Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Oshkosh Kennel Club AKC Trial
So here it is, Tuesday, so I figured I should probably get around to doing a write-up about our trial at Oshkosh Kennel Club this past Friday & Saturday! I'm really growing to like this facility and the people who regularly attend their trials. The drive over is not bad at all and the dogs seem to do well there. Unfortunately it looks like there aren't any more trial opportunities there until this fall. Boo.
Friday's trial didn't start until 11:00 a.m., which was especially nice considering the weather. It was doing this nasty mix of snow/rain/sleet here at home when I left, but in less than an hour it all turned to rain and I pretty much just drove through drizzle all the way to Oshkosh. The roads were fine for a change, thank goodness! We ended up making good time and pulled in around 10:00 a.m., which meant I had a whole lot of time to kill. They were starting with Master FAST, so it was going to be a while.
This was the first trial I've gotten to crate out of the van and it was AWESOME. I did haul one crate inside to have a "home base" of sorts to keep stuff and to use before and after runs. This worked so well. It was so amazingly stress-free to not worry about the dogs barking (or screaming...). I'm sure it had to have been nicer for them as well! The weather was a little cold on Saturday morning, but I cranked the heat on the drive over and then the sun kept things comfortably warm. By noon or so I rolled the windows down because it was actually getting a little stuffy in there.
We ran Standard first on Friday. The order was small to tall, so Kaiser was up first. Unfortunately this run was an NQ right at jump 5. I didn't support the jump because I was in a hurry to beat him past the tire for the push to the right, so that was my fault. There was lots of good stuff in this run, though, like getting his table, a nice little flip from the dog walk to the tunnel and a nice closing.
Learning from my mistakes, I made sure to support jump 5 with Secret -- so much so that I ended up running with her and doing a blind before the a-frame. Then I threw in another blind after the tire, and then for some reason front-crossed her onto the table. Oh well, it worked. Her weaves were fairly pokey, but she, too, had a really nice flip into the tunnel followed by a nice, fast finish. It was good enough to pick up 2nd place in a class of 14!
It was a fun little JWW course. It started out with an "almost backside" at number two that had the dog jumping back into your line and sometimes Kaiser can be iffy about stuff like that. He was a champ, though. I handled him conservatively through this course and made sure to support everything and not take anything for granted. We had one OMG moment when he came out of the tunnel the first time and went straight to the weaves, but we saved it and stayed on course. Kaiser picked up a Q and his AXJ-P title! On to Masters for the wee man!!
Secret did just great and I pushed to stay ahead of her with the blinds on this run. I used blinds everywhere on this course and it worked great. I ran ahead on the weaves so that I would be ahead to run the outside line (blinding again as she finished the poles) and she was much speedier on this run. She picked up 1st place in this run for QQ#2!
Our La Quinta was pretty swanky -- I used reward points and it's an "8000-point" location, so I knew it would be nicer. ;o) When I opened the door and saw the room I was SO GLAD that I packed a sheet to cover the bed (and that I left the dogs in the car until it was in place). White linens! Eek. With the cruddy weather that day it could have been really bad! I'm thankful I finally started to practice good dog stewardship in the last year. lol
One of the neatest things about our hotel was that it was right on a golf course -- which happens to not be open yet this early in the season, so we went out and wandered around for a bit in the horrible wind and yuck. Secret got to chase off a couple of geese, which she thought was the most awesome thing ever (especially when she jumped up and almost got some tail feathers...). She needs a part time job chasing birds off airport runways or golf courses. Then she almost went swimming while wearing her Back on Track blanket, but thankfully I was able to talk her out of that.
The JWW course on Saturday was fairly friendly. Kaiser really appreciated the flowy NADAC flavor that it had, especially in the middle. The big dogs were struggling with the weave entry off the triple, but Secret managed it just fine. She picked up another Q, 3rd place and 10 speed points (she got 10 on the JWW the day before as well, so she's consistent).
Kaiser nailed his first Masters run, won the 8"-P class and got 18 speed points. Whee! Now if only we could get a Std Q...
Unfortunately nobody managed to pick up a Std Q on Saturday. Secret's only fault was in the weaves. I was on the a-frame side of the poles and the judge was standing over by the teeter. Secret cranked her head towards the judge right in the middle of the poles and skipped one. Nice, Secret. She was the first dog and I noticed that the judge stayed further back after that. Oh well. It happens. The rest of her run was very nice, although I probably shouldn't have put in a blind between the jumps following the table. With the a-frame calling her name, Secret went way wide on that turn. Sometimes a front would be better...
Kaiser was pretty much a hot mess on this course. He left his weaves early (??), took the off course jump after the a-frame, took the long way to the table after the chute (three extra jumps...) and then had a table fault. I led out from the table to do the front cross with him and he had a zippy finish. He's still just 1/3 of his Exc Std Qs....
Kaiser got to redeem himself on the Time 2 Beat course. I entered him in this because I knew we'd be waiting around for Kizzy's runs, otherwise I don't usually see too much value in entering it. Kaiser was the only 8"-P dog in the class (the other one entered was absent) so he just had to run clean for another 10 points. He almost took a second trip through the tunnel at the start, but put in a nice run after that. It didn't feel that fast, but he did end up with one of the fastest times in all of the heights, so I guess it wasn't that bad!
Kizzy did well and tried hard. I was really happy with her FAST run on Friday and how well she stuck with me. She ran past the first jump in the send and I wasn't sure if that faulted us, so I just kept going and finished with the NQ. Unfortunately she had a bit of a fly-off on the teeter during that run and it apparently wigged her out a bit. She started Std strong on Saturday with some nice weaves, but then bailed off the dog walk right at the top. Then she went halfway up the teeter before bailing, then refused the a-frame. Poor thing, she's never really been spooked by contacts before!
Jumpers was good until I lost her about halfway through. She again did her weaves (2nd try), but I lost her on a cross at the back of the course and she ran for the exit and popped through the gate to get to the other dogs. So much for not leaving the ring in Oshkosh... Too bad she figured that one out.
Kizzy will be taking a break from trialing for a bit. I was running her throughout the winter more or less to just get/keep her on equipment during our weather-induced hiatus, but now that we can train at home again it's time to work on solidifying her skills a bit more. A running trend has been that I lose her on crosses, so there is some sort of disconnect happening there. I'll just keep working with her at home for now and see if we can't find a few opportunities to train in other places -- but right now I couldn't tell you when her next trial will be.
There is NADAC in La Crosse this weekend and I have decided to only enter Luke. With AKC this past weekend and then again on Easter Sunday, I figured the old man deserves a weekend by himself. He's running four runs on Saturday and two on Sunday. If he qualifies in both Chances and both Jumpers runs that will be NATCH 5 -- at which point I think he just may retire. We'll see. I haven't fully decided yet, and probably won't until it happens! I stuck him in one round of Regular on Saturday so that he has a chance to warm up and run before Chances, but I've pretty much pulled him out of that class already due to some of the struggles he's been having with the dog walk. He's been hesitant about entering the dog walk at the last few trials, so the last thing I want to do is risk a fall. We'll take it easy and see how it goes this weekend.