Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back to NADAC! (Day 1)

Today we participated in our first NADAC trial since April.  It seems so long ago!  It was good seeing my NADAC friends and I think the dogs all enjoyed themselves quite a bit.  My complete and total lack of training lately certainly showed as I made several fairly large timing flubs.  I hate it when I'm the one who screws everything up, but eh, what can you do?  Oh yeah, practice more.

I didn't know what to expect today from Secret.  She has been so..... weird.... lately.  I have a feeling that she's starting to react to all the stress surrounding her lately.  The vibe at the office is certainly off thanks to the company closing drawing near at the end of the month.  People are doing all sorts of weird things, most of which include making a lot of noise as stuff gets hauled out of the office.

On a personal level, I'm certainly feeling a great deal of stress these days.  Fear of the unknown certainly comes into play, but my stress level was at an overall high the last couple of days as I was preparing for a phone interview.  I've been applying and sending out resumes for the last three months now and this was the first bite I've had, so I certainly didn't want to screw it up.

Secret kind of had an emotional meltdown on me yesterday.  My interview was at 10:30 and I was just off my rocker.  Secret spent the majority of the earlier part of the day in the hallway, the bedroom or the laundry room away from everyone.  This is where she goes when she's freaking out over storms or other loud noises.  Thankfully she seemed to start coming out of it by the end of the day when I left to go set up everything at the trial site (we didn't enter the Friday classes, but I figured it was a good opportunity to go set up without the dogs!).

Thankfully everything seemed good to go this morning -- although Secret still left the bed last night.  I have no idea what is up with that, but within the last week or so she's started to leave the bed partway through the night to sleep on the floor.  Then sometime in the early morning hours she gets back on.  I tried to stop her at first, but now I just let her be.

At any rate, we had lots of good stuff at the trial today!  One change I made was to switch to using a collar/leash instead of her slip lead.  I've always known she's not a fan of having that thing taken off over her head and I noted at the USDAA trials that she seemed to do better when I took it off quite a bit before we started our run.  Well, you can't do that in NADAC (must wait for the judge to release you with "Good Luck" before you remove the leash), so I decided to try the collar instead.  I think this was a relief to Secret and just one less stressful element for her.

Her first run was super!  She was happy, eager and had really nice speed throughout.  Even her weaves weren't half bad!  I was very pleased with that run and was just super happy that she hadn't carried all of her stress into the ring with her.  OH!  The other biggy is that I got her to play pretty much before every run today!  I didn't push it super long, but I did ask for a bit of play coming out of her crate each time.  I brought two different sized fabric frisbees and was thrilled that she was willing to play, especially considering how close we were crated to the ring and the action.

I was an idiot for round two of Regular and "assumed" that the discrimination at the start would be no issue, so I started behind Secret and yes, drove her right into the tunnel.  Since it was my error I just continued on and the rest of the course went well.  She did bark at me for giving a late turning cue once and I deserved it.

Chances started out with a tunnel and two hoops, which apparently was incredibly demotivating to Secret.  The whole course was tunnels and hoops (plus the dog walk) and this did not inspire Secret to move very fast.  She started at a trot but thankfully did pick up as we went on.  Thankfully you get 40 seconds for Chances, so it doesn't really matter.  Secret brought home the only Chances Q of my three today, so yay for the baby dog!  That means we are now six from NATCH!

Jumpers was another nice run, although I did manage to totally push Secret off her line at the first turn away.  I was able to recover the run, thankfully without shutting her down too bad and we ended up something like three or four seconds under time with the bobble.

We had a bit more weirdness upon arriving home tonight.  Secret left the house and went out and laid by the fence in the back corner for like 15-20 minutes.  I just let her be.  Then she came in the house and disappeared in the back again (hallway, bedroom, etc. -- I didn't check).  After I fed dinner she did seem to perk up a bit and chased Kaiser around the yard some and was all chipper and playful with me as well.  As I type this she is laying in the kitchen.  Maybe she's just tired, who knows.

The big guy had so much fun running 12" for the first time as a Skilled Vet today!  Luke was awesome, despite his super crappy handler.  Our first Regular run rocked (minus the handler who pulled him off the correct weave entry) and it was our only Q of the day.

I called SO EARLY for a turn in Regular 2 and he listened, coming straight to me over an off course jump.  I reached down to pet him to apologize for my stupidity and then just had fun finishing the course -- I didn't correct his wrong weave entry, but the rest of the run was nice and I was happy with myself for pre-cuing a turn in time to prevent him from skittering around the corner and slipping on the floor.

Chances was just naughty.  Maybe I should have spoken earlier, but if I'm facing you it doesn't mean to take the out tunnel....

How many times have I told myself that I was not going to try any bonus lines this weekend?  It's just not fair to Luke as we haven't been practicing at all lately and we've done very, very little big distance work this year.  Another competitor who was doing the bonus line convinced me (she didn't even have to try) that the line was very doable -- and it was, if we ever practiced.  Luke did great, but his handler was a moron and shouted out directions with pathetic timing.  I vow I will not attempt any bonus lines tomorrow....

It's a good thing Kaiser is so cute.  Otherwise I might have chucked him out the window on the way home.  KIDDING!!!  :o)  I love the little turd.  He makes me smile every time we run.  Well, almost every run. lol

Our first run was an NQ (okay, every run today was an NQ), but I absolutely loved it.  I (barely) beat Kaiser to the end of the dog walk, but he got it!  Then he barreled straight into the tunnel in front of him instead of listening to my late turn cue.  The rest of the run after that was gorgeous!  And fast!

Round two was not quite so gorgeous.  It started with an off course tunnel under the a-frame (that I believe I did do a slightly better job cuing than I did in Secret's run).  I opted to correct it with him since it was kind of naughty.  Then he blew off my turn cue and took another off course tunnel, but we just kept going at this point.  All was good until he took a giant Superman flying leap over the dog walk contact.  Despite the fact that he went through the finish hoop (and some judges will ding you for this), I said nothing and walked back to the start of the dog walk with a proud little Klee Kai following me.  I knew that Chances ended with the dog walk and I wanted to make an impression on him, so I made sure he gave me a stop.  He's so cute.... He laid down right above the line and wouldn't budge.  lol  He did manage to cross over the line as he bounded for the finish, though.

Chances, oh Chances.  Kaiser needs two more Chances Q's for NATCH, so *theoretically* he could have earned it this weekend.  He sailed through the beginning and I was able to position myself so that I would have been there to greet him at the bottom of the dog walk, but then he went and pulled a Luke by diving into the tunnel.  Drat.  Oh well.  Hopefully tomorrow!

Jumpers is usually Kaiser's highlight of the day, at least since he got to start jumping 8".  Today, however, was just not our day.  Kaiser was high as a kite and apparently thinks turning cues are stupid and useless.  But he sure did fly down the last line of jumps.  Whee!

Tomorrow Kaiser gets to run numbered Hoopers and I think he's going to think that's the best thing ever (which is why I entered him in it).  Otherwise everyone is running in the same classes tomorrow (Regular, Chances & Jumpers).  My goal is to get to bed at a decent hour tonight so that I'm not a failure of a handler!!

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