Sunday, September 10, 2006

Still more Qs for Gomey (and Lucy)!

Give Mr. Gomez a giant dog treat and he's likely to swallow it whole. (See this photo).

Anyway, I'm exhausted from day 2 of agility--but exhilarated! Lucy won first place in the Steeplechase. Strange, because she came in at the bottom of the pack of qualifiers yesterday. But we just had a really nice run. She still wasn't going as fast as she might have when it's not blazingly hot outside, but other than an inelegant front cross by me at one point, the run was as close to flawless as one can ever hope for in agility. After it was done I thought "That's why I do this sport!"

But Gomey had some glory, too. After a debacle of a gamblers run, in which he ran amok completely, he went on to have a really beautiful qualifying jumpers run. It was as if a little lightbulb went on in his head, and he realized that if he kept an eye on me he would always know what I wanted him to do next. He stayed with me, and except for missing the tire on the first pass (we really need to work more on that obstacle), he took everything perfectly.

Then we had another success on the Snooker course. I was worried because the number 7 obstacle was weaves plus a jump, and we don't weave yet, so we would have to skip it. The number 6 obstacle was the teeter, and even though we practiced the heck out of it all week, I didn't want to ask him to take it more than once just in case it spooked him (he still has trouble distinguishing between the dogwalk and the teeter at first, even though I call them different things on his approach). I did some calculations and I realized that by taking the number five twice and the four once in the opening, and assuming that he would successfuly complete the teeter in the closing, we could just reach 37 points, the minimum required for a Q. It also made for an opening with a bit of "flow," which is often hard to get in a Snooker opening (but with a "green" dog you really need it). The hitch is that the number 5 obstacle was a tire, which Gomey still tries to skip a lot. But it seemed to be the best plan of any, so we went for it. Sure enough, he ran right by the tire the first time (he looked like he had his sights set on the teeter), but fortunately it was bi-directional in the opening so I just turned him around and he took it. Then everything else sort of fell into place ... I lagged a bit in one spot and he started barking at me ("Dammit woman, I need some direction here! Hel-lo!"), but we made it through, with time to spare. I just ran him past the weaves and to the finish. That was another "This is why I do it" moment.

I got that snooker run on video and I'll upload it sometime this week (when I'm less exhausted!)

No comments: