Well this weekend's AKC trial was maybe not the perfect set of QQ's for both dogs, however, I am coming away pretty pleased anyway, especially with little Kiba.
I think she's really gotten the hang of the verbal I have introduced - "turn" which simply means "there is a turn after this jump", basically "jump and find me again" rather than "jump and continue on down the line". Normally this is not a cue I would need, as my dogs generally are very keyed into my body cues, however, with Kiba's far-sighted vision I find that she is judging lines of jumps very early and sort of locking onto things, and loses track of my position.
First run back for her was a standard course, and she did very well, her corners a bit wider as I have to be deliberately late on some of her front crosses, but as long as I'm there, in her face, she will turn. She just hit the triple, it was on a long space between a tunnel and the aframe, and I got ahead a bit, so I think I need to hang back a little for the big spreads and just get her to focus on them with her other strong verbal cue "over" (spread jump - look at it!).
Her second run on Saturday was JWW, and it was kind of a mess, she hit the 2nd bar on a front cross then I didn't work her verbals hard enough in the right places and she ran off course a couple of times.
Sunday the courses were very good for her, it was easy to do rear crosses or fronts in places where there was no "pressure" as she was jumping. And she QQ with a 1st place in both classes, finally beating Strafe's times as well, which she hasn't done in a while! I was really, really pleased with how the weekend went with her, and I have a bit of homework to make us gel a bit more as a team, but I am optimistic right now about getting another year of competition with her.
Strafe also ran this weekend, and even though we ended with only 1 standard Q, he only had one "mistake" that I can pin on him - he got too close to a bar on Saturday and knocked it, that is the only thing he has been doing wrong on occasion in AKC. On Sunday he got called on a missed aframe contact (his first miss in competition!) but I know that is something I need to work on - we've been seeing a lot of turns after the aframe lately and he is not driving forward well. That is not his fault - he does not have "criteria" to meet on that obstacle. And then in JWW he slipped taking off and hit a bar pretty hard, he looked startled and confused when he landed so I didn't yell at him, just made sure he looked OK then continued on. The dirt was loose and a bit deep in spots, and I think it surprised him when it gave under his feet.
Now we don't have any AKC trials until July. Next weekend we are home, then June gets a bit crazy - teaching in CA, the USDAA Regional, Team Practice back in CA, then teaching in NC!