Monday, March 5, 2012

Almost Perfect

Secret far exceeded any expectations at our trial this weekend. One never really knows what to expect when you are coming towards the end of a winter with no training, so the fact that Secret ran 9/10 over the three days of our NADAC trial at Family Dog Center just blew me away. She ran with joy, had fun and was even pretty speedy (for her) with the exception of her last two runs on Sunday when she started to tucker out.

Secret was entered in two runs on Friday night. My goal was to finish up her Elite Versatility Award this weekend and to do that she had to Q in both Weavers & Touch-n-Go. Apparently my confidence in her is pretty high, because I didn't bother to enter her in either of the other rounds offered over the weekend. ;o) She didn't disappoint! Weavers was up first and it was a lovely run. I was surprised to see that she came in a full 10 seconds under course time. She was even five seconds under the large dog time. It never feels like she is going that fast when I run her, but apparently her stride is deceptively large or something.

Touch-n-Go wasn't quite so zippy, but still managed to come in 7.5 seconds under course time for that title. Kaiser was three and a half seconds faster than her -- So Secret, stop letting the little dog beat you. lol (Note: She did manage to beat Kaiser AND Luke in Jumpers on Sunday!!)

Saturday started out with a lovely run in the first round of Regular. Her only NQ of the weekend came in Round 2. Most of the time when any of my dogs NQ on course I am the first to stand up and take the blame for it. I'm sorry, but I am NOT taking the blame for this one. lol The start of the course went from a hoop to the a-frame. There was a tunnel under the a-frame, but the entrance of the tunnel was waaaaaaaay off yonder and not anywhere near the a-frame. Secret was pointing straight ahead towards the a-frame, but when I released her she darted sideways into the tunnel. Oh Secret, you naughty, silly girl. I didn't bother to fix it and just ran the rest of the course.

Apparently there was some sort of malfunction with my videographer during our Chances run on Saturday and all I got was a flash of Secret's tail in the place where that clip should have been. That's always a huge bummer when the run is a Q! Yes, another Q in Elite Chances! Yay!! She did just a lovely job on a course with a couple of hard turn-aways, layered jumps and weaves at a distance. Rock on, baby dog.

Jumpers was really fun! We like Jumpers and Secret seems to find it to be the most motivating thing to do. She put in a nice speedy run at 5.6 yps -- which was faster than Kaiser, but slower than Luke. :o)

Sunday started with Jumpers and it was a course filled with pinwheel after pinwheel. Ugh. I really thought it was a stupid course, but Secret found it enjoyable enough. I threw in one really nice blind cross (that you can't see on the video....) and had actually debated using all blinds to make the run more interesting. The judge even complimented the blind after the run, so it must have looked nice! She ran 5.6 yps again in this run and was faster than both Kaiser AND Luke by about half a second!

Chances was next for us and I had my doubts if Secret would like it or not. It started with a discrimination, which Secret doesn't tend to have much problem with, but she never comes off a contact with much impulsion. From the a-frame you had to get the dog to turn toward you (another impulsion sucker) and then flip out to a hoop with a tempting tunnel in their line of sight. Secret did it very nicely, but then totally landed on her face coming over the next jump. :o( Thankfully she recovered quickly and finished the course easily. Poor dog. The judge actually replaced that jump with a hoop for the Open & Novice levels because Secret wasn't the only one to land and take a digger there. Thankfully face-planting isn't a fault and she got another Q! Two Chances Q's in one weekend! Which means.... She's down to needing just seven for NATCH! Wow!!

In addition, that run was her 100th Q, which earns Secret her 1000 point award! I realized that this was technically her one-year anniversary of trialing, as her first trial was at the end of February last year. Wow. One thousand points in a year of limited trialing. I'm pretty in awe of the baby dog.

There was not much gas left in the tank for Secret's final two runs in Regular. In round one she was really fixating on the dog running before us, which I think made things even worse. I put her behind a different dog for the second run (I have to move her in the run order anyhow because of how close she was to Luke) and it felt like that run went much better -- although now that I actually look at the times, the second run was exactly 0.03 seconds faster. lol She certainly is consistent.

Kaiser had a good trial weekend, too! He also ran in ten classes over the three days and managed to Q in six -- Including Touch-n-Go on Friday night! We rarely get TNG Q's, so that was nice. My mentality for the dog walk was to stop if I could, run if I couldn't. The only time I didn't manage to get ahead of him over the course of the weekend was in one round of Regular on Saturday. Of course he didn't stop in that case, but somehow the contact didn't get called and he actually managed to Q! He got both of his dog walks in Regular on Sunday, but an a-frame call in the second round kept us from a clean run. He was starting to peter out on me and just didn't have enough "oomph" over the apex to land in the contact. It happens.

He had lovely runs both days in Jumpers! He really had very little stress in these runs, which is always nice to see considering Jumpers is where he tends to have meltdowns (everything is TOO CLOSE and his space bubble rules often get broken). There is no doubt he is happier at 8", though, which depresses me for his future in USDAA. We'll see.

And finally, Chances.... Oh Kaiser. NEITHER course this weekend had a dog walk in it -- Oh happy day!!! The course on Saturday had a stress point for him right away, though. Kaiser *hates* sweeping across the feet and there was absolutely no way to avoid that move in that course. Even thought I stayed back as far as I could, he still went into la-la land when I tried to direct him through this part. Thankfully I managed to get him back on track without back-jumping or coming across the line and then we were golden. Yay!! That was his O-ECC title, so just three more to go for NATCH!

He was just a little turd for the run on Sunday. ;o) Truth be told, I'm probably to blame for setting him up poorly. The dog in front of us was having some trouble and we went into the ring far too early. Kaiser was actually getting pretty hyped up and ready to go, so I had him lay down. I'm sure he was staring at the tunnel the entire time we were in there, as that's exactly where he ran when released..... I should have just done a slingshot like usual --- although it may not have mattered, because he was quite enamored with the next tunnel on course that he was supposed to turn away from. Alas, he did eventually get it but there was no Q. Darn.

Luke was a good boy. He pretty much thought it royally sucked to not run on Friday night, but he was actually very well behaved. I expected him to bark all night long, but I was told he never made a peep during our runs.

I learned that it might not be fair to expect bonus line work out of him at this point in a winter of no training. We definitely had our wires crossed in the first round of Regular on Saturday. Once we lost it, I never really even came close to getting back on track. I ditched the idea of bonus lines after that, except for in Chances that day. The course was something Luke could do in his sleep and the 20 point line really wasn't THAT far back from where I would have normally handled the course with him. Again, though, it just didn't work. When I set him up to try again he of course nailed it as I knew he would.

Luke enjoyed having me run with him in Jumpers both days. He's been doing really great in that class lately when I stop doing bonus line attempts. :o)

Our nemesis of the weekend was definitely the a-frame. Our stop has gone missing, which isn't all that surprising considering we haven't had an a-frame to practice on since October. After several calls & close calls, I decided to make a point of MAKING him stop in Regular on Sunday. I was able to lead well out in the first round and achieved the goal. In round two I was ahead of him, but he decided to just go ahead and jump off the side when I got in his way. Naughty, naughty boy. I took an E to train on that run. We'd already NQ'd earlier in the course so it didn't much matter. Always good to end the trial on a positive note, though.

Missy was a super star all weekend long. There was one time that I heard her cry out a bit when I took all three dogs outside without her, but aside from that she never made a peep. You may notice the absence of any sort of crate coverings in the photo -- that would be because she kept trying to pull everything into her crate. Later on, we actually pulled her crate away from Kaiser's because she moved on to trying to pull all of HIS furnishings in to her crate. lol Poor girl, she was bored.

She got lots of play time and met lots of new people & dogs. The woman who I had in mind for her did indeed like her quite a lot -- but turns out she's like me and has a bit of a color theme going on. Who knew! Another friend was very interested in her but never really said any more about it to me.

That said, I heard from Melissa last night that we finally have some folks interested in Missy that have turned in applications. Yay! Sounds like they are pet people, but as smart and driven as Missy is I by no means feel she has to be in a sport home. She's playful, but she doesn't have crazy high energy or anything. Melissa is going to put me in touch with the top applicant to see if we can't get something arranged. Fingers crossed!

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