Friday, December 6, 2013

Hounds AKC Trial

We are home from our 12-hour round trip to the Hounds for the Holidays AKC trial! I figured since tomorrow is a totally separate trial -- and Kizzy's first! -- I should make sure to get both updates in their own posts.  :o)

You can see above that there are three ribbons. But surprise! Kaiser was the one to bring home two today! This was his first time running in Excellent and he had a great day. Had he been in Masters he would have brought home 41 speed points! What a good little man.

Secret started the day a little off and it was totally my fault. I was looking at the schedule and saw that JWW didn't start until 8:30 and we followed the large 20" group of 60-70 dogs. In my head I was thinking I was safe to show up at 9:30, but figured I should be save and leave at 6:00 a.m. to arrive at 9:00. Umm, yeah. It's JWW, it runs a little faster than Standard you dingbat!

I was setting up my crates when I heard them announce that they were walking 26"/24" JWW in the ring next to me. Oh good lord, the dogs were still in the car! Thankfully Secret wasn't first on the line or anything, but I still had to check in, find my stickers, find course maps (that had to wait), and of course -- walk the course. I was so flustered...

Thankfully it was a pretty nice course that wasn't too complicated. It was also nice that I knew I had a second walk-through coming, so I only had to focus on what I needed to do for Secret in this run. The only real, "Hmm, what should I do" spot on this course was from the 14 jump to the tunnel. There were all sorts of different handling methods used down that line, but I knew I could beat Secret to the tunnel to handle it all on the left, so that's what I planned for.

I managed to get Secret to go potty on the trip from the car to the crate. When we walked through the doors to the arena, though, she went a little wiggy on me. Granted, it's been a long time since we've ran agility in a location where we've never been before, so I most definitely should have been better prepared... Secret basically crawled along behind me with her tail between her legs, totally overwhelmed by everything around us. I planted her in her crate and let her sit there to adjust as long as I could.

She was barky and happy as we approached our turn in the ring several minutes later. She seemed ready to go, but pretty much from the beginning she was being a looky-loo. The judge was standing over by the weaves and Secret snapped her head over towards the judge just as we were coming into that obstacle. By the grace of god I managed to get her nose into the correct weave entrance and she stayed in, but man those were some slow weaves...

After that it did get much better, though. I did have to babysit Secret more than I had planned in the 9-13 sequence, but I still managed to beat her out of the turn and then she turned it on to race me down the line. She finished clean for her first Masters Q and 8 MACH points.

Kaiser didn't get a terribly long time to settle, either. I had left him in the car for Secret's run and brought him in when we were done (leaving Kizzy in the car since Kaiser was going to be up shortly, which she did NOT like). Thankfully Kaiser doesn't seem to have a problem adjusting to this sort of thing anymore and he was unfazed. He was the first dog after the walk-through, so we went and sat at the start line and played and did tricks to wait for it to start. We had several people come up and ask questions about him -- more fan club members!

With Kaiser I asked for a stay at the start and led out to fit in a front cross between 3 and 4 (with Secret I blinded). He was a happy little bugger so I was able to easily send him out over 12-14 while I kept moving ahead to get in place to beat him down the line. He didn't turn on the burners quite as much as he does over a straight line (thankfully), so I was still ahead as he went over 17, so the correct tunnel entrance was obvious to him. Unfortunately I was so far ahead of him that my motion more or less stopped as he went into the tunnel and I think he was unsure of what I was doing. I think he was contemplating coming back out of the tunnel entrance because he took a goodly amount of time to make his way out, but thankfully out the correct end.  :o)  Clean run with what would have been 20 PACH points! In JWW! Holy cow!

Secret's Standard run was up next and the only thing I was unsure about was the flip from the a-frame to the tunnel. We haven't, umm... practiced that. We did practice flipping from the dog walk to the tunnel this fall, though, so I thought maybe she'd figure it out. And goodness, that tunnel was WAY out there, so running dog on right did not seem like a good solution through that section.

As it turns out, Secret was a freaky little beast at the start of that run and completely jumped off the side of the dog walk contact. Well, so much for that. I verbally corrected her for that little stunt, but I don't think she even heard me -- or at least it didn't affect her at all, which surprised me (because honestly, I felt bad for saying it after it came out of my mouth, it sounded much harsher than I typically even think of being with her). After that, though, the run was lovely!

The weaves were much better than in JWW, which was nice to see. I kind of left her on the teeter to get ahead and that was no problem. I sent Secret over 9 and blind crossed as I called her back over 10 and handled 11 from the left. I think I was one of about 2% of handlers that opted for handling 11 from that side. So many handlers were post-turning 9-10 and then standing there to rear cross the tunnel. So not motivating for those that are motivationally challenged... I started to doubt myself as I watched handler after handler doing the same thing, but then I remembered, "Don't be an idiot" and stuck with my plan. It worked beautifully.

Seeing as we'd already NQ'd the run, I figured I may as well see if my dog knows how to flip into a tunnel off the a-frame. It was SUPER AWESOME! You'd think we trained it every day! lol The panel jump following the tunnel had these weird wings that were like dogs sitting pretty. Honestly I worried that Secret would be wigged out by them, but she didn't notice. I did a blind between 18 and the chute to end the course dog on left. It would have been 16 MACH points, which is actually a little lower than her average lately (19), but still pretty nice.

Kaiser was a good boy for his run, but he had an off start. I led out a little to beat him to the end of the dog walk, but after I released him and was running ahead I heard this fairly loud, "THUD." I looked back and saw the poor little guy literally *crawling* at the top of the up-ramp.  :o(  Poor wee man, I guess he face-planted the entrance. I felt so bad for him and he took it pretty easy to the bottom of the dog walk. He was fine through the weaves and then very cautious on the teeter. Can't blame the poor dude.

I worried if I'd get the turn at 9 or if he'd sail over the start jump, but he was listening and turned nicely. I handled 11 the same way with him as I had Secret and it worked equally as well for him. Still have no idea why everyone was so stuck on the post turn...

The judge was kind to not call a refusal at the table, as Kaiser kind of stalled out before hopping up (I seriously hate that stupid short table, I'd rather he actually have to jump up on something and then I'd be less worried about him flying off!). Our judge was apparently very intrigued by Kaiser because as she was doing our table count she completely forgot to get into place to judge the a-frame contact. Kaiser left the table like a little bullet (because WHEEEE! A-frame!) and the judge scrambled and said, "Oh shoot!" as we blasted past her. hahaha  She totally missed his entire contact. It was a higher hit for him, but he did get it. I hadn't worried about the turn at all with him because there was absolutely nothing he could have gone off course to, so I just called him back and sent him through the tunnel, then handled the ending of the course from the inside. Another clean run that would have been 21 more PACH points (thanks to that super slow dog walk). Sweet.

Kizzy was a rock star today as well! I'm not sure if she prefers the stacked crates where she gets to be up higher or what (we will try that tomorrow...), but she was very good and barely made any noise at all. In fact, I kept getting confused because there was a dog down the wall from us that sounded exactly like her, but every time I checked it was that dog and not Kizzy making the noise.

We got in lots of play time all over the arena and even got Kizzy's very first VMO measurement! She came in at 13.25" and I didn't argue it. I figured that was what she was (and I didn't even try to get her to "measure down" because what's the point?). There was at least one more VMO present (one of the judges) and I kind of hovered around to see if I might be able to get her height card out of the way today, but everyone seemed quite busy and I decided not to worry about it. With this first measurement out of the way we don't have to worry about getting measured until we run into another VMO, so it's all good.

Tomorrow is the big day! Kizzy's debut! I'm pretty excited.  :o)  I called Family Dog Center on my way home and added a few runs since I was going to get home earlier than I'd anticipated and wouldn't need to worry about sleeping in for the first classes. I put Kaiser and Luke in one Regular run each and, after her little stunt in Standard today, Secret now gets to run one round of Regular as well and that dog walk WILL be trained if she decides to do her own thing again. I debated entering her in Chances since she will be there, but no, she's done with NADAC. I'm not going to make her do something she hates.

Tune in for video of tomorrow -- I will make sure it happens!

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