Saturday, September 28, 2013
Champs 2013 -- Day 3
The highs and lows of agility.... This morning I found out that there had been a scoring error last night. One of the dogs (the dog who happens to be pounding our entire class) was erroneously given 30 faults on a clean run (reviewed by video), so when the scoring was redone the whole class was bumped down one placing. It didn't do anything to Kaiser's overall standing, but it did change his 1st place to a 2nd. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.
And Round 5 was definitely a "lose some" round for Kaiser and I.... It was a three hour wait between our walk through and Kaiser's run (the first of my dogs today). In that time I managed to leave the screaming hooligan (i.e., Kizzy...) in the stall to watch some runs. And after watching said runs I started to doubt my plan with Kaiser and decided, on the fly, that I simply had to change my handling plan and do something that I hadn't even considered walking... Fast dog after fast dog (hell, even some slower ones) were all missing a turn and taking an off course hoop. That was my biggest concern with Kaiser on that course, so I stupidly decided at the last minute to rear cross that sequence.
Dumbest idea of my life. Taking the 10 off course faults and having a happy dog would have been better. I was stressing out hardcore before the run because I was sincerely worried about my change of plans. Gah, what is wrong with me... At any rate, Kaiser started off much slower than usual and was already hesitating coming out of the tunnel two obstacles before the problem spot (because he thought I was nuts, no doubt). Well, the rear cross did get the turn away that I needed, but Kaiser was so thrown off by me at that point that he ran off to a different off course obstacle. We recovered and he was good for a while, but then for some reason he pushed WAY out to another off course hoop on the way to the a-frame. Sigh. Twenty faults and a lot of time wasted. The only consolation was that much of the class struggled in this round, but it still bumped Kaiser right back down to 11th place. He is way out of finals contention.
Luke's run was nearly perfect. There was one part that I tried to handle with too much distance for no reason at all and he slowed down and was unsure for a couple of strides, but otherwise it was just beautiful. He pulled another 6th place with that round and moved into 11th place -- which I believe is the last dog to go into the finals. The placements/scores in the dogs from like 5th-11th is amazingly tight and could flop around very easily.
I apparently screwed up Secret's run this morning. The start was hoop, hoop, "out tunnel" under the dog walk. I did a little lead out and was well in position for the out and she appeared to be going to the tunnel. I focused too much on getting into position to blind cross her exit to the tunnel and she pulled on to the dog walk ramp. Then she argued at me a bit and wasted a little more time before going into the tunnel, after which she ran a FANTASTIC course. I'm not entirely sure what's going on here in Springfield, but she is easily running faster than I think she ever has in a trial. It's fun to see! On the other hand, she's kind of turned into a naughty brat here, too, because today she decided she was going to try to jump up and grab the shirt of anyone who walked near us. Ummm.... What? Something to watch closely tomorrow. At any rate, she ended up 12th in that round. Easily within shot of the ribbons without that fault, but oh well.
This post is void of pictures because the ribbons from Round 5 had not been posted by end of day today and because my friend, Jen, visited us and I didn't spend time hanging in the stall with the dogs. Sorry dogs.
Round 6.... Hmm. Sharon held a briefing following team and before the walk-through. There have been a lot of briefings and rule changes (this morning Sharon added faults for anyone who didn't go to the start line when they were supposed to, anyone who didn't finish the course running with their dog and anyone who turned to look at the clock before they had their dog on leash). Surprise, surprise -- Sharon threw EGC into Champs. Round 6 was the "speed course" of the week and consisted only of hoops and tunnels. It was to be scored like EGC, which more or less means if your dog misses an obstacle JUST KEEP GOING because you've already lost those points and you are just wasting time if you fix it. Wide turns and alterations of path are also dinged, to a lesser level. Sharon repeatedly stressed that you were supposed to JUST RUN on this course.
Much like Round 5 this morning, Round 6 also shuffled the standings a bit. Many of the dogs who have been placing very low made it into the ribbons with their slower yet clean & accurate runs. Quite a few of the top dogs picked up several faults.
After stressing Kaiser out so badly this morning I honestly just wanted to go out and have fun with him. He was ready, but a little wild. :o) We had a wide turn on a serpentine into a tunnel and then he cut in and missed the hoop after that tunnel, likely thanks to my handling choice in that spot. He also sliced a turn and missed a hoop before a tunnel -- but every single one of my dogs missed that hoop (as did many, many other dogs). Seriously. Every one of my dogs. You'd think I'd learn? At any rate, apparently he had a couple of wide turns because Kaiser ended up with 22 faults for 10th place in his class. It actually moved him back into 9th overall, though, which tells you how much the scores shuffled in his class.
Luke was super awesome. I really pushed him on this run and he ran great. I'm pretty sure I was likely the only person to throw in two blind crosses through an "S-shaped" sequence, but it worked beautifully for Luke. As I mentioned above, he did miss the one hoop and then he turned wide on a 180 hoop sequence. He ended up with 11 faults and 16th place, but the 12" Vet/JH class was one where things REALLY got shook up in the placings and despite placing 16th, Luke actually moved into 9th overall. That class was one where dogs who previously were nowhere near the top were in the ribbons and it really reordered things. I'm quite certain that Luke's group takes 11 into the finals. It's so tight in there, but we just have to keep it clean and I think we'll be good!
Secret shocked the hell out of me tonight. This is a dog who doesn't like Hoopers and she doesn't like Tunnelers because she finds neither of those obstacles highly motivating. Well... She's on crack this week and apparently tonight they were loads of fun! I threw the same blind cross sequence at Secret that had worked so well with Luke, but Secret was hauling ass through there and I was late on the second one. I had to scoop her up from behind me (fault) to get her in the tunnel and then she missed that one dratted hoop. She must have gone wide on the 180 sequence for another ding because she ended up with 12 faults and finished in 12th place in her class. But get this -- she was over two seconds faster than Luke's run, and I thought his run was great! Wow. That is really fast for Secret. I look forward to seeing the video for that run. Secret remains firmly in 15th place with really no hope of going higher (or lower, unless she gets a bazillion faults).
So.... This week is definitely not going quite as hoped for the little K-man. The faults have just added up too much for us. I was really hoping for a placement or two for Secret -- and we still have one more shot, so we'll see what tomorrow holds. My steady, reliable dog forgot to come with us this week, but who the hell cares -- this dog is pretty fun to run! :o) After coming so close to the finals in 2011 with Luke, I'm really proud of him and how well he's stepped up to the challenge. I've pushed him all week and he's been amazing. Rock on, old man.