Round 3 was another JWW course. Our goal (Val's and mine) was for me to run Vegas then head over to the conformation hall to watch the Danes. We would be cutting it close but hoped to make it and watch some friends. Plus I wanted to meet a Yahoo Group/Facebook friend and her Dane, Elena and Niko. Niko is a stunning and gorgeous Harlequin that has done really well in the show ring, completing both is championship and grand championship plus going to Westminster this year.
So with Vegas crated I was free to watch the 20" dogs running, review my map, and be ready to walk when it was our turn. We were in the first 24" walk through since we were running the 10th dog into the class.
In watching the 20s, most were fine through the weaves and up to #6 or so. The course map is a little different than what we actually ran because of the turf issues I mentioned in Saturday's post and Gail Storm's last minute adjustments to avoid the 24s running the same path. I've tried to show how it was different in a second map below the first. For the 20s though, many handlers were making a front cross after 6 and after 7. Their timing was very close to avoid being in the dog's way but their goal was to avoid the off courses that seemed inherent in sending the dog ahead. Surprisingly the off course jump above #10 never caught any dogs I watched. Apparently with the turn required to 10/11, handlers were queuing it enough that the dogs never saw or tuned into that jump. From there, 11 to 12 was a long stretch. Dogs were turning the wrong direction to start and having to turn back. Not a big deal except wasting time. Few turned correctly and came in, missing #12, and fewer still went wide around #12. Mostly it was just a really long stretch to run on the inside legs and maintain speed. A few dogs were catching #10 after #12 but most stayed the course. A few were making the wrap off #14 well, taking #15, then going off course on #11 because of a wide turn. Again, it was a tight course with a lot of handling required. This one was designed by Nalle Jensen and 24" dogs were to be judged by Blair Kelly.
My plan for this course was to set her up far off the left of the first jump at an angle pointing her toward the pivot point of the turn to the #2 jump. I was going to set her up far enough back and then run like hell to make a front cross to send her to #2 knowing that her collection for and taking of the jump would give me the time. There was enough distance to #4 and after in that open space in the center of the course that no matter which way I walked it, I was most comfortable with a front cross into the weaves. From there, as you can see our adjusted course while perhaps a few yards longer, was actually easier - in my opinion - with a clear and straight-forward serpentine. I planned to work it from the inside, and maintain the same side through #14. I knew the most difficult parts were queuing the "turn on a dime" after 14 and 15. From there I figured we were pretty good.
The good news is, Vegas was happy, acting interested in the warm-up jump, and engaged and playful that morning. I had plenty of time to warm her up, stretch her, play with her, get her revved up, and was feeling good going into the run.
Our time was 35.977; SCT was 46. And we were clean! One clean run moved us up to 62nd out of the 122 dogs in our height class. I was so pleased with such a wonderful, fun run with her! Interesting, as I look at the cumulative results right now, I notice we're only 5 seconds slower than the very fastest dog in the class. That was cool!! Seriously, she's probably twice the size of the Vizsla. Amazing.
And the number of people I met who used to have Danes, who used to run Danes in agility, or who are interested in doing so. It was so cool!
In fairly short order we did start to head over to conformation for the Danes but they'd gotten done in a half hour? Crazy fast so instead we stopped for a cup of coffee out in the food court area. Afterward I kenneled Vegas again so she could rest. Another decision I made about the second day was to rest her more. The walking around and socializing might have overstimulated her and made her tired. So rest it was in the crate. Fortunately after her initial temper tantrum kicking up the crate pad she settled down good. Sunday I also brought with a blanket from the hotel to cover the crate with to give her some semblance of privacy or a "cave."
Round 4 was a hybrid course. I didn't know what that was until I re-read the information pamphlet the AKC provided. A hybrid course contains only two contact obstacles. Otherwise it's mostly a jumpers course. I was exceedingly glad the course did not contain the dog walk. Despite our "issues" with the a-frame contact, the dog walk is our slow obstacle so I was obviously concerned, particularly when I saw the course time. It seemed low for a course with contacts but then again, we didn't have the table either so....
What a way to end our trip. Two clear rounds on the same day. She did such a beautiful job on both our runs Sunday; I was so pleased with her I could hardly see straight. And thank Dog for Val and Keri, she had a great reward waiting for after her second run. She got to have breakfast and dinner in one - real raw food. She was thrilled and once she was cooled down I let her have it back at our crating area.
We went and picked up our awards before finals. That was a joyous moment.
And equally as exciting.... Our Top Great Dane medal! And oh my wow is that thing heavy! Seriously must weigh more than Juicy which means, poor Chihuahua! LOL.
As an extra bonus after finals and when we went back to our room Sunday night, Val had saved Vegas part of her ahi tuna steak which she swallowed in a single gulp.