I had contemplated (quite seriously so) making the drive to Hopkins, MN to watch the event in person for the first time ever. This was the first year I would have ever had the opportunity to do so, as in previous years I've always had to work. When it was announced that the entire thing would be broadcast on the internet, though, I couldn't really justify the gas money and time spent away from my own dogs who never see me. Not only that, but watching it on the internet very likely presented me with a better view of the action than I would have had in person. Win-win!
I watched EVERY SINGLE RUN of the entire weekend. Okay, I might have fast-forwarded through a couple by the end of the day Sunday... It was a lot of runs and I had to watch The Amazing Race. ;o)
There were many of the teams you would expect to see at an event of such caliber. Some of the teams, though, just made me scratch my head. I consider AKC Nationals an event for all dogs. If you work hard enough you can qualify, go, and if you run three clean runs you may just have a shot at the finals -- even if you don't have the fastest dog there. But this is the tryouts for two major International teams. Teams that are expected to showcase the best agility that this country has to offer. It is beyond my comprehension, then, why some teams would choose to travel completely across the country with a dog who doesn't have a shot in hell at making the team. Spend your money at Nationals. Go and have fun -- but what are you proving by attending tryouts with a dog that gets 15 time faults on every go-round (I'm not pointing fingers, this would be Secret!)? And not only that, by the end of the weekend you could TOTALLY tell what dogs were just not familiar with this style of agility -- several were just shutting down and completely demotivated by Sunday. What is the motivation of these handlers, I wonder. What are they trying to prove?
Speaking of time faults, though -- Holy bejezus. If I thought that the course times in UKI CH Jumpers were tight, they've got nothing on what's expected of a team at ITT! Maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe some of these "average" teams run very comfortable times at regular trials on more flowing courses. I'm sure it's kind of a "holy shit" moment to put in what you thought was an amazing run on a very tight & twisty course and then find out you had time faults. There were some SMOKING runs that I saw -- Runs that would win any local-level trial and likely have like 30 speed points -- and they were over SCT. Seeing that basically ingrains in my head that I will never attempt to enter ITT without a truly speedy dog. At least not in the 26" class. The lower heights were slightly more forgiving, but not much so. The Klee Kai could probably do it. ;o) Too bad Kaiser can't jump that high and Kizzy is light-years away from competing at that level (let's be real, competing in general, lol).
I would love the opportunity to travel and do agility abroad some day, but it's looking like it will be a while before I have to worry about that. Maybe by then I'll have an extra week of vacation at work to blow on travel. Ha!
I did do slightly more than sit on my butt in front of the computer (but not much). I was perusing Facebook Saturday morning between classes at ITT and came across this course map posted by a friend attending a trial down in Chicago. She keeps telling me that I have to go down there to an AKC trial because they get all of the fun judges who bring challenging courses. Apparently it's what people down there ask for -- versus up here where people with bitch and sob if you have a backside or 270 on course.
When I saw this course map I could not pass up the chance to give this course a try. It was like our own fun little piece of ITT at home (because the ITT courses are 140' long and don't fit in my yard). It was SO FUN. Kaiser was the only one to get it on the first try. Secret was a little high at first and it took us a bit to connect -- plus I always run her first for some reason, so she has to deal with me figuring out the course, too.
I elected to run Kizzy with food the whole time to work on her focus. I broke the course up into sections and eventually put it all together and she actually did it! Yay little crazy dog!
On Sunday I just set up a big speed circle with seven or eight jumps and then plunked the weaves in the middle of the yard to work on those, too. Jumps were set at everyone's competition height to get them thinking a bit more than when they just blaze through the hoops on the ground. Secret did great at 24". It's good for her to learn to go over big jumps fast. :o) Her weaves were also super nice, which I haven't seen for a while.
I think Secret's chiro appointment made a world of difference. I can tell she feels so much better, so I have to try hard not to let her get so overdue in the future. Then, of course, I went and flushed it all down the toilet with our frisbee game tonight -- where Secret had a misstep and ended up going ass-over-teakettle on one of her catches.... Oooooh, it just made me cringe. She seems pretty tough, though, and didn't seem affected by it. It's probably a good thing we have another adjustment coming up next week!