Well, it seems we are rather busy since we got back from WAO. I've entered Sizzle at the FCI World Championship Tryout. I was having two minds of whether to go or not the day before? It was very HOT and also my worried about Sizzle doing too much since WAO. He is still 100%, although he didn't show any sign of discomfort or lameness, you know your dog!
We woke up at 4am yesterday morning. It wasn't easy. I enjoyed the lie-in since Colin is out of work and Sonic grown up. I don't have to wake up early morning to get him out to toilet. He either hold or he is happy to use the Dog Flap to go into the garden on his own now. The puppy stage is over :)
The new Tryout venue is about 120 miles. I have to say I like the new venue. I've only been tryout twice (last year and this year). Last year's venue was too crowded and roasting hot. It was very small and hardly any air inside the indoor venue. I think everyone was struggling in the heat, poor dogs still worked very well. The new venue at The Alan Higgs Centre was big, I am no good in size but I guess it's probably about 5-6 times bigger than last year. The astro turf is different as well. They used it for indoor football. As the venue is much bigger and the roof is higher, we have enough air to breath through; although it was still hot at some point but at least everyone has room to move around easily.
this is the ring inside the venue
This year, we have some rubber contacts as well. DoggyJumps sponsor the equipment. I was glad that there was a electronic table for us to practice. There was supposed to be a table in one of the courses (Round 2 Agility course) but they replaced it with a jump instead. We were welcome to try out the electronic table that they put aside. I found it very good that we got to try something that we don't have/own obstacle and the dogs still do well with it. I had a go with Sonic as well and he loved it. He thinks that it's a new obstacle and is very keen to show himself off :)
Sizzle again was a good little boy. He ran clear in all 3 rounds (one Jumping and two Agility). I don't know what to expect, I know I'd like to get some International experienced and I am glad that we ran clear in these challenging courses the first time round. There is no second chance when you actually compete. I've learned from Leah that even at training, you still want to do the BEST the first time round like you actually competing and you want to win it; then use the second round as practice round. Leah is a great trainer and she is always so encouraging and motivating. She did push you to the limit though! I really like her! I am that kind of person that needs someone to kick my arse. Since I started training with her, one thing I sure learned ... RUN all the way to the very last obstacle! I used to be lazy with my handling. I know I taught my dogs to "go on" and I very much rely on my dogs to run home and I think most of my shelties are pretty good at that, I became even more lazy and hope that they will run to the last jump while I am still huffing and puffing catching them up.
Round 1, Jumping course. The obstacles in the actual course is slight different angled to the paper. I wasn't planing a front cross before the weave, I wanted to do "send and flip". I was having trouble practice the flat entry at home, he got the entry 100% but he can't collect himself to make the 2nd pole, so after watching a few people before me doing a front cross, I thought maybe on the safe side, I will make the front cross but after I came out and watched the video a few times, I regretted. I think when he is ahead of me, a front cross is a very bad idea! That slow him down and when he catch up on speed again, I did another front cross before the tunnel ... its like a stop start stop start scenario!
I don't think this is a particularly difficult course but there was only 3 dogs ran clear, that including Sizzle. The judge set a very tight 30 seconds course time for all heights. Only clever sheltie Fudge in the small made it in time. I remembered a few medium Collies finished in 28 seconds and only a couple of the Large Collies made it in time!
In Round 2, we had an Agility course. Again, the actual course is slightly different angled to the paper. I wasn't brave enough to leave Sizzle to do the weave on his own, so I set myself in a very bad position for the tunnel first time round. You really need a front cross or a very hard pull through to send the dog into the wrong end of the tunnel. I was a bit lost on that. I was so wound up because of the late front cross after the wall, I thought Sizzle went in the tunnel and came out the same end. Luckily, my mind told me to carry on. I still carry my WAO attitude, "run till the end like you never eliminated, no matter what"! Of course, Sizzle was right but then it look a bit hairy after that.
Round 3, is another Agility course, again the actual course is slightly different angled to the paper. This is probably my least confident course of all. My worried was the two pipe tunnels, then #12. As they rotate the height groups (In Round 1 - Small, Medium, Large; In Round 2 - Medium, Large, Small; In Round 3 - Large, Small, Medium); I got to watch the large dogs ran the course. I've seen so many dogs back jump #5 or back jump #12 to get eliminated. There is no easy way to handle this situation, I guess. You just have to trust your dog to understand the command "out around" to do #12. And Sizzle was such a good little boy, he did as told. As you can see from the video that he nearly came in to me but he took the jump as I told him to. I can't ask for a better dog! Then, my #12, #13, #14 got hairy! I meant to do a front cross after #12 but I didn't managed that because Sizzle nearly came into me, so I have to handle it a different way and his directional command was pretty bad LOL. I want him to turn left on the #14, instead he turned right but luckily he didn't take the jump and went straight up the A Frame, Phew!
After three rounds, we collected some points to put us through to the Final round. I know our time didn't look good compared to other dogs but I was rather happy that we ran clear in all courses. Not very often we ran a consistent clear. I knew I have in the past to have the consistent Eliminations but never a consistent Clear :) I am happy to know that we are up for courses like these!
Our Final round was a disaster :( In the last three rounds, we managed all the pull through, push through, out around and this Final one seems rather easy. This round is Small, Medium, Large. I was the first one on this course and I set a terrible example! With the tunnel sticking out quite a lot, I decided I will run down on the other side. From #1 to #2 involved handling. Of course, that will give me a bad position to do a front cross before the tunnel. The tunnel tuck right close to the A Frame and I do not want to risk taking the A Frame which I think Sizzle will rather prefers the contacts, so a front cross is needed for me. Again, I wasn't meant to put in another front cross after the Long Jump but an idiot like me often do something stupid. How on earth Sizzle decided to jump over the fence and the chair after #12, I have no idea! I can only put it down to my BAD handling and at the same time happy that he is rather agile, I don't think he will refuse an ODD obstacle on course :) Anyway, I managed to get him back to do the #13 the correct way but I was then told I got eliminated already! Thinking of how he did at the Gamblers at WAO, I should have layer the Dog Walk but why I decided not to at the very last minute, as you can see me hesitated, I don't know. I lost it! I don't know why I always LOST it at my final run! And I find it a bit painful and shameful to watch my last run :(
All in All, I think Sizzle did really well. He always give me his best shot. I love this little dog. I think I finally up-to-date with Sizzle, he will now on REST. Hopefully he will be ready in October to tryout for the WAO again.
Next, we will have some Sonic updates ...