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 Just thinking about trialing

Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 02:29:25 GMT

This Sunday my puppy Tsuki turned three years old. Now how the heck did THAT happen? But to my delight he still has his wonderful puppy smile and his charming puppy bounce. In his tree years he has certainly grown up in some ways, and in others he is Peter Pan.

The prior weekend he finished the last of his NADAC Novice titles. It was an awesome weekend. We started out a little rocky. First class was Gamblers. Although he was clearly making up his own course (no teamwork at all) we still managed to pull a Q out of it. Second class was jumpers another Q, a beautiful run, perfect teamwork, smooth flowing and first place. We weren't even breathing hard coming off the course. Our two runs in regular were, sadly, unremarkable. Tsuki likes the all out speed of jumpers and is reluctant to put on the brakes for minor trivialities like contact zones and weave poles. No Qs there. Sunday morning picked up again with another quite nice Gamblers Q, and fourth place. Then jumpers again, and magic. He is in his element. He pays attention to every shift in my body, every twitch. As long as I don't get lost .... well it was another Q and another first place and no, we weren't even breathing hard. Now comes regular. I made the decision to not ask, but insist on proper contact performance, and weaves. On his first contact I "ahhhhhhcht" him as he considered a joyous leap in the air. He glanced at me sideways and performed the ideal running contact, and on we went. Come! Weave! I said, not hoping, but expecting. Another sideways look another correct performance. The run as a whole was happy, smooth and fast. Checked our score - a Q and a first place. The next round of regular I was much the same with the same result - a Q and a first place.

It was interesting to me that a year ago at this same trial Tsuki made his very first agility Q in Gamblers. And now we were finishing the weekend with the two ten point regular Q's he needed for his NAC, and two Qs in gamblers and two Qs in jumpers.

His agility performance was wonderful but I'm not sure it even quite matches up to his improvements in herding. I haven't trialed him in herding yet. (The JHD we earned is a test, not a trial (i.e. pass fail, not scored)) Yet I watched him smoothly arc out and sweep the sheep off the fence then slow to a trot as the sheep approached us. We worked on driving. We worked on inside flanks. We had him take sheep off the fence, out of the corners, made them split and let him figure which group to take to the other. My instructor was having so much fun working him we just kept going. Driving (having him take the sheep away from us) was once a problem. Today he was moving out away from me confidently and controlled. We have done very little penning, but today we worked on that. When I got my chance to work him he stayed responsive. He forgave my clumsy whistle commands, was not overreactive.

hmmmm I was listening on the radio about "runner's high" and maybe it is something like a vicarious form of runner's high I feel when I watch him work.

It was a very good day, and its been a very good week, and I'm very lucky that he came into my life.


Diane Blackman
http://www.dog-play.com/

Diane Blackman

 

 

 

 

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