Sunday, May 18, 2014
3 Days of Agility Fun -- CKC AKC Trial
Our 3-day agility extravaganza is behind us. At the end of the day today part of me was like, "Phew, glad that is done," but then again, it sure would be fun to go back for more tomorrow! :o) Judge Lisa Patterson brought some fun courses with her (I don't remember her courses from the last time we saw her, I should look them up) and Kaiser & Secret had a very good weekend.
The only downside was that my knees were absolutely wrecked at the end of the day on Saturday. I have no idea what that is about, other than to think that maybe my ancient turf/trail runners have ran their last trial and need to be retired. I iced my knees last night, took a ton of Advil & Ibuprofen and switched to a new pair of trail runners today and things went much better. There was still residual pain from yesterday, but it definitely didn't get any worse. Considering the old shoes have holes in them, it's probably time for them to go in the garbage. I have an attachment disorder to shoes...
Our weekend started off with a Standard run on Friday. Kaiser needed just one more Exc Std Q to move up to Masters for the rest of the weekend, so the pressure was on (self-imposed, obviously). He put in a really nice run. I led out near jump two to get the front cross on the landing side of three. His running a-frame set us up nicely for the front cross to 8. You couldn't be a lazy handler at the chute because it was almost like a backside send to jump 10, which many handlers didn't make because they didn't follow through after the chute -- I almost did the same with Kaiser, but was able to shoot forward at the last second to support the jump. He had a nice teeter and didn't jump off the side for the first time in several trials. I stayed on the inside of the tire and handled the weaves from the right, doing what I think might have been my only rear cross off the weekend into the tunnel. Kaiser had a great dog walk and then..... Bounced the table.
Groan!!!! I thought we would be okay on this table set-up because he wouldn't be coming at it with a ton of speed. Oh well. Stinker. To his credit, it's not like we've practiced the table in the last several months or anything. From there it was just a fun and fast finish.
Secret was having a ball on this run. It was really, really nice until I pushed for a blind while she was on the teeter and ended up pushing her straight to the off course jump ahead of her. Totally my fault. The rest of the run was really nice, including weaves that got faster as they went and a nice zippy finishing line.
Kaiser NQ'd in JWW, but I'll take the blame for it. He was not happy with how much I crowded him at the entry and then when I scooped him up at the end to push up to 9 he read it as a push out and took the off course jump 12. Looking back, I wonder if he would have been happier if I had front crossed before and after the weaves to stay out of his space. Oh well.
Secret had a nice run full of fun blind crosses. She earned a Q and 10 speed points on this run.
Saturday started with JWW and the big dogs were up first. Secret was the second dog on the line, but we had plenty of time to prep and she was ready to go. I did a front cross on the landing of jump 13 because the angle was just a little off for the blind, but otherwise I was able to use blinds everywhere else. This was a really nice run for Secret with 13 speed points! That's her second-highest score for JWW.
I stuck with fronts on this course for Kaiser and we still had a couple of close calls where he was veering towards off course jumps. We managed to keep it clean, though, for a Q and 22 speed points. That straight four-jump finish certainly didn't hurt anything. He loves those finishes and really turns on the afterburners.
This was a fun Std course. There was no babysitting to be done on the a-frame if you wanted to be in place for the front cross after 3. Jump 8 was REALLY close to the weave poles (the judge said it was the minimum of 4'), which meant that you had to be careful not to get in your dog's way (if they are sensitive to that sort of thing). With Secret I stayed ahead of her and it wasn't a problem. With Kaiser I opted to layer the jump and stay out of his way, especially after crowding him the day before.
I managed a cross on the landing side of 9 with both dogs, and even got the front with Kaiser before the chute (blind with Secret). The majority of the rear crosses done there were pretty ugly, either earning refusals or resulting in the dog turning the wrong way out of the chute and having to look for the handler.
I was hopeful that the table in this location would be Kaiser-friendly. It was again right off the dog walk and this time into the wall with nowhere to go. He stopped! He stayed! Good boy! With both dogs I led off the table a bit to be able to support a straight line for the next few jumps. Many handlers were behind and their dogs took the off course jump 4 as a result. The dogs had a lot of speed coming down that line and over the triple, so then you pretty much had to slam on the brakes for the teeter. Both dogs were excellent. Kaiser got that last Q for his AXP and Secret got 18 speed points on this run and QQ#4!
Kaiser was entered in T2B this weekend because of the small size of the trial and because I opted out of running Kizzy and figured I may as well blow that money on Kaiser. :o) This was a really lovely run, but I started pushing too hard around that top turn and Kaiser ended up crashing jump 14. Darn. My fault.
We stopped at Petco on the way home from the trial because my coworkers wanted to meet my dogs. There is no way I'm bringing all four in at once, so I figured this was a good opportunity to start with two of them. I had reservations about bringing my two most anti-social dogs in first, but Kaiser & Secret were angels and made a great first impression! The store was a madhouse with people everywhere -- many of whom had no qualms about reaching out to pet them without asking. I was worried about how Secret would react, but she actually did really, really well! They were model citizens, if you don't count Secret standing up on the counter to beg for treats. :o)
When we got home last night the dogs went nuts and pretty much ran laps in the yard for the next few hours. Ideally I like to practice the art of staying quiet on trial weekends to reserve our energy, but my knees hurt so bad that I just let them do whatever they felt like doing. I figured it would bite me in the butt with Secret, but it ended up being Kaiser that was more pooped today.
Today started with T2B and Kaiser just was not feeling it. I led out a bit to do the weaves on the left side and he missed the entry. There are no refusals counted in this class, so I fixed it. Then I failed to support jump 5 because I was trying to move into position for a front cross, so he ran past it. He got better as we went along and finished strong. Once again he was the only dog in the 8" Preferred class, so by virtue of running "clean" he got first place and 10 points. This was his only Q of the day.
Std was kind of a mess for the little man. He looked hard at the dog walk but I was able to get him over 2, but then he cut to the inside of 3 and I didn't fix it. He missed his weave entry again and I didn't fix it. He did get his table again, so yay!! Then he was a good boy and held his dog walk with me running ahead to get in place for the front cross after 15 for a nice finish. No QQ on his first time in Masters.
Secret was having a good, good run. Considering it was day 3, this was a really zippy run from her, weaves and all! Then I did the same as I'd done with Kaiser, pushing and running ahead to beat her to 15 -- and I pushed her, once again, straight ahead to the off course jump. I screeched (FYI, I hate it when I do that) and she *almost* was able to put on the brakes, but her momentum carried her over the jump for the fault. It was such a nice run, too. Stupid handler!
Our weekend ended with this fun JWW course. When I looked at the map this morning I almost squealed with delight -- Look! A wrap! It's sad that this is the most exciting thing we have ever seen on an AKC course in our year of trialing in this organization.
Kaiser went off course at the tunnel and took the wrong end, so we were done there. He was also running very slow and stuttering on this run. :o( His slower-than-normal speed did make it easier for me to hit my spots, though, which means that I actually did make it into position to do a Ketschker/Jaakko at 9 (I'm pretty sure it would be classified as a Jaakko since I used my outside arm, but I get so confused by these terms, lol). I also made it for the front cross after 13, which shows just how much slower than usual he was going. I was worried that he was having tummy troubles from 3 days of treats (plus the treat I picked up for them at Petco for the drive home that he didn't even finish), but I could NOT get him to go to the bathroom on any of our walks today. Of course, immediately following this run he had a giant bowel movement -- totally normal, just huge -- so I think he was "backed up." He sprinted off with a relieved look on his face after that, so this could have definitely been the source of his "offness" today. Why he was holding it in I do not know....
Secret's run was picture perfect on this course! Her 6th run of the weekend was just as happy as her first, even with the weaves right at the beginning! I ran ahead at the weaves and did a blind on the landing side of the jump to guarantee the proper side of the tunnel. Then I beat her down the line to get in place for a really nice Jaakko turn at nine that worked just beautifully. For the record, I do believe I am the only one in the entire trial who opted for this route. A surprising number of handlers (by far the majority) wrapped to the inside, despite this not being the best line for the dogs (in my eyes, at least). Those who did turn to the left all rear crossed to get the turn. Several dogs went out to take the start jump as an off course. I'm happy I stuck to my guns with my handling choice because it worked beautifully. I finished the course with blinds and Secret got a Q and 9 speed points on this run. I thought it would be a little higher than that, but it's still good for day three. Plus she was just .02 seconds over the round number, which means she was .02 seconds away from 10 points instead of 9. Oh well. :o)
I was thinking of taking the dogs swimming when we got home this afternoon, but I've been lazy and napped instead. I did take Kizzy out to start a new training plan, though, that I hope will help with her trial behavior. I need to stop carrying her reward/motivation on my body and teach her to play with me and accept delayed gratification. Our first session was tough for me because I want that gratification as much as she does, but I held my ground and did not carry treats on me for any of it. I just had a simple box of four jumps set up and had a bag of treats on the deck. Kizzy started out agreeable enough and I kept the exercises VERY short. The sun was out and it was like 72 -- which I think is perfect, but apparently the Klee Kai thinks she will die of heat exhaustion in this weather. It didn't take very long before she was standing under the deck refusing to come out. Of course when I grabbed the bag of treats she was all like, "Whee! Let's play!" But I wasn't playing that game. We ended it there and I went in the house to cut up the rest of the treats in the roll.
We went out again after dinner to try again. I brought the treats out in a small cooler to be able to place them in a different part of the yard (eventually I want to have several "treat stations" so that she doesn't know where the reward will come from). She did better, but definitely still had her moments where she gravitated towards the cooler and sniffed around a lot. She did much better about recalling to me when asked, though. The bigger problem in this session was running around the start jump when I'd set her up to wait, and then bypassing a jump and running straight to the cooler when we would head in that direction. I think this is going to be very good for her...