Shrewsbury: from one extreme to another

This weekend we made our proper Kennel Club return, 8 runs across two days, we were officially back since the injury.

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Saturday started off amazing! I won’t go in to too much detail as if you’ve watched my vlog from Saturday then you will already know quite a lot.
(See the vlog here: https://youtu.be/emp6ZUNryio).

We started the day with a fast, flowing combined 1-4 jumping. Nervous wait but then a great run and we went clear!! Amazing!! I’d forgotten what it feels like to go clear! Such an achievement.

Then combined 1-3 agility. A tricky start with a jump then some distance in between two jumps to get to the seesaw, lots of dogs were peeling off and taking a wrong jump, mostly aiming for the aframe. After waiting around for a smaller queue for ages they were suddenly calling to close as no dogs were on the line! We ran over as one dog was finishing the course so we were all alone ringside. Guinness was ready and focused and I was 100% confident in his wait. I’d already wrote down my plan of facing the seesaw, driving to it and believing in him. Easy peasy! I wish I had filmed this run! Another clear round.

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The results were announced quickly and we were given a 9th in the Jumping (out of 118 dogs) and a 4th in the Agility (out of 86 dogs). AWESOME!!!

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I was a little gutted not to have won the Agility but still so happy! So far I’ve only ever been eliminated or won out, so it’s nice to experience my first taste of real competition being in large.

After lunch we ran the graded 1-3 jumping. Another good wait then from a tunnel to weaves with a jump nearby and he missed his entry. He pulled off the jump perfectly but looking at the video I think I rushed past the weaves rather than letting him get in. Then at the end (which you don’t quite see on the video) he pulled off the final jump in favour of the weaves again and ran past the jump. I sent him over it to stop the timer and ended a messy run on an elimination. Never mind.

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Finally it was Lou’s graded 1-3 agility. Our big chance for winning out! I felt nervous on the start line, after a day of being cool and calm things were starting to get real. We set off with a slow dog walk and a nice front cross with no knocked poles onto the seesaw… things were going well. Tunnel to weaves with plenty of room and I tried to connect and send him but he missed his entry. Dammit! 12 weaves perfectly second attempt but too late, no win for us.

What a good day though! I was on such a high as I went home proudly clutching my two rosettes.

Sunday

Oh dear… well yesterday didn’t quite go to plan! Ash came with me and we walked Guinness and hung around the rings for a little bit. Then I walked the course, gave Guinness another run and went to do the first class, grade 1-3 jumping.

We left Ash at the sidelines but even in the queue Guinness was searching for him. I thought he could see him and tried to keep him focused but he wasn’t acting normal. I slipped his harness off and treated him outside of the ring then went into the ring off lead. Big mistake. We’d managed this okay yesterday but I should have realised Guinness wasn’t in the same frame of mind. He had a stand-off with me, barking and running off, then he looked around and legged it towards the edge of the ring, the opposite side to where Ash was. Then he came back slightly but still wouldn’t come to me before running over to where Ash was and jumping up at the fence to him. I thought he was going to hop over. I waved to the judge and moved over to the finish line and out of the ring. Guinness still wouldn’t recall and was stood in the ring staring at me but eventually came out of the ring for a treat.

I felt frustrated, upset and humiliated. I walked him over towards Ash and he was pulling to get to him. I asked for a few downs and spins before letting him go over then we all went back to the car.

Ash said he’d stay in the car and we decided to give that a go for Agility, which was ready for us to run. I played with Guinness in the exercise arena and although he was glancing around a little he seemed much more connected with me. Over to the ring and he was still searching for Ash a little. We decided to run start but it was a diagonal route over a box and Guinness went to go straight on before coming towards me, but ran around the jump for a refusal. We just got on with it, good 6 weaves then as the jumps curved around a corner he opted to skip a jump to take the inside line. The tunnel turned them around a corner and he flew out and over a jump and ended up under the ring fence past the seesaw. I thought he was doing a runner but then realised he’d just had so much speed and the angle was a bit tight that he’d overshot the seesaw. Then when he did go up the seesaw he sprang off it before it hit the floor, very weird for Guinness! By this point it was just a case of getting out of the ring and I couldn’t even direct him over the finish jump properly. At least he stayed in the ring ey?!

So frustrating again. I feel like we’ve gone back 18 months! What happened to the awesome runs of Saturday?!

A few years ago at the Dig It Winter Shows we had a slight issue with Guinness running off to find Ash. The first time it happened Ash had been with us before our run and then went off to do something else while we ran. Guinness watched him walk away while we were queuing and then legged it up the ring after him. After that Ash was either out of sight from the start and didn’t come to the ring with us or came over and stayed in the same spot. Guinness was then always fine if we left Ash in one spot and he stayed there. 90% of the videos I have of our runs were taken by Ash, what more proof can you get that Guinness is okay with him being ringside?! Ash has even queued for us and then moved to the side and watched and Guinness has run fine, so why he suddenly got very clingy yesterday morning I don’t know!

I decided to call it a day. I was so upset. We had the same judge again for agility and the next two courses were both combined 1-4 so were only going to be harder. I knew I wouldn’t muster the energy to turn things around for the rest of the day and Guinness wasn’t going to suddenly have a change of attitude so we left for home.

I know other people would have shrugged it off, accepted the challenge and stayed to work on it but I wear my heart on my sleeve and couldn’t shake the emotions, plus tensions were high between me and Ash so we left.

Onwards!

It’s a new day and a new week now. Ash doesn’t really enjoy coming to agility shows as it is so probably wont come to another one any time soon. Although this makes me sad, we are both very independent people with our own hobbies and I think it’s important to have time apart and your own unique interests. It’s also an easy solution to some of the issues (although I’m only accepting it as a solution due to Ash not being bothered about coming anyway).

I’m going to write off yesterday and look ahead to a winter of ring experience in the Dig It Winter Series now. The aim of the first show will be to get that great ring attitude and waits of Saturday again and then work on from there, show by show.

To end on a positive (as I always do) Guinness is looking fit and healthy! He hasn’t once shown a sign of discomfort after a day and a half of competing and his performance on Saturday was brilliant!

We all have bad days ey!

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