Level 2

November 25, 2009

Cody and I left Tokyo at 4am on Saturday to head up to Matsumoto, near Nagano, for our final agility trial of the calendar year. I had been given estimates of 3 to 4 hours of driving time to get there and I didn’t want to risk getting there late and missing our walk through, so we left plenty early.

I cruised along at 120 km/hr (75 mph) practically the entire way, as there was very little traffic and we made it there in 2 ½ hours. The site was beautiful, surrounded by mountains, some snow covered. (You may remember that the winter Olympics ten or so years ago were held in Nagano.) It was very chilly in the early morning when we arrived, but the sun was out and not the rain/snow that I had feared and seen in the weather predictions.

View at Trial Site

Our jumpers run was first. The walk throughs for all jump heights were completed before the course was run. When it was our turn to run, Cody and I made it through with no errors, so we were off to a good start. When the results were posted, I saw that we came in 3rd out of 120 dogs in the large class. I looked more closely and saw that only 3 dogs had clean runs – I had thought that it was a nice smooth running course, but I guess others didn’t find it so. There were some challenges, but of the teams that I watched, most of the errors happened in the beginning, either with a bar dropping at jump 2, or an off-course to jump 5.

Jumpers Level 2

Our second run, agility, which counts towards moving to the next level, wasn’t as successful. It had a couple of challenges and I walked it many different ways, made a decision on how to run the course and then changed the way that I wanted to handle it based on errors I observed with the large dogs running before us. I made the classic mistake of not working each obstacle when I ran the course with Cody because I was thinking about the next step before completing the current one. So Cody, who was running very fast, leapt over the A-frame contact because he could see I was focused on the next obstacle. Here is the course that we ran:

Agility Level 2

The error that I had observed happened when handlers ran with the dog on left from the A-frame to Jump 13. The dogs would come out of the chute and curl towards the handler, missing the take-off side of the jump. Handling the A-frame with the dog on right allowed for a pull to the take off side of the jump. Then it was necessary to fly over to the other side of the ring in order to get the correct side of the tunnel. Coming out of the tunnel the dogs were facing the tire and unless the handler got the dog’s head at this point to send them to the dog walk, they headed to the tire. This is what happened to Cody because I was busy running down the dog walk to get a front cross in before he reached the contact. Oh well – we were happy with our 3rd place in the jumpers course and got to stand on the podium again.

Third Place

Third Place

Our next agility trial will take place on January 30th, and then there will be a flyball trial the next day. I will be away from Cody for 5 weeks over the holidays and am most hopeful that he will not be chubby again when I get back as we’ll only have a couple of weeks to get back into shape.

Meanwhile, we need to start working on obedience. I had mentioned in an earlier post that a basic level of obedience is required in order to move from Level 2 to Level 3. Cody and I have only worked on enough obedience to get by in agility (and even that is not perfect, as evidenced by his lack of a start line stay). To move ahead, he has to learn 10 obedience maneuvers and then the judge (who is the head of the training center) will choose 3 of these maneuvers for Cody to perform. I have started by teaching him to heel, but so far it isn’t working out too well! If I hold the leash in my left hand and a toy or food in my right hand, he just keeps jumping up at my right hand. I can see that this will require a lot of patience on my part!

Cody and the crows
Tokyo has quite a few crows, who are noisy and can be pests with any sort of garbage left out. When I lived here before, I had heard stories of crows dive-bombing heads of hair. Not a pleasant thought, but I had never known it to happen to anyone. The noise the crows make, however, does make me think of Tokyo if I happen to hear it when I am elsewhere.
One morning I let Cody outside in the yard attached to our apartment, and was startled 10 minutes later when I heard him barking incessantly. I have discouraged his barking here, as we are in close quarters and I worry that it will disturb the neighbors. I ran outside to see what was going on and found Cody on his hind legs with his front paws on the cement wall divider between our yard and the neighboring yard. Right above him on the top of the wall, about a foot higher that Cody’s paws reached, was a crow, staring down at Cody as he barked. What guts!

Then last week Cody and I had finished our agility lesson and practice and I was throwing the ball for him. He surprised me during one of the throws by not returning to me once he caught the ball, but ran off in the other direction on the huge field. I called, not understanding what it was he was doing, until I saw a crow sitting nearby taunting Cody. These birds do not scare easily!


4 Responses to “Level 2”

  1. Sassie said

    Just a quick note to say how much I enjoy keeping track of you and Cody through your blog! I LOVE seeing you guys on the podium!


  2. Eleanor said

    Congratulations on your 3d place in Jumpers! Maybe I will see you when you are home.

    As to heeling – hold the food/toy and the leash on the left side in one hand or put the food/toy in a side pocket! 🙂

    • muppaljapan said

      Thanks, Eleanor — I’ll try your suggestions for heeling. I know Cody is bright enough to get the concept – I just have to figure out the best way to train it!

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