Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kizzy's First Trial!

Ta da! And there you have it, Kizzy's first trial experience caught on film.  :o)

Yesterday was not a Q-filled day for Kizzy. In fact, there were no Qs earned by the Kizzy-dog. It was, however, a very good experience for her and there is no doubt that she found the experience FUN FUN FUN. After having my last two agility dogs go through a lot of stress at the start of their trial careers, it's kind of nice to not be dealing with that this time. Is she distracted and a bit of an airhead at times? Sure, but you can tell she finds the whole experience to be loads of fun.

The Novice courses were very nice this weekend. On the first round of Regular I was really just unsure of one section after the weaves where I didn't feel like I'd successfully be able to get in a front cross. Again, maybe I need to work a little harder on teaching a rear cross one of these days. Seems like a good basement project for the winter, yes?

Kizzy started off just great and got her dog walk contact. Then as I went to front cross for a serpentine she got sucked back into a jump that she'd just gone over. Apparently that area had been giving dogs problems all day and there were even a few treats found on the floor?! What the heck? After our class was done they went back there and sprayed the heck out of the floor to try to take care of whatever was distracting everyone.

I managed to get Kizzy's attention back on me, but then she saw the a-frame and went for it, since it's her newest favorite obstacle. She came back to me and we continued. She almost got her weaves and I decided not to push it on the first run and kept going. I didn't make the front cross and we fuddled around a bit while I got her on the correct side and then we finished with a missed a-frame contact and running on the inside of the last hoop -- but we finished together and I got her harness back on quick & easy!

I was looking forward to the second run because I knew I could fit in front crosses no problem in that direction. Unfortunately I didn't get to test that theory because after doing three obstacles Kizzy high-tailed it out of the ring. I had no idea what caused it until I watched the video back and heard Secret start barking as Kizzy went over the a-frame. I'm quite positive it was the same scenario as the other night, when Kaiser barked at another dog and Kizzy felt she had to go help. She wasn't much help, however, as she ran straight down the back aisle and into the gift shop where someone snagged her. Someone went back into the crate and did not get treats. What a bummer.

I decided to add Novice Hoopers to Kizzy's day after that as another training opportunity. It was a numbered Hoopers course, so basically Jumpers without jumps. I hadn't originally entered this class because I didn't know if hoops were "exciting" enough to keep Kizzy's attention, but it was better than nothing. I also employed friends to guard the doors for this run just to make sure that it wouldn't become a habit. Kizzy was on the lookout during that run and made one scamper towards the door, but she STOPPED and came back! Had the doorway not have been blocked she would have left the ring at the end of the run, so thankfully we learned that was not an option. She still didn't feel like play time should end, though, so we did have a bit of a game of keep-away when it was time to put the leash on. Thankfully she didn't go into one of her full-fledged zoomie episodes and instead just sat and bounced & growled around my hands. I finally got her to sit and put the harness over her head and we were good.

I am thrilled with her Jumpers run to end the day! Kizzy got ahead of me and ran past jump three, but I elected to not fix it and just keep going forward. That ended up being her only fault of the run and she did so well (we won't speak for me, who forced in an ugly front cross at the end). AND at the end of the run she was fully focused on me and didn't even look at the door. I will note that for this run I decided to go the NADAC-allowed route of running with her treat bag in my pocket. I don't know if that made a difference or not, but I'll probably try it again at the next NADAC trial to see what happens. Right now this is mostly about building good ring habits and learning the ropes.

Everyone else did great on their limited runs yesterday, too! Kaiser continued on his awesome streak from Friday with super awesome runs in Regular and Jumpers. His Regular run was the fastest in the class; I didn't get a chance to compare his Jumpers run and unfortunately I didn't even get the yardage so I don't know how many YPS that course was... Chances was another NQ, unfortunately, so he is still sitting at 4 away from NATCH 2, as he has been for the longest time.

Luke was Mr. Naughtypants on the dog walk in his Regular run, so I schooled it. Not entirely sure why because I was just running him for fun, but I figured we may as well since it was an NQ anyhow. The rest of his run was nice, save for the failed turn around the barrel on the first attempt. Luke also NQ'd in Chances with a very, very strange "come in" on a lateral send and I have no idea why. Oh well. Apparently I shall never Q in Chances ever again. I'm pretty positive Secret would have Q'd on this course, but she would have hated it and I was glad she was not entered.

Secret was super awesome for her one run of the day! She just had loads and loads of fun on that course for some reason. If you watch the video, check out her weaves!! Holy bananas, that's the fastest she has weaved in a trial for a very long time! Ignore my stupidity at the dog walk. I entered her in that run for the SOLE PURPOSE of training her dog walk that had been so very naughty the day before. She stuck a paw in the contact on her way through without stopping. I immediately stopped and then stood there with her barking at me while I contemplated what to do. There should have been NO question. This dog does not need Regular Qs in NADAC. I need to get a handle on what is happening to her dog walk at trials as she starts to get "higher" while running. I *should* have trained it. Argh. Stupid idiot, I took the Q. That said, if you factor in the 8 seconds that I stood there like an idiot, her run would have been just about one second slower than Kaiser's first round. For Secret that is fantastic! She still somehow managed to get first place in the 16" class with the wasted time, so I don't know if everyone crashed and burned or what.

There was part of me that really, really wanted to go back to the trial today and enter a few more runs with Kizzy. I'm glad I opted to stay home, though, because we all needed a day to be bums. It's been snowing lightly most of the day, too, which is another good reason to stay home. The girls and I decided to see what it's like to run in the snow and it didn't go too badly! Secret wore her Back on Track coat because it was 12 degrees outside, but Kizzy seems to handle the cold just fine. I might have to dig Secret's booties out, though, because she did try to stop and chew at her feet a couple of times.

Other than that we've had a quiet day. I'm hoping the snow stops soon so that I don't have to dig us out in the morning. The original forecast was that we could see like 6" of snow, but unless something crazy happens the radar looks like we're about done here and we probably only have an inch or so. It's quite a bit worse over by Milwaukee and Madison, so I was very thankful that I didn't have to deal with this for my drive on Friday!

Today I got our confirmations for the January AKC trial in Cannon Falls. Just Secret & Kaiser are playing there, as there is no way I'd feel comfortable running Kizzy in a big open dirt arena just yet. I think I'll probably hold off on entering her in AKC until we have a few more successful experiences, so it could easily be March or so before that happens. We'll see. Today I was looking around and found that the Oshkosh Kennel Club (a facility that has been recommended that I check out for AKC trials) is having a fun run on New Years Day. If the weather is nice, we may just make the drive over to check it out.


  1. That was fun to watch Kizzy. I think she has some serious potential once she learns how to focus and ignore outside stuff. :)

  2. Kizzy sure had a good time it seemed. That has to be the most laid back judge I have ever seen at about 35 seconds into the video, just kicking back resting on the dogwalk. I am glad you kept it flowing and happy even if it meant not going back to pick up obstacles she missed - I think that is the right choice at this early point - not a Q! Good job!

    1. lol.... That's Lorne for you. The fact that he was judging played a large part in my decision to throw Kizzy in this trial. He's so easygoing and understanding, especially with new dogs. When Secret was first starting out, he was one of the first judges she encountered who was in the ring with us (most NADAC judges stay on the outside of the ring). She was *freaked out.* Lorne actually had me stay after the trial and helped me work on this with her. He's just the nicest guy ever and not much bothers him.

      In general, I think most NADAC judges are going to be more forgiving to quirky novice Klee Kai behavior than those in AKC or USDAA. At least that's my perception and why I feel safer doing these trials with Kizzy to iron out a few kinks before hitting the big show. :) Plus you can't discount the great friends I have at these trials who are most understanding and have already been through the training of one Klee Kai with me. lol

  3. That was great! She has so much potential!
    It is so hard with a new dog: do I go back & fix? Do I continue? Do I run like I train? Or do I babysit? ??? You made good decisions :)

    1. Thanks! :o) I think it's easier when you KNOW things are not anywhere near perfect and don't have any expectations of getting a Q. lol My number one goal was for her to have a fun experience and try to avoid the ring stress that both Kaiser & Secret went through. Sometimes things derail and you have to stop to refocus, but at this stage of the game she's only going to make mistakes because A: I haven't taught her yet or B: I didn't handle it properly. Trials are not the time nor place to train either of those things, so just run and have fun!

      Now we'll just see if I can continue to run her like this or if I'll get greedy. :o) Hopefully I stay strong and continue to do what is best for Kizzy.

      I have a feeling that she will end up being a fairly good mixture of Kaiser and Secret. I think she'll have more of Kaiser's speed and love for the game but will be a little less likely to choose her own path and, like Secret, follow me around the course a little more. Time will tell, I could be totally wrong! hahaha