Sunday, February 16, 2014

Audition & UKI update (LOTS of course maps!)

We are home from our two-day trip to Minneapolis and Secret is showing you what we've done all day.  :o)  I did go out to shovel this morning and then we played frisbee, but aside from that we've been inside all day, which is probably a shame since it's actually been sunny and somewhere in the 20s, temperature-wise.

Yes, I shoveled again. Because it snowed yesterday. Because the weather ALWAYS does something crappy when I have a road trip planned. It was actually clear and sunny on Friday, which was a nice change, but yesterday we got a couple more inches of snow while at the trial and the roads were horrid on the drive home. Once again we ended up tacking on an extra 45 minutes to our drive home.

The photo shoot (audition) on Friday went super well! We arrived around 2:45, so we were hitting the end of the two-day shoot and the wait wasn't too terrible. I had plenty of time to walk the two dogs that weren't having their picture taken, followed by the little ones. I left everyone in the car and waited until we got closer to Kaiser & Kizzy's spot before bringing them in. I found myself a great little waiting spot in a corner alcove that allowed me to keep Kizzy distracted and playing so that she wouldn't start screaming at the other dogs. This was perfect and she actually didn't make a peep (aside from all the growling and carrying on over her toys).

They both went in at the same time and Barbara took some new shots of Kaiser first. He was a good boy like always and was happy that we just had a white paper floor and not that slippery fake wood stuff like last time.

Kizzy also did super awesome for her shots with Barbara! She may not have held her stay quite as long as Kaiser, but she did a very good job all things considered -- and since she'd just been tugging for the last 10 minutes or so she definitely had that happy-go-lucky panting thing going on for her pictures, too. Target should eat that up.

After the single shots were done, Barbara asked if we could get some shots of them together posed with her assistant's fuzzy winter boots. She is building a series of this type of shot and was excited to get one with the Klee Kai. I hope she got one that turned out okay, because this one was a bit more challenging. Kaiser was not thrilled about being placed next to someone's boots and Kizzy was starting to lose her mind a little and was really struggling with her stay at this point. Hindsight being what it is, I probably should have switched them around so that Kizzy was closer to me, but we were a bit rushed for time as it was nearly 4:00 and there were still several people waiting their turn.

Everyone survived the hotel stay. I was thankful that our bed had a solid frame, so no wee Klee Kai could go exploring for unknown nasties. I wish all hotels had those! There was a herd of elephants in the room above us, but thankfully they seemed to go to bed at a decent hour. I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a dog door, as taking four dogs out on leash and attempting to pick up poop really sucks. Especially when your fingers are so frozen that they stop working.

We got to the trial site (Agile Canines Training School) just a bit after 7:30, which is when they said the doors opened. I had no idea where I was going and parked in the wrong lot, which meant hauling all of my stuff the length of a city block through the snow. It wouldn't have mattered, as the lot was already completely full and there was no space to crate around the edges of the room already. Apparently all of these people knew how cramped it would be for space and arrived very early.... This meant we had to do my least-favorite thing and crate in the dead center of the room, but it actually didn't go too badly and all of the dogs were really well-behaved.

I'm just posting the Champion Gamblers map for this class because they are all almost identical. The Beginner/Novice class ended at the teeter but had the same line. The Senior class ended at the tunnel, same line. As you see, the Champion class had to push out to the jump (if you chose Option 2).

Short story (because this is going to be very long) --- Kizzy was the first dog on the line and I had like no time to get her focused and connected. She took off like a bat out of hell and randomly grabbed some jumps as she careened around the ring. I had called this run as an NFC before we started and had her toy, but not even that interested her. I was able to collect her at the end of the run by kneeling on the floor and waiting until she rolled over onto her back. This is appearing to turn into her default trial behavior, but whatever, I'll take it.

Kaiser's path was the start jump up over the dog walk through the tunnel up into the weaves, over the jump, back to the weaves and the buzzer sounded as we were approaching the dog walk again (thanks to several issues that caused us to waste time). I ran with him through the gamble and took the 10 point option. He got a Q/1st for 6 points!

This was a horrible, horrible day for Kaiser. I'm not sure if one thing in particular was to blame or if it was more a combination of the crappiest floor we've ever ran on, the awful dim lighting or courses that hurt his confidence. I think the first two are more to blame because we weren't trying any "fancy crap" in Gamblers and he started off right out of the gate with massive jumping issues and was hesitant about everything. I have not seen him jump this poorly at 8" EVER. He will never return to this facility.

Secret seemed to manage better, but she was not fond of the floor, either. She put in a really, really nice Gamblers run, though! I was not going to do the weaves with Secret, so her route was to go through the tire to the tunnel, up and around to the a-frame, back around the right side to the dog walk and then we wasted time on jumps near the gamble because the darn buzzer hadn't sounded yet. I could have been called for loitering because it was taking so long. Who expected Secret to be going that fast?  ;o)  I also opted to run with Secret for the gamble, which she nailed -- She actually had more opening points and a faster time, but she got 2nd in the class because the 1st place dog did the gamble from behind the line for 15 points.

Novice Agility was up next and it was another NFC run for Kizzy. She did a few more obstacles this time.  :o)  She didn't get her weaves, but she tried a few. I opted to finish the course at this point by going straight up to the chute and out -- She ended on a very good note with the chute, teeter and tire!! Again I think I waited for her to roll over and scooped her up. Whatever works.

Kaiser thought this sucked. I ran with him around to the tunnel entrance and then he promptly went off course to the tunnel under the dog walk instead of coming to jump 3. My guess is that he was looking to do anything other than a jump on this footing in that lighting. Pretty sure he got called on his a-frame and then he skipped a couple of jumps. I couldn't get him to do 8, for instance, and every time I tried to send him around he went through the tunnel again so eventually we just went on. He was happy in the weaves and ended well after that point.

Champion Agility was something else. There were no qualifiers in this round. Secret was PO'd at me from the start because I thought, "She can do the backside send to the tunnel." No, I should have went with her like I did with Kaiser, because this seemed to totally throw her off and she pretty much came out of the tunnel walking and seemed so out of it that she went between jump 3 and the tunnel for a R, so that run was NQ'd. She also was not pleased with my push to the backside of 7 and almost got another R there. Her weaves were nice, as was the dog walk. I'm not sure if you can accurately tell by the course map just how short the distance was from the dog walk to jump 13, but it was insanely close. At any rate, she didn't pull through for the threadle and got an off course/E there. But yay for happy teeters!

Snakes and Ladders was up next and it took forever for me to figure out a course. Kaiser was up first and his turn was very short. I started over the start jump coming towards the gate and turned back to the jump to go to the weaves. He ran past the jump labeled 9, which wasn't a big deal so I kept going to the 4 tunnel. I called him to come over jump 16 there and he once again ran into the tunnel under the dog walk. Anything to avoid the jumps, I guess. Game over.

Kizzy did much better! Another NFC run of course. She did a few more weave poles this time and then we went down the tunnel and back up the a-frame, doing the jumps up top on the way to the chute. She ran past jump 15 and I think skipped the 3 tunnel as well, but did the 2 tunnel and did the dog walk. The buzzer went off when we were having a party with her toy. It was a really nice training run for her.

Beginner Jumpers was another good training run for Kizzy. She did the opening line nicely and I think ran by 5 & 6. We got it together for 7-10 and then Kizzy ran through the open gate into the food area which was oh-so-conveniently located RIGHT NEXT TO THE RING. Sigh. I went in and scooped her up and started over again at the weaves. She did a few more this time and around then the time buzzer sounded since so much was wasted with the food incident. I scooped Kizzy up while she was tugging again. Aside from the food area incident, she was working much better with me on that run.

I felt bad for Kaiser in his Senior Jumpers run. I could tell he was just miserable. Even sadder was the fact that any time he saw a tunnel or the weaves in front of him he just gunned it and then the jumps came back and he was sad again. We NQ'd right at 4 when I tried to do an awful flip around the right side of the jump and he R'd instead. Pretty sure he skipped 5 after that. I believe he was clean to the end at that point, but there was much sad stutter jumping.

I am so proud of Secret's Champion Jumpers run! There was 1 Q in this class and Secret was the only other dog to get through the course cleanly. Unfortunately it wasn't fast enough and we incurred 3 time faults. We probably wasted at least that much time at jump 4, as I opted to handle it differently than I had with Kaiser and it didn't work a whole lot better (although at least we kept it clean). I am tickled that she got her weave entry from that spread -- it was so close that she literally almost landed into the weave entry, so I'm very impressed that she held on to it and her weaves got faster once she realized she was right. All of that turny stuff after that probably could have been a little faster, but she was being cautious on the floor so I don't blame her. Plus she was pretty much jumping on concrete all day, so who knows how that affects them as well. I was really thrilled that we got through this and was a little bummed about the time faults, but oh well, what can you do. I guess times are tight in this class.

Because things had been steadily improving for Kizzy, I opted to throw caution to the wind on the final run and go in without a toy and try a "for real" run. And it started really well, until she went over jump 6 and looked over to the side of the ring and saw the previous dog walking down the aisle. Sigh. Over she went to investigate, and then out the ring entrance. I scooped her up and asked if we could finish the course (I mean come on, that set-up wasn't fair...) and the judge allowed it, but by that point Kizzy was just done. She ran past a couple of jumps (she probably doesn't like jumping on concrete either), so I sat down on the floor to collect her and we called it a day. I appreciate the judge giving us a chance to end on a good note, though.

I was really hoping to end on a good note with Kaiser since the Speedstakes class is basically a NADAC Jumpers run. Sadly, he was so far gone at this point that there was no bringing back his confidence or his jumping. He earned a R at jump 12 for an NQ. We were both glad to be done. He tried hard all day but the conditions were just not appropriate for him. It made me very sad to see him jumping like this at 8" and I will have to try to do a ring rental next weekend to make sure he's not broken.

Secret ended very well for her fourth run of the day. The only real hesitation she had was at jump 9 because I was a little too far behind to really support and push to it, so it was more of a send. Her closing line was really nice, including that super short line between 17 & 18 -- it paced out at just under 5 strides. Eek. Other dogs bounced it, but Secret seemed happy to throw in a really short stride and it worked out. She was several seconds behind the other dog in the class and brought home another 2nd/5 points, but she was running really well so I'll take it.

So, after our first UKI trial my initial thought is, "Holy crap, this just got real." It's a huge step up from AKC and actually quite a bit more technical than we experienced in USDAA as well. I'd love to try again, but there is no way I am going back to that facility, so we'll have to see what other options are available to us. I'd probably give it one more go with Kaiser to see if he did better under more favorable conditions. I'd absolutely love to continue to do training runs with Kizzy, especially in new places. As cruddy as the floor was at this place, it was still good to get her out and running in a new environment. At least the equipment is all in great condition and there were no concerns there. While we never did actually do a full set of weaves, she did do all of the contact equipment!

We have a NADAC trial coming up in a couple of weeks and I have to decide who is entering what. Luke will probably just enter Jumpers and Chances since that's what he needs for his next NATCH and I don't think he needs to do a lot right now. I'm thinking of limiting Kizzy to just Regular and Jumpers, especially if I opt to run her all three days. I need to decide about Secret, as if I don't run her at NADAC she'll be sitting until April.... This will be an expensive trial.


  1. I actually was shocked too at the flooring. I've been there for a few obedience trials but never agility. Water did help my dogs a ton on Saturday, but on Sunday Vito was slipping a lot and Lance was stuttering more. I know a ton of dogs who train there so I'm assuming dogs can get used to it pretty quickly??? I very much want to support UKI in this area because of the great jump heights, fun courses, and toy opportunities.

    Kizzie really did improve a lot each run!

  2. The courses look fun - at least they make you think a little.
    Your judge is the same judge that Rip earned his USDAA ADCH title with. Elephants in the room above you - loved that!