NOCI AKC Trial - May 7-8, 2005

10 May 2005Steve Schwarz

I took Milo to the Northwest Obedience Club, Inc AKC trial this past week end in Wauconda, IL. This was Milo’s first outdoor trial in almost exactly a year since his last injury. I am always concerned about running Milo outside. He is normally a pretty fast dog; but when I have the confident Milo with me at the start line on grass I can be in for an unforgiving ride.

With Milo’s time off and my sporadic trialing schedule we are still in AKC Open. Anne Riba was the judge for Jumpers With Weaves (JWW) on Saturday. I was hoping to get Milo’s last Open JWW leg with Anne as the judge since I’ve trained with her for years but it wasn’t to be.

The opening was three jumps on a gentle arc into two back to back 3 jump Pin Wheels sharing a common jump. I took a two jump lead out and once I released Milo watched him sail past me and go on his way over the third jump; I was caught completely napping. Milo turned back to see where I was on the landing side of the fourth jump. I was just starting my move into the center of the first Pin Wheel and somehow I thought telling him “jump” would be a good thing to do. Unfortunately, he was still facing me and back jumped jump 4. So “good dog!” to Milo and off we went. He nailed the problematic tunnel, jump, weave entrance at full speed. Then on the closing sequence he took the obvious off course when my Rear Cross Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross with him charging forward and no other commands on my part failed to give him enough information to turn to the correct jump. All in all two bad handler moments on an otherwise “Q-able” course.

Milo’s Standard run on Saturday was judged by long time Midwest agility competitor and judge Joan Marec. With an angled setup the first three jumps were in a nice straight line with a curve off to the table. There was some problem with the electronic timing as we got to the line; so I played the Ready Game and did some “Spins” with Milo to keep him excited. He can get kind of nervous at the start sometimes. I decided to just lead out a little between jump 1 and 2 to force myself to be running almost from the get go. Well my playing with Milo must have worked because he took off like a shot! My short lead out also was designed to try to keep him from jumping flat as he can do when he is in a hurry to catch me. He rattled the 2nd jump bar so hard it I swear I could hear it as we were on our way to the table. But we got a gift from the “Agility Gods” and the bar didn’t drop. I didn’t even send him off course as I looked back in shock that the bar stayed up.

The rest of the course was uneventful. Milo was so pumped up he flew over all the contact obstacles and nailed his contacts. It was a really nice run with only a couple spots where I let him get a little wide. We ended up Q’ing with a 1st place about 4 seconds ahead of the 2nd place dog.

Both runs on Sunday were more like my first run on Saturday: NQs. In the JWW course I got into another Pin Wheel too late and I ended up using a Front Cross Front CrossLearning the Front Cross over a jump where I had originally planned on crossing on the take off side. So Milo got a split second look at the next jump and took the bar down with his chest. A few obstacles later he didn’t collect going into the weaves and took them starting at the second pole - I was behind but might have been pushing to catch him too. But normally Milo’s love for the weaves means he hits them from almost any angle at at speed too. Right after the weaves I flipped my arm and sent him off course. But at least the closing sequence of the run was actually pretty nice.

Anne’s Standard course started nicely. We avoided an off course to the table and managed a straight forward tunnel A-Frame discrimination. Milo checked in nicely just before a Rear Cross. Had an acceptable but uninspired teeter contact. Milo entered the 6 pole weaves at pole 2 again (hmmm same thing in both runs…). Got a good dog walk contact. Almost at the end was the A-Frame - tunnel discrimination going the other direction. I stepped in and pushed him into the tunnel. Then it took three more tries to get Milo to both come to me and take the A-Frame. We were right next to his favorite weave poles and the tunnel so he was just looking to take an obstacle; any obstacle. It was one of those times when he is so pumped up and his obstacle-focus is so strong that I can have trouble getting him to even come to me. Ultimately, we got our act back together, took the A-Frame (with a nice contact) and finished the course

I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with my handling over the weekend. But, like any other trial, it just uncovered the areas where Milo and I need to spend more time training.

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