Monday, September 27, 2010

Portland Agility Club, Day 2, September 2010

Day two of the trial was wet - but not tons cooler. In fact, by midday it was humid. None the less, it was better agility weather for Vegas than the previous day had been. The run order was tall to small for Sunday, but both rings were running FAST first, a class we were not entered into. So, it was still 10:30 or so until our first run. In the meantime we got to watch Lindsay/Heffner and Rachel/Harry Potter run their FAST classes. Both of them completely rocked their courses so that made for a great start to the day.

When Excellent FAST was done they set the course for Standard. We walked the course and analyzed it for trouble spots. All said and done, the course was nice although I disliked the 180-degree turn out of a u-shaped tunnel into the chute for obvious reasons. The most troublesome spot I identified was the entry into the weaves and successful completion based upon them being preceeded by the a-frame. Vegas tends to launch up out of the tunnels and also launches up and off the a-frame, too, which tends to give her more speed. Speed is great - having her head in the clouds is not so much. Knowing that ahead of time, I was prepared to manage it. However, I still have yet to identify what I did. Craig says I hesitated ever so briefly when she entered the weaves which caused her to lose confidence and look up at me. I've watched the video and I don't see it but I wouldn't be surprised if a slight shock caused my step to falter and throw her off. After all, we really needed this leg and she had done what I needed - hit her entry right on. Regardless, we had a refusal and had to start the weaves again. Even at that, she was under time by a couple of seconds and I was impressed with her overall performance. Can't fault her for handler issues.
Her reward of the day was string cheese so she was thrilled. Such a good girl - you can just see how happy she is doing agility. I'm so proud of Vegas for all her accomplishments. She shows me with every run how much love she has and that she would run her heart out for me.

Next up and about an hour or so later was our JWW run. The course was quite tight with boxes of jumps. Nonetheless, it was completely doable. It just didn't allow for any relaxation until the run was complete. Here is how it turned out:
This leads me into a very important topic - stretching your dog. I usually do a variety of stretches with Vegas at the beginning of each trial day. They include stretching each leg, her back, her neck, and flexing her ribcage/core section. I neglected to stretch Vegas' back yesterday - a very big mistake. Notice in her JWW run the missed weave pole. I saw it as we were running the course and thought it very strange and almost had to hold my breath thinking I'd imagined it. Of course when her exit from the poles was in the wrong position, I knew for certain. This is very unlike Vegas. In fact, even when learning weaves she never missed a pole. After talking the run over with Rachel, we checked Vegas over. Her back is out of alignment, so to speak. She has a "hot spot" in the central portion of her back and is very touchy. I cannot explain how bad I felt. This was all my fault. Vegas gives me her all and I let her down. Notice that even after the weave pole mistake she gave me everything she has.

For the next week or so she is going to be on a strict regimen of stretching, massage, ice, and using Body Sore, an herbal supplement to help her. We have a trial next weekend so hopefully she will be back on top and ready to go. I'm going to create a more in-depth posting in the next couple of days regarding stretching and will hopefully be able to include some pictures, too, that depict our usual routine. In the meantime, I strongly suggest that anyone who does any significant activity with their dog learn to stretch them properly. They can't do it themselves and the only way they can tell us afterward is through injury. Injury for negligence is unfair to our dogs.

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