Yesterday Mika and I went to a fun match! The match ran to AAC regulations, and there were two different courses set up. We got to run each course twice. I entered Mika at the Advanced level, so the first course was Advanced Standard. The second course was Masters Steeplechase. Steeplechase is always a Masters course, but they didn't want to "scare off" all of the Starters people, so they made a Starters Steeplechase course just for them. but the Advanced people had to run in Masters. Poor us! :)
The first run was, as I said before, was Advanced Standard. Mika just wasn't herself in this run. She missed the 45 degree weave entry (she never misses entries!), went off course twice (not a big deal, I was actually kind of glad she went off course because that meant she was having more confidence) and just generally wasn't focused on me. She was in a daze or something. Maybe she wasn't feeling well. Still, her dog walk was the fastest it's ever been at a trial or fun match, and her teeter was great!
The second run, again the same Advanced Standard course, was actually worse than the first run. Then I knew that Mika really wasn't feeling herself that morning. She missed the weave entry again, and her dog walk and teeter were just...well it's hard to explain...there was no spark to them. She really wasn't acting normal at all.
Still, it was lots of fun to watch the other dogs and handlers run! I'd forgotten how much fun these matches really are. (Hmmmmm, wonder if that's why they're called fun matches!?) I'd say that most the dogs at these matches are better than most of the dogs at trials, because the handlers are really dedicated to training their dogs. There were some AMAZING handlers yesterday, very impressive!
The third run was the Steeplechase. I could tell that Mika was feeling her normal, attentive self!! I handled her differently than I usually would because when I walked the course, I'd planned to handle the "old" Mika that she'd been that morning -- I hadn't planned on handling the regular Mika! So there were a few refusals. but she was having FUN! :)
The fourth run (the same Steeplechase course) was AWESOME! Mika did just amazing! She actually ran a Masters course clean!! I'm just so proud of that little dog. She passed all of my expectations!