Monday, November 15, 2010

Sno King - Day 3

We showed up on time! Actually, just barely. What a whacky trial. Usually the trials are small to tall one day and alternately the next. Plus, they usually have Excellent running in one ring and Novice or Open running in the other, too. Suffice it to say, nothing about this trial was normal.

So we showed up at 7:30. First dog was to be on the line at 8:00. When I arrived general briefing was in progress. I ignored that and got the dogs situated. Before I knew it though, I learned that big dogs were running first again. What?? Turns out standard was up first; JWW would be later. Stowed the dogs and walked the course. The judge was Scott Stock and, for the most part, I've always felt his courses are fairly challenging. There was only one spot I really had cause for concern - the early weave poles. Vegas tends to take off like a shot so making sure she could head straight into the weaves and not choose to bypass them or "skip" a pole....

I don't recall the yardage but the SCT was 66 seconds for 24" dogs. I'm happy to say that Vegas nailed the weaves and then promptly dove into the tunnel. Everything was going fantastically. V was running smooth, fast, energetically, and we were completely in tune. Although I carefully monitor contacts for the most part, I have never had an issue with her contact on the dog walk. She usually isn't going too fast - although she's doing well - because she walks it versus runs. She ends up walking straight through the contact. As you can see above, the next obstacle was the table. From the video it's apparent I was at the end of the walk waiting for her and then as she approached I turned and moved toward the table. That's all it took. With a sinking feeling I pressed on. Our finish was spectacular; our time was amazing. Everything was clean - everything but that one contact. I thought, though I had felt more than seen, Scott's arms had raised indicating a failure to complete an obstacle. As I leashed Vegas and walked out of the ring, heart still pounding, Vegas panting - and smiling, reaching for the treats I had stowed away outside the ring as a reward, I caught Craig's attention and asked, "Did he call a missed contact?"

Sure enough, that "feeling" had been right. I accelerated at the end of the dog walk instead of pointing down and giving the "touch" command. Crap. Crud. Crap. Bummer. Okay, those words lack the true frustration and disappointment I felt - still feel. It was all my fault. All my fault. I was devastated. Our time was a smoking 16 seconds under SCT. 16 seconds!!! Those kind of runs don't come along often enough for a Great Dane running agility. Oh, did I mention that was our first Excellent B Standard run? Yep. There went 16 MACH points down the tubes because I messed up. I was, still am, so proud of Vegas. She ran so well!
Unfortunately that was the highlight of our Sunday. Vegas pulled her "12 for the price of 22" weave pole stunt again in JWW. Dang if I can figure out why. It used to be JWW that she was rocking in and giving me fits on weaves in Standard. Now she's doing the opposite - although not the same weave problem. I can't figure it out but am sure going to try. Next time I get a chance I'm going to get more weave poles and set up random numbers for her to weave so she learns to keep weaving no matter the number. I really debated on pulling her out of the ring when she popped her weaves but with no more runs for the day there was little point.
The weekend was fairly heartbreaking as we had so many almosts but so little to show for them. I am happy with her earning her AX though, and guess we just have more to work on. The thing that worries me the most is how, as a giant breed, we have so much less time than most other breeds in this sport. Ever run; every point; every second counts. Perhaps we'll have better luck next weekend.


  1. I forgot what I was reading the other night (probably an old issue of Clean Run) but they had some statement that all the runs that just have one small thing that caused them to be NQs are "just near-misses at brilliance." I thought it was a nice perspective.

    Her video looked awesome! She was really moving. I haven't shown under Scott Stock yet, but I've been spectator at a trial where he judged and he does have tricky courses. I didn't realize you were at the same trial, but his Facebook status is, " one pulled a muscle in Seattle...not for me not trying :-)", so even HE knew they were difficult!

    Good luck next weekend :)

  2. So true, Amy. I'll have to remember that quote; it's a good one.

    That's funny what Scott said. On Friday he thought we were running Standard first and figured it would be a good "warm-up" course - lots of running - but in the end it was our warm-down course. LOL.

    His courses definitely can have some spots to double-check yourself on but they're not usually unreasonably difficult. He has a good Q to NQ rate, I would say. This just wasn't our weekend.

    I would definitely recommend running under him if he judges at a trial near you. I've run courses under him half a dozen times now; I think he's a favorite out here.