Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscer Club AKC Agility November 20-21

We had another agility trial last weekend. Different from other trials was that our friends, Rachel, Harry Potter, and Lexi, stayed with us. They showed up on Friday night and we all turned in shortly thereafter with the goal of being up with the chickens and at the trial site at 6:45 am to secure good crating space. Fortunately all the dogs get along so we had no issues there. Harry Potter and Lexi are Boxers.

After arriving, securing our spots, hauling in all the gear, and getting set up, Vegas and I had quite a bit of time to spare. They were running Fast first in both rings and we were not entered. I kept Vegas out for a short while but ultimately decided she'd be better of staying cozy in her crate. It was a cold weekend and I even joked with a couple people that we should have a fashion show at the end of the day with all the dogs wearing their coats. I'm excited to say how well Vegas is doing in her crate. She was quiet the entire weekend and non-distructive almost all the time - as long as I was not within ear shot talking and leaving her locked up. That's major progress for her!

The first course we ran both days was Standard followed by JWW. Here is our Saturday Standard course:
So to start with, the question was whether to go up the outside or the inside of the starting line, knowing I have a dog without a startline stay. The line was not nearly as straight as it would seem. The tire to jump #2 was definitely direct, but jump #3 headed to the outside wall with a jump set up enticingly beyond the a-frame. Fortunately Vegas has an excellent "flip" command and I could send her to the left and the a-frame relatively easily. By going up the outside I wasn't running so far nor was I risking pulling her off of the obstacles or getting in her way. From the a-frame I was careful to make sure she touched the contact then made the turn to #5 and #6, staying on the inside. The weave entry wasn't bad. Her jump landing put her fairly well in line with the entrance and she nailed them. The rest of the course went well. She was running really nice - enthusiastic, smiling, cooperative and in tune with me. She finished the course in 56.86; SCT was 71. Unfortunately we had one minor error on the course. She didn't see the panel following the weaves in time to pull up and clear it, although she tried valiantly. She knocked the top bar.

I don't have video from Saturday because my video camera that's only six months old all of a sudden decided to stop working.

Our second and final run of the day was JWW. Here's the course:
At first look on the map, the #5 to #6 looks difficult with #9/16 thrown in between. Fortunately the angle of #5 and the drive down to #6 didn't cause us any issue. From there though the side changes mixed with the directional changes definitely kept me on my toes. I was behind where I wanted to be at #9 to rear cross and drive Vegas to #10-11, but it worked out. She nailed her weaves coming out of the tunnel too! That in itself was really an accomplishment as the distance and opportunity to become a lookie-loo were there. I was feeling a bit out of sorts with some areas of the course. It's fairly well laid out on paper but as quite a few of us discussed, there were subtle complications only apparent when walking it. Even from the weave to the #13 double presented a challenge. If you pushed out through the end of the weaves a tad too far, the dog might take #20. If you pull off too soon, s/he might pop the weaves. From there, the flow is not as smooth as it looks as you take #13-16. The angulation after #14 is rather sharp and ends up pulling a harder pull back. Then, of course, is avoiding the tunnel again and pulling up the final line. I'm excited to say that Vegas pulled it off! She ran really well and our course time was 39.89 whereas SCT was 45. We earned five more MACH points and our ninth MXJ leg!

I stuck around an extra hour or so to watch one more of Lindsay's runs with Heffner. Then I headed home to the kids and a housefull of dogs. We had a load of laughs and turned in around 10 after making a new collar for one of Rachel's dogs. Sunday was colder than Saturday with the threat of snow on the horizon. We arrived a little later than Saturday and Vegas again spent a good part of the day hanging out in her crate resting and relaxing.

Our first course was again Standard.
In walking this course, I knew right away I didn't like the chute to jump #4. They're quite close on the map and not too far off in actuality. The problem is that the dog is following you blind which can mean pulling on the chute as s/he comes toward you (assuming all handlers were on the inside at that point). There was a risk of not having time to collect and clear the jump. I knew I would use a front cross at the front of the teeter to make the turn to the jump and weaves. That went off without a hitch. From the weaves the map looks like there would be danger of taking the #19 jump, but it wasn't an issue for us. The lines to the tunnel and from the tunnel to the second tunnel (#12) were strong and fast; I just had to make sure Vegas hit her contact on the down side of the a-frame. As Lindsay and I were walking this course we both noted we were the only ones who extended our walk way out beyond the dog walk and tunnel exit because we know our giant dogs need plenty of clearance to turn and head straight onto the walk. Of course Vegas being the smarty girl that she is, surprised me by making a sharp turn out of the tunnel and nailing the dog walk solid anyway!

In watching the 20" class run this course, the BCs had a ton of problem with the next little sequence. They were taking the #10 jump (or the tunnel!) as an off course. Fortunately Craig was nearby when I walked the course and he pointed out three options for handling the #15-17 sequence. He also noticed one thing I was doing walking it that could get me in trouble. I was front-crossing after 15 and again after 16 but then as I turned toward 17 I didn't keep my eye on Vegas. It also meant my shoulders were then pointing toward #10 instead of 17. Whew! Thankfully I managed that okay in the actual run. Home free from there, right? Here it is.
Vegas rocks! Her course time was 59 and change; SCT was 70, giving us 10 MACH points and our first MX leg. I was so, so, so very happy with her. She ran like a complete champ, fast, clean, and sure.

We had a break for a short time after that and by then it had started to snow a bit outside. Lindsay and I are both crazy for snow so immediately went running outside. It really started coming down good albeit the tiny flakes that don't accumulate quickly. It was pretty exciting though. Vegas loves snow!

Our last run of the weekend was JWW, a course that had some pinwheels and full box jumping sequences.
I was trying not to think about qualifying in this run - just thinking about the run itself and what I needed to do to tell Vegas where to go. Our knack for rear crosses were valuable here and she was running well even when I got behind in a couple spots. At the weaves she moved her head a little out just after she started like she was going to pop but she kept moving. After the weaves I pretty well thought we were home free but kept moving and handling the course as I should. The only spot that gave us trouble was the home stretch. I felt like I had to dig in and run hard at #16. My posture must have changed - did change, according to friends, Rachel and Jami - and that cost us the run. Vegas ran right by # 18 in favor of the tunnel and, while I pulled her back before we incurred an off course, it was too late as we had a refusal. Bummer!
And that was our weekend! We went home with two more legs toward our MX and MXJ titles (one a piece) and 15 additional MACH points. Not too shabby for a giant, black dog.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! I love the videos; so great to see danes in agility!