Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Night Practice at QCDC

Tonight's course was a JWW course designed by Laura English for last weekend's trial at Camp Bandy.  Here is a rough approximation of the course.
When I walked this course, I thought the biggest challenge was getting the dog into the correct end of the tunnel at #9.  However, very few people had a problem with this.  Upon exiting the tunnel though several dogs took off-course #8.

The serpentine 13-15 proved to be an area where precious seconds could by lost on the run.  My plan was to run the black path, and I did so with both Dusty and Belle.  With Dusty, I failed to support him out to the second jump of the pinwheel, so on our next run I tried the red path which many of the other handlers had taken.  The biggest danger with this path was sending the dog into the wrong end of the #15 tunnel by showing too much forward motion.  A couple of dogs  failed to heed the front cross between #12 and #13 and either took a very loopy path or actually entered the weaves.  I found that I had much more control over the dogs' lines when I used the red handler's path.

Tonight was huge for Dusty and me.  I think all the relaxation work that I've been doing with him may be paying off.  Micky and David are in California for the AKC Invitationals with Micky's Westie, Woody, so I did all the running with Dusty this evening.  I was so proud of him.  He managed to go to the start line without barking, spinning or air-biting.  We experienced only one minor melt-down (when I failed to support him in the pinwheel and insisted on re-starting it instead of going with the flow), but there was only barking, no air-biting.  I think he only barked at me one other time on course (when I rear-crossed him going into a tunnel).

It's not that Dusty ever gave me attitude on course.  It's just that he gets higher than a kite and reverts to whirling dervish mode.  To have him run and not experience a meltdown, just makes me so happy, I could cry.

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