Ike and I had a great day on Saturday at the All Dogs Gym Thanksgiving CPE Trial, but it certainly did not start out that way.
For those of you who have never been to All Dogs Gym, they have a REALLY nice facility. However, it is quite loud, the crating is in a separate room, and the seating in the ring area is crowded. After setting up Ike's crate I brought him into the main area to try and acclimate him to the environment. He went into shut-down mode, which means he didn't want to move and wouldn't take treats. He was wearing his most pathetic face with one paw lifted at all times.
Well, CRAP. When Ike is so obviously shutting down I have to admit I start to feel like I am going to vomit. I put him in his crate, covered it and went to watch the higher level classes do the Jackpot course while internally debating if I was going to end up leaving early and what would be fair to Ike.
CPE has Traditional Jackpot and Non-Traditional Jackpot.
In TRADITIONAL Jackpot, you collect required points in the opening until the whistle blows, then do the gamble, which has 4 obstacles, worth 2, 4, 6, and 8 points (total of 20 points). There is a line in the gamble that you must NOT step on or cross (dog can cross line and then go back). You MUST successfully complete the gamble to qualify. The last obstacle in the gamble stops the clock and can be a bar jump, tunnel, or table.
In a NON-TRADITIONAL Jackpot, the gamble is placed anywhere on the course and can be done at any time. There may be several gambles with different point values so all level dogs can run the same course. Each judge decides how to do this, so rules are up to the judge.
Saturday the judge, Jean MacKenzie informed us that it was a Non-Traditional Jackpot and we could do the gamble at any point during the run. The gamble was jump, tire (VERY scary tire in a wooden frame that I saw a dog hang himself on at the end of the day. GULP!), tunnel, jump at a 5 foot distance. Level one must accrue 12 points plus the gamble.
There were not that many Level 1/2 dogs, so I went to get Ike when the Level 1/2 dogs began and he was still not accepting treats and being distant, scared dog. I hoped when I put him in the ring he would feel safer because he would have some space. Well, hooray! I put him in the ring and he was willing to work. He was doing slow-Ike, but hey I was proud he could bring himself to play.
Silly handler made Ike gather too many points before starting the Gamble. My practicing distance has paid off! He didn't think TWICE about taking the gamble, he just went right ahead and took all the obstacles. Unfortunately when Ike came out of the tunnel he realized there were still other people in the room and he froze stock-still, deer-in-the-headlights and wouldn't move! The whistle blew. Oh well, not bad for our first Jackpot run. I was terrified he wasn't going to be able to function let alone actually take the gamble. I am SO proud of him.
I worked as Scribe in the higher level Standard classes and Wildcard & Colors classes. I am now very familiar with the intricacies of CPE which will pay off for Act-Up in May.
Our next class was Standard and I was a wreck because....the judge included the chute! EEEK! Ike's least favorite obstacle. The only positive is that it was the final obstacle after two jumps, my hope was Ike would have enough speed going into it that he wouldn't over think it. In addition, it was a very long chute and dark colors. Gah, talk about setting Ike up NOT to succeed.
Fortunately Jackpot got all of the Scaredy-Ike out of his system and he was back to his new normal self, wanting to play. He handled the Standard run beautifully, chute and all! In fact he Q'd and placed first! Hooray! This means he got his Level One Standard Title (CL1-R).
Ike also Q'd and placed first in Wildcard and Colors. Our next trial we will be doing Standard, Wildcard, and Colors at the Level 2 level. The only major difference is that Level 2 includes weaves.
We also met a gorgeous chocolate Cocker Spaniel named Minnie who got her C-ATCH last weekend in Springfield. Ike attempted to engage Minnie in play like I have never seen him behave before. It was AWESOME!
So, a very long and successful day. I am so glad Ike was able to gather himself after his initial fright. I really think allowing him the down time in his crate before Jackpot helped; and the fact that at this point he really enjoys agility and knows how to play it with me.
3 days ago