Sunday, May 06, 2007

Slip n Slide

Half day of NADAC today on a beautiful cool (40's-50's) sunny morning. I only signed up for 2 rounds of Elite Standard for Cody and Tunnelers for both Lola & Cody, hoping to be finished by mid-morning but thunder & lightening shut down the works yesterday so they had to make up a round of Novice Standard which delayed everything by almost an hour. Still I was done by 10:40 am even with the delay and felt a bit guilty taking off without working even a single class but the whole point of the limited entry was to not spend the whole day there and I wanted to take some time to work on Strummer's crazy lunging barking fits at dogs running in the ring during the spare moments that I had. I found someone else from my training field doing the exact same thing so I didn't feel too bad. We both usually work a lot as a general rule so I guess it wasn't so horrible.

I've decided to retire Cody from NADAC, if not entirely then at least from events that have contact equipment. Ironically enough this is for safety reasons. Cody had terrible problems with the A-frame and dogwalk when NADAC removed the slats and lowered the A-frame. He'd smack into the front side of the A-frame like a bug on a windscreen then slide down the downside on his butt. First time on a slatless dogwalk and he slid straight down on all fours, out of control. I went so far as to buy a slatless A-frame and it took months to get him to do it safely. I don't have access to a slatless dogwalk and I'm not buying one. After watching him bail off just about every single contact today I've decided it's likely because he can't control himself without the slats. He had perfect contacts at the last USDAA trial and at the seminar where slatted equipment was used. He only bails consistently at NADAC trials and he sometimes jumps from quite high up. Some of his leaps are outright dangerous. I think it's leading to confusion on his part about his contact performance in the ring as well. I noticed other dogs slipping on the equipment including one in particular that slipped down the A-frame on his butt then slid down the dog walk and face planted at the bottom. Slatless equipment is not for all dogs, despite what the proponents say.

Both standard courses today were so easy with just 2 changes of side but I still managed to muck them up. I botched a serpentine, Cody missed a weave pole entrance then blew both contacts and I'm sure there was an off course thrown in there somewhere for good measure. He broke his start line on the 2nd run and took an immediate off course on the A-frame which he bailed so I decided to have him redo the A-frame then was out of position and confused for the rest of the course. How is that I can Q on those tough USDAA masters courses and can't manage a simple, straightforward NADAC course that by now I should be able to do with my eyes closed?

Tunnelers went much better. I didn't hang around to find out their placements but both dogs Q'ed and had a great time. Cody had a beautiful smooth run several seconds below course time. Miss Lola was absolutely flying and nearly took me out when she came rocketing out of a straight tunnel and into my side. I should listen to those nagging doubts more often as I'd walked the course and thought 'If I handle it this way she's going to take me down' yet I handled it that way anyway. It's a wonder Mensa hasn't called. In any case she had an otherwise beautiful run and was rocketing through those tunnels with a big stupid grin on her face. Overall she seemed so happy to be back at a trial and there was no hint of any problems with her. This week we'll try a full course at practice and see how she does.

My big lesson for the day, aside from listening to those nagging doubts, is that yes I can make it there for that front cross most of the time, I have to trust myself a little more. Also, I need to be very clear with Cody at the start line. He rarely breaks his start line and if he does it's usually out of stress. In fact he'll sometimes freeze on the start line and it's all I can do to get him to start. But today I think he broke it because he misunderstood and thought I'd cued him to go. I kept up a good connection with him at the start of Tunnelers and led out almost an entire tunnel length no problem.

There's a new DOCNA trial coming in August and I think we're going to try it instead of the August NADAC trial. I've never done DOCNA before but I'm thrilled to have an alternative and eager to give another venue a try.

No biking this weekend due to the weather and my run today was pure crap. Made it to both masters practices this week but it feels like I'll never get any better. That's the trouble with swimming, progress seems so slow then all of sudden I notice an improvement. I got thrown in with the sharks in a faster lane this week so that didn't help. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll be able to keep up.

No comments:

Post a Comment