Thursday, June 11, 2009

Whisper's agility weekend

This weekend Whisper and I went off to an agility trial. We just started competing at the Excellent level and it is often a humbling experience. The courses are quite complex with many side changes and it is difficult memorize. Looking at the runs for the Novice and Open courses-they seem so easy. However, they didn't seem that way when we were running them!

This weekend in Excellent, Whisper hit all of her contacts!!!!!!!! Hitting the contacts, especially the down dogwalk, has been a bit of a challenge. Although we didn’t qualify Saturday I was still pleased with touching all the contacts. I recently started retraining Whisper to a two-on two-off position instead of a running contact (ha, Whisper calls it a leaping contact). I am slowing her down on all her contacts in the standard run. It slows her time down but it is making her pay attention to foot placement when she is amped and excited.

One of the challenges of agility (at least for me) is changing strategy in midrun. You can plan a course but while running I often end up being in the wrong place or have wrong timing for a cross. In the opening standard sequence in the video below, Whisper decides to break the sit stay (she has never done that) and I can’t get into the planned start position. Off I have to run and figure out how I should handle the next obstacle. You can see in the standard run I have a hard time getting Whisper to sit on the table too (another thing to work on) and got frustrated. I am so excited when she finally holds the 5 second sit that I am out of place for the next obstacle. Ah, well at least we get that handled successfully. Towards the end of the standard run I send her into the tunnel and then we just have the jump sequence left to leave the ring. I am so excited by qualifying up to this point that I forget which side I need to have her on. Luckily for me, Whisper knew what needed to be done with little direction from me and qualified. Several times she has held up her end of the partnership better than I. That day she double Q'ed (earned a standard and jumpers leg)-our first. She also earned a first place in each class! There ere upwards of 10 dogs in each class!!

All in all a motivating weekend!


BrittBeah said...

I love the second video because you can really see her picking those front feet up as high as she can get them to go over her jumps. You two look great.

Hiking Hounds said...

Wow, Congratulations! You two are awesome! She does look great on the jumps, and everything else too.


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Helen! You guys look awesome! I'm not sure why you picked on your handling so much. There is always room for a tweak, but all in all you were smooth, Whisper knew where she was going, and you guys moved through the course quickly. Seriously, huge improvements from the DVDs you sent me a year or 2 ago. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy this. With Travis especially, we went through a period of lots of NQs in excellent. Very slow going for a couple of years... that's just the nature of the game. Then suddenly at age 8, it became so easy and Qs and QQs started happening all in a row. So keep improving, but have fun. Talk about the good things you guys did.


Anonymous said...

Awesome performances, Helen!!! What a wonderful team.