Yesterday Ike and I were entered in Act-Up's first NADAC trial of the year. We entered four classes (out of a possible six); two Regular classes (all the obstacles), Jumpers (just jumps!), and Chances (distance challenge). I don't know if I am in the minority, but even though the distance tape/challenge in Regular classes was scary I really liked it.
John and Carmen attended the trial in the morning to help get Ms. Onion used to the trial atmosphere.
Ike and I did not Q in any of our classes, but I am really pleased with how the day went. The big issue for us was the heat. It was pretty brutal and Ike doesn't tolerate the heat well.
Friday night I began thinking about how *I* planned on running. Not Ike - me. I was thinking hard about being a more consistent handler in terms of speed. Saturday morning I was still really concentrating on my consistency. It paid off. A lot of times Ike will stop suddenly mid-course and begging by me will ensue. Because I have become so much more aware of how my stops-starts effect Ike the fact that I was being a more consistent handler allowed Ike to be much LESS erratic. In the first two runs there were a couple of almost halts and in both instances there were people located close by (ring crew and photographer). Ike recovered much better than he typically does.
Our first Regular run Ike was Slow As Molasses, literally. But he ran clean - he actually placed first in our class of two! He only perched on the A-frame for a second - this is HUGE. I am so pleased. Second Regular run Ike started off slow but really picked up speed as the course progressed and he did zero perching. His A-frame was perfect - exactly what I am aiming for - no perching, almost a running A-frame. Yay, Ike. Both of these runs were clean but over time.
I really think that the improved A-frame is due to the rear work we have been doing. I have yet to have time to re-work Ike's A-frame, so it is the only logical explanation.
In Jumpers Ike did stop before the fourth to last jump but he pretty quickly, with minimal begging, made the decision to continue working with me. His YPS was pretty good for an Ike, too. Again we were clean but over SCT (Standard Course Time).
Chances was a blast. I was so pleased that I thought the "chance" was such a piece of cake. I knew we were not capable of making the course time (40 seconds - ha!), but I was hoping Ike would think the "chance" was as easy as I did. I tried very hard not to move too quickly ahead of Ike and give myself room to "support" him if needed. Well, I didn't need to move any closer to the tape to support Ike - who knows if this is because I handled it correctly from the get-go or because Ike is slowly getting more distance or a combination of all the factors. We did have a couple of halts during the course at jumps, but considering it was about 3pm and oh-so-hot I don't care. I didn't have to do any ridiculous begging and believe me I have done my share of ridiculous begging (hangs head). Again, clean run but way over course time.
At the Webb Anderson seminar, Webb had me touch the end of the tunnel, peeking over my shoulder, waiting for eye contact with Ike. Then the second Ike's muzzle left the tunnel I was to move. I have been trying to incorporate this in the way I run Ike. I used it Saturday - Nancy and Sandy both said that he seemed to be really rocketing (for Ike) out of the tunnels. Hooray. I am also pleased that I didn't really consciously decide to do it, my subconscious made the decision for me and it was very effective. It is interesting how sometimes a part of your brain will recognize how effective a method is without you consciously recognizing it and then you'll incorporate it into your routine/method.
Carmen was great. I expected her to scream the entire time she was at the trial but she didn't. I discovered that she does better when she can see out of her crate versus Ike who does better covered. Interesting. Carmen met Erin's new puppy Kitt and tried to play with him! She is so different than Ike it blows my mind. Since both of them are reactive I always grouped their reactivity and quirks together/as the same, but they aren't (uh, D'UH).
We also had the opportunity to visit lots of Schnauzer friends and Cat/Tessie/Strata. It was a VERY good day.
5 hours ago