Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Of Course You Struggle in Wildcard"

Today we ran at the Medina Swarm CPE-Style Practice Agility Trial. Bright and early this morning, I wondered if it was really in our best interest to enter such a thing on such a gorgeous day... Now, I am sure that it was.

Jackpot was first and it was an interesting Traditional/Non Traditional Jackpot. In the open, a completed A-Frame meant that the following obstacle value was doubled. Each obstacle could be taken twice for points. Jackpot A could be attempted at any time and in either direction and was worth 15 points. Jackpot B could be attempted after the first whistle was blown in one direction only, for 20 points.


Our plan was to take the starting Jump (1), the A Frame (5), the tunnel (doubled to 6), the A Frame (5), the tunnel (doubled to 6), Jump (1), Jump (1), Jackpot A (Jump-Tunnel-Jump for 15), Tire (3), then attempt Jackpot B.
All went well until we attempted Jackpot B. I got good speed going into the Jump, called 'Tunnel' and faced my body toward the Tunnel... and then I must have turned before Pico was committed to the Tunnel because at the very last second, he zigged left and took the A Frame! We completed the run with a Jump-Table and ended with a Jackpot, 43 points and a good time. Woo Hoo!

Next was our nemesis, Standard 2...


I planned to lead out to the tire with Pico on my right for 1-2-3-4 (all went well). Then, I would Rear Cross him into the Tunnel at 5 and keep moving so that I was on the other side of 6 when he exited. My error was that I didn't wait for him to get far enough through the Tunnel. He saw me moving, and popped out of the Tunnel Entrance on both attempts. He Jumped 6 off of my right and I was very careful to keep moving laterally until Pico was lined up with the A-Frame. Then I turned and cued the A-Frame (and it worked!) I Front Crossed him into the Tunnel at 8 and then kept him on my left for 9 (yay Weaves) 10-11-12-13. He sailed left of the Dog Walk twice which was interesting... After 14, I just passed the Teeter to see what would happen (no hand or verbal) and he hopped on so I reached over and pushed it down for him and he completed 15 and 16!

Last, we ran Wildcard 3. A few weeks ago, Linda set up a Wildcard course for us in class. I told her that Pico and really struggled with WC and it perplexed me. "Of course you struggle in Wildcard" she replied. "It's all about handler lines at the Obstacle Discriminations". It was a light bulb moment for me. Wildcard 'looks' easy but when you're a dog faced with side by side obstacles, you really need some timely and clear information about which one to take!



For Level 3, we need to take 2 B obstacles and 1 A obstacle. My decision was made easier by the fact that I wanted to Weave as few times as possible :) I chose 2B A-Frame, 7B Double Jump, and 10A Tunnel. I liked this course because I knew that we only needed one tunnel so it would be a little easier to formulate my alternate plan if something went awry along the way.
I angled Pico toward the A-Frame in a SLS and did a lead out with him on my right. I thought about starting him on my left in an effort to block the Tunnel but thought that I would then get myself stuck  in front of the Tunnel. It worked like a charm. He took 3-4-5 off of my right and then I decelerated and did a Forward send over 6 so that he knew to Collect for 7B instead of jumping in extension to go through 7A. That worked beautifully too and we completed the Pinwheel of 8-9. I Rear Crossed him into 10 and cued the Tire from my Left and we had quite possibly our first clean Wildcard 3 course!

Best of all, Pico was a pretty happy guy the whole time. At the end of each run, he would stop and come back to me to have his collar put on and then he'd run like gangbusters to his crate to enjoy his chicken baby food. I think he has really started to 'get' the whole trialing thing and that is truly exciting!

High Five Pico!

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