Monday, April 30, 2012

USDAA Re-cap -- Day Two!

 Day two of our USDAA trial was fantastic!  Yay!  We love USDAA!  :o)  I'm glad I decided to "splurge" and do both days of the trial this time.  I believe that having the opportunity for them to get used to the equipment and the new setting was invaluable and likely will go a long way towards their generalizing skills with new equipment.

Because the second day was starting with Masters Snooker followed by Masters Jumpers (then Advanced, THEN us), we took it easy in the hotel Sunday morning.  I didn't even set my alarm to go off until 7:00 (trial started at 8:00) and then we took our time packing up and heading out.  I get a little twitchy sitting around with nothing to do, though, so we still got to the trial around 9:00, which was right as Snooker was wrapping up.  It was nice to be able to watch the Jumpers rounds -- There are so many amazing teams that trial in USDAA in this area and it was lots of fun to watch them.

 The order was reversed and we were running tall to small on this day, which meant that Secret finally got more attention/warm up (with only a few dogs between them, she more or less got yanked out of her crate and ran on Saturday).  I was super happy to see that she wasn't reacting to all of the noise in the arena -- I don't think I mentioned it on Saturday's post, but the noise in that arena is pretty loud.  Every time a dog would go through a tunnel or over the a-frame it sounded like thunder.  And of course the teeter was one of the loudest bangs that Secret has heard to date.  I was worried that she would have a meltdown over it, but she managed to hold it together and by Sunday it wasn't bothering her at all.

We loved Jumpers!  It was a fun little course and I even threw in two blind crosses and they were just lovely.  There wasn't a lot of space for me to "run" between 3-4-5 and Secret slowed down a bit there, but then she really kicked it into gear for the rest of the course.  Result -- Q and 1st place!  Yay!!

Kaiser, oh Kaiser.  I took his leash off and he sprinted away to grab a tunnel near the start of the course.  Because his jumping had been so iffy the day before, I opted to pick him up and do the walk of shame to save his jumping efforts for the Performance Speed Jumping finals that was next.  In hindsight this turned out to be an excellent decision because not only was he jumping much better for PSJ, but he also held his stay the rest of the day!  Go figure!

 Kaiser had a mini meltdown when I was way off on my timing for a front cross before a tunnel in PSJ, so he went off course there.  The rest of his run was nice, though -- And by Sunday he seemed to accept that the USDAA a-frame was not so bad and he started attacking it with gusto (he was avoiding it on Saturday as he did at the February trial).  Unfortunately if you are eliminated in Round 2 that means no money for you!

Secret was up first in P1 Standard.  The teeter was the fourth obstacle in on a nice line after the weaves and she actually did step on it immediately, but then stalled out a bit.  I was able to encourage her forward without her jumping off of it, though -- so YAY!  The table was not an issue this time, so all was clear there.  And again no problems with the chute, phew!  She had a super nice run and earned Q/1st again!

Kaiser was not happy with my over-management of his contacts and let me know this by running past both the teeter & the dog walk (as I stood in "hover" position).  He got back on track both times, though, and we managed to stay clean and on course for a Q/1st for him as well!

Pairs was up last.  Kaiser's teammate came up to me earlier in the day to ask how Kaiser's weaves were because apparently they are an issue for her dog.  This was great news for us, because the first half of the course (with the weaves) was far better suited to Kaiser's skills.  The second half had both the dog walk and the teeter in it, so I happily consented to taking the first half and Kaiser banged it out like a super star.  Our teammate did a super great job with all of the hard stuff on her half and just had a little "oops" when the dog back-jumped the jump after the teeter.  We were easily fast enough to come in well under the time + faults cap, though, so we got a Q/1st in that run, too!

There was a fairly small amount of drama surrounding who would be Secret's teammate.  Well not really "drama," per say, but I didn't have many choices.  There were a grand total of 5 P1 dogs entered in Pairs, and two of them were mine.  Two of the dogs entered don't weave yet, so they were both entered on the 2nd half in their rounds.  The accommodating dog must run the opposite half of what they ran in their first run, which meant if either of them ran with Secret they would have to weave -- pretty much an automatic NQ there.  That meant our *only* option was a young Malinois who I don't believe has trialed before and her owner was concerned about putting her in the ring with an unknown dog (she and a friend specifically paired their baby dogs to get them ring experience).

We figured we could work it out, though, because Secret would run the first half and she could keep her dog on leash until they started.  I obviously couldn't make any promises about Secret since we've never done pairs before, but I was reasonably sure that she wouldn't try to interact with the other dog after her run.

It was a perfect run!  First of all, it works out pretty well that several of Secret's favorite toys are fairly similar in size/shape to the baton used in Pairs.  lol  She saw something in my hand and immediately thought, "TOY!!!"  Holy crap, her weaves were as fast as they are at home and she sailed right through the course just as speedy as could be.  I told her to lay down at the end and she bowed -- close enough.  She never even looked at our partner dog.  Our baby dog partner absolutely rocked her half of the course.  I can understand her owner's concern if this was her first time running, but she should be super proud of just how awesome her dog was.  They ran their half clean and fast, easily earning Secret a Q/1st.  I felt bad that the Q didn't count for our partner, especially since I saw that they NQ'd on their official run.  Oh well, baby dogs.

Sadly, we didn't get any video at all from Sunday.  I just didn't want to deal with the stress of asking people that I barely know and seeming like a bother.  Who knows, maybe not worrying about that helped me to run better that day.  I'm bummed that I don't have all those awesome moments on video, but it is what it is.  So instead you can watch Saturday instead!  :o)

I'm very proud of both of the dogs.  They had a lot of new stuff thrown at them this weekend and they both really rose to the occasion.

I worried about Secret for a bit -- She would NOT stop barking in her crate while I watched Masters Standard on Sunday.  I thought maybe she was mad that Kaiser had gotten to get out for the PSJ finals and she didn't, so I took the dogs for a walk --- Where Secret promptly blew out her insides (and did so a couple more times that day).  She had poo'd just fine at the hotel in the a.m., so I'm thinking that perhaps the hard boiled egg that I let the dogs share might be to blame.  Whoops.  On a related note, if you ever want to see something really funny, you should see Secret try to eat a hard boiled egg.  Ha!!!

I really cut back on her treats for the rest of the day and she seemed to be fine -- or at least her stomach issues didn't bother her in the ring at all.  I made sure to go on LOTS of walks that day.  I think that getting out and about more, in addition to some extra stretching, is what helped Kaiser's jumping a lot more, too.  Little man just needs more warm-up time, I think.

So there you have it, USDAA trial number two in the bag.  Now for my dilemma.  I took off work from the shelter on Saturday, May 26.  I can either go over to a USDAA trial in New Berlin, WI that day or I can take all three dogs to a NADAC trial in Zumbro Falls.  I haven't missed the Zumbro Falls trial in years.  We are still trying to finish NATCH for Secret & Kaiser.  But oh, I have so much more fun with the USDAA courses.....  So hard to decide.

I'd also need to decide if I would even bother to take Kaiser.  I'm just not sure about the whole jumping 12" thing for him.  Maybe I'll just wait and see if USDAA lowers their jump height cut-offs like our judge mentioned this weekend.  I just think he'd have more fun if the jumps were lower.  We'll see.  I'm going to talk to our vet on Thursday about the situation, but I know he'll just say, "If the Adequan didn't work, there's always surgery!"  Umm....


  1. I'm glad you are having fun with USDAA! Congrats on a good weekend and being brave and entering PSJ too! I bet you find you have to work a little harder, ie less distance, with USDAA over NADAC.

  2. Well, Secret has always made me work in NADAC because she only runs as fast as I do. lol I think I actually have to run less in USDAA with her because it's easier to stay ahead. ;o) But with Kaiser, yes, I have to think on my feet a bit more to figure out how to stay ahead of him for the front cross -- because he gets a little twitchy about me crossing behind him lately on jumps in certain situations. Doesn't help that Kaiser won't let me get away with blind crosses the way Secret does. Maybe it would help if I started to train them? Ha! Maybe.

    The Steeplechase courses have always appealed to me -- and their lack of "strange equipment" made them a do-able option for us from the start. I figure I won't waste my money entering the Grand Prix classes until I know they are more comfortable on all of the equipment, but I think Secret will really like those courses. Maybe one or two more trials on different equipment and then we'll give it a shot. It's a lot of money to spend on a, "I hope she does the equipment" run! :o)

  3. Congrats! I know a lot of people enjoy USDAA. I've been tempted to try it but I would have to travel to every single trial. At least with a handful of local AKC and one NADAC trial I can stay home some!

    1. Same. :o( The February trial that was two hours away is the closest USDAA trial. Everything else is three or more. We have NADAC, CPE & AKC (& TDAA) trials locally, but no USDAA. It's a big reason why it took me so long to try it! Secret would probably like AKC courses, but I have "political" issues with the organization. ;o)

  4. Yeah-while I don't "love" AKC as a whole there are just soooo many AKC trials here to choose from. And there are think I like about their agility organization and trials. Every venue has pros and cons that's for sure. I have softened some to AKC since they started letting mixed breeds in. I mean really, if they let in ILP dogs they were already basically letting in some mixes.

    1. That's interesting, because the whole fiasco surrounding mixed breeds being "accepted" is a huge part of what turned me off AKC. That whole "separate but equal" business with the titles and classes, etc. I realize that they combined everything before the program went active, but the principle behind it all just irked me.

      Ultimately, too, I just find the cost of entering the trials prohibitive. Around here it's $25 for the first class and $18 for the second. And the local trial only offers Standard and JWW -- Nobody ever entered FAST so they took it away and there has been no mention of putting TTB in any of the trials. I like to enter more than two runs per day, personally! Maybe that's just my NADAC side coming out. lol

      So many people have gone to CPE in this area. I just can't bring myself to do it. Just have zero interest.

  5. Yeah-that separated thing was crap. If I had a mixed breed dog I would not have entered that. The cost is different for sure. But on the plus side, a lot of trials run both excellent classes first and I can be done by noon!