Saturday, February 25, 2012

What a Difference A Day Makes

Hard to believe I was out in the field running courses on Thursday.  Here's what we awakened to on Friday.

Belle and I drove to Davenport for a trial, which thankfully didn't begin until 10 a.m.  On our Standard run, Belle left the table before the judge was done counting.  I used a hand signal when I left her at the table, but I failed to say "stay."  When I turned and faced her over the bar of the next jump, she came running.

The judge was very forgiving in his A-frame calls in T2B.  Belle missed the second one by about three inches, but still Q'd.  (In very slow motion, it looks like a toenail may have dragged across the top of the yellow on the first one.)  It's looking more and more like I may have to put temporary slats on my A-frame in order to finish re-training Belle's running A-frame.  On the positive side, she did seem to jump the apex and not skitter down in T2B.  She just didn't land far enough into the blue for her next stride to carry her into the yellow.  

In Standard, I did a front cross between the A-frame and the next jump, and Belle took three strides in her descent.  I really didn't want to do a front cross there for just that reason.  However, I didn't feel comfortable trying to execute a rear cross going into this particular pinwheel configuration, and I wasn't convinced a blind cross would give Belle a clear idea of where we were going next.
As an aside: There were many very poorly executed front crosses at this point.  At least two were so misplaced that the dog went to the chute instead of the jump.  In many other instances the handler was in the dog's way and the dog had to swerve around him.  This is not shaping the dog's line; this is getting in the dog's way.  When you use a front cross and your body to shape a dog's line, his reaction should be "Got it!" not "Oh, crap!"

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