Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trial Weekend Update & Recap

 didn't take the time to post yesterday about the trial because I had a collar order to fulfill. However, there is lots to tell so be prepared for this to be a bit lengthy!

Saturday dawned sunny (quite a bit after we left home), too early (what's new?), but somewhat balmy. It was a great day to do agility! Vegas and I headed up to Clark County and I made the heartbreaking decision to forgo coffee. I had all of our agility paraphernalia all over the front seat and my breakfast and inevitably Vegas jumps over the seat and would be all over the place wreaking havoc in her neurotic-ism over "mommy leaving her." A quick drive up the freeway and we arrived bright and early with nary (but a dozen) cars in sight. I dropped our x-pen off by the doors and parked. Vegas trotting along (tangling me up in her leash) beside me, I hefted, heaved, and hauled that heavy sucker in and found us a spot to set up. Four square feet later and 48" tall, that puppy looked like a great place to snooze between runs. Out to the car we went to fetch the rest of our stuff, Vegas helpful as always. After all, who can resist loving on such a sweet face? Nobody apparently because it took 15 minutes from our "spot" to get to the truck. Oh well. =)

After setting up, we picked up course maps for the day. On the agenda was novice FAST, open JWW, and then novice standard last. Then I set Vegas up in her comfortable digs and headed out to visit and wait for briefing to start. Not 10 minutes later, I hear the familiar call, "Loose dog." In my head I was thinking, "Oh, somebody's dog is loose." Never mind the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I think subconsciously I was screaming obscenities while externally I was in denial. That didn't last long because when I finally turned in that direction, who do you suppose I should see but m dear, precious Vegas Rose? Oh, did I mention she loves her mama? She collapsed the x-pen. Don't ask me how she escaped without getting stuck in the middle. I haven't a clue. Off we went to try again. Oh, and one other thing. She was wearing her oh-so-fragrant Calm Me Down collar this whole time. Yeah, it so did not work. There went $35 down the drain. After a couple of tries where I set her up in the x-pen again and tried to step away, tried to sit for a while until she was calm, stood just a few feet away to acclimate her, it was clearly not going to happen. So Vegas spent the rest of the weekend hanging out in the back of the truck. It worked out quite well considering I was able to park close both days.

So moving on.... here is a map of our first course, novice FAST. Our judge was Pam Cumming.
You can see by the purple markings what one of my plans was. I decided not to waste time making the loop with the a-frame and teeter just to get the points. We ended up going straight for the 'send' after the initial jump > a-frame > jump sequence and then headed for the jump in the center above the tire, took the tire, then headed back for the jump to the tunnel in the upper left. I had more than a passing thought during walk-through and running the course to try the weaves since we can't be faulted here but I decided not to. It was probably a mistake simply because Vegas struggles so much with consistency in the weaves at trials, but nonetheless, we ended up over the final jump at the finish before time went off which was great because we didn't lose any points. The allotted time was 32 seconds and we needed 50 points including the 13 points assigned to the 'send' obstacles and the 20-point bonus. So basically we needed 17 points in addition to succeeding on the 'send.' Piece of cake. Our time was 28.85, 61 points in a first place qualifying run. Way to go, Vegas!

Shortly thereafter was our second attempt at open JWW. Here is the course:
This time the purple markings were just me plotting out where I would be and where I would have side changes. The course was fairly nice and Vegas did quite well. We would have most likely qualified but I made a couple of mistakes. I can't remember our weaves from Saturday (early onset Alzheimer's?) so not sure if we struggled on them or if she took them right away. However, I caused us a fault for off-course or refusal, I think, when I tried to fit in a front cross at 16 and instead ended up sending her too far out and around 16. I think we may have knocked a bar too, but I cannot remember for sure. If we did it would have been #16 and due to our maneuvers in trying to complete that obstacle after my handling snafu.

The more I trial the more I get to know people. And the more I get to know people the more I learn about this sport. In AKC, the jump between novice and open is apparently pretty significant; whereas going from open to excellent is not so large. Part of me struggles against my competitiveness and natural penchant for rocking whatever I choose to do. Another part of me is fighting to be realistic. We're agility toddlers. It takes time to cruise to the top. I have to continually remind myself of that and work one step at a time so our foundation is solid. (Do me a favor someone and remind me of that in a month or so if I'm pulling my hair out.)

So on to run #3 for Saturday...novice standard. A lot was riding on this run in my mind as it was all we needed to finish our novice agility title. Without further ado, here was the course designed by judge Dan Butcher:
Vegas did pretty darn good on this course. It was not extremely difficult, but of course the table was a down and that is our latest nemesis. A table that is hard and cold and has poky stuff on it from the contact-a-coat is not a fun thing for my princess who is accustomed to lounging on two beds on her Kuranda bed or on mama's comfy king with the heat blanket on. She initially ran past it aiming for the super fun teeter, but I was able to call her back just in time before she put any feet on it. Just a table fault there. We probably ended up wasting 20 seconds on the table but from there I believe the rest of the course was a breeze (since I don't remember our problems and don't have video). I left without waiting for scores as I really didn't think we qualified and that was the end of our Saturday.

Today it was really hard to get up. Too many super early days right in a row. I ended up getting up and feeding Vegas, getting laundry out of the dryer, and then snuggling with Vegas for another 5 or 10 minutes until I finally got myself moving. It was definitely a coffee day and since Vegas was riding in the canopy today, I was able to stop! Despite how late I arrived today (7:45 am), we actually got a parking space right by the building which was perfect! Vegas was much better behaved this weekend in the back of the truck and I just might stick with that plan for a while instead of carting so much stuff into the trial site.

For whatever reason, I decided to check the score book shortly after my arrival. I guess I did it because I hadn't stuck around the previous day. Boy did I experience a shock when I found that we had qualified in our last run yesterday! We finished our novice agility title!!!! She is now KKZ's Apache Vegas Rose CL-1, CL2-R, CL2-H, CL2-F, NAJ, NA

I was so proud I could have shouted it from the rooftops. She's such a rockstar; God I love that girl! And here is our new title ribbon. Thanks. MHDPC!

Since we weren't running FAST today, we started with JWW and novice ran first. It was over an hour before we finally got to run and we lucked out with another really nice course, this one designed by Dan Butcher.
I will mention, something I was taught by Craig French was to check the belts on the tunnels to make sure they are fastened across the ribs not between them. The tunnel on this course was really belted poorly and I mentioned it to the judge who fixed it. At the entrance and exit the opening was at full circumference. However, about four inches back, the tunnel was belted so tight initially that it probably lost about 4-6 inches in height! I already run Vegas without a collar in AKC even though they are allowed and one of the reasons is because of the tunnels. There is no sense in having anything excess that could catch on the ribs as she runs through and hinder progress or tug at her. The other reason is so I don't forget to take it off when running in CPE. That all said, this was a really nice course, too, and Vegas even took her weaves the first try. However, she popped out at number 10 and it was probably me pulling off prematurely. I seem to be okay pulling off a bit in practice but she's not confident enough in trials for me to do that. Because of where she popped out and my uncertainty of where to attempt to put her back in, we started them over and she ran them clean and relatively fast then. Yay, good girl Vegas!

I spent some time today working a couple long classes to help out and to earn some "bucks" toward future trial entry fees with this club. The Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscher Club really does a good job with their trial and I love seeing all the Dobies, too.

Since I didn't know yesterday that we finished our novice standard leg, we weren't able to move up to open today. It was just as well as Vegas was a bit of a pill on the weaves again. Other than a couple awkward moments on my behalf, she did well otherwise and qualified again, this time with a time of 66.07 (allowed was 64) and 88 points. I'm not sure what our faults were. I have video this time from the lovely Havenese breeder I met. I'll hopefully learn her name next time. =)

We headed out shortly thereafter as we were done for the day, the last dogs to run, and equipment nearly picked up. Since Vegas wasn't nearly spent enough, we headed for our home dog park where we have not been in several months. I had hoped she'd run a bit but not much luck. A  few brief skirmishes some dogs where she initiated her chase/herding game and then right on back to mama. Below is a video I took of her running back to me after I put her in a sit/stay and walked out a ways. As you can tell, Vegas was overjoyed to come running back to "the mom."

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