We were finally able to get to the QCDC for a Thursday evening run-through. It was an AKC Standard course designed by Annette Narel.
This was a course with a lot of flow. The only sequence I wasn't crazy about was #3-#5. It just seemed a little risky for a fast dog. However, it ran well.
This is what I gleaned from watching the video of Belle run with me and Micky:
1. Doing this again, I would take less of a lead out so I could do a rear cross at #4 (the jump before the A-frame)
2. I'd hang back after doing the rear cross so I could run with Belle while she's on the A-frame and then run a line on the inside of the wingless yellow jump. This would enable me to keep moving and get a faster A-frame. (Belle's performance can be sticky even on a rubberized A-frame; on slats it's sure to be so unless she pumped up as she was when Micky ran her.)
3. My timing was spot on going from the weaves to the table on this run. On one of the others it wasn't so great, and Belle wasn't sure if we were going to the table or the chute. By running inside the yellow jump as suggested above, it would be easier for me to get my timing on the run to the table correct.
4. I chose to lead out to avoid having Belle take a wide looping path from the chute to jump #13. As she approaches the chute entrance, I showed a tiny bit of movement toward #13 so there is no doubt in her mind where she is going upon exiting. It worked as planned, but I should have moved away from the table more quickly. My leisurely pace resulted in eight seconds on the table instead of five. Additionally, running to my lead out position would jazz Belle up and encourage her to attack the course with more gusto.
5. Although there was all the time in the world for me to do a front cross at the tunnel exit or after the teeter, I felt a rear cross would result in a faster line to the dogwalk. Additionally, it put me in motion to be running for the dogwalk bottom as soon as I saw Belle make the turn for the dogwalk.
On the second run, Belle is running with Micky of the QCDC. Belle is just absolutely pumped to be running with her. She is even barking while she runs, which is something she almost never does running with me :( Micky does the rear cross at #4 that I talked about above. Belle missed the A-frame on the first attempt because Micky was standing closer to it than Belle expects her handler to stand. The second time, Micky does her turn and makes sure to call Belle to the A-frame.
You can see what a difference it makes in Belle's A-frame performance that Micky doesn't have to slow down since she is running on the inside of the off-course yellow jump.
From the table on, Micky manages the course in a way that I'm just physically not able to do. It worked for them, and that part of the run was a second or two faster than my run with Belle. But two other factors come into play. First, Belle now knows the course; second, she is totally hyped to be running with Micky. Obviously, knowing the course before she runs is not an option at a trial. Getting her a little more revved certainly is, and that is one of the reasons I have begun running away from her when I lead out at the start line.
Notice that when Micky does a front cross after the teeter, it takes her a fraction of a second to change direction to run for the finish line. By using a rear cross, my natural momentum was already heading that way.
David and Dusty's run went pretty well until the dogwalk. By running close to the dogwalk, David inadvertently pushed Dusty away from it. Dusty then falls back into his old habits of spinning and barking as they go back to the tunnel, but David insists that he calm himself before starting again. The rest of the run is smooth and quiet.
Dusty's contact performance is starting to erode a bit, so I ran him on his last run. This gave me an opportunity to do a rear cross at #4, and I really liked the result. Dusty failed to wait for a release on the A-frame and teeter, so we redid both of them, and I was impressed by how well he handled redoing them. No Aussie meltdown; no horrible, whirling dervish.