By the time we were driving to L.A. friday night, I had guessed that Tika would probably do all of the following during her run:
- Not stay at the start line (e.g., get interested in other dogs or smells & getup & wander away)
- Come in towards me instead of going over jumps
- Jump up and grab at me (which she's done a few times during tight runs)
- Stop & sniff the ground
- See the dog in the ring next door, separated only by orange construction fencing, and go chasing after it
- Check out the judge
- Get bored or confused because I don't think we've ever done a sequence of more than about 8 obstacles ever--maybe one at Power Paws, but not very successfully.
- Fail to carry out over the last couple of jumps because she's not very good at carrying out unless I've got a toy in my hand, and then only sometimes.
- At the end, run out of the ring to explore other dogs & people instead of coming to me, like she did at Power Paws when I was sneaking her runs in during the lunch hour at the Greg Darrett seminar.
I think my list was longer--consisting of all the things she's kinda done while we've been practicing--because I was trying to steel myself to the possibility of being completely embarrassing.
I kept remembering you saying that "Tika will do great this weekend. She will probably surprise you." and hoping that it would be true, but I really was tyring to keep my expectations low.
Indeed, as we were waiting to go into the ring, I was having trouble keeping her focused. I tried ot play tug-of-war with her on her leash, and she'd do it briefly and then want to go sniffing or looking at other dogs. I tried tug-of-war & keep-away with the tug-n-treat, with the same results. I finally just got out bits of food & teased her with it & had her do some basic commands like Down and Side (sit at my left side) for rewards, and THEN she paid attention. I was thinking, "I'm ruining her by using food already! I wanted her to be an all-toy dog!" But at least then she was focused on me instead of everything else.
We walked out to the start line, and I told her, "Side." She sat very nicely.
I slipped off her leash and stepped forward & she stayed right there. I led out 2 jumps and turned to look, and she was sitting as pretty as anything, watching me intently. First success! I praised her and raised my arm and then said "OK," and she came bounding over the first 2 jumps.
I did a lead-out pivot, which I think we haven't practiced enough, because she turned really well but crashed through the jump after the pivot.
But she kept right with me as I pulled her around to the next jump and then pulled her into the first tunnel, and we were on our way! Gina, she was awesome! I felt panicked the whole way, but I had walked it pretty carefully even though it was just a novice course, and she came right with me every turn and jump! Her attention was always there, and even at the end with a sequence of jumps that I knew I couldn't keep up with her for, I managed to push her out over the last jump, and when I called her after the finish, she came right to me.
She actually seemed a little baffled when I started yelling about how good she was & jumping around with her & hugging her. She stayed right with me while I got her leash & we headed out to get her some goodies.
She was in Performance I, 22", with 10 other dogs. Gina, she was 2.75 seconds faster than the first place dog, so she managed to take 2nd even with the one crashed jump! (The Championship 22" and 26" dogs hadn't run yet before we left, so I couldn't see how she'd have compared in that group.)
And me with such a nasty cold, which hit me really bad Saturday, so I actually slept saturday afternoon instead of running my dogs.
What a girl! Wahoo! Now I'm psyched up--
But I'm also thinking we've got a ways to go on jumping comfort before she gets to 26". She measured in at 22.75", so I don't think she's even close to the 21" she'd have to be to jump 22". I was hoping she'd measure closer, but I didn't really expect it.
Now--on to weaves & contacts. :-)
Rem, however, was in a bad way all weekend, and I had to pull him from his runs. I can't figure out whether he's sick or injured--he's just pretty broke somehow. I have to go call the vet now & take him in. It's always something, isn't it.
[Note added later: It isn't til Nov 4 that we discover he's got a cancer tumor on his heart.]