Laurae Posted October 10, 2007 Report Share Posted October 10, 2007 Last weekend, my club hosted our first trial in the Novice Series . It was a very "gentle" trial, with lots of excellent coaching and feedback from the judge and hosts. I learned a bunch, and I had a terrific time! There were two fields with novice and pro-novice courses set up. The novice field was teeny tiny. I took one look at it and panicked. I knew it would be too small an area for Taz to do well in. The pro-novice course was also pretty small (100-yard outrun) and seemed very manageable. We were allowed a practice run and a judged run. I did the practice run with Taz on the pro-novice field, and we did pretty well. His outrun was actually kinda wide (not up the middle! alert the presses!) and though he had a little trouble getting the sheep to come straight down the middle at first, we eventually made it through the fetch panels and around the post well enough. The drive and pen were sloppy, but not terrible considering I don't really know how to drive or pen very well. There was a very strong draw to the set out and exhaust areas (which were both on the right side of the field), and the sheep were very motivated to find their buddies, but Taz covered them well and listened to me--really I could not have been happier! When it came to the judged run, I opted to run the novice course (as really we are not ready for pro-novice just yet due to that pretty shaky drive). It started well enough...Taz's outrun was very nice (we got zero points off!), and his lift and the start of his fetch were okay, but things quickly went south. Taz became his WILD self and lost all sense of pacing, eye, and, well, his mind. This is the Taz that I usually see in trials and clinics--he slices and dices and generally looks as though he has had zero training at all. The judge was an accomplished open handler who did not know Taz or me before the trial. After complimenting both of us handsomely during our PN practice, she expressed downright shock at the performance of Taz on the Novice field. She said he was a completely different dog in the smaller space (one of my regular trainers and I call this dog Zat, as he seems to be Taz's evil twin). When I had first said I thought the field was too small for Taz, the judge said she thought I just meant that he was a wide-running dog, but this was something else entirely. She said he really seemed to regress in the smaller place, and that I probably wasn't really doing him any favors running him in smaller areas. Funnily enough, he actually does fine when we sort sheep in the pens, so I'm not sure what is the real problem here. My question (and I do have one ) is whether anyone thinks it would be better to actively work in arenas to try to work through his excited craziness to reach the calm Taz who uses his brain, or just skip working in arenas and smaller fields for now. I am inclined to just skip the arenas, as I want to do open field trials in the long run anyway, but this would mean that I pretty much would not be trialing in novice anymore. As I said, I am not quite ready for PN with Taz, since we don't really have solid driving skills just yet. Would it be wise to just muddle through the drive until we get a better handle on it? Here is Taz during his novice run: Note that he has stopped behind the sheep. Given that his other speed was 1,000 mph, all other photos of him were rather blurry... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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