Sunday, November 17, 2013

What a great weekend of AKC agility!

What a super fun weekend we had running AKC agility at Family Dog Center this weekend! It was crappy and rainy outside all weekend, too, so it was nice to be inside doing something fun instead of stuck at home all weekend unable to do anything. Granted, it would have been nice to actually see the daylight on the only two days of the week I'm not stuck inside the office, but oh well. Maybe next weekend.

As you can see in the photo above, we were fairly successful this weekend! Both dogs totally exceeded my expectations (but especially Kaiser!). As I mentioned yesterday, Secret got her Excellent Standard title yesterday and then she finished her Excellent Jumpers title today! That means we are now officially on the MACH countdown and going for the double Qs from here on out! We didn't earn our first MACH points today because I was a stupid handler and didn't call my dog, so she went off course in Masters Standard. That means her 3/4 weekend put Secret's Q-tally back on the even keel again.

Kaiser was a super good little dude! He needed one more Open Std Q to finish his title and unfortunately he had an a-frame call yesterday on what was otherwise a perfectly flawless run. I'm not arguing it -- the call was legit. It's just one of those things that happens like twice a year and unfortunately it happened there. lol No worries, though, because he managed to Q on today's course! Only thanks to one off course and one refusal being allowed..... The biggest surprise of the weekend was nailing both of his Open JWW runs! For as long as we were stuck in Novice JWW I was a little giddy to see him knock it out 3/3 once we hit Open. That means that Kaiser, too, got two shiny new titles this weekend and will be moving up to Excellent!!

Our judge this weekend was Karl Johnson and I have to say that I really enjoyed both him and the courses he brought to us! This is the first time I have met Karl, despite how very well known he is in this area (as a "local" judge). He judges quite a bit of CPE around here and I've heard several of the CPE folks grumble and groan about his tight courses, so I was excited to see what he'd bring (because I figured I'd love them!). I liked every course I ran this weekend and felt that Saturday in particular offered a good number of challenges. The courses are, indeed, quite tight -- but not in a twisty turny way so much as that obstacles are seriously right on top of each other. I thought this would be horrible for Kaiser, but it wasn't that bad. Secret is a good girl and doesn't much care, going pretty much right where I ask her to go.

We started Saturday morning with Standard. The biggest "I wonder" area on this course for me was 4-7. I wondered if I was brave enough to leave Secret on the teeter to get in a blind cross to handle 5-7 on the left. I did a throw-n-go at the start so that I'd be far enough ahead to fit in a blind between two and three. Secret hit the teeter solid and was sticking it, so I did do plan A and left her for the blind to get on the left and it worked beautifully. While walking I knew there was absolutely no good way to get in a cross between the triple and the tunnel, so I went for the rear cross and it seemed to really rev Secret up because she came blasting out of that tunnel! I sent her to the jump after the dog walk and made it easily into position for a blind between 17 and 18. It was a beautiful run for her AX title and would have been 2nd place in the Masters class and 19 MACH points.

Kaiser blessed me with what has become a rock solid start line stay on his Open Standard run. I led out to two and moved into the front cross as I released him. I did not try to cross at the teeter with Kaiser and instead did a rear cross at the tire -- there wasn't an off course jump to worry about in the Open round, so this was safe enough. Kaiser had another one of his giant wonky leaps over the apex of the a-frame and unfortunately this time he only put one stride in on the landing side, earning us our only (but non-qualifying) fault of this run. The table was easy enough to stick coming out of the weaves and then I believe I handled the closing line of jumps from the top side.

Secret would need to Q in both runs of JWW this weekend to get her AXJ title, so the pressure was on to run clean on Saturday. She took off like a bat out of hell at the start on me, completely taking away any possibility of my planned blind cross between 2 and 3. The judge was also standing out in that area, so that pulled her attention briefly and she went pretty wide, so I threw in a front cross on the landing side of 3 and called her to me. I did another rear cross at the tunnel at 5 -- and apparently she really likes those these days because she came blasting out again (and that was a 20' tunnel, so that's saying something!). From there I blinded 7-8 and again from 10-11. I forced in a super ugly front cross between 14-15 and then raced her to fit in a blind from 18-19. The majority of handlers were all handling the last three jumps from the top side, but I just didn't want to hesitate running down the line to those jumps so I pushed it. The result was that Secret definitely went wider than most dogs, but she was moving out nicely. Again I think she would have had the 2nd place time in Masters.

I led out again with Kaiser and did a front cross between 2-3 to turn him off the off-course 16 jump. After that it was pretty straightforward. I gave myself plenty of space in the weaves so that I was pretty much on the landing side of 11 when he came out of them, making it easy to do a front cross. Then I just handled the closing all on the right. He put in a beautiful 5.3yps run that was about twice as fast as anyone else in the class... Only one more JWW Q to go!

As I posted yesterday, we came home and celebrated Kizzy's birthday with a cupcake shared between everyone. I'm pretty sure that's to blame for Kaiser's tummy troubles today. I took him outside before we started today because he was acting like he needed to go out -- and he had some pretty yucky poo. That's always fun. Thankfully he seemed to get everything out of his system because he did not have any troubles the rest of the day (or he just held it in because he didn't want to have to go in the rain...).

The big dogs were up first today, which meant that Secret was about the 6th or 7th dog in the ring this morning. I learned my lesson from the last time when I left her in her crate too long and made sure to get her out in plenty of time for massage, stretching and barking (yes, barking....  ;o) ).

While walking this course I just didn't think I could safely do a blind between three and four without risking pushing Secret off course or at the very least demotivating her because it would be ugly. I figured I could play it by ear, though, and if she started slow I'd do it, and thus be able to do another front cross from 5-6. Well, getting her out early made for a happy Secret today and she took off like a shot at the start, so I threw any plans of a blind or front cross out the window and took off for the double at four. I did have to wait just a fraction of a second for her to catch up, but not long enough that I could have safely fit anything in front of her, so I just waited and did a rear cross on the landing side of 4 followed by another rear at 6. Then I did a double-blind from 8-9-10. The off-course jump after 16 was really close, so I did not race Secret down that line to risk pushing her and instead eased up and did a rear cross after she went over the triple at 17. I don't know the last time I put so many rear crosses into a course with Secret!

It worked, though, because she would have been 1st place in the Masters class -- which I know, because she accidentally got moved up in the wrong class and the results were posted with her in Masters. It would have been 10 points, even, which is pretty decent for her in JWW! We got it corrected, though, and instead won the 24" Excellent class and brought home our AXJ title! On to the quest for QQ at the Hounds for the Holidays trial!

Kaiser once again blessed me with a super duper stay at the start. I led out on the left and released him after I cleared jump two, putting me in the lead to fit in a front cross on the landing side of five. I didn't dare the double-blind sequence with Kaiser from 8-10, so I instead did a series of (late/wide) front crosses. When he hit the weaves I knew we were solid because the ending was Kaiser's very favorite thing ever -- straight and fast! Today's run was 5.1 yps and again far and away the fastest in the Open class. And of course, it was his title! Hooray!!! I can't wait to start running him on the fun courses, and now I only have to take one set of courses.  :o)

I went and flubbed up Secret's first shot at MACH points in Masters Standard today. I did a front cross on landing of the teeter and thought I was shaping Secret's path from 4-5 before I took off, but I completely failed to call her in any way, shape or form and before I knew it I looked over and she was on the dog walk! Oops! That was so completely my fault. After that she was clear, including a weave entry that many dogs were struggling with. I'm not terribly proud of my decision to do double-blinds again from the table to the chute. It did not run nearly as pretty as it did in my head, but I couldn't come up with anything much better at the time. It worked, but resulted in some wide turns. Without the fault Secret probably would have won the class, as she was just fractions behind the winning 24" dog. Darn handler.

Having moved up in JWW, I wondered if it was too much to ask of Kaiser to Q in Open Standard today to complete that title as well. It would be super awesome to not have to worry about running different classes at the big Hounds trial, after all.  :o)

I led out on the right to pull Kaiser's attention off the weaves and it worked nicely. He nailed his teeter and then hit his a-frame with no problem today. After lowering the frame to 5', the distance to the weaves was particularly short and I worried with his momentum that he wouldn't be able to hold the entry -- but no worries! Unfortunately I then managed to send him straight to the teeter with my bad feet, earning us an off course. Settle down, self, you can still Q! Kaiser nailed another table -- hooray! I planned to do 12-13 on the left and rear cross into the chute, but it was a very bad rear cross and Kaiser earned a refusal there. Umm, crap. We are getting near the limits of what you can fault and still Q! Thankfully I held it together and finished clean, so we did, in fact, Q and get our Open Standard title!!! Way to go little man. He's doing so well the last few trials!

Kizzy started off the day well and got to spend quite a bit of time in the crate inside before I took her out to the car. While she started off well, she kept getting more and more worked up and the car just worked well to give her a time out to settle down. She got to come back in again to play, but went back out to the car again when I absolutely could not get her to settle for anything. She stayed in the car after that because the day was moving so quickly. We were done by like 12:30 today!

I got so many compliments on both Kaiser and Kizzy this weekend. So many people are just enamored with them. It's been fun introducing a new breed to the AKC folks! We'll see what they think when Kizzy starts running. Hopefully it doesn't make everyone who said they want one some day change their mind. lol

I also got us all set for another ring rental this coming Saturday! More agility for Kizzy!


  1. Great job! I didnt realize Secret was tall enough to land in the 24" group. No video this time?

    1. You didn't know she's a gargantuan collie? lol I call her 23.5" and she's somewhere in that range. Never had to be measured for USDAA (or NADAC) and the experience was apparently incredibly traumatizing for her when she had to be measured for AKC. We could not get her to stand at all for the VMO. I told him, "She's 23.5"" and he said, "Are you sure? We might be able to get that lower." I knew there was no way to get an honest measurement under 22" -- and twice at that -- so I said, "No, she's 23.5"". That's what he put her as, so that's what is on her height card. If anything she's possibly closer to 24", but I live in denial.

      I feel like I haven't had trial video in forever. The people I know best at the AKC trials around here are with me in the 24" class. I haven't felt comfortable enough to ask anyone else yet, but I should because everyone seems to video for everyone.... Honestly, I didn't even take my camera to this trial. Totally forgot on Saturday and then walked out the door without it on Sunday, too.

  2. Wow she is probably one of the tallest border collies out there! That is really tall, and we have Epic who is around 22.5" and seems so much bigger than the rest of our guys. Actually that may be a good thing as long as she jumps those 24" jumps fine since the 20" group is so big - kinda nice to be in 24. They have a new rule at Nationals too where you have to enter the height that you measure into (or anyone can enter 26"). Before there were some people who should be running in 20" that entered 24" so they would have a better chance of making finals.
    Bummer about the video, but I can tell you that anytime someone I dont know has asked me to video for them, I have happily done it. Pretty girls should have no trouble with that!

    1. Yes, I have not felt bad for not getting to be part of the mammoth 20" class. :o) Actually, at all of the smaller trials here in town the 24" class has been pretty much even with the 20" class -- it's the 16" group that rules the roost here. I know in the bigger cities around here it's different, but we do still have a fairly sizable 24" entry, it seems.

      I'm excited about our upcoming trial. It's a 3-ring ordeal (spanning 4 days, but we are only going for one) and I can't wait to see how many dogs are in the 24" Master class and how Secret stacks up against them. She's definitely better off in that group, as her style/type is much more similar to the dogs we see in the 24" class (Labs, Tervs, Dobies, etc.) than the slinky little Border Collies in the 20" class. But we definitely don't see too many fellow Borders in the 24" class, that's for sure.

      Her mom is on the tall side, although not so tall as Secret (and her brother, who is pretty much the same). We don't know how much is related to them being altered so young (@ 10 weeks), and nor do we know what Dad contributed to the gene pool. :) I was horrified when she kept growing as a puppy.... Not much you can do but accept it, though! lol

      I will remember your advice for videoing. :o)

  3. I still had my run order from the 2013 AKC Nationals and the 24" group had 143 dogs entered, 16" had 259, and 20" had a massive 444 dogs! Secret probably stacks up pretty well against those in her height group. We have a 4 day, 3 ring trial coming up in February that is always crazy. Should be fun!

  4. Congrats-you guys are doing great in AKC!

    When I got Legend, I thought she would be bigger. I love her being small enough to fit pretty well into mlap, but I don't love that she had to jump 20 inches. Part of the reason we never did USDAA.