Agility even more fun!