08 June 2011

A random collection of thoughts that I'm squishing together into a single post because i can

The backlash regarding the WAO's jump height changes continues on facebook. So far there's a LOT of negative comments, and 2 positive ones. I am not sure they will backpedal and revert to the original jump heights, but they made concede something for those of us who were supposedly invited back to defend our medals and increase the level of competition. I did think it was interesting that one of the people who was FOR the height cutoff change seemed to imply that it wasn't fair for their "National placement" earning dog of 17" or so to compete against my supposedly enormous Drifter. I'm sorry, but he is just NOT THAT BIG. When I was jumping him 26" at LOCAL AKC trials last summer, he was usually the smallest dog in a class of about 15, and he looked TINY next to the other dogs. Dogs who are successful at 26" on a National/International level are usually between 20.5 and 21.5" tall. Only an inch, you say? But that is one CRITICAL inch, and yes, of course there are exceptions, but in general, that's it. That's the magic number for 26". So, do I believe it's right for 17" dogs to compete against 19.5" dogs? Well, I don't know. It depends on each dog. I'm sure there are lots of 17" dogs who are fine jumping 22". I have one who isn't. If your dog is OK with the jump height, then you should be fine with the competition. That's what it comes down to in my mind. If my dog can jump the jumps comfortably, then you should WELCOME all competition! This IS a SPORT. My problem with jump heights only comes when I believe you are forcing a specific type of dog to jump a height that is probably inappropriate for the majority of dogs who are that size. For instance, I support raising the cutoff for the 12" height, because it is very difficult for a 12.5" dog to jump 16". The same goes for the 16" class - they raised it a bit, but I think it should go all the way up to 17". I don't think dogs under 17 will skew it much, but once you go over that, I'm sorry, that's a large dog. Not a very large large dog, but nonetheless, not a mini or midi any longer. Can a 17.5" border collie beat my 19.5" border collie over 20 or 22" jumps? Sure, why not? But you better have running contacts, because THAT'S how I usually beat the other dogs. Well, that and my handling. I do focus on driving forward. Not because he's big. And my reason for not wanting to be forced to jump 26 is because, quite simply, that is not a great height for him. I tried on and off his whole life, but what it comes down to is that he is just BETTER and more comfortable at 22". If you have a 17" border collie, and the dog is GOOD at 22", then in my not very humble opinion you should welcome the competition. If your dog is NOT good at 22", then don't try out for the team! I HAVE a dog like this! She stays home! That's OK! International level championship competition may not be for every single dog and/or handler.

Drifter at 26" last year. Maybe he isn't "struggling", but does he really look "big"?

On to different topics. Rant over. If they don't rectify the situation somehow by making some acceptable consessions, I will just go to EO. If Seri's shoulder doesn't hold up, I will take baby Strafe, who will be about 22 months old by then.

Speaking of Seri's shoulder. This week I've seen her limp for a couple steps twice. Aggravating. On stretching, initial range of motion seems good, but she gets twitchy quickly, before I am done holding the stretch, and sometimes I get a clicking or a bit of movement in the shoulder, so I have stopped stretching and working her, and she is on walks-only rest until I see Ria on Friday to find out if she's OK. I think she will still be able to run on the weekend, since she's only in a couple classes, but I will have to be very, very careful with her and watch her like a hawk. After that she has a few easy weeks of rehab and strengthening before we have some trials in AKC where she's entered at 20". We will see if jump height makes any difference with either her shoulder or her mental state in the ring.

Seri jumping 20". Looks kind of relaxed, doesn't she?

Strafe is officially over nine months old. I put him over a very low aframe in puppy class yesterday (that I teach) and he was, as always, perfect. I won't do that very often since I think aframes are pretty high impact, but I kept this to medium speed and prevented him from being crazy. His dogwalk ramp off the table is doing great too, and I'm thinking he may be tuned in enough to train him like Drifter - to turn off the end with me after running through the yellow - and not require a stop behavior in order to get his attention and a sharp turn like Seri. He is just so easy to train, I have trouble believing it. Yes, I do rave about him a bit, and no, that's not typical behavior for me. I'm just really hopeful I finally have one of those Perfect Puppies who turn into Easy Dogs who just do what you want them to, all the time, and never push you or try your boundaries or rush too much down the line and knock the bars. I can train all those things, and obviously I have in the past, sometimes multiple times, but I would just LOVE to have a dog who is ready to be serious right away. I see these dogs, but they have been elusive for me. . . and if Strafe still isn't that dog, well, then we'll push onwards and he'll still be brilliant, but possibly at a later age than I have tentatively "planned" out for him!

So much for wanting a smooth coat;)


Tori Self said...

I still can't believe the WAO changed that 22" jump height. Doesn't make any sense to me.

Strafe is so handsome and sounds just lovely. A perfect puppy, man, can I have one?! hah

Rosanne said...

Tori that's too funny! I know Rev wasn't the easiest puppy in some ways, but she seems to have grown up into a pretty Perfect Dog! I don't see her arguing with you much out there - she's what I call a "yes ma'am" dog. You say "target" she says "yes ma'am!"

Kiba wants to be one of those, but isn't a good enough jumper. Aside from that she tries. My other 2 say "are you sure I have to do that?"