Went on my super-long commute drive out to Lancaster Kennel Club AKC trial today. (and again tomorrow - 1hour45min is a looooong commute!) Drifter did great at his first trial since the end of July, really pretty flawless runs, although I overshot a few corners in JWW. I forget how much farther ahead I can stay using my nifty blind crosses now. He was 1st in Standard and 2nd in JWW, for his 33rd QQ. What a good guy!
Kiba almost had one, but when she jumped off the DW (after dipping her toenails in the edge of the contact) I was still insisting that she lie down (remember that video of her doing lovely perfect 4 on the floor at home?), and she ended up skidding to a stop and lied down RIGHT in front of the next jump, so we got a refusal. Oh well. That gave me free license to insist on her stopping at the other contacts, which she ALSO hadn't been planning to do, and I had to give her reminders after she jumped off. Naughty girl! She flew through JWW though for a time about 1.3sec faster than Drifter's. She's back at 16" this weekend to practice for Cynosport in 2 weeks in KY, and she is so happy - 16 is SO easy for her!
I also ran Trig, who had some, uh, mental focus issues in the first runs but got it together for a nice clean run in JWW for 3rd place behind her father Drifter.
And of course because I'm obsessing about it, after I got home I took advantage of the great weather and took Strafe out to train again. That boy's been getting a lot of work lately, but I try hard to keep it short and not do a lot of jumping - when I sequence the dogwalk I keep the jumps quite low to minimize impact. Anyway, we did some weave work - he did fabulous and I closed them a bit and he was still fabulous. No more "WTF" moments, yay! Getting closer to closing them! Then we did some more dogwalks "in sequence" with me holding the toy and just running. Perfect, perfect, and more perfect. And he's driving forward, not turning to stare at me, so I'm super duper pleased with it. I am confident enough to back off now, actually, and just focus on his weaves for a while. Which is good because I've been working him almost every day, for 10-15min, trying to get his obstacles solid.
Months ago I had thought with him I would probably bring him out in January, jumping 20", and then move him up in the spring to 26", but now I'm thinking about moving straight up to 26" right away. I am pretty darned sure his growth plates are closed, as he really hasn't changed height or physical appearance for probably 3 or 4 months now. In training, I have begun to work a few 26" jumps here and there, at low speeds mostly, a few wraps, a few backsides, a pinwheel or two. He is so great at jumping, he can turn, he can add strides, he can push up vertically from quite close. So nice! I am trying to be careful with him, so the vast majority of our work is still at 12 or 16", especially if we have some speed (dogwalk exercises, for example). But I"m now thinking I may go ahead and enter him at 15 months old, at 26" in an AKC trial. That seems so ridiculously young, but he is mentally ready for it, and as long as I limit his jumping activity, he will be physically ready as well. Now we just need to get his weaves finished! I'm so excited about running him, it's ridiculous. I'm not one to gush about any dog, even my own, generally, but this dog is just so close to perfect - exactly what I wanted. Which is wonderful, but even more so because I went so far and spent so much to get him!
My little boy doesn't snuggle a lot, because he gets hot, but sometimes he will sleep along my legs like this: