Monday, September 20, 2010

It's not always about the Q

Summit had a great AKC weekend. Saturday he double Q'd with two first places. He had two great runs and I'm feeling pretty good about our teamwork in preparation for Nationals next month.  Sunday morning he dropped a bar in jumpers. That afternoon in standard, I decided to execute a handling strategy that would not have been my first choice if I wanted to run clean. However, if executed correctly, would create a much tighter turn on a 180 and would give my dog better turning information quicker. Well, my timing was slightly off and we had a refusal. The rest of the run was nice though. I had several people tell me later what a great run we had and too bad about the refusal. When I explained that I wanted to step outside my "handling box" even though I knew I may not execute correctly, they were shocked. "But didn't you want to Q? You could have won!"

The one thing I dislike about AKC is the double Q requirement. The one thing I really like about AKC is the double Q requirement. Hmmm.. let me explain.

If I have a clean run in the morning, I will choose to run conservatively in the afternoon in order to get a QQ. By conservatively I don't mean slow (like I could really slow Summit down on the course anyway). But I don't take risks. I handle efficiently. Unfortunately this doesn't really teach me anything new. The handling choices I make are based on a history of success.

However, if we do not have a clean run in the morning, the afternoon is wide-open for creativity and trying new strategies. Pushing the envelope so to speak. This is when I really learn about our teamwork and what skills we may be weak on or possibilities I didn't know existed. Yes, you can try this stuff in training but it's when a team is under the stress of competition that is really where the good feedback comes.

I have video from this weekend and will post as soon as I get them. Meanwhile, here are a few videos from the USDAA trial a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I don't have any of his Gamblers, Snooker, or Jumpers - just these few.

Grand Prix - 2nd place. Really wide turn at the beginning. Lot's of dogs went wide here. Not sure why. Although I think I could have improved my location (closer to the jump where the turn occurred). Also, my backward motion (albeit just a few steps) also cued the extension.

Steeplechase Finals - 3rd place. I caused the bar with my late FC at the end and then I almost fall on my face before the last jump.

Masters Standard (Saturday). Would have been 1st place. One bar. He actually only dropped three bars the entire 3-day trial but the only video I have is of those with bars (except GP) ;-)

Masters Standard (Sunday) - one bar. The grass was dead and slick on the takeoff side so may have contributed to the dropped bar as quite a few other dogs dropped the same bar


Ricky the Sheltie said...

Interesting what you say about the QQ's - I do hear a lot of people at trials saying "no chance now for a QQ so I'll try something new or different in the next run." Wish we could all forget about the QQ every time!

Enjoyed your runs - Summit's teeter is awesome - don't know why I didn't notice before. I think it's because I try to focus on your handling and not on Summit!

Morganne said...

Thanks. When Summit was in Novice, he would often slide completely off the end of the teeter before he learned to gauge pivot points.

Kathy said...

I admire that you were willing to step out of your normal handling box, and I do think it is sort of sad that there is so much emphasis on the double Q so I think a lot of people just really play things so safe all the time that is not good ;-(, but like you said it can have its good side. Great post. Love watching your runs.

Christine said...

Great post. Its good to challenge, its how we improve, and that is what I have promised Rivi, and it is so exciting. Wish we could QQ over here it would be something to aim for...