Sunday, July 20, 2014

Weekend wrap-up

Another fun (and quite successful!) weekend of agility has come to a close. As fun as it was, I. Am. Exhausted. When my alarm went off this morning to do NADAC in La Crosse, I thought to myself, "Why am I doing this?" I knew I would regret not going, though, so I got my butt out of bed and got moving.

We'll back up first, though, and talk about day two of AKC in New Berlin on Saturday!

We ran Mike McCoy's Standard run first on Saturday. While this course wasn't QUITE the doozy that we experienced with his JWW run the day before, I still thought it was fun to run and offered some options. The two major areas that were faulted on this course were the weave entry (or the a-frame contact because the handler was so worried about getting the weave entry) and then the backside at 6. I actually expected more problems there than what we ended up seeing, just based on all of the grumbling from the day before, but as it turns out the backside didn't kill everyone. There were just a few really fast, long-striding dogs that went out and took the off course jump before coming back to 6.

Kaiser was running much better on Saturday with much less hesitation and stuttering. He likes his running a-frame, so he definitely started this course on a happy note. His blessedly independent performance on the a-frame allowed me to run ahead and pretty much point out the weave entry to him. I handled the opening from the right because I felt he was less likely to miss the entry with me on that side. Kaiser may be a good little weaver, but he has no problem entering at pole 2 when presented with an entry like this. With me shaping the entry he had no problem.

The off course jump at the backside was definitely the spot I was most concerned about with Kaiser. He didn't really look at it, but he also started to go around the back of 6 instead of taking the jump into me. Is that where he was called? I don't know. He also pretty much came to a halt when he had all four feet on the teeter -- is that a refusal? Long story short, unfortunately something was called on this run and Kaiser didn't get a Q. I hate it when the fault isn't glaringly obvious and you aren't sure what happened. Oh well, I was very happy with this run from Kaiser -- mostly because he was happier and having fun again (especially compared to how he ended on the ISC run the day before).

Secret did a great job! I ran the same plan with her that I did with Kaiser and really supported the weave entry, although she tends to be better at finding them on her own. I figured that the rear cross into the tunnel was a more sure thing than getting the entry with me on the left, though. Secret came out of the tunnel with really good speed and actually shot pretty wide past 6 (looking at the off course jump), but called back nicely. She seemed to slow a little coming off the table and that circle sequence wasn't the fastest ever, but it gave me plenty of time to squeeze in a blind before the triple. With Kaiser I had pushed from the teeter to the next jump, but for whatever reason I just didn't want to step into Secret that much, hence the cross before the triple to put me on the inside. She finished strong and I insisted on a bit more of a stop than usual on the dog walk to ensure she stayed clean. Secret ended up just out of the ribbons in 5th place on this run.

Due to the order of runs on this day, we had quite a long wait until our JWW on Saturday. It was nice that both dogs got to run Std before I even had to worry about it, but it was a long wait... I think it was almost noon before we even got to walk the course for the small dogs.

I debated leading out on the left with Kaiser for this run, but it just felt ugly. I opted to run with him from the start to try to keep him happy. He veered very close to the off course after jump 2, but I was able to keep him with me. I rear crossed from 5 to 6 because I really didn't feel like I had any other option. I was able to finish with front crosses and while he bumped a bar they all stayed up and the wee man picked up another JWW Q, going 3/4 in his AKC weekend. Not bad considering his medical issues just a few days prior! (BTW, that is back to looking normal, minus the little shaved patch of hair.)

My brain was just shot by the time Secret got to run. I was just feeling drained. I totally missed the "go" while I was revving Secret up at the start line, which threw us both off. That said, I still had to haul ass to beat her in for the blind after the triple. Just BARELY squeezed that in, and I'm sure people wondered what the hell I was thinking. lol This was definitely Secret's slowest set of weaves of the weekend, but they weren't too awful. I had a total brain fart and put in a cross between 11 & 12, which made me have to put the pedal down to beat Secret around the corner. She saved my butt on that one, though, and was a very good girl. I'm probably very lucky that she didn't, at the very least, drop a bar on this run from some of my stupid handling errors. As it was, though, she finished up with a perfect weekend and QQ#8! No placement for this run; I think she was 6th.

We got home at 5:00 yesterday and laid low the rest of the night. Originally the plan was to meet up with friends in town for the NADAC trial at a local establishment that was advertising free drinks for anyone who's dog would jump from the dock at their outdoor patio/bar. Food, drinks & playing in the river sounded like fun and I was planning to bring Secret and maybe Luke along. While I was driving back from New Berlin, though, I got a phone call from one of the people we were planning on meeting. She had taken her dogs to the river after the trial and ran into someone who had been over at Shenanigans. They told her that they had been over there and that there was no way for the dogs to get back to land after jumping. The only option was to reach down and fish your dog from the river and lift them back onto the dock. Ummm. No thanks. That's not even safe. I'm not asking my dogs to jump in that situation -- a free drink is so not worth risking the welfare of my dogs. It upsets me that this establishment would even ask anyone to do that. Marketing ploy....

This morning all four dogs were packed into the van to go play NADAC in La Crosse. Talk about changing gears after the last couple of days.  :o)  I knew I would regret not going to see my NADAC friends, though, so off we went.

Luke was so happy to play today! He totally rocked in Jumpers -- he beat Kaiser's time, even, but he did knock one bar that was probably my fault. It was fun beating him to those blinds, though. What a good dog. He also knocked a bar on a turn in Chances, although the rest of the course was clean. The old man rocked his Regular runs and brought home Q's in both rounds. His dog walk was more cautious in round 2, but I think it's because I was checking him up so much due to the tunnel discrimination under it. His first dog walk had been quite confident. This is pretty much how I'm monitoring how close he is to retirement, and as of today he's not ready yet.  :o)

Kaiser was an awesome little man. He ended up going 5/6! His NQ was in the last class of the day when I was pushing for a front cross and pushed him off course to the dog walk. We were both kind of done by this time. But still, going 3/4 in AKC and 5/6 in NADAC in the span of three days is pretty awesome for the wee man. He picked up Q's in Jumpers, Weavers, Tunnelers, Chances & Regular today. When I got home and figured out results I realized that this was his Superior Elite Weavers title. Oh well, didn't get a ribbon (don't need any more ribbons....).

I admit, I was really contemplating not running Kizzy today. I was just so tired and didn't know if I wanted to "deal" with her unpredictability. We haven't been doing any agility practice lately (on the rare evenings that I am free I always end up mowing the lawn lately) and when I did set up a little Novice course on Thursday evening she acted like a fruit-loop -- and that was at home! So yes, it was with some trepidation that I took her to the line today.

Well. She rocked. What a good girl she was! I did a drop and go with her at the start line to avoid the spacy zoomies that she sometimes gets when you remove the leash. The course had two rear crosses that could not be avoided, and no, Kizzy still doesn't have a rear cross. The words "switch" still come out of my mouth, even though this means nothing to her. lol Kizzy was flying and (as expected) spun on the rear crosses. On the second one she spun wide and went around the next jump. Because she was doing so well and staying with me, I opted to just keep running. I'm really thrilled with this whole run because she stuck with me the whole time AND finished with me again! No running, no playing keep away, she was so good!

Kizzy was also entered in Tunnelers. Unfortunately I stood there holding her in the doorway and she watched the dog in front of her run. Apparently she really liked that little sheltie because she started screaming as they wrapped up their run. They were out of the arena before I did a drop and go, but Kizzy followed the sheltie right out the door. Oh well. The good news is that she ran straight back over to me when I stepped out of the arena -- no stopping to visit anyone or any dogs on the way. So THAT was great. And I learned a lesson -- no letting Kizzy watch the dog before her run. Not really sure what I was thinking there....

We ran over to airport beach after the trial to let the dogs swim. Poor Secret had spent the entire day in the van and I figured she deserved to do something fun to wrap up her weekend. The last time we were at the beach we had it to ourselves due to the high water, but everything is back to normal and it was nuts today. Thankfully we carved out a small portion to ourselves, but there were dogs fairly close on both sides. Secret is fine so long as she doesn't think anyone is going to take her toy, so I just kept her focused on playing and she was okay. Kizzy made a new friend, but I kept everyone else away from the neighboring dogs. We did have an incident where some dumbass intact lab went rogue and wasn't listening to his owners anymore (surprise!) and tried to come over for a visit -- Kaiser lunged and snapped at him on his way by. I had made sure to throw Secret's toy way far out in the water when I saw the situation brewing, so she never had to worry about coming into contact with him. Despite the slightly insane conditions, the big dogs got their swim in and everyone was happy. Then we came home and have been napping all afternoon, which everyone seems totally okay with!

I'm at Petco tomorrow night, but then I'm home the rest of the week. Maybe I'll actually get around to doing some training with Kizzy again? Might be a good idea considering she's entered in the AKC trial in a couple of weeks. That said, I feel much less anxious about it after her stellar performance today. Just can't let her watch the dog in front of her.  :o)

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