Well, this weekend was Ike's first trial. It went REALLY well. We got our first Q and it is a blue ribbon! Of course, that is because Ike was the only dog in the class for his height! However, if we hadn't qualified we wouldn't have gotten that pretty colored ribbon.
Our first class was Fullhouse which we bombed. In part I think this is because we (my friend Michele, Ike, and I) got off Route 91 and picked up Route 2 WAY too early. This turned a 1 hour drive from Northampton, MA to Adams, MA into nearly two (2!!) hours! The judge was leaving the registration area when we arrived; she measured us on her way out! And then it wasn't too long before we were heading into the ring.
The basics of Fullhouse: Obstacles are worth a certain amount of points. Jumps are 1 point, circles (tunnels and tire) are worth 3 points, the judge names the Joker and it is worth 5 points. For a Level One dog and handler the team must accrue 19 points. You are allowed to accrue these points by taking obstacles of your choice in any order. When you hear the buzzer dog and handler must go to the table. The dog must touch at least one paw to the table.
Since Ike is such a slowpoke I thought the teeter was the answer and tried to start our run with it. Ike took two steps up the teeter, stopped cold, and said, "This isn't my teeter." I was being bold - I should have tried to make as many points as I could w/o pushing Ike first thing. But 5 points.... it would have really helped us out. Instead we got 5 pts in total (jump, tunnel, table). Ah well, on the bright side I wasn't upset with Ike - I know he has some teeter issues. And now I know I MUST work much harder on this obstacle.
Second class was Standard - Ike was AWESOME!! Especially considering I had brain freeze half-way through the course and forgot where we were going. I didn't hear the buzzer and thought we Q'd; he did so well. But nope we did not Q; not surprisingly we were a bit too slow! He was super though - took the dog walk, a-frame, tire, and spread jumps without a hitch. After the teeter balk in Fullhouse I was really nervous that this might be a contact issue.
Third class was Wildcard which was where we got our Q. Nice game; I really liked it. It made "sense" to me and Ike was great.
Wildcard Basics: Essentially the judge sets up a course where you can chose one of two ways to complete it, multiple times during the course. For Level One there were three scenarios labeled "a" and "b" that the handler must chose an option. The catch is that you must have one "b" option and two "a" options, I think. I'll have to look at my rule book. This becomes an issue if you have a dog that suffers from tunnel-suck or you aren't giving clear signals to your dog. Seems to me that the fun and difficult part of these game classes is that the courses are almost designed to make the dog chose its favorite obstacle and this can then require strategizing on the fly for the handler.
So Ike was really good about following my lead and I was really good about positioning my body so he knew what my lead was. Hence the Q. Yippee!!
Final class was Snooker and Ike was TOAST (and I was majorly confused!). He took the jump, tunnel and then spotted my friend Michele outside the ring and thought she might save him from the taskmaster mum!!
I really do not get Snooker. Jumps are flagged with a red flag and then other obstacles are considered colors and numbered (2 thru 7). So the handler and dog take a red obstacle and then a color obstacle. They must do this three times and then complete the obstacles in the numbered order all within course time. First, I think this game requires a ton of strategizing and in our Snooker course there were two obstacle "combos." I have no idea if "combos" are a normal sight on a Snooker course or not. Either way, this was the only time during the day that I was extremely stressed out. I just didn't get it. With both Wildcard and Fullhouse the courses and point of the game made sense for me during and after the class - not with Snooker.
Cat, if you are out there, USDAA has a Snooker class right? Can you explain?? I am going to post to the Performance Schnauzer list and see if anyone can help me make sense of this. I think trial-by-fire is typically one of the better ways that I personally learn and I certainly will continue to enroll in Snooker classes, but I would LOVE to know what the heck I am trying to do!
All in all it was a super weekend. Everyone was super nice, the weather was great, and Ike handled the environment and classes with aplomb! Yippeee!!!!!!!!
And now I know I need a teeter for home!
My friend Michele took a boatload of pics and video which I will share and here is a link to the professional photographer Barry Rosen's web site. You can see that Ike looks happy! And you will see there was another Schnauzer there!
3 weeks ago