Thursday, September 9, 2010

Derby City Agility Trial -- Page

This was Page's third agility trial, and her first 3-day trial. No surprise: Page held up well over the three days; better than I did!!

FAST classes
I ran Page in FAST just for the experience of getting on the equipment. She had two wonderful runs. Again, I'm a "get in, get the points, and get out" kind of game player, so Page Q'd her FAST run on Saturday but was not in the placement ribbons. Since my goal was really just to get her on equipment and work contacts, I didn't care about the extra ribbon!

Page hit all her contacts, which was nice. We had the same fly by of the teeter that we did in Evansville with a small stress sniff. This was also the first run she ever missed a weave entrance! Shocking!

Sunday's FAST run threw a new and strange teeter performance into the mix. It's taken me a few days, but I've finally figured out what happened. She did the fly by of the teeter, but then she tried to figure out how to get on. Since I taught her a lot of board work as a pup, it was natural for her to hop on the middle. So she did and went down. Well, since she did 4 paws on, I had to do another jump and then try again. Same result. Then we ran out of time. No Q on this one, but I was more thrown by the teeter "performance."

JWW Classes
Saturday's JWW course was really nice, and we should have Q'd on it. However, I didn't anticipate a slight pull from jump 3 to jump4. As soon as I realized she was around jump 4, I knew she'd be in the tunnel too fast for me to react. The Q was blown, but I could still work the FMFC off the jump out of the tunnel. This was such a pretty run, that I'm still proud of it.

Sunday's JWW run was one I'll remember for a long, long time. It was flawless. Page did a send and I front crossed on the landing side of a pinwheel. She did three rear crosses that were lovely. And it was the first time she broke 5 YPS in a qualifying run. I've NEVER had a dog who ran that fast. This was a nice 118-yard course, and Page ran it in 22.20 seconds. That's 5.3 YPS, and I was thrilled. I could watch this one over and over. When we're on, it's so magical!

Our last JWW run of the weekend was on a really tough course. There were about four side changes, and that ate us up. Poor Page went around about 3 jumps that I didn't support well, because I was focused on where to go next. We still managed to get through it, even though we didn't Q.

Standard Classes
Poor Page. On Saturday by the time we got to Standard 11 hours after we arrived that morning, I was mentally done. I was no where near where I should have been for her. I left myself stuck behind on contacts and didn't support the contact entry well enough. We had two off courses, and I rotated my shoulders and pulled her around another jump. We certainly gave the judge lots of exercise on this run! At least the weave poles were nice!

Although our Standard run was much earlier in the day on Sunday, I was very tired. My hips were starting to hurt, and I was completely perplexed by Page's new teeter performance. Poor Judge Kurt! She hopped up and over and I just took it as a refusal and went back. Then when she hopped up and over the second time, I asked (you can't hear it on the tape) if I should go on because of the 4 paw rule. His response was "Ahhh...." He couldn't tell either! Page solved that problem by promptly putting all four paws on and coming off, so he laughed and said, "Yes, now go on!"

Obviously the front cross to the dogwalk was very late, as Page and I collided (and not very prettily)! I'm sure I heard her say, "GET OUT of my way mother!" as her head collided with my rear end! Poor Page. She works her guts out and I didn't make it easy!

The last Standard run of the weekend, and I felt like this was the best handled one. Yeah, we had the same teeter issue that NQ'd her, but that's ok. We worked well together as a team. I didn't anticipate the off course tunnel, but I worked the rest of it well with a pretty rear cross out of the chute. It was a nice run.

Overall, I thought Page did an outstanding job at this trial. She had 10 runs over the weekend, and while our Q rate wasn't perfect, we became a better team. I'm looking forward to the next trial!

Derby City Agility Trial -- Devon

This weekend we attended the Derby City Agility Association's 3-day trial east of Louisville. It was a fun weekend with friends, and oh yeah I had to run dogs, too! While I probably am more focused on my runs when I'm trialing by myself, I did enjoy the fun times with good friends.

Devon had a good weekend. I decided not to run her in Standard at all, due to her teeter issues away from home and known teeters. I also pulled her from Novice FAST on Saturday since there was a teeter in the ring. I didn't want to stress her since I know she looks for that teeter as soon as she goes into the ring.

However, based on advice from Jenn Crank, I ran FAST on Sunday. I planned a "get in, get the points and get out" course that would be fun and motivational. As soon as I sat Devon on the line, I could see her ducking her head under the first bar and looking over it trying to see the teeter. She did see it in the back, but as soon as I directed her away from it on course, she started flying!

Devon did have fun on this course, earning 54 points in 17.72 seconds, for a Q and a second place finish.

Devon had three Excellent B JWW runs over the weekend. All three were very good, except for the weaves. I know I've got a ring/trial issue with the weaves. Devon hits the first pole and then walks out of them. This is what she did a couple of years ago when she wasn't sure how to collect. Now I know she knows how to collect because she's solid in practice/training.

I am asking her to redo the weaves in trials since I do want to have her give me effort. But asking for the retry is giving her stress in the ring. I also agree with a friend who suggested that because Devon is so environmentally aware, she may be having problems going between 22 inch poles and 24 inch poles. Most of our training is done on 22 inch poles, and she sees 24s in trials. I agree that weave spacing plays a part in the problem. This is just something I think we'll have to work through.

Saturday's JWW run was very pretty and it was a tough course. Devon went off course after jump 3. Before we started our run, we heard noise and movement behind the wall of the arena. When Devon went off course, I thought it was due to that noise; however when I look at the tape I realize she committed to that off course jump very early and I didn't give nearly as much indication of the turn as I thought. In fact, I think all my turns on this course were late for Devon. She commits much earlier than I ever realized. I think she's anticipating where the course goes trying to be helpful to me. That means I need to cue her a lot earlier than I am.

Sunday's JWW run was the best of the weekend. Devon was slow off the start, I'm sure in anticipation of the weaves. But she handled this course very well. Her weave entrance was very pretty, so it's really too bad she didn't hang onto them. I think my handling was much better on this course.

After many, many runs, I was really tired on Monday, and poor Devon paid the price. I was mentally not there for her JWW run. I didn't run the course as I had planned, and frankly I was lucky to remember it. Devon hung with me until an off course after the weaves. I'm not sure you can tell in the video, but after the weaves, she really blasted through the rest of the course. I could tell she was burning off stress, just like she did in her last run of the 3-day trial in June.