Thursday, December 8, 2011

Working the Dane

Tonight was Vegas' night to both get out of the house and work. She was thrilled. We had 102 to ourselves tonight. We started out with some recalls. It took a bit of doing - not to get Vegas to recall well and enthusiastically - but to get her to come when I said "come," not when I said her name. It's going to continue to be on our to-do list but I'm very conscious of working this with her without dampening her enthusiasm. I don't want her to shut down on recalls. As it is, I'm thrilled with the actual recalls. She's almost 100% on fronts and she is so happy on the return to me that she even slid on the mats as she threw on the brakes. It's beyond adorable.

We then worked on random heeling patterns, some figure-8s around cones, and basically just finding heel position. I got the broad jump out and we worked on jumping over it and then returning to front. I had her doing nice, tight 360 lefts, and worked on sticking close on about-turns. All in all, it was a very successful half-hour of working and I'm absolutely amazed at how with me and enthusiastic she is. I look forward to the match Sunday to see how she does in that setting. It's likely our last chance to get in a match before the Rose City Classic (mid-January) where I intend on entering her in Beginner Novice.

From there we headed to the Cash' barn for the last week of agility league. When we were there last week one of the participants asked if I would sub for her tonight. Of course I said yes. It's a great way for me to get to exercise Vegas and let her do something she loves. Plus hang out with great people.

The only downfall is the extreme cold - the barn was a "balmy" 38 degrees tonight (insert wry grin and sarcastic humor here).

Standard was first.
When we went out in the ring I took Vegas' collar and leash off earlier than normal. I took them off close to the entrance of the ring instead of at the start line. Immediately she started bounding around and it seemed she would start taking obstacles in her excitement. I got her attention back just enough to start the course. I'm quite certain she vaulted over the dog walk contact but she did stay on the table. From there things went well until she flew into the wrong end of the tunnel at #8. Not that she was the only one, but it was clear from her craziness I had not a hope of preventing that one. She also blew the a-frame contact with a giant stride/leap over. She got her weaves and plowed through them and we finished the course in 51.43. Whew! To describe her performance it was: enthusiastic, happy, bouncy, silly, and fast.

The game tonight is one of my favorites. There is a set course planned but any obstacle taken while the handler is completely inside the box incurs double value of the numbered obstacle. For instance, the weaves are #11 and if handled from inside the box are worth 22 points versus just 11 if you run and handle next to your dog.

I set Vegas up in front of the first jump and took off. I jumped into the box as she was heading for the tunnel and I think I was inside the line before she started the tunnel. I was inside for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, I think 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. I had to come out of the box to get her to take 15 and then just went ahead and ran with her to 17 since I don't handle distance from that far away. If my calculations are correct she earned 239 points out of a possible 272. Very good! She was so darn happy the whole time, too, and coming off the run. Just a silly, happy, bouncy girl. Even after all those tunnels.

After our run we packed up and left. There were still some dogs left but I needed to get home and get some things done and to feed her. All in all a very nice night. I'm looking forward to the weekend home to finalize some of the details I need to take care of before leaving, to start packing, to sleep in, and to spend some quality time with my pups. But first there's a Friday I have to get through.....

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