This weekend, Quila and I were entered in the Bouvier de Flanders AKC trial at the Canine Sports Recreation Center in Dexter, MI. I decided to try to put into effect some of the specific techniques we learned the last couple of weeks in Kristine's class highlighting Linda Mecklenberg's handling system. Specifically, we went over and practiced all the different Recalls To Heel exercises in addition to forward and lateral sends. I'm learning how to blend my forward and lateral cues and finding that Quila needs more forward motion before I can fade laterally, otherwise she pulls off the jumps. We're still not as speedy as I'd like, but I'm hoping that her confidence will build as my handling system becomes more clear and she becomes familiar with it.
This first jumpers run, I decided to try the double rear cross because we had just tried it in Deb's seminar last Sunday. Not something that encourages speed in Quila, but it was one of the best options in this case, so, what the hell. I figured I'd give it a try. Almost chickened out, but once I hadn't done the Front cross, I was stuck with it. We did it, but it wasn't the prettiest move.
On Saturday, we got to put two 270 recall-to-heel exercises into practice on the same standard course. They both worked out splendidly. I was quite happy with our performance.
Sunday, we had two tricky contact performances. The dogwalk exit was a flick away to the tunnel, or a rear cross on the flat. We were successful with that move, however, not so much on the A-frame. You can't see the A-frame contact because it's on the other side of the camera. There was a curved tunnel after the frame and, of course, they were to take the far side, to the right. So I wanted to fade laterally, so I stayed close to the frame until I "thought" she had it, then I faded laterally to the right. And she followed me spectacularly, didn't even glance at the wrong tunnel entrance. Unfortunately, she pulled off of the frame and completely missed her contact. But that's a proofing issue, as I haven't worked turns at all off our running contacts. So, I was just happy that she read my handling cues. It's all I could ask for until I train it. As it is, we're lucky to get the contacts we do, as she still doesn't have a clear understanding of what I want. She certainly tries though.