Thursday, October 23, 2008

Agility, agility and more agility!

Yep, we had a USDAA trial last weekend. Are we slow to tell you all about it? Yep, yep, yep!

Been a busy week. Have to tell you that doing five weekends of agility in a row is just a bit taxing - on the body, on the mind, on work and on sleep! But we still had lots of fun last weekend. And we only have one more in the series of six to go this coming weekend. Whew, even I need a little break!

Here's the recap:

Gracie was entered in Standard each day, Gamblers and Jumpers.

I was entered in Standard x2, Gamblers, Snooker, Jumpers and Grand Prix. Did we get any Q's? I got two, one in Standard and one in Jumpers. Gracie didn't get any, but she sure got close on one of her runs.

Did I get the needed SQ or Gamblers Q, nope not a one. Dang!

Was I fast? Not too bad! Did I take off courses? Yep. Did I run really well at times? Yep. Did Mum handle me poorly at times? Yep. Did she handle me well at times? Yep.

Did Gracie run off during her runs? Yep (but just a little). Did Gracie focus? Yep, (most of the time). Were there moments of greatness? Yep. Were there times so horrifying they could only happen during Halloween month? Yep. (Just kidding!)

Did we have fun? You bet!

Here are the things we learned:

For me:
  • Mum is handling me a little better in jump sequences and making me a little tighter, still needs work, though.
  • Lots of teeter work during the week can make for off courses to the teeter during the next trial. :)
  • I'm starting to change my footing in my weaves a little, sometimes trying to one foot, instead of two foot hop. Mum likes the ambition.
  • I'm getting more and more confident every weekend.
  • I still need to be queued earlier, I'd sure be a lot more direct and faster.
  • Mum sometimes can't get in front crosses she's planned, and when she does some she gets in my way!
  • I made all my dogwalks, so the mousepad work is working.

  • Gracie still would prefers not to stop and do her weaves or her table.
  • Mum was right in making her do them once she was focused, she has to learn to take the time to do them.
  • When she does her weaves, she's ramming her shoulders into the poles.
  • If Mum is a split second late, Gracie looses focus and runs off.
  • When Mum runs like a maniac (at least she feels like it), giving Gracie lots of good girls and chatters, she will run very focused. When Mum is quieter Gracie looses focus. She needs the reassurance.
  • Gracie needs loads of contact work, although she only missed one DW in competition, and no Frames.
  • Gracie really can do a down on the table and her weaves in competition, yeah!
My recap:

I ended up with a Q in Standard and a Q in Jumpers.

My first standard was a little messy, but got us a Q. During my Sunday standard run I went off course to the teeter to Mum's jaw dropping amazement. But she liked my ambition.

My gamblers run was really nice, we got to the gamble and it was two jumps and then an arc back left to the teeter. Very doable, but Mum gave me a turn after the second jump and I turned super tight, just like I'm supposed to. So I missed the teeter. She should have just rear crossed and let me go out to the teeter.

A super Q was an absolute long shot since there was only one given out for all small dogs and one for all big dogs. Mum decided to try anyway for four sevens, just in case everyone else crapped out. But I missed a weave entry and it put us out.

My pairs run was fast and Mum didn't get the front cross in that she planned, so I took a wrong tunnel entrance. NQ.

Grand Prix was a really nice run, but Mum gave me just one too many 'comes' and I veered around a jump.

My last run of the weekend was a jumpers run, my fav. I wasn't as speedy in this run, but we got a Q nonetheless.

Overall Mum was really happy with my runs, I'm continuing to speed up incrementally at each trial, which makes for more off courses, handling oopsies, and learning experiences. But Mum doesn't care one bit since I'm more confident and getting speedier.

My runs:

Gracie's recap:

Gracie's first run was gamblers. She absolutely loves contacts, so Mum planned a dog walk and two frames. She did sooooo great! She was focused, and even when the buzzer sounded and Mum needed to take her through a black hole of nothing, she stayed with Mum. Usually Mum won't take her to empty spaces on courses, but Gracie was so focused she wanted to give it a go. And go they did! Gracie got her first two obstacles in the gamble, and came out wide and missed the last two jumps, but Mum didn't care. She stayed with her!

Her next run on Saturday was Standard. This was a little more 'runnie offie'. But Gracie came back every single time Mum called her back. And Mum had decided to make her really attempt her weaves, and she did those really well too! After a failed attempt at the table, she came back and did a really nice down and stay. She got unfocused a little after, but finished out the run finally. Mum was super proud.

On Sunday Gracie started with Standard. She ran off some, wouldn't do her weaves or the table, but came back to Mum all but one time. She didn't go far, so Mum went up to where Gracie was and put her in the next obstacle. She finished out the run with a long stretch of straight jumps. Mum gave her the opposite arm to keep her from coming in and she had a great finish.

Her last run of the weekend was jumpers. Mum walked the course, but when she got to the line, totally forgot it, from 'last run of the weekend' tiredness. So they did part of it, and finished it out. Gracie was really focused through all of the run and only ran by one jump. Mum was glad she forgot the course, it was a great way for Gracie to end the weekend.

Gracie's runs (enjoy the music!) :)

We have to tell you that this is the best that Gracie has ever done at a trial ever! She is slowly but surely getting rid of her luggage. After last year and only getting her to take maybe one to three obstacles, we are so proud of her!. She was focused about 80% of the time. We can't wait to see how she does in her trials in December.

Here are some course maps for Starters and Masters (click to enlarge):

Overall it was a pretty good weekend. Mum's back hurt her a lot throughout, but she managed through. It's still hurting her, but getting better all the time. She went to the Chiro today to get adjusted again, and already feels better.

We're off tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday for an AKC trial in Lewisburg, Ohio. It's at a horse barn, running on soft dirt. It's my absolute favorite place to run agility - the dirtier, dustier the better. And it's our last of the six trials in a row - so we are going to savor it.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


  1. Great job with Gracie. She is doing great. It won't be long now and she'll be Q'ing.

  2. Johann - you're looking really good in your video! I wish I could go through the chute like you with no fear! Your start-line down stays are awesome and you rocket out of them. Cool!

    Your sis is looking better all the time. If she ever decided to just stick with your mum and run, she would be so FAST! It was great how your mum was able to get her attention back each time she wandered off. All the hard work your mum is putting in with Gracie is really paying off. Thanks for sharing the videos!

    Hope your mum's back is getting better each day. Good luck this weekend and then you all deserve some rest and relaxation!!

  3. Oh, Johann, it is such fun to watch you run the courses. We think you do a great job! And Gracie looks like she's improving! (We think she's funny -- and we loved the choice of music!)

    Kudos to your mom for all her hard work and patience!

  4. Six weekends in a row! Zounds. Egads. I did that a couple of times and vowed never again. In fact, over the years I've decided that I'm happiest with no more than 2 in a row, with the occasional 3 in a row when there's a good argument for it. But even so, I could easily get in 20+ weekends a year. Which is also a lot.

    Good luck with the sixth. Here's wishing you superQs.


Thanks for barking in!

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