Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday Night "Competitive Handling" 8/16

Everyone who showed up last night is going to the Hattiesburg trial this weekend, (Nedra, Georgie, Noel, Loralie, Sandy, Michele S., Lisa), most of them for 4 days, so excitement was in the air.  Except for me, that is.  Why aren't I going?  Well, I'm going to drive up on Saturday, just to bring Lucky and get her used to the trialing environment, but I didn't enter Maxie in the trial.  Now I'm doubting my decision.  They say it's the last indoor air conditioned nearby trial scheduled for this year -- Gulfport and Kiln are outdoors.   On the other hand, I just don't feel Maxie and I are ready to compete at Excellent level.  A few more months of training under our belt is what I think we need.  So far, I disagree with everyone else's philosophy that "trialing is training".  It is, but not as a substitute for proofing your team's issues at home.

Maxie's issues:  solid weaves, focus, speed, working at a distance.
My issues: clear commands and body language, stress reduction techniques, being able to function in the morning, and remembering the course as I run it.

The course we ran tonight is below, which Nedra, Polly and I had set up on Saturday night.  It was relatively simple, with a few interesting twists! In 3-4 places, there is an obstacle in the way of H's most likely path.  It took extra thought for H not to flip over the table or crash into the jumps. (Examples: going from 2 to 4, 9 is in the way; from 9 to 11, 4 is in the way; from 19 to 20, 7 is in the way, and then there is that weird un-numbered turquoise jump - put there no doubt for aggrevation!).  A trap, they call it, and many of the dogs out last night took it -- a Wrong Course fault that automatically disqualifies your run!

Also, a few dogs overshot the table due to that sharp left turn out of the chute, so H needed to position themselves BEHIND the table to prevent that.  That was unusual.  And also not call D to you until they were exiting the chute, otherwise they could veer left too soon and get tangled in the fabric.  Tricky!

Sheryl was there observing, and we got to see first hand the value of the Lead Out Pivot after 2.  H's who didn't do that arm change had harder time getting D to execute a 90 degree left to make it over 3.  Like Susan Garret preaches, an arm change means a change of line.  No arm change means go straight.

For some, the RC after 14 worked.  Others did the FC after 15 (green).  Both seemed to work.

I had run 1-9 with Maxie on Saturday night after setup, and 1-6 with Lucky. They both did well, although Lucky was distracted by a black/white cat sitting over by the gate. She stayed on her start line and didn't run after it, but she kept looking at it and missed my first cue. We have to practice a lot on her focus.

I brought both Lucky and Maxie with me tonight, arriving before 7:30 for the 8 p.m. class, and ran Lucky thru the entire sequence, in steps (1-6, 1-9, 9-15, 16-20), before class began, and again after class.  It was cooler out and she was more energetic than previous weeks, more focused, and faster.  Unfortunately, she spent class time cooped up in the car because she wouldn't stay quiet chained to the fence.

Maxie did very well the first 2 times through, but then we had already run the course.  On his 3rd turn, he started shaking his head and scratching his ear, and wouldn't quit, and wouldn't run.  Just sat on the start line shaking his head.  One more thing that can screw you up in a trial.  Fleas.  Ear mites.  A stray cat.  A bird in the rafters.  I treated all the dogs for ear mites as soon as we got home.

As earlier stated, I created this diagram with my Clean Run Course Designer, which I am still learning to use. I discovered, futzing around with the program, that you can choose "connect the numbers" for D's path and H's path, and the lines draw automatically. Afterwards you can adjust them to suit yourself. This saves lots of time from hand drawing each path.

I also discovered you can add a label to the handler automatically (LOP, RC), rather than a separate text box. Neat!

Sandra R. asked me why I had missed her last Wed night class.  I explained how I had pulled Lucky out after the first class and applied the fees to field fees, and hadn't Loralie told her?  She said NO.  I was surprised.  It seems there is a lack of communications there.

No comments: