Sherry came with to be Chimera's "catcher" for two back-to-back Fast CAT trials last Saturday. Cai's first run was awesome. He took off after the lure and ran at almost exactly the same speed as last time - 12.4 seconds /16.46 mph, earning 32.92 points. However he seemed to not hear Sherry calling him at the end, as he turned around and started to run back toward me. I could tell he was looking for me and I was already walking toward the finish line, so I wasn't worried. But the other exhibitors didn't know that he wouldn't run off, and my friend Michael did a flying tackle and caught Cai in his arms. My heart stopped for a moment as this happened, as I was afraid that either a) Cai was getting crushed, or b) would be traumatized and scared of people approaching during future runs. But Michael was very careful and Cai was fine. Cai even solicited butt rubs from him later.
As we lined up for our second run, Cai heard the sound of the line winding around the corner posts behind him, and really wanted to investigate them. I kept him facing forward, waited until the lure started moving to release him, and thought that he saw it. However his mind was still behind him and as soon as I let go, he ran behind me. I called him and ran forward a few steps, and then he saw the lure up ahead and ran forward. But the lure operator wasn't ready and didn't immediately get the lure going again. Cai outpaced it and started to drift off to the right side of the track. At the end he turned back toward the middle and passed the finish line successfully. It took 18.2 seconds, which comes to 11.21 mph and 22.42 points. I breathed a sigh of relief.
Sherry called him, and this time Cai looked like he noticed but he deliberately turned and started back toward me. Again I was already halfway to joining him at the finish, and I knelt down and called him. He saw me and headed right for me... and then the lure, which was being wound back toward the finish, passed him and he changed course to chase it. *face palm* The person who was doing the start flag was quick on his feet. He picked up the line (after it stopped) and waved the plastic bags up and down, and Cai jumped up and down to get at them, allowing me to catch up to him and scoop him up.
I guess we have extra recall training to do! Also from now on I will have someone else release Cai at the start, and I'll be at the finish waiting for him.