Sunday, October 12, 2014

Last-minute decision

A while ago I saw that Contact Sports Zone was hosting several run-throughs on a series of Friday nights. My schedule never allowed for me to go, but I always thought it would be a great opportunity to check the place out. The next one was scheduled for this past Friday, October 10, but I brushed it aside since I've been team-teaching a class at Petco on Friday nights. I was in the store to pick up some stuff on Thursday and found out that I didn't actually have to do the team stuff anymore, and the 4:00 dog wasn't going to be coming anyhow. Okay, cool, I have Friday night off.

I think it was around 2:00 on Friday afternoon at work that I realized, "but wait, there are run-throughs tonight." I was able to head out any time after 2:00 that day, so I started trying to figure out the logistics of going. Doors opened at 5:45, walk at 6:00, run at 6:15, two-hour drive... I just had to leave home by 3:45 and I'd be golden. But did I *really* want to make that drive on a Friday night? REALLY?

Well, yes. Yes, I did.  :o)  So I hustled home, tried to act "normal" so that the dogs would actually go to the bathroom (they always know when something is up and then nobody goes because they just want to leave). I changed clothes, threw together treats and out I went (and I realized later that I forgot all of Secret's fun toys, stupid me!). Luke stayed home, but Secret, Kaiser & Kizzy all got to go along for the ride.

It's a super easy drive to Canine Sports Zone. The first hour was all on I90 to the Dells, then you get off on Hwy 12 where it's almost all 4-lane roads. The drive is actually only about an hour and forty-five minutes, so that's pretty sweet.

I LOVED the facility. Absolutely loved it. It was everything I'd hoped for where Kizzy is concerned and more. The owner of this facility really lucked out with this find, as it is just perfect for agility. The floor rocks and I am just in love with the whole solid wall/closed door thing.

I brought one crate inside to let Secret chill and acclimate to the place. Kaiser got shoved in with her for a bit before his first turn, but I opted to keep Kizzy in the van between her turns. We had plenty of time between each dog so everything worked out fine.

When we went out to walk the course I was like, whoa. The person running the evening said at first that it was an AKC course and I was like, umm, I've never seen an AKC course anything like this. Apparently while I was outside getting my dogs she corrected herself and said she had an AKC course picked out but then found this one. I think she was thinking it was USDAA, but when I asked if I could see the map I saw it was actually UKI (the senior/champion designation at the top gives it away). Ah, that explains it.

I ran Secret at 20", since that is her USDAA height and I didn't feel any need to jump her at full height when I knew I wouldn't have time for a full warm-up/cool down routine. Kizzy was the lone 14" dog, but I really needed to give her a go at that height to see how she would do for USDAA. Kaiser got to jump his usual 8".

During Secret's first turn she acted like she'd never done a backside before on jump two. I was super proud of her flip off the dog walk into the set-back tunnel. She was very wide after the broad jump into the weaves, but got it, and had a strong finish. We had enough time left to start the course over again and then spent a little time schooling the broad jump to the weaves. During her second turn Secret had a completely flawless run, so we had a party and called it good with that one.

Kaiser was a space cadet for his first turn. He was in total la-di-da-di-da mode looking all over the place and taking random off-course obstacles while he was sight-seeing. He was stressing over something, although I'm not entirely sure what. His second turn was much better. He almost got through the run clean, just bypassing the jump after the teeter. I schooled his dog walk and teeter to finish his turn.

Kizzy was super duper awesome! She was a complete and total spaz, but once we got going she was very focused and exceptionally well-behaved. There was a "novice" course nested inside the champion course, but it was hardly any easier so for simplicity sake (for my brain) I just ran her on the main course. I never attempted the tunnel under the dog walk with her because I knew nothing good would come of trying, so instead I turned her to the inside after the dog walk and just ran to that next tunnel. Her weaves rocked all night, she never missed her entry and she never popped out. All of her contacts were 100% awesome with hits on the a-frame and stops on the dog walk and teeter. I am just absolutely thrilled with how she ran on each turn. There was no sight-seeing, no "what's that?" moments, no thoughts of leaving me on course. AND she totally sailed through the 14" jumps with no problem. We absolutely needed this and it was totally worth the drive.

The drive home reminded me that I hate driving in the dark, and that this is what I'll be dealing with for the next six months of trialing. Sigh. The adrenaline rush of running stuck with me for about the first hour and a half, though, which basically just meant I had to push through that last half hour in familiar territory, which wasn't that bad. We got home a little after 10:30, so it's not like we're talking midnight or anything. But for someone who is usually sleeping on the couch by 9:00 on a Friday night, well...  ;o)

We took it easy yesterday. After sleeping in and hanging around the house most of the day I finally got off my butt and took the dogs for a 3-mile hike out on the bike trail. Today I had to go in to run puppy playtime at Petco, so I packed Secret, Kaiser & Kizzy along for the ride so that we could go for a walk somewhere different on the way home. I left Luke behind because he was being gimpy on our walk yesterday; he must have tweaked something while chasing his jolly ball the other night.

Everyone did well waiting in the car and we hit up a new portion of the bike trail on the way home. I parked in West Salem and we walked towards Bangor. There was a lot of excitement when we first started off, with tons of emergency vehicles leaving town and heading towards Bangor. We could see them all lined up on the road from the trail, but I couldn't see what was going on. Turns out there was a car accident, I guess. At any rate, we didn't encounter anyone on our walk and I really enjoyed that section of the trail. It's fun to get out to walk in different areas.

As it turns out, I'm not scheduled to work at Petco next Sunday, which means that technically I could go to the NADAC trial that day. I need to figure out what I'm doing. I suppose by tomorrow, since that's the closing date....


  1. My dogs do that potty thing too! I also hate driving in the dark, I always hope someone else offers to drive if I know it will be late!

    1. It's the worst part about trialing in the winter -- I'm guaranteed for both the drive there and the drive home to be in the dark. Unfortunately none of the dogs have learned to drive yet. ;o)