How can it be the end of the year already? Seriously, feels only a moment ago we began our 2017 Beachside journey and now we have completed the last show of the year! At the start of 2017 Sparrow was in Elementary grade and Merlin was Starters grade, we have finished with both dogs in Graduate, that’s a progression of three grades for Sparrow and two for Merlin. Not what I expected!
Over the winter I am working on Sparrow’s contacts and not competing her in agility classes, other than as an NFC run for training. Merlin is only just back to full competing after being very poorly, and it is great to see him running so well.
So, without further ado, let’s pick out the good, the bad and the ‘needs some work’ from Beachside Christmas show 2017!
Merlin – Graduate Agility (E)
This was a tricky little agility course with a difficult start for Merlin. You had to start with a wing wrap, turning back on yourself to a jump behind. Merlin doesn’t like these sorts of starts as they are very static, so I opted to do the beginning as an S-turn, which worked really well for Merlin and kept him moving.
At the top there was a pull through which was causing a lot of people problems. There were several ways to handle it, I tried to block the first jump and pull Merlin through to the backside of the jump he was supposed to take – it didn’t work!
I did love seeing Merlin’s enthusiasm for the course and how well he ran. His dogwalk contact is diabolical after several months off! Yep, some definite improvements needed here!
Merlin – Graduate Jumping (1st)
This course had a few bits that needed careful handling, the first was a push out at a tricky angle to the weaves, then there was a blind tunnel entrance to negotiate and some obstacle discernment. But it flowed nicely and Merlin did a cracking run, ending up coming 1st.
Merlin – Graduate Triple A (5f)
Merlin does so well on these courses involving the a-frame as he has a cracking running contact on the frame. Unfortunately, I pulled off at the tunnel too early and he followed me, costing us 5 faults! When will I learn to make sure my dog has committed to an obstacle before legging it? Lol!
Sparrow – Graduate Jumping (5f)
I seem to have lost a bit of connection with Sparrow at competitions. We started alright, but she messed up the weaves, partly because of their awkward angle and partly because I had to virtually stop rather than run ahead of her at them, or else I would have overshot where I needed to be, and Sparrow does not like it when I slow down at the weaves. It is a project for us to keep working on. She did the blind tunnel entrance nicely, but was lacking the confidence I usually see in training.
Sparrow & Dylan – Christmas Pairs (1st)
The Christmas Pairs competition is traditional at Beachside and I was delighted to be asked to pair up with Dylan the papillon and his mum. We ran together last year and came a respectable second, this year we really went for it and came 1st. It was a straightforward course, as long as you remembered it, surprising how many errors occurred! Sparrow and Dylan went double-clear, could not ask more from them.