Both the Poodles take a break from competition from late Spring though to early Autumn. Neither of them enjoy running in the Summer heat so we don’t push them to do something I know they don’t like – agility is meant to be fun for both of us after all.
Instead we use the cool early mornings to train new skills and improve on existing ones.
There is one exception to the no Summer competition rule and that is a local AKC trial hosted by the Chuckanut Dog Training club up in Lynden WA. This is a small trial held in a great facility, the competition starts at 5pm on Friday evening so I only need to take the morning off from work. The rings are huge, the dirt surface is good and the lighting is excellent and because its further North it does not get too hot.
Friday was the start of a new journey for Sky – for the last 6 years he’s been running at his full AKC jump height and for 4.5 years this has not been a problem for him at all. Then, in early 2015 he got injured, he recovered but after only 2 months he got injured again. Nothing major but I could tell he wasn’t running with his usual enthusiasm. He’s very stoic so he was probably hurting quite badly. This injury recovery cycle has gone on for 18 months but now I decided it was time to start running in the AKC Preferred class, he has been running in USDAA Performance since January 2016. So from now on Sky will be jumping 20″ in both venues that he competes in.
Sky’s first run on Friday was Standard Agility, the course was great and ideal for a large striding dog like Sky. Sky had a stunning run, he was clean in 38.00 seconds running at 4.92 yards per second. He was the second quickest dog of all jump heights, he beat the top 24″ dog by 4.5 seconds and only NAC Mynx beat him from the regular 20″ class. Sky scored 36 speed points on this run, his highest ever score. He still hasn’t fully adjusted his jumping style to the new height – he’s clearing the bars too high, so he’ll probably get even quicker at this height once he gets this figured out.
I made a timing error on Sky’s jumping run so we missed out on the double Q.
Next it was Icy’s turn. I’d only entered him in Jumping for this event, so he got to run after Sky had finished both his runs. Ice took off like a rocket from the start line and kept up the speed all the way through the course. In fact Ice was running so quickly I was hopelessly late performing a front cross before the second to last jump that I caused a refusal. Ice didn’t seem to care, after we finished the run he tugged on his leash all the way back to his crate to get his jackpot.
So overall I was very pleased with both dogs performance, my only regrets were not being able to record any of the runs and hurting my knee on Sky’s standard run which forced me to withdraw from the competition early.