Gel finished his Novice Standard title this weekend at the Monroe Kennel Club show in Concord, NC. He would have finished his Novice Jumpers title if I had not run him like an idiot on Saturday. This was the first time I had ever run in an indoor arena (first time for Gel too, but he didn’t care). Oh well, one more leg and he’ll have his Novice Jumpers title as well.
On Sunday we ran in Open Standard for the first time. Except for the weaves, which he wouldn’t complete (you only get two chances to complete the weave poles in Open), we ran the course well. Needless to say, we are doing lots and lots of weave pole training this week in preparation for the two upcoming trials.
“Standard” is the AKC class with the contact equipment: A-frame, dog walk and table, jumps, weaves, tunnel(s) and often a chute. “Jumpers” or “Jumpers with Weaves” is just that, a course with jumps, weave poles and sometimes a tunnel.
The past two trials we’ve run were AKC. The next two are USDAA. In USDAA there are 12 poles in the Started (Novice) level. Like AKC, you get to keep trying until you finish them, but depending upon how long it takes us to get through our retries, we may run out of time. In the Novice level of AKC, there are only six poles, which I think is a great disservice to the Novice dogs and handlers because when they get into the Open level, they usually have a hard time with the 12 weaves.
Weaves were the last thing I trained Gel on. I am certain he understands what he’s supposed to do, but I have not made the exercise rewarding enough nor worked him enough in weaves so that he’s solid in his weave performance.
Oh well, you live and learn. I am happy that we were able to handle the rest of the obstacles in the Open class with relative ease. Many people say that the Open courses are more difficult than the Excellent courses. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I was glad to be able to run an Open course without feeling over my head. Except for the weaves, Gel is doing all I ask of him. he is a good dog.