Saturday, June 12, 2010
Zoom Zoom Zoom (by L. Stine)
On Sunday, we (Helen, Marie and I) decided to put the pup's natural instincts to the test. That is, the running instinct. It's one thing to watch them zip around the yard chasing squirrels and birds and bugs, but it's another thing altogether to have them sight a lure, instinctively chase and remain keenly sighted on it exclusive of any other distractions, and follow it through a course of turns and switchbacks. And so this is what we set out to do with our 18 month old puppies on Sunday in Livermore. The Basenji Club of Northern California was hosting an AKC and ASFA trial (basenjis only) as well as an all breed JC and QC test.
For those not in the know, the AKC requires prerequisite test runs on all dogs competing in lure trials, you cannot just show up with a dog whose never run a lure and enter it in a trial. It used to be that you would take a young dog to a test/trial and run them by themselves on a short course with a minimum of 4 turns of the lure to test if they had interest in the lure and if they could remain sighted on it. You had to do this twice and pass (with two separate judges) to obtain a Junior Courser title and thus be qualified to run in trials against other dogs. In recent years the AKC has amended their requirements to more resemble the common sense of ASFA in requiring that dogs be run with another dog. This Qualifying Course not only ensures what the old JC tested, that a dog run sighted, but in addition arguably importantly that the dog run clean (not interfere/play/intimidate the other running dog). The QC now takes the place of 2 JC runs, although I personally think the JC single runs are still very important because they allow a young dog to practice run and build up their lure intensity.
Anyhow, Gail Burnham was bringing two of her young dogs to QC, so we all met up in the afternoon at the field to....wait. Lure trials and tests have a schedule, but they are rarely if ever on time. Unless, of course, you are running late, then it's almost guaranteed that they will have run whatever you were suppose to be there for early. :) I brought Dee along as a qualifying runner and Gail brought Hunter. All QC test dogs have to have their own experienced running dog to qualify with. Dee is a Dual Champion and an exceptionally clean runner, she's a good teacher. Hunter is a fast, firmly sighted runner and thus a good qualifier as well. Echo ran first with Dee, and ran very well. She loves the lure and is very fast, there was no doubt that she qualified. Then came Hunter and Pixie (Gail's young dogs) They ran well together and Pixie qualified. Then Darby and Dee. Dee crashed and burned on a corner but recovered well and there were a couple of pass-bys made with no incident. Darby was fast and sighted and seemed to not only be intent on the lure but in destroying as many orange course cones as possible. Despite the complete cone destruction, he qualified. Then Bryn and Hunter ran...wow is Bryn fast. She opened up on the straight and it caught my heart in my throat. She's beautiful and very athletic. Hunter, her qualifier, took a gut wretching spill on the straight but rolled and instantaneously recovered to continue on the lure. He is one tough cookie. Bryn, of course, qualified.
So now we have 3 of Lyric and Merlin's kids QC'd. We (Darby Crash) will be doing some road work to build up stamina and muscling and continue to do practice runs prior to trials to get him used to following the lure and work on turning. They still have a lot of growing up to do before they start seriously competing, but it's good to know they have the drive and the ability to perform as well as the natural ability look good in the show ring. Pretty only goes so far, or so they say. ;)