Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hounds trial update

This was our second time attending the Hounds for the Holiday trial, hosted by Cream City Canines over in Milwaukee. This is the largest trial we have in this area, running 3 rings for 4 days. Last year we just drove over for one day (Friday). This year I am burning up vacation and don't have anything local for a while, so we signed up for Thursday and Friday. I figured those would probably be days with lower entries, plus Thursday started (slightly) later, allowing for an easier drive over. Also, who can say no to two days of agility followed by a weekend to recover?

I admit, I was disappointed when I saw this snoozer of a Master JWW course. I had hoped that a trial this size would have funner judges that bring challenging courses. Zzzzzz. That said, considering that this was Kizzy's first time in Excellent AND her first time dealing with an environment like this, I was okay with it.

Secret was in the first group to run. She put in a very nice run right up to the end where I beat her to the tunnel (on the off side) and stopped. So she nearly stopped as well. We probably killed at least a second there but it wasn't a refusal, so she got a Q and 12 points. I think she ended up in like 6th place or something.

Kaiser was awesome! I have just come to assume that his first day of jumping is going to absolutely suck, so I was happily surprised to see him just go flying out of the gate. I was so happy to see him having fun and not stressing at all. He won his group by several seconds with 17 points.

Kizzy was a rock star for her first go at Excellent. I avoided rear crossing that last tunnel by running the inside line on that last loop of jumps. Somehow I (barely) made it and managed to keep her pushed into the jumps. And since she also managed to hit her weaves on the first try, that means that.... Kizzy Q'd in her first Excellent JWW run! Her time was only a little slower than Kaiser's! (BTW, Secret was fastest with 31.64, Kaiser had 32.22, and Kizzy had 33.61).

Secret was up again first for Standard. I did a sling-shot to the tire to call her over two, but she went for the a-frame initially and made a heroic effort to actually make it over jump two. The majority of the dogs were NQing at the weaves -- missing entries or leaving early. Secret hit pole 5 and just veered off to the right. Why does she do that? There was a goalie net behind the dog walk, I suppose it's entirely possible that a person/dog walked behind there at that moment, I have no idea. She also got called on her a-frame when I layered jump 18 to pull her for the turn. That happens like once in a blue moon, so no biggie.

I led out with Kaiser and did a rear cross into the weaves and thankfully HE did not have any problems there. He did, however, have a problem when I was behind while going to the table. I was trying to keep him off the off-course jump next to the table -- and he avoided it, but also ran right past the table. Oh well, can't get a Std Q to save our lives lately it seems.

Open Standard was the last class of the day. Kizzy was holding it together really well. She did super awesome in the crate all day, too. We were crated in a tiny lane between two of the rings and there wasn't a lot of dog action over that way. It helped a lot.

I was doing drop-n-go's with Kizzy both days so as not to lose her before we even started. I got in a front cross on the landing side of 4 and she nailed her teeter. I had us go a few steps after the teeter to line up better for a front cross to the chute, and then she refused the chute. That seems to be becoming a habit. She got it on the second try. She hit the weave entry but then skipped a couple of poles while going through them. Because you are only allowed one refusal to qualify, I elected to keep going. She stopped on the dog walk! Then she did her little table dance and earned at least one more R there (she acted like she thought it was time to be caught). I realized I was leaning over the table and when I stood up she got on it. Oh. Bad handler. I ran the right side of the final line and it worked out swell. Obviously an NQ, but a good run!

We got to the hotel around 3:00 and I attempted to take a nap. It's hard when you have given the dogs hooves to chew on and crunchy/squeaky plastic bottle toys that you bought for them at the trial. Oh well, I got enough rest that I was able to stay awake for my school seminars that I had to sit through at the hotel that night. I took the dogs outside for the last time a bit after 10:00 and that was the first time all day that Kaiser pooped. I swear.... Kizzy seems to go like 4 times a day and I can't get Kaiser to go once.

Kizzy's group was first in the ring on Friday and she was the 4th dog on the line. This is unfortunate because I think she still needs that settle time. Plus it was day two, when her brain is already on the fried side. THEN we encountered a freakazoid border collie hanging out by the ring while we were waiting to go. It was completely amped up and the owner was prodding it on and getting a reactive/frenzied bark out of it. It sent Kizzy over the wall and that was that. I was pissed off until I realized that the dog was running in the 12" Preferred class just a couple of dogs ahead of us, so they did actually have reason to be there and weren't just ruining it for the rest of us.... But still, rather unfortunate for Kizzy.

That said, she put in a valiant effort. I ran the inside and did a gross landing side rear cross (spin) at jump five, then a scoop and push to nine. I was trying to slow her down to control the entry into the weaves and that was when she decided she had enough and just kept going towards the ring entrance. Blessedly the ring worker was standing right there (the rings were not gated as I'd hoped) and blocked her. I called it quits and sat on the floor to collect her. She danced around me a bit but I did manage to get her before she got out of the ring. Win.

Kaiser was still having fun -- so much fun that he took a bonus jump when he failed to turn tight enough after nine and went over to take the double before going into the tunnel. He brought the double down on his second trip through, too.

Secret didn't run this class until the end of the day (after she ran Std). Her jumping was super, but her weaves just sucked. Did I over-handle the entry to the weaves and she got mad at me for it? Who knows, but she literally WALKED through them. I swore she was just going to leave them at least three times, but she managed to stick it out -- and then she picked it up again when she was out. Her weaves in Std had been fantastic, so who knows what was going on. Handling-wise, I beat her and fit in a blind between 4 & 5 so I didn't have to rear cross. Then a blind between 7 & 8 and then a fun little ketschker at 9 for a nice turn into the tunnel. Then another blind on the landing side of the triple. Even with that WALK through the weave poles she ended up with 9 points, which tells you how nicely she ran the rest of the course. I was expecting 6 points.

Here's our Master Standard course from Friday. You would not believe how much bitching there was over this course. I heard so many comments of how "awful" the course was. That it had no "flow" and you were just cranking the dog around the course. Well, maybe if you are a shitty handler... I heard numerous people say that this judge was going on their "list." This is the side of AKC that I absolutely hate. God forbid you see a course that requires that you actually have to handle your way through it. I had no problem with this course and rather enjoyed it. The angle from that 3/15/10 jump to the 4/16/11 jump was a bit harsher/shorter in person than it appears on paper, that was the only thing that took me by surprise while walking it.

Secret was first. I missed her walk-through while in the JWW ring with Kaiser, but I didn't stress over it at all. They were super great at this trial about accommodating conflicts, so I just figured I'd walk and run with the next group. This was nice, because I hadn't even gotten her out of the van yet and pushing back to the next group gave us plenty of time to chill and get ready. She rocked this course and loved it. It was picture-perfect, if you don't count that she left the table early. Sigh. I can't say I'm blameless, as I was the one standing there revving her up. Well, no worries about that 20th QQ this weekend! She now needs 80 points to go with that last QQ.

Kaiser's run was great. He always tends to get the courses that people complain about and nobody Q's on (and NQs the easy ones...). He had a nice, smooth run and once again won his group by several seconds with 21 points. No issues with the table this time since I beat him to it.  :o)  He did leave off the side of the teeter again, though, but thankfully he manages to stick a foot in the yellow before he jumps off. Wish we could fix that bad habit. Oh well, this was his MXP, finally!

Here's Kizzy's Standard course. But wait, you say, what is different? It's exactly the same? Well, almost. They didn't do the wrap jump after the table and we got the "easy" side of the tunnel in Open. Otherwise it's exactly the same. Okay. Guess we're up for the challenge.

I won't lie. I debated leaving after Kaiser ran Standard. I had to move Kizzy out to the van earlier in the day because her brain couldn't handle the added commotion of the day and she was making a lot of noise and getting all worked up. I didn't know if she had it in her to get through this course and stay in the ring. I decided to stick it out and give it a go.

I dropped her at the start and squeezed in a front cross between three and four. And she stopped on the dog walk again! I am so proud of her. Then there was that darn chute. Off she went, careening towards the front of the ring. I didn't chase after her this time, though, and just stood my ground and called her back. And you know what? She came barreling back! She did the chute on the second try, got her a-frame and then ran past the table. I made sure not to hover/lean and she popped right back on. The angle/distance from the table to 9 was atrocious handling from the left, but I needed to do that to get the tunnel and she managed just fine. And THEN she actually got her weaves! Heading towards the in-gate! I wasn't even expecting that, so happy surprise. She nailed the teeter and finished just great -- just two refusals on day two after a total meltdown! I'm very proud of her.

In some ways I wished we had stayed for three days, but it was very nice to come home. Now I'm toying with trying to get an entry in for the Oshkosh trial the weekend after Christmas (it closes on Wednesday and I wouldn't get anything in the mail until Monday). Can't decide on one day or two... I admit, I've got that MACH bug now and want to get it finished.

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