Yesterday, Belle and I went to Muscatine, Iowa for an AKC trial. We don't do many AKC trials because there are only two runs a day, and if I'm going to get up before the sun, I really want it to be worth my while. Currently, I normally am only willing to travel to Davenport (70 miles) for an AKC trial, but the trial in Muscatine didn't start until noon, and it's only 100 miles, so what the heck.
The judge was Lisa Potts. I worked as a bar setter in both Standard and JWW and had a real opportunity to watch the little dogs run. I was really surprised to see how many of the 8" handlers didn't really handle. Instead they ran with their dogs and pointed. It was really a contrast when an energetic woman with an eager and fast Bichon took the line. They attacked the course with gusto and it was a joy to watch.
Even with the 12" and 16" dogs, a lot of handlers had a tendency to run as close as possible to manage the contacts and weaves. With the A frame, this was somewhat unfortunate as the course took an 80 degree turn to the left. A few dogs had a straight ahead off-course after the A-frame, but most just had a real big loop in their path as they realized they were turning and not going straight ahead.
When walking the course, I pegged the teeter as being the default obstacle after the tunnel. I opted to layer the wingless jump while Belle took the teeter, and when it was time to go tunnel to the weaves, I opted to run close to the weaves yo avoid pushing her out to the dogwalk and also so I could hang back and handle the serpentine from the take-off side.
I did not expect the tunnel to the teeter to be a problem, but for quite a few of the large dogs it was. Like Belle, they came shooting out of the tunnel locked on the weaves. It was such a shock because in walking the course, I made sure to check out what the dog would see emerging from the tunnel. Guess I forgot to take into account the angle of the last section of the tunnel.
Our jumpers run was much smoother, but unfortunately, my videographer got caught up in the moment and forgot to press "record." The JWW course left me even more impressed with Lisa's ability to embed challenges (without harsh angles) in a deceptively easy-looking course. When there are 100-200 runs on a given course, it so much more interesting if there are many different strategies used in solving the puzzle the judge has created. And I can truthfully say, I was not bored watching the runs yesterday.