First Trial

Well today is labor day and summer is almost over.  On Saturday Ice ran in his first real AKC agility trial and he did great.

I had entered him in Novice FAST and Jumpers.  But I planned to use FAST as a warm up event and would only attempt the bonus if I thought it was something Ice could do safely.  There was no way I was going to attempt any contact equipment in the “send”.

When I arrived at the trial venue I could see the course builders staking out the pink ribbon around a jump and See-Saw.  That confirmed it, there was no way Ice was doing his first Teeter in a trial 8 feet away from me.

Here is a video of his FAST run.

I think Ice could sense my nerves because after be missed my FX on the third jump he ran off into a corner of the arena.  I called him and he came straight away (which was good) but this was the first time I’ve ever lost his focus during an actual run.  After he returned I continued on my planned course.  I got too far in front of Ice cuing the A-Frame and he bypassed it and ran to me.  I put him back in the tunnel and waited for him to emerge before cuing the A-Frame and moving forward.  This time Ice did the A-Frame, but he put in 3 strides on the down ramp rather than his usual 2.  He made the contact but clearly his drive was lacking a little.  The buzzer sounded before we completed the course but I decided to complete it anyway as we were nearly home.

Things that went well.

  1. After the initial loss of focus Ice stuck with and reacted appropriately to my cues.
  2. Ice performed the weaves first time with no hesitation.
  3. Ice made the A-Frame contact, although I’d prefer it if he’d done it in 2 strides rather than 3.
  4. Ice was not distracted by the judge or ring crew even though the leash runner was someone he trains with regularly.  Ice was also not bothered by the pink ribbon on the ground, the judge calling out numbers as we took obstacles or the sound of the buzzer.
  5. At the end of the run Ice was happy for me to put the leash on him.

First Real Run

As I said above I had not planned to attempt to Q in FAST if I was not happy with the send bonus.  So Jumpers was going to be our first real run.  The course was straightforward enough and I was confident Ice would not have any problems.

Ice ran the course clean and placed 3rd overall.  He was beaten by the current AAC National Champion and another dog run by the same handler – neither of these dogs could be classified as “Novice” :).

A video of the run is below.

Thoughts on the run:

  1. Ice was happy for me to lead out and waited on the start line until I released him.
  2. Again he had no problem reading my cues and he maintained focus on my throughout the entire run.
  3. Another set of perfect weaves which were followed by the tunnel.  This is significant because Ice likes the tunnel and I was a little concerned that he’d leave the weaves early to get to the tunnel.
  4. He ran the course at 5.34 yards per second which is not too shabby for a baby dog.  He was certainly faster than Sky in his first JWW run and Ice ran it clean whereas Sky had a refusal.
  5. I think Ice is adding at least one extra stride between obstacles than is needed, so he has the potential to run the course a lot quicker.  Probably 1 yard per second quicker.
  6. My front cross after jump #2 was intentionally late, I needed to make sure that I could run jump #3 without doing a zig-zag movement.  So I held off do the FX until after Ice was committed to the jump.

Overall I am very pleased with Ice’s debut performance, he ran quicker than all the other dogs (all jump heights) with the exception of the two “ringer” dogs – good boy Ice.

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