21 July 2008

On AKC and "almost there"

I've never been a big fan of AKC trials. Ever. I refused to do it for a while in the 90's on account of them not letting all dogs play. Then I ran Drifter a lot hoping to do FCI. Then I stopped because AKC took my money and pissed me off with arbitrary rule-changing for Invitationals in 2006. Didn't do AKC at all in 2007 (that's why Kiba just got into Exc B).

But to be positive, here's the things I do like, at least about AKC trials in my area, can't speak for the rest of the country. Most of the ones around here are done by Fast Times (www.fasttimesagility.com), and she is super organized, puts up an estimated schedule of walk-throughs and run times for each jump height and everything.
so Things I Actually Like about AKC:
1. Organization
2. Those little yellow scribe sheet copies. Know right away!
3. Lots of time to read a book and relax between runs
4. Done by 10am if both dogs NQ!

And Things I Don't Like about AKC:
1. Focus on clean means less competitive edge, more frantic edge
2. Double Q's. How arbitrary can a rule be?? My dog doesn't know if s/he Q'd in the morning!
3. The handlers are stupid about not moving out of my way. Walking the course or walking around.
4. Done by 10am if both dogs NQ!

I am resolved to qualify at least one dog for AKC Nationals this year. I've never done it before, Freeze couldn't do it, Drifter is just now getting solid enough.

Speaking of Drifter. that dog has potential. But he just hasn't settled in to work with me to the extent that he could. He just isn't my "guaranteed Q" yet. Kiba is already closer to that mark than he is, and she's only 3 years old. Drifter's going on 6 now, and if he can't get his act together this year and next, he is never, ever going to be on a World Team. He is too tall for IFCS 22", so he's got next year, and next year alone to make that team at 26". He'll be too old to be jumping 26 the next time 'round. I have also decided that IF (BIG IF) he qualifies for FCI Tryouts next spring, I will go. Well, if I he's reliable enough. He's always "almost there". I'm tired of that state of being and I'm asking him to step it up and be "there" now. He's not quite coping with it yet but I think he will. He's able. It's a mental thing with him. I am trying to break through the barrier by doing lots of difficult handling work in the yard to keep him "partnering" with me 100%.

I also need to tighten him up on a certain specific type of shoulder turn. He's really tight when I'm in front of him, and he's pretty good on crosses, but on certain shoulder (post) turns he is a little wide, he wants me to false turn all the time which is not what I want to be doing.

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