I was really looking forward to my first DOCNA trial this weekend, especially since it will be my last trial for 4 months or so. I went into the thing so full of heady optimism and enthusiasm to try something new. Ah, how quickly a pair of high maintenance, sensitive dogs can put those notions to bed. 9 millions refusals, 3 blown contacts, 2 missed weave pole entries, 1 off course and a partridge in a pear tree. I'll confess to being a bit worried about Lola. She ran off after 3 obstacles during the first run of the day (Traditional Gamblers) to sniff. She very, very rarely does this and it's hard to say if it's stress related or she's sore/injured again. She was running nicely Monday night at this same venue and she hasn't done any agility or anything else strenuous that I know of between than and today so I'm leaning towards stress. She also took an off course dogwalk in standard and again I think she was stressed. She stopped on top of the A-frame on her second standard run even though the judge was miles away and that's also one of her stress behaviors so hopefully she's not injured. Still, why she was so worried in such a laid back atmosphere and with me in such a relaxed, happy mood is a mystery and points more towards injury.
It wasn't all bad though, both dogs picked up Q's, titles and first places in Specialist (DOCNA's term for 'Masters') Gamblers. The gamble was easy peasy and though both dogs got it I wished it had been prettier. Lola balked at a send to a tunnel but eventually went in and Cody had a wide wide turn but still got to the last jump under time. We had been practicing similar but much more difficult gambles for the past few weeks so this one should have been a piece of cake. Cody had a nice opening, held his dogwalk contact beautifully but went flying off the A-frame. He got the contact but without the stop at the bottom, argh. Aside from running off at first Lola had a nice opening too and I had to make the whole thing up on the fly since she had run off and come back to me in an unexpected place. Somehow I managed to be in decent position for the gamble when the horn blew. Cody's run was time almost perfectly, whee, I love Gamblers when it all goes right.
One of my least favorite course designs is the one where the dogwalk is the second to last obstacle. We've lost at least 10 NADAC and 1 USDAA standard Q's because of the this setup. Cody has only ever held that contact once that I can think of, all other times he doesn't just bail, he goes flying off. I'm sure it's because he knows he's done and he's excited to get his treats. And he always gets them because I have to reward him for the rest of the run. Even if I didn't give him his end of run reward I doubt he'd realize the reason. For some reason this setup is very common in NADAC and I wasn't too happy to see it yet again today. And yes gentle readers both dogs did their flying through the air with the greatest of ease routines right over the yellow to blow an otherwise clean run in standard. Sigh. Is it too late to take up golf? I'm up for suggestions is anyone has any ideas for a slightly less aggravating hobby.
Just to add insult to injury, here's some video of our 2 standard runs. Jonny surprised us and showed up in time to film our standard runs. This is merely a public service, you can watch these and feel better about whatever you did this weekend. Watch as I get lost on the easiest of courses. Marvel at Lola's sassiness as she admonishes me after her runs. Yes, I can run faster than that. Why didn't I? Duh, I dunno.