This past weekend was a "local" (90-minute drive) AKC trial, indoors in A/C. I do love me some climate control - it doesn't stay "cold" in there, but it stays a good deal cooler than outside, certainly, and I'll take that over outdoor summer heat any day. This site has an interesting footing - it is a newer variety of indoor soccer turf, and it is well padded for impact, but it does not have any of the rubber granule "infill" that the best footings have. It is not "slippery" per se, but it does not have the great grip of a turf with infill, so some of the dogs do have problems if they try to push off without getting their footing first. Drifter and Kiba generally have no problems with it, but I decided to go ahead and run Seri here, since she was at 20". I was afraid to run her there last year after the wrist injury, but I think she did OK, with only minor slips here and there.
Saturday Drifter ran clean in both runs for a QQ. Annoyingly, another competitor with a good dog was there, and he ALSO ran clean in both runs, and I wasn't pushing, and she was, and so Drifter got 2nd place. Oh well, whatever. Actually, Drifter ran lovely clean runs all 4 runs this weekend, so picked up 2 more QQ's towards his MACH2, and he didn't win a single class. I think this might be a new experience for us, a whole weekend of Q's and not a single 1st place. We certainly don't need points. And I don't usually expect to win in JWW...but usually we pull it off in Standard. Then again, me holding him on every see-saw and table (I do NOT want him anticipating the "go") for probably a full second might have something to do with it. Also, the competitor who beat me in Std both days didn't really hold her dog on the dogwalk - just sayin'! Anyways, I am still very happy with him - he is not running at all like a dog who is almost 9, with crooked feet and a heart murmur. I did see the strange dogwalk-skip-to-hit-the-yellow behavior make an appearance on Saturday. This is one of the reasons I'm planning an "early" retirement for him. he stands crooked on his front feet now (seems to be painless though), and at about the time this has become obvious, he has also started changing his dogwalk downramp behavior, which hasnt' changed in years and years. I think his balance has shifted somewhat as he's gotten older and stiffer and possibly-arthritic toes. Anyway, he put in the effort to hit the yellow on Saturday by throwing some feet down and on Sunday his dogwalk was the perfectly normal 5-stride version. He's also now qualified for AKC Nationals 2012, should I decide to take him (unlikely unless I decide Kiba can't go - for logistical reasons i won't take both of them).
Seri, well, we are still working on her mental problems. What people never get to see is that Seri has a LOT of skills on courses - at home. At trials, she turns into the whirling dervish of reactivity, and often takes any arm movement to mean "turn away from me and choose a random obstacle". So we corrected that a few times over the first few runs. I also started adding the groundwork exercise called "if I say 'out' and step laterally into you, that most certainly does NOT mean you are to flip and turn away from me!" to our warm-up routine. She only hit one bar all weekend, and that was when she took an off course jump and realized right before takeoff that she wasn't going the right way. And all the hard work paid off when she finally ran clean in Exc JWW on Sunday, the last class of the weekend, and she even beat Drifter's time by .2 of a second. Still didnt' win (it's a very competitive area, you have to realize!), but I was so happy that she stayed tuned in for the whole run and didn't do anything goofy. She is a very capable dog, when she keeps it together!