We had our 2nd and final AKC/USA WT Practice last weekend before leaving for Austria. The whole team looks awesome! I think Team USA will do some great things this year.
The goal of the weekend was to run courses right the first time. Everyone on the team was significantly improved from the first practice in Wisconsin and team practice flowed very smoothly. Well, except for the small dog team who had to have their own special walkthroughs and coaching sessions with the team captain. Those small dog people are SO high maintenance! :)
Overall I was very happy with Icon's turns, weave entries (we had some issues with those at the first practice) and he didn't drop any bars the entire weekend. I don't think there is any specific thing I came away from the practice thinking I need to work on (with one exception, which I will mention later). Although there are some handling maneuvers that I've decided to avoid at worlds at any cost, namely serping a jump off of a contact. We are way better off with a double front instead of a serp. And rear crossing in general, but anyone who knows me would assume that anyway.
On Friday we met at Power Paws to practice. Icon did awesome on Friday and got through the course without faults each time, however it wasn't always pretty! But I guess you don't get style points at worlds so it's all good. I tried re-running a course with a rear cross and he went o/c, which just confirms my knowledge that I need to avoid rear crosses at all costs (especially when it's a sharp turn and there is an obstacle directly ahead and his toy is on the ground :).
On Saturday we moved to an indoor soccer arena about 30 minutes from Power Paws. It was a nice place and the surface was great, but it was SO HOT inside. It would have been much cooler to stay at PP with a bit of a breeze. It was pretty fun to actually have an audience of random people watching the practice, though.
Icon did really well again, but we didn't get through everything the first time. The first course I lost him at the last obstacle. But that run was pretty bad from the start where it was call-off after call-off after call-off. After the run Kathie said, "I guess Icon only allows you TWO call-offs per run". She was right because the last one sure didn't work!
I didn't get it on video, but the last course of the day on Saturday I decided to run it one more time. He did great on it until I got to the bounce jumps. I said, "easy" to collect him up and he refused the first one. Nancy and I tried a couple times to get him to do them, but he wouldn't. He was showing me his teeth when I asked him to take the jump, which is Icon's way of saying, 'I don't want to!'. I decided to give it a break and not force the issue. It was the end of two very long days and bounce jumps are physically hard on the dogs. Icon also tends to get 'weird' like this in general when he doesn't get his beauty sleep. I'm not very worried about it, but next time I do course work with him, I'll throw in some bounce jumps to give him a positive experience with it. But they didn't have any bounce jumps at worlds last year and now I'm hoping they don't again this year!! :)
All weekend people on the team were making fun of me because I wear really short shorts. It kind of confused me because I don't! They're just normal shorts from nike or adidas that other people wear. It's not MY fault that I have long legs! So to give them some perspective I wore my shortest shorts on Sunday, which are actually a skort. I expected extra special comments but didn't get any. I guess I showed them! But they got back at me... The shorts chosen for the team uniform come almost to my knees! They're essentially capris on the other women on the team. Odd choice...