Saturday, June 5, 2010

German Shepherd Dog Club of Oregon AKC Agility Trial, 2 of 5

Today marked the first day of the second of five trial weekends in a row. It was warm! Yesterday morning I had the heat on getting ready for work. Today I was ready to lose the long sleeved shirt when I arrived and before I was even done setting up! Many thanks to our awesome friend, Jami, for saving us a spot and doing all the hard work in the rain yesterday setting the pop-up up. I also want to point out how exciting it was to have our good friends, Lindsay and Bess, back and running with us! So, with all our friends in place, how could today go wrong? Well, I'm glad to say it didn't - at least from the perspective that we had fun and Vegas was a complete rockstar again. Man, I just love that girl. She is all heart and all smart.

Since I'm tired I'm going to make this relatively short. We started with fast and then waited a few hours. When we were almost up to run JWW, they started walking Standard. I did my best to "stay cool" and a big thanks to Lindsay for holding Vegas while I walked Standard (and for videoing us today). Very much appreciated.
This first course map shows the course unmarked. The send bonus doesn't look too difficult on paper or walking. There were two challenges, though. First, there wasn't much leading up to the send to give Vegas momentum. Always interesting as we learned last weekend. Second, the end contact on the dog walk without me supporting Vegas - although the dog walk is less of an issue for us than the a-frame. Below is the course map again but this time it is marked to show the course I plotted and walked for us. 
Fortunately Vegas was right on with me. I was a little late on queuing her for the second jump in the 180 (7a & b) but we still got the points. The send got us and it took a couple tries to get her going without momentum which was a bummer - but I anticipated that going in and did the best I could. However, she did take the send and even nailed her contact on the dog walk. Unfortunately, as you'll hear in the video, she ran out of time (We're only allotted 32 seconds.) as she came down the dog walk so that is why you hear the judge call a Fault. I finished the course as planned anyway so that she got her warm-up and felt good about what we did. 
After we "hurried up to wait" our next course was JWW. The course was wonderful - although I was concerned about the tight spaces. It appears the judge drew the course to the exacting minimums AKC allows between obstacles. Whew - not an easy feat for a Dane. Fortunately we'd practiced (a long time ago!) bounce jumps, so if need be I knew Vegas was capable. 
Oh, and did I mention it was hot out? Poor baby girl was hot and I know she wanted to drink more but, of course, being paranoid of bloat I only allowed her sips at a time. The good thing was there were faucets with very cold water near the ring and she loves her fresh water. I was also able to wet her underbelly and ears and back some, too, to cool her down after running. There was a lot on the line again for JWW - it's our chance to earn some MACH points. But I had to steel myself for just running and having fun. As I hung out waiting and chatting with Lindsay, it started to look scarily like our standard course was getting ready. I really need to get that last open standard leg so we don't have this kind of conflict - it happens way too often. Of course as I'm hemming and hawing - fretting - about what to do and worrying about not getting a walk through or having two courses in my head at a time, they started walking as there were still two dogs ahead of me in JWW. Cest la vie, right? What can ya do. So the time came for us to run....
Vegas ran this course like a dream. She was clean. She was precise. She was responsive. She even did her weaves right away - quick - straight out of a tunnel. I was so proud of my girl. I thought, too, we had Qd and earned a MACH point. The following is part of the video...not all got recorded which is fine, but I wanted to include this part as it shows head on Vegas coming through the weaves. She is moving pretty good for a big girl and it was a nice perspective.

So basically we ran over time is all. Everyone had thought we did it and we got so many compliments on how well she handled the course. Someone did say later that the judge is known for wheeling his courses very tight which results in shortened yardage which means less time. The person who told me this said she watched him wheel that course today and chuckled to herself about how unrealistic he was where he wheeled for big dogs. So imagine what that does to the giant dog's time? Anyway, I'm trying not to focus on that although it's a good tidbit if it's true as I may not want to enter under this judge again if we're going to get shot in the foot by time. Regardless, disappointing in the actual results but I was overjoyed at how well Vegas did. She was such an incredible girl and couldn't have performed better.
Last up was standard and it was right after JWW. She barely had time to catch her breath but I was able to keep her under the shade tent at the start line and she lay down on the cool ground where it was still damp from having had so much rain lately.
This course didn't appear too difficult. I liked it well enough although I had some concerns about the chute back to the tire. As you'll see on the video, I didn't call her soon enough so she initially turned the wrong way as she didn't know where I was or what I expected. The other thing I didn't do well was to step in on the weaves to prevent pop out. So, that cost us a ton of time. Hopefully now that will be ingrained into my brain so we don't continue the pop out problem.

Sooo, today was a no Q day. Vegas got soaked down with water after her run, some fresh water from the faucet, her soft serve on the way home, and a turkey drum for dinner. She's been sawing logs ever since. Tomorrow is another day - here's to no rain but cooler temperatures and a lot of fun for my baby girl and me.

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