It’s been an interesting 9 months – there has been lots of progress and as you would expect the journey has not been a straight line. There have been some significant setbacks but on both occasions Ice was able to bounce back stronger.
The biggest surprise was just how consistent his performance is, he might not yet be running at full speed but he hardly ever makes a mistake. We made it through to Master’s in both Jumping and Standard in 10 days of trialing. Since qualifying for Masters he got 4 double Q’s and 8 Standard Q’s. The main reason why he’s not got 8 double Q’s is because occasionally I’ve deliberately scratched him from his second JWW run.
Ice has also had success in USDAA – he’s only had 3 runs but he Q’ed in 2 of them earning a Grand Prix leg and a Master Challenge Jumping leg.
Some observations of our first 9 months:
- Ice is not the most confident dog. He’s very sensitive to his environment and this can (and does) affect how quickly he runs in the ring. To counter this I’ve started to put a lot of effort into a consistent ring side warm up routine. The goal being to increase Ice’s arousal state before we enter the ring making him less concerned with all the noise and activity going on around him.
- Ice does not like to knock bars – he’s only ever done it a handful of times and I don’t thinks he’s ever been hurt, but it destroys his confidence. The net result of this is Ice makes doubly sure he’s going to clear the bar and the way he does this is to add extra strides prior to takeoff. This of course slows him down.
- Ice always seems to be quickest on his first run of the day. I don’t really know why this is. I’m pretty sure its not because he tired. At first I though it was that he didn’t like JWW courses. Then one day the schedule had us running JWW and he ran significantly quicker on that run than previous JWW runs and he slowed down for Standard.
Here’s a video of Ice’s latest AKC run – which was also his fastest ever Standard run.