Last week, Baxter and I went to Perry, GA for a huge 5-day agility event (two rings with 940 entries a day.) We got to the arena on Wednesday and boy oh boy, I'm glad we got up there early. Baxter was quite afraid of some of the noises inside-- the microphone announcer, the dog barks echoing off the walls, etc. It was a lot for him to take in. We walked around a bit and eventually he calmed down, which was very helpful because we were like the 8th dog up the next morning...
Open Jumpers Day 1-- Our first event of the trial was Open JWW. It was Baxter's first time in the open class and I was very excited at trying out some more difficult courses. I did a three jump lead out. When I got to the second jump, Baxter stood up and was noticeably close to the bar of the first jump. I was thinking great, he's either going to break his start or take the first jump on my ok and knock the bar. Thankfully, neither happened. He took the first jump like a champ and followed my reverse flow pivot nicely into a nearby tunnel. His weave poles were solid and independent which allowed me to run up ahead for a front cross, which I felt put me in a better place for another tunnel entrance. He did so awesomely. So super proud. First place finish with a 100 point score. (27.42 s/ SCT 44 YDS 133 = 4.85 YPS)
Novice Standard Day 1-- Our next event was Novice Standard. While we had gotten into Open JWW, we were still stuck in Novice Standard-land due to various problems (weave pole entries, missing contacts, bizarre teeter behavior.) I was hopeful on this course and realized our new problem @ :28 Baxter becomes superdog off the downside of the dogwalk. His jump was so spectacular that I could hardly be angry. After that though, I decided that I would try some more difficult moves seeing as we were already NQ'd. So I left him on the table and went on to the landing side of the next jump. Then I sent him in the shoot and went ahead to the next jump. On the plus side, he made his a-frame contact, so that was nice. Also had another solid weave entry. Such a good boy!
That night and the next afternoon (and throughout the rest of the trial really,) we practiced 2on/2off HARDCORE. We did it so much that I couldn't walk around the arena without Baxter trying to pull me up the stairs to practice it. It was very cute.
Open Jumpers Day 2-- The second Open JWW course we did was excellent, even though we NQ'd. Baxter knocked the second jump's bar (it was a double.) I didn't get to catch it on video, but I am almost certain that I caused it by moving too quickly to the third jump. I did a lead out to in between jumps two and three, and I think I started running when he was going over the second jump. I wish I could remember it more, but it was a clean run besides that. He did so very well on his weaves again too.
Novice Standard Day 2-- Here came the test to our 2o/2o training. With the dogwalk as the second obstacle and the a-frame as the fifth, I was thankful to get them out of the way early in the run. He made both contacts so well, that I think it kind of threw me off. @ :44, Baxter takes a jog around me to find a better entrance to the teeter. I guess my front cross was in the way. He's so smart and still got right on. Made me smile a lot, which made for some nice pictures. This was a first place, perfect Q, and the second leg in our Novice title! The thrill of only needing one more with two days of trialing ahead was awesome. Getting out of Novice-land was almost in reach! (46.91 s/ SCT 84 s YDS 158 = 3.37 YPS)
Open Jumpers Day 3-- Day three came with a lot of hope and a bit more tiredness as this trial was starting to take its toll on Baxter and me. He was sleeping so hard at the hotel that night, but still so excited to get up and go to the trial in the morning. Making sure to keep eye contact with Baxter, while doing my three jump leadout, I almost walk right into the third jump's wing @:15. Good thing my spidey senses were tingling. This time I made sure to stay still on only turn into the reverse flow pivot once he had landed the second jump. I think that gave him time to figure out jump three nicely. Again, great independent weaves allowed me to get into a good place for a front cross. I think I probably could have run the course smoother and I will also need to work on my placement of front crosses, but either way, we Q'd with a first place and perfect score! This Q meant that tomorrow could mean a new title and moving up to Excellent A! I was beyond excited but tried to just stay calm and not think about it too much and just have fun. (25.62 s/ SCT 39 s YDS 116 = 4.53 YPS)
Novice Standard Day 3-- Our big chance to leave the Novice level behind. Dogwalk as the second obstacle. This was Baxter's moment to shine... and he did! He actually did 2o/2o! I was so proud. Although I think my elatedness caused us to gain a few seconds, but I didn't care I just couldn't believe he actually stopped and waited. I collected myself and went on to the next jump and gave him a very proud "Ok!" Next up the a-frame. Came down and touched in the yellow, but didn't stop. I'll take that. So far so good. Good table and nice weaves. A little nervousness on the teeter, but completed. Whew! Baxter succeeded to get out of Novice Standard. I was so proud of him! He did so great and our 2o/2o training really paid off. It was another perfect score and first place. (45.74 s/SCT 72 YDS 134 = 2.93 YPS)
Baxter was really tired after Day 3. He couldn't even stay away for this picture!
Open Standard Day 4-- Sadly, I ran out of camera space and only got a partial video of this run. I was a very fun course and Baxter made all of his contacts. However, after a jump and a right turn, Baxter should have gone up the dogwalk. He ran past the bottom of dogwalk, only to jump on off the side. I was thinking, great a refusal for going past the bottom and the number of the obstacle. We were allowed one refusal, so I was still happy we'd Q. When I checked the scores, I was surprised to see we had a perfect score again. The judge found me and told me while he was originally counting it as a refusal, he realized that Baxter didn't go back on his path to get onto the dogwalk, Baxter had gone past the bottom and jumped up the side due to his wide turn. Had Baxter turned around and came back to me, it would have been a refusal. I thanked him for the explanation and kept the diagram he drew me. Very interesting and very happy to have gotten a first place in Baxter's first time in Open Standard. One leg down, only two to go! (52.27 s/ SCT 74 s YDS 163 = 3.11 YPS)
Open Jumpers Day 4-- I really wish I could have gotten this run on video. The course map looked like it would be (and it was) so fun to run. It was two jumps then a four jump full circle back into a macaroni tunnel, over a double, right into another macaroni tunnel, onto a straight away with a jump, skewed weave entrance, and another jump to a 90 degree right turn down a straightish line of four jumps to the end. It was a blast. I did a lead out to the second jump, RFP into the circle. Sent Baxter into the tunnel, I wish I could remember how I picked him up, it might have actually been a blind cross out of the tunnel, over the double and into the next tunnel. I was running so fast I can't remember how it happened. All I know is after the tunnel, I ran on past the jump to the weaves, and he followed and weaved his heart out. I front crossed the jumps before the turn while he was finishing up the weaves and we ran ran ran to the end. It was so fun. It was also our last leg in Open JWW! He finished with a perfect score and first place. Out of the 5 dogs to run it, he was the only Q. It was such a fun fun FUN course. (28.76 s/ SCT 46 YDS 130 = 4.52 YPS)
I cannot begin to state how proud I am of Baxter and his performance at this trial. Six qualifications, six first place ribbons, and two new title medals. In the beginning, even the robotic "GO!" sound startled him. He worked through that and even became more calm watching other dogs do agility. He was just the best.
Our next trial will be at the end of this month in Bainbridge, GA. I have to fill out a move-up form to get us into proper posture for Open Standard and Excellent A JWW! Just can't wait!!