Monday, August 20, 2007

Full trial recap - It's a long one!

Mum likes to use my blog, not only to share info with others, but to document my life. This past weekend's USDAA trial was a big one for me. We had some real successes and some real messes, there were some milestones. And, we ended up pretty darn happy with the outcome. So here is the long version.....

Some of you may know that I was kind of 'slow' last summer. It is not the case this summer! Mum thinks we were all going through stuff last summer; Gracie joining our family, Mum and I starting to get our 'stuff' together doing agility, and of course we were just really starting out.

Now we are becoming a real 'team' and it sure makes both of us feel more confident and proud. There was proof of that this weekend, which it why we both feel this weekend was a big one.

Saturday I had six runs - Jumpers, Snooker, Standard, Pairs, Gamblers and Steeplechase. Sunday I had five runs - Jumpers, Snooker, Standard, Gamblers and final round of Steeplechase.

Saturday started out with a bang! Mum and I both love it when we have Jumpers as our first run. It's usually pretty darn fast, which makes for new challenges, like off courses and such. But we both kept it together in a real nice, open, fast course. Mum did only rear crosses with me, which I'm really liking, and there was a nice fast tunnel to tunnel. We ended up third place and a nice Q to get our Masters Jumpers title! That's the Jumpers course on the left, you can click on it for a larger version.

Next up was Gamblers. It was one of the roughest gambles we've seen - not the gamble part of the course, but the opening set up. There was just no place to lead in to the gamble because of a chute in the way. Mum admits she was just a little bit intimidated by this gamble opening. We ran it and Mum ran out of obstacles to direct me to, tried putting me over a jump, which I refused, then the buzzer sounded and there just wasn't a nice way to lead me in. So we ran off happily. No first Masters Gamblers Q today!

Next up was Standard. By this time it was already noon and I was getting tired and hungry. We ran standard but I just wasn't all there and was totally focusing on getting something to eat! So we were over time. Mum learned this weekend to feed me more throughout the day in little meals, and it helped hugely on Sunday.

Next up was Snooker. After Mum fed me a little snack, I was up to speed again. We were doing great, going for a Super Q, since we have 6 Snooker Q's already. Opening was flowing, with two sevens, then we went into the 2-7 sequence and I took an ambitious off course. Mum didn't give me the que soon enough. So no SQ again.

Then it was time for pairs. We were paired with someone we remembered from starters. And what we remembered was that they weren't that 'together'. So no pairs Q.

Steeplechase was the last run of the day. Mum was worried because by this time it was almost 5:00, pretty long day. She fed me a little meal, and decided to really push me through the course. It had two sets of weaves, which right now aren't my strongest, speed-wise. All that pushing really paid off and we got fourth place. And that second Steeplechase Q to get us the National Qualifier for Cynosport.

We got home about 6:30 PM, way too late, and crashed.

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Got up Sunday and had Jumpers for the first run, again. Mum decided since I just got my title, that we were going to work on loads of speed. Didn't happen. The leash runner was a 10 year old boy, who, when I sat at the start line, came up behind me to get my leash. Mum didn't see it until it was too late. And it just freaked me out. I turned around and started barking at him.

Mum got my focus and decided it would be best to run, since there was only one or two left to run in 16 inches. And it would be a good focus experiment. Well, I passed! Yes I took a jump, turned my head to bark again at him, took another jump and turned my head and barked at him, and this went on for about 2/3 of the course. Mum yelling 'come', 'come', all the way. We finished just 1 second over time, and the crowd went wild!!!! Our trainer yelled from the stands, way to control the situation, Leslie! And the judge just went on and on about what a good job Mum did in keeping me focused.

I just have to say, I really trust Mum, so I do what she asks, no matter what. But I also have to say - maybe kids shouldn't be allowed to leash run around a bunch of herding breeds, unless they know the proper etiquette. Just doesn't mix very well. I know you say I should get over it, but we've tried. Kids, just aren't my thing.

Next up was Gamblers. This time Mum plotted out a nice flow for the opening, and the gamble looked very doable. Well, Mum got other plans about 5 minutes before we ran, and changed her opening. It really paid off, we got more points and ended up just at the jump before the first obstacle of the gamble. Here's the gamble:

We made the gamble in plenty of time and got a real nice third place for our first Masters Gamble Q, not bad out of just three attempts. Mum ended up taking the two jumps to the tunnel, we did the tunnel twice, then jump to the a-frame, jump, back to the a-frame. Since it was a 1-2-3-5, time went pretty fast and we were going over the jump toward the first gamble jump when the buzzer sounded. Good timing luck on our part.

Then it was time for Standard. We were doing pretty well, but I had a real slow teeter, so we ended up a couple of seconds over time. Mum and I are going to work on teeter and weave speed this week. That's what's killing me on my standards.

Next up was Steeplechase. Mum had a hard time deciding if it was worth me doing another run with two sets of weaves before our final run, Snooker. But we did it anyway. Mum pushed me hard and we ended up with third place! I also earned Mum's food money for the weekend with the cash proceeds from the run. Guess it's now official, I'm a professional, BOL!

Last run of the trial was Snooker. Mum decided to push me again. We were going well, not too bad on the teeter this time too, and started into the 2-7, which was a triple. Mum pulled me too hard after the triple and I trashed it. I have to tell ya, I hate knocking bars! I gave Mum a look she'll probably never forget after I trashed the jump. She gave me a real good boy, and we ran off. She told me sorry! And gave me a good rub down and loads of treats.

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After the trial, Mum went and ordered a couple of photos of me that should be here pretty soon. We'll post them for sure. Then we started cleaning up and loading the car. A friend was helping us, and as he was folding the chair, the dog that was bunking next to us, bit him! Oh my, there was blood everywhere. Mum ran out to the car for the first aid kit, and as she ran out the door, she saw the mess of blood in the lobby. By the time she got back, the facility folks had patched him all up. They had to have a big meeting, judges, tournament officials, etc., to decide what action would be taken. I was in my crate next to Gracie and have to tell ya, it was kind of scary!

Our friend is fine, but I'm sure pretty sore today. Those dog bites hurt! Mum got a couple before in the past.

We also had time to talk with both the judges this weekend, which was real nice. They were great! The Master judge said that I looked just like her border collie back home. Megan is her name and she comes from herding lines. She's bigger than me, but I guess I have another twin. And the other judge said I looked just like her best friends dog, so I guess I have, well, another twin! I got to play around with them a while before they left for the airport. They missed their 'kids' so I tried to fill in for a bit. It was fun!

Gracie had a rough weekend. Even though she was incredibly focused in the practice area, she didn't take more than one obstacle in each of her three runs, and ran off every time. She even got loose from Mum during another dog's run and ran out into the ring. Good thing that dog was running off too. Mum felt soooooo bad. She yelled out "I'm so sorry!" to the lady, but she didn't get to tell her in person.

Mum has to rethink about what to do with Gracie again. She does so extremely well in practice, and did real well at the training center. It's just when she gets to a trial. People say Gracie is stressed, but Mum is not so sure. Mum thinks she just wants to go and play with all those dogs running around. And because she can't, it makes her stressed.

So the first op that she's loose she tries to find a dog to play with. Mum is just glad that Gracie is a real nice dog, wouldn't hurt a flea and takes discipline real well from other dogs. But someday she's gonna get hurt doing this. So Mum's doing a lot of looking at and thinking about Gracie

We took the day off from agility yesterday, but, barring too much rain in the next hour or so, we are off to training this morning!

2 comments:

Sammy the Surf Dog said...

U should writed a book Johann cos u is a good writer dog and I would buy it and tell all my dog friends and thems peoples to buy it too.

Pacco de Mongrel said...

johann, it seems like u had a busy weekend....congrate on ur achievement..

i think my situation is something like gracie or mayb even worst...me too love to run out of ring...