Sunday, March 29, 2009

Jedi's big AKC adventure comes to an end

After a morning massage and morning icing Jedi is cleared to run today's hybrid course. The course is called "hybrid" because it is a combination of standard and JWW. It has an aframe, teeter, weaves and lots of jumps in it. The activities start a half an hour earlier today and Sarah Fix (who many of you know as a NADAC judge) came in at 5:30am to help course build the four courses that needed to be built. General walk throughs start at 6:30am. They groomed the dirt so it was softer again today.

We are running in the last group of 12" dogs so I'm happy to have plenty of time to walk Jedi around with breaks in between so he is going to be loosened up for the run. I use the warm-up jump fairly early with him to be sure he is jumping and turning well and he is.

We go to the start line and I set him up at an angle to the first jump so he can see jump #2. I lead out to between 1 and 2 and then move laterally away from 2 to get in front of the right side of jump 3 for a front cross. I push him into tunnel #4 that is under the aframe and sprint to the 5-6-7 serpentine. I race him to the landing side of 5 and do my front cross between 5 and 6 on the teeter side of the serpentine. Then we go off to the teeter, chute to the weaves and then tire to the aframe. I push him on the descent side of the aframe to send him out to the hard left turn to the triple. Then I front cross between the double and single jump and race to the finish. I find myself dangerously close to the wing of the last jump and realize how Terry Smorch ran into it on his run with Remy. It really came up in the handler path much more than I expected when walking the course.

As for course analysis.... knocked bars seemed to the biggest problem for 8, 12 and 16" dogs. Bars came down in the serpentine and/or in the double/triple sequence near the end of the course. The teeter was not well liked by most small dogs and there was an increase in fly-off calls in the small dog group. For the big dogs not only were knocked bars a problem but the tunnel under the aframe was a problem when handlers were trying to get the dogs from the aframe to the triple. Pushing too hard or late front crosses caused dogs to duck right into the tunnel instead of going to directly to the triple. Some dogs had a hard time with the weave entry coming out of the closed tunnel.

I am happy that Jedi and I were able to end on a very fun and clean run. There were quite a few dogs who were sore this weekend and I think the footing played a large part in it. If you want a good overview of how footing affects dogs you should read Susan Salo's article in this month's edition of Clean Run Magazine. Dogs do take time to adjust to footing for running and jumping and in the case of this footing it kept getting harder and more lumpy over time. Dogs who ran early in the morning had better footing than those who ran at the end of the day.


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