Before I show you my brilliantly edited video of last weekend’s agility fun match (look out Spielberg!) I wanted to say a couple things. Because that is what I do.
First, I want to emphasize that the course was a Masters level Jumpers course. Come to think of it, all the fun matches I have attended have been Masters level courses. This is either impressive, or really disheartening. I don’t know if it will mean anything to you, but I thought I’d show you the actual course map for the run we did on Sunday – just so you can get an idea of the layout. Handlers are also given about seven minutes to walk the course beforehand, which helps tremendously with memorization.
Secondly, I also want to tell you that Shiva was jumping at 26 inches this time, as in all the jumps were set at 26 inches off the ground. At least they were supposed to be.
Shiva was the first dog jumping at this height and I was not aware before we started that about half were set at 28 inches. I had only myself to blame for this. Shiva is my dog and it is my job to make sure everything is laid out properly for her. Since we normally practice with 22 at home, 26 often looks high to me. I didn’t even notice the extra two inches on top of that. It wasn’t until the next dog began that the mistake was pointed out.
The crazy thing? Shiva had no issues flying over all 28 inches. It makes me wonder how high she could go!
The ugly: My handling skills… Yeesh. Immediately after we were done I started going through our run in my head and thinking about all the ways in which I made it harder for Shiva, all the times in which my shoulders were facing the wrong direction. The push on jump 4 stands out in my mind the most. If I’d just done a front cross after the jump… Oh well, that’s what practice is for, right?
The happy: This was a brand new environment for Shiva with lots of news smells. Yes, she ran off, but she came back almost right away and all on her own. My PH didn’t have to drop the camera this time to help retrieve her. That was a definite tear-jerking moment for me. For so long we haven’t been able to get ahead because Shiva keeps zooming around instead of focusing on the job. Now that she finally has value for hanging out with me, maybe we can work on the more intricate handling stuff. Yay!
The bonus: I don’t know if you could tell but I was using a tug toy as a reward. Not a grocery bag, not a half-eaten treat pouch, but an actual tug toy. What’s more Shiva was actually enjoying tugging on said toy in public, ie. the tug toy was actually rewarding her! It’s an agility miracle!
Thanks for all of your support! It really means a lot to know you are out there rooting for us!