Focus, Focus, Focus

Back At It

After a bit of a hiatus, Mary Jane, Ruby and I are back at it. We headed to College Station, TX yesterday for the first of 3 trials. MJ and I have been training Ruby at a new level since she will be competing under tougher times and harder courses. One of the things I have really been focusing on is Ruby’s motivation, mostly her motivation to stay with me in the ring and not “run’d oft”. There are a ton of little things that go into a “clean run”, but her attention on me, and my ability to keep her on course are the basic necessities. This time around, I think she showed amazing improvement.

The other focus for us is FUN. We don’t want to stress her out by being agility freaks, though by some accounts we are still a little freaky, it was nice to see how relaxed Ruby was at this event. When we were not competing she would either sleep or sit and watch the other dogs in the arena, no panting, no scratching, just chilling out.

One of the things I love about this sport is it can be played two ways (or both ways at once). You can compete against the other dogs in your class (and be awarded 1st-4th place ribbons) and you can compete against the course. Most courses have a Standard Course Time, SCT, and if you “run clean”, with no faults like dropped bars, and you finish under SCT, you are awarded a Qualifying run (a Q) and points toward your title. 30 points per class awards a title. So for example, we entered this event with two previous qualifying runs in Novice Tunnelers, so Ruby had 20 points toward her title. All she needed was one more qualifying run in Novice Tunnelers to get her Novice Tunnelers title and move up to Open. After 30 Open points she’ll move up to Elite. This explains how a dog can be Novice in one challenge, like Tunnelers, and elite in another, like Jumpers.

Elite Jumpers

Ruby loves Jumpers and she’s very good at it. This was our first time competing at the Elite level. The course had 21 obstacles, the most I have ever faced in competition. Mercifully, the course really flowed. Ruby took two departures from the course, both my fault. You will see me encroach on her and push her off the jump. After getting her back on course she finishes strong. We had no course faults, but were 2.4 seconds over time. not bad for our first Elite run!

Watch her clear the last jump, a huge leap!

Novice Tunnelers

Tunnelers is just plain fun! Ruby is still a novice because I only just started entering her. This was a great run and she completed it in Elite time. This was her third Q and earned her a Novice Tunnelers title.

Run Matt, Run!

Open Weavers

Ruby and I have been working on weaves. I finally invested in a set of real weave poles and will add 6 more this week. In practice she is fast through the weaves, in competition she slows way down. So it’s time for me to figure out what I am doing differently. She also lost focus for a second as she comes out of the tunnel, watch her chase a dirt clod that she kicked. She did Q on the run though.

Great weaves

Regular 1 & 2

Constant Readers will remember that Ruby has had issues flying off the contacts in competition. In practice she has not been doing it, but the ring is a whole different story. In her first run she executes perfect discriminations but flies off after my spastic and horrendous front cross at the A Frame. In the second run she runs clean for 1st place and a well deserved Q.

Beware of low flying dogs

Look at that contact!

What a day

The tally for the day was 5 Runs, 4 ribbons, 3 Qs, 1 new title! Ruby really seams to be enjoying the attention.

The Latest