Monday, January 26, 2015

USDAA trial update

Such a boring time of the year with not much going on to update.... Until we have a trial, which we got to do on Saturday! The girls and I drove down to Canine Sports Zone again, this time to play USDAA. I kept to the same schedule that I did for the AKC trial and left home right around 5:00 a.m. (actually a little before -- crazy, I know!). I was plenty ahead of schedule and even stopped at Walmart in the Dells to pick up a tarp, as I'd totally forgotten this and I keep failing to bring one to CSZ despite all of the reminders to do so. So yes, I have a tarp now. Much easier than dealing with the giant floor mat that I have that fits under my tent.

We pulled in right around 7:00 a.m., which was about the same time that we arrived for AKC, but the lot was almost completely empty this time! I even managed to score a crating spot right down in the front by the ring. This is risky with a screamer, but I thought it could work if I was there to manage the situation, plus that area is not very high traffic to dogs -- people yes, dogs not so much. The girls did just super in that spot! Kizzy had a couple of moments where I was able to tell her to hush, but she listened well and for the most part was perfectly well-behaved all day. The day went longer than I expected considering the small entry numbers, but there were a LOT of course changes and those add up in the day.

We started with P3 Gamblers. The dog walk was the 7. I'm more about picking a plan that keeps my dogs happy than accumulating the highest number of points possible, but it worked in well with my plan to completely avoid the weaves. There were weaves in every single class on Saturday; why throw yet another set at Secret? We started by going to the chute then the tunnel, a-frame, jump, tunnel, jump, dog walk, dog walk again --- Then Secret went shooting off over the tire (not planned) and took the #2 jump of the close. Had she kept going and taken #1 we would have been done, so I may have screamed a little at her to get her to turn back to me. She did, and might have been in the tunnel or somewhere in that area when the buzzer sounded. It took us a moment to get going on the gamble. Like most dogs, Secret started to come to the #1 jump instead of sending out to the teeter. I stopped her and got her re-routed back to the teeter and she did finish the gamble successfully, but the buzzer went off as she was taking off for the last jump. Story of our lives in Gamblers!

I'm going to admit, I had zero plans of Kizzy qualifying in Gamblers. I have worked NO distance skills with this dog. And it was a chute a million miles away. The majority of Kizzy's NQs in AKC Standard lately have come from a refusal at the chute. Yeah... The start ended up being a little different from this map and the judge stuck a timer on the jump beneath the a-frame, so we had to start there. We went to the teeter and then around the left side up to the dog walk, where she blew the first contact - so we did it again. She didn't stop, but she got it. Then we went to the tunnel under the dog walk and probably got another jump in at least before the buzzer sounded. I set us up and figured we'd at least try it -- and holy crap, she did it! Kizzy actually SENT out to the CHUTE! She got stuck in the end and I was not helping at all because I was still standing there with my mouth hanging open. When she finally got out I just kind of pointed at the double in disbelief and she took it! Whoa. Kizzy got a Gamblers Q!

Biathlon/Master Challenge Standard was up next. I've never actually gotten to play in these classes, so I was really looking forward to seeing what would be thrown at us. I thought this Standard course was loads of fun and very reasonable with regard to level of challenge. This course made me feel challenged enough without feeling overwhelmed. Secret got through the course clean AND under time by nine whole seconds! That was despite pretty much walking through her weaves, which kind of depressed me since I knew how many more sets we had in front of us for the day. She ran well other than that, though, and it was loads of fun! Kizzy actually really held her own on this run. I thought that she'd finished her weaves and took off for the tire. I admit, I thought I saw something out the corner of my eye that made me wonder what she did, and then the whistle blew when she was going through the tire. I still don't know exactly what she did, but apparently she must not have finished the weaves after all. Her only fault after that point, though, was that she took the tire under the a-frame (which is totally weird for her, but wow, she can do that now I guess!). That is kind of amazing if you think of it. I was glad that she didn't appear to have any chute issues after her hang-up in Gamblers.

Secret got to play in P3 Standard next. The judge changed the start of the course, so instead of what you see on the course map he made it a straight-forward series of two jumps (not a wrap). I liked the wrap, but oh well.  :o)  Secret had a very nice run on this course and her weaves were much, much faster, too! It helped, I think, that once I showed her the entry I got out of her way and got out of there. I think one of the reasons for the slow weaves in the previous class were because I had nowhere to go with that tight turn that followed. It's hard to say, though, because there have certainly been times when I've ran ahead and it has not inspired her in the least. Meh. She just is not feeling the weaves lately. This Q earned Secret her Standard title! I totally forgot to pick up a new title ribbon for her. Darn. Oh well, we really have too many already.

Kizzy was so, so, so close to a Q in her Starters Standard class! She needed a bit of a mental break at the weaves, apparently, and initially ran right past them and then stood in the middle of the ring for a bit. Then I had to restart them once more before she got them, and this time I made sure to fully pay attention and make sure she finished them, which she did. She had a very nice dog walk and stopped on the table! What a good girl! The rest of the run was perfect! Great teeter! Still no chute problems. Her time was 40.01. The SCT was 40 seconds. Seriously. She had 0.01 time faults. Blargh. That just sucks. Oh well, it's not like there won't be other chances. And lord knows I've had super close calls on time faults in the past -- I'm just not sure I've ever had 0.01 before. That stings a little.  :o)  You can't help but think, "If only I'd gone a little faster there." Oh well.

Steeplechase was up next. Two sets of weaves -- figures! Well, Kizzy needs weave practice in trials, so that's cool. But poor Secret. More weaves. She did very well, though, and I was again able to keep running ahead of her in this course. She picked up a Q and 2nd place in the class. Sadly, when Round 2 was posted for Sunday only ONE of the P20 dogs was going to be there. Well, good for that one, I guess!

Kizzy was highly distracted by the dog who had left the ring before us. She made it to the weaves before she took off towards the exit door -- which was thankfully closed all day -- and she took the finish jump on the way there. E! She came back, though, and made it through most of the weaves before I opted to just keep going. I didn't fix them on the second pass, either, and just finished our run. The weaves are obviously a stress point for her at trials right now and I figure we have other things to work on.

Snooker was our fifth class of the day, which is a little unfortunate when you need a SQ. Blessedly, though, the weaves weren't the 7-point obstacle! Heck, they weren't even remotely attractive to any plan that I might have considered! I made a plan of 1-7, 1-7, 1-7, 1-4. As it turns out, this would have been an easy Super Q if it would have gone as planned. Unfortunately Secret took 3 on the way to our third red, so no go, there's our whistle. That was okay, really, because this run was kind of painful. I had trotting Secret in this class. Trotting Secret is no fun. Kind of depressing really. I'm not really sure what caused it -- she didn't seem to like the turn I was asking her to do off the teeter and she just kind of shut down after that and went into trot mode. Who knows if we would have even gotten through the close at that speed. The bright spot is that she was at least spared from one set of weaves!

Kizzy is 2/2 in her USDAA Snooker career! She tends to follow me around pretty well, I think she will be a pretty good Snooker dog. While points pretty much count for nothing at this level, I went for a 1-6, 1-7, 1-7 plan because it seemed to work the best for Kizzy. It flowed quite nicely. The ring wasn't laid out quite like you see on the map. In the close I actually picked Kizzy up from the tunnel and scooped her up into the weaves -- had it been set how it is on the map it would have made far more sense to go up the top way. I did have to reset the weaves once but she got them on her second try and finished clean and under time. Yay for Snooker Qs!

Biathlon/MC Jumpers was our sixth and final class of the day. Holy brain power Batman... And legs, too -- this was a running course for sure. I definitely found this course more challenging than our Standard course earlier in the day, and I'm sure it took out many more teams. I did just a slight lead-out with Secret to call her past that 2nd jump, but she still directed right to it and nearly took it from the wrong side. She stopped RIGHT at the wing and stared at me for at least three seconds before I was able to call her around to take it from the right side. After that we somehow managed to get through the rest of the course clean! She nearly went over the jump after the weaves on the way to 8, then I kind of crammed in an ugly front cross after 9 because I didn't trust a blind as I was running it. After that everything went well to the end. She finished in 40.03. Standard course time on this run? 40 seconds. Come on -- twice in one day we miss a Q by the slimmest of margins?! Oh well, it wasn't a Q in MC Jumpers, but it was good enough for a Biathlon Q! Our first one! I'm still not really sure what it's good for, other than qualifying to run in those classes at Cynosport....

Kizzy was kind of done by this point. I don't remember if she got her weaves or not, but she E'd at some point or another. Right around the broad jump she started shaking her head like something was bothering her ears. I decided to pull her and quit at that point because regardless of what was causing her discomfort there was no point in continuing. It could have just been stress, too. Either way, she was done. She gave it a super good effort!

We got home at 6:30, which is still pretty good for a day trip down to Madison. We were pretty lazy yesterday and then I had to go teach classes at Petco. The weather can't make up its mind lately. We get snow and then it gets warm and goes away. Then we get more. It snowed this morning, but it might be gone by the end of the week. Can't complain too much, it could definitely be worse!

We probably won't be doing much of anything until our next AKC trial in the middle of February.

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