Sunday, November 25, 2012
Rollin' in $$$
We had a fun weekend with the Think Pawsitive crew over in New Berlin. It shouldn't take a genius to figure this out, but the more I go over there, the better I get to know everyone. Maybe some day I'll actually garner up the guts to ask someone to video. Alas, until then you are stuck with course maps and recaps.
We got up at 3:45 a.m. on Saturday to make the drive over. Yay.... There is no other reason on this planet that I would ever get up at that time. But for agility? Sure!
I was kind of "meh" over starting with Standard. It's nice to start with Gamblers to get them on the equipment, but then again we are reaching the point where certain dogs need to put on their big girl panties and just do the darn equipment.
Both dogs were entered in P2 Standard, our only "conflict" of the weekend, really. I was able to space them out to be the first and last dogs in the class, so I think there were seven between -- not bad at all.
Kaiser was up first and he did great right up until the a-frame, which he ran around. Refusals are called at contacts in Advanced. But that's okay, he added to his faults with a bounce off the table. First one since we started USDAA, though, I'll give him that!
Secret got her NQ out of the way right away with a refusal at the teeter. It was barely a refusal because I caught her quickly -- she was seriously just going to run right on by it without a second thought. She didn't seem scared or hesitant about it at all; apparently she just didn't feel like doing it? After that she ran well up until the weaves. About seven poles in or so she just stopped and started sniffing the pole up and down. I attempted to get her to keep going from that point but she popped, turned around and got a better sniff. For the record, she was not the only dog to do this so I don't know if there was something going on with the poles or what.... After back-weaving a few poles she reset and finished the course well, albeit with faults.
Gamblers was the second course of the day. Only Secret was entered since Kaiser would have had to be in the same class. I kind of deflated when I saw the teeter in the gamble AGAIN. Apparently we can't catch a break. The line was not bad on this one, though, so I held out hope.
Our path was: Jump (the one in the middle right), a-frame, tunnel, weaves (7), jump, chute, a-frame and then right as she went over the next jump the buzzer sounded and we were able to sail right into the gamble. I guess that worked out well! I had originally planned to throw in the tunnel after the chute, but her weaves weren't that fast and I figured we were getting close on time.
At any rate, Secret did the teeter without hesitation (yay!), but then stood there and barked at me. As our NADAC Chances success has shown, sometimes it works to stand there and gesticulate towards the tunnel. After doing a spin/bark maneuver at me, Secret did go out to take the tunnel and finished under time. She had the most points and got 1st place!
Apparently NADAC has forever ruined me with regard to the dog crossing over the line. How much easier would it have been to call Secret back over and send her out?? Sheesh. Maybe next time...
Kaiser's P2 Pairs run was up next. There were only 2 P2 dogs entered, so our partner was a given -- a fast young Golden Retriever, Ricochet. Our partner was not fond of how close the 1-2-3 sequence was set on the top side, so she asked if they could do the first half. I figured it didn't much matter, as Kaiser can blow his dog walk as easily as his teeter, so we took the second half.
Ricochet went into the wrong side of the first tunnel, which thankfully isn't an E in Advanced, but it is 10 faults to make up. She knocked a bar at 7, too, unfortunately. Kaiser ran his half clean (sadly with a lot of stuttering), but we ended up being about 10 seconds over qualifying with the faults added. Oh well. He's just moved up to P2 and has a lot of Q's to go, so I'm not too upset about it. :o)
Steeplechase/PSJ was up next. Kaiser ran clean, but his jumping was just AWFUL in this run. It was almost painful to get him through it. He ended up well over the qualifying cut-off. I was thankful he wouldn't have to do an extra run....
Secret always does better on the courses with two a-frames and this one was no exception. I did a front cross from 3-4 and then front crossed after the a-frame, but I think my close proximity to the tunnel did not help her speed coming out and into the weaves. Her weaves were slow, but she picked up speed nicely after that. I finished with all front crosses except for the finish -- I ran the right side of the a-frame and pushed to 18.
Wouldn't you know it, but Secret won the class! She was the second-fastest 22" dog, but that dog had a fault. Because of the smoking fast 16" class, Secret was the only 22" dog to qualify. Huh. Go figure! Good job baby dog!
The day ended with Jumpers. I handled 1-5 on the right, which might not have been the most motivating for Secret. She got a little sticky around 9-10-11 and in a blunder of stupidity I found myself stuck on the outside from 11 to 12.... But hey, apparently Secret found this loads of fun because she picked up speed to race me. She ended this run very nicely and got 2nd place, but was just 5 seconds under course time. Yeah, end of the day runs are not so speedy for Secret.
After his PSJ round, I was glad I had not entered Kaiser in Jumpers on Saturday.
Today started with Jumpers, which is always a fun way to start the day for Secret. She rocked this course! She was also in a fun, playful mood as we waited, which equals speedy Secret. I got a short running head start and got in a front cross from 2-3. From there it was single-sided handling through 7. When walking I planned to front cross between 6-7, but Secret was actually hauling ass and there was no way I could make it. I did a shoulder pull to the correct side of the tunnel and prayed that it wouldn't get a refusal (rear crossing tunnels = not so fun in Secret's book) -- but she barreled into the tunnel without hesitation.
I admit I kind of took my eye off her for a moment, so I didn't exactly see the crash at 9. I know she took out both bars on the jump, though. If I had to speculate, I think she extended coming out of the tunnel and misjudged the short space between 8-9. It took me by surprise because she never knocks bars -- and it surprised her, too, but she recovered nicely.
I was proud of her because the judge was standing right in the crook of the 11/16 tunnel, but Secret didn't hesitate there at all. I did, though, which put me behind and necessitated a rear cross at 13. I booked it for a blind cross before the tunnel, though, and Secret didn't have a problem with the tunnel curving in the "wrong direction" as she has in the past. She finished well and had a great time! She would have been tied for 4th in this class, but she was over 11 seconds under course time! I was really happy with this run.
Kaiser did get to run Jumpers today. One thing I've noticed with him is that he seems to run better at USDAA trials when I stay close to him. This is the polar opposite of how he is at NADAC trials.... But at 12", apparently it wigs him out if I get too far ahead of him. So in Jumpers I made it a point to try to stay as even as I could with him and as a result, his jumping was much better! It also helped that there were a couple of tunnels I could send him to, as that seems to pick him up a bit as well.
Kaiser ended up clean but with 3 time faults. This would be because I hesitated and did a rear cross at the 15 tunnel and because Mom was being a loony, he came back out and it took me a couple of seconds to realize this. Then he shot wide and went around 16, which I was able to prevent him from back-jumping, but it kicked us over time. Oh well. I was just happy that he was jumping better!
Up next was the reason I stuck around for Sunday -- Snooker for Secret. She just needs one more Q to move up to P3 in this class where the real fun starts. :o)
She had a LOVELY run. I think my scanner cut off the bottom, but the rules were that you had to start at one of the start/finish runs and finish at the opposite. We started at the bottom and did 1-6, 1-5, a REALLY CLOSE call-off at jump 4 (phew!), 1-5 and then got to six when she knocked a bar. That's 33 points and apparently that's not enough to qualify. I don't know what you need -- 38 rings a bell? Bummer.
I don't know what's up with the two knocked bars today, but I'm going to guess she was just tired/sore from yesterday. Two days of NADAC is one thing, but two days of USDAA is probably a bit harder. She's also overdue for a chiro appointment, as I wasn't able to get her in before this trial.
All that was left for us was the second round of PSJ. Imagine my surprise when I went to check Secret in and saw Kaiser's name under the 12" dogs. Ummm.... I always thought you had to Q in order to move to round 2, but apparently not? The only explanation I got was that they need to "have a certain number of dogs run in the finals" or something like that. Okay, whatever -- it's a free run! I'd already told Kaiser he was done for the day, but I didn't think he'd mind running again.
I wasn't surprised to see two sets of weaves in the course today since yesterday was two a-frames. Bummer for Secret. She ran this course very nicely, though. I did a front cross from 2-3 and then did a shoulder pull and a rear cross at the 7 tunnel. When walking it I thought that shoving in a front cross after the broad jump would probably be very demotivating. I think I made the right choice as she happily drove ahead of me in to the tunnel. Her first set of weaves were slow. I took my chances with another shoulder pull/flip into the 11 tunnel and it worked, although I was late with the flip and she almost ran around the outside of the tunnel.... Secret's second set of weaves were much better and she ended the course very nicely.
I stuck with my plan of staying as close to Kaiser as I could and it was going well. I took my chances doing the same shoulder pull at 11 and just as I figured, he went into the wrong end of the tunnel. There is NO reason I couldn't have forced a front cross in there, but I was being a pansy. He then entered the weaves at the 2nd pole for some reason, which I didn't bother to correct. Despite my rotating way too early he actually managed to still get 14 and finished well, although I got ahead of him at the last jump and caused a big stutter.
Secret was something like 7 seconds slower than the 1st place 22" dog (stupid weave poles...), but an absent dog and an E made her the 2nd place dog and we won --- $5! Wheee! We're rich! lol Well, maybe not, but she bought me lunch at Burger King on the way home. It's her first payback; maybe I should have framed it? Poor Kaiser, if he would have run clean he probably would have gotten something, too, thanks to all of the absent dogs.
I stayed to work Masters Gamblers (rounding out my worker's punch card to $40 towards our next trial!) and we were still on the road around 1 p.m. Sweet! It was nice to get home at a decent hour with enough daylight to pick up the yard and get in a game of frisbee with Secret (Luke was still with my parents and didn't get home until later).
I think I'm going to try something different for our next USDAA trial, but I haven't entirely made up my mind yet. I think I'm going to let Kaiser stay with my parents and enter Luke in a couple of the Vet classes. He'll have to go back up to 16", but the a-frame is the NADAC height of 5' and I think he'll manage. I just feel bad running Kaiser like this -- Here's my dog who gets 100+ run indexes in NADAC (ie: that means he's really fast) who is stuttering and stopping on the course in USDAA. I'm hoping they adjust the jump heights soon and he can move down, but until then I just don't know how fair it is to him. I can keep running him outside since he seems to be fine there, but we don't have any outdoor trials until spring now.
I think Luke would have fun, but I'd probably limit him to Standard and Gamblers. I don't think he'd like Snooker at all. I guess we'll have to see if I get greedy and want him to get his Veterans Versatility title. :o)