oh my auggie

Trial #3, Day 2

Early success can be kind of a bad thing.
You sort of start to expect the good luck to continue.
When it doesn’t, you’re not sure what to make of it.

Today’s JWW course was a LOT better for my lame brain than yesterday. A tunnel separated the first third of jumps from the second third; weave poles separated the second third from the final third of jumps.
However, Mister Auggie HIT THE BRAKES on the weaves after doing 10 of them. Hit the brakes! I was prepared for him to pop out of the last jump – he has been doing that lately – but not a complete stop! It might have been faster to pull him all the way back to the beginning and have him start over, but I decided to simply direct him through the last two jumps. However, this took time – time that put us too far over to qualify.

Still a very good run. Auggie is not the fastest dog in the world, and I am really more concerned with accuracy before speed… but there are times that he forces me to change my plan. I walked the course with a front cross after jump – oh, I dunno, 10 or so – and he was WAY ahead of me as he soared over that jump. There was no hustling to get in front of him. The front cross was because an off-course jump was set directly in front and I was hoping to cross and block him off from that jump. Because I did not make my cross, I instead had to CALL CALL CALL and stop him from off-coursing.
And he responded to my call off, which makes me very proud… but not as proud as what happened next, because (and I don’t even remember doing this, but I have seen the video so I know it happened!) I still wanted to be on the inside of the jumps and curl him around into the weaves. So my body decided to do a rear cross over a jump… and rear cross we did. He was fantastic, especially for a dog that really hates to lose sight of me and dislikes rear crosses.

Standard, on the other hand.
He was distracted. He was tired. Two days may just be too much for my little guy right now. Until he matures some, we may not be doing two days anymore.
First disaster: I had two choices – try and do a front cross in an area I didn’t think I had room to cross, or try and rear cross him into a tunnel. As I said, this dog hates rear crosses, especially into a tunnel. I made the wrong choice… I should have tried the front cross. He wouldn’t go into the tunnel. He almost decided to go into the WRONG side of the tunnel. He stopped in the middle of the tunnel bend to take a sniffy-sniffy at the sand bags holding the tunnel. He FINALLY got into the tunnel.
Second disaster: He came out of the tunnel and was supposed to go over a triple jump. He CRASHED into the jump. I do not mean he knocked a bar, I mean he crashed into it. It was actually hard to see if he even really attempted to jump the bars as opposed to just charging right through them.
Third disaster: He skipped the tire jump. Who cares. He already knocked a bar so that’s a NQ. I’m not wasting time when he’s obviously already stressed and tired by trying to get him back around and through the tire jump.
Fourth disaster: He came off the a-frame and crashed into another jump. I slowed and almost stopped. I thought he was hurt. He kept going, so I had to speed up again to catch up.
Fifth disaster: He crashes into yet another jump. At this point, I seriously almost waved to the judge and said “We’re finished, thank you,” picked him up, and carried him off the course. I was VERY concerned, because he has never dropped a single bar in his agility career before, and now he crashes into three separate jumps? Jumping TWELVE instead of sixteen, too.

But he was still willing and was not limping, so I went ahead and did the final two obstacles with him – a set of weave poles and one final jump, which he cleared.

We have lots of theories about what happened, but in the end, he just checked out. He wasn’t interested in running the course. But, as J said, he was still smiling after it all (I was holding him afterwards and giving his muscles a massage to make sure he wasn’t hurt and wouldn’t be stiff the next day – no wonder he was smiling!)

It’s hard to go home with no ribbons for the weekend after so much early success. I mean, a title on my first agility dog after only two trials? And then a Q-less weekend. It’s rough.
But there were lots of positives in our Jumpers run, he did ALL of his contacts on both days…
and, as always – and most importantly – Auggie and I are learning more and more about each other.

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