Monday, January 24, 2011

Rose City Classic 2011 - Sunday

Whew! What a weekend. I still have a very tired Great Dane. But what a day yesterday was. Leo and Vegas pulled off two amazing days of not only performance but an abundance of very effective PR for their respective breeds. AND, Vegas helped me to meet someone who lives in Battleground, WA that I "met" on Facebook. She has a gorgeous Dane, Beau, and came to the Rose City Classic with her daughter. The dogs and I were done for the day and settling down to watch the IFC competition and she recognized my pretty girl and came over to introduce herself. It was really cool and I can't wait to get to know her better and get the dogs together.

We didn't have to arrive as early Sunday as we had Saturday and we didn't have to unload anything. I just hauled along my usual agility duffel with treats and our Go Dog mix and extra collars etc. I alternately walked around with and without the dogs, watched the Danes in the ring including our friend Lindsay and her bitch, Bess, and waited until our first event. Just like the previous day, agility and rally collided even with all that time to wait. Leo ended up running first and I then headed straight for the agility ring to walk my course. Fortunately the courses were really nice this weekend and mostly built to accommodate all sizes of dogs as well as running on the matted surface. I had just enough time to run through the course twice and analyze a couple of points.
I'm really starting to like tunnel starts - and they were particularly beneficial in this environment. Without the wide open space and the speed launching over jumps, the tunnel worked great to gain focus for Vegas and I. Here I walked the course with a rear cross on the dog walk figuring I had plenty of time to front cross at the end to the weaves but I had originally felt like trying to fit in a front cross before the dog walk might cause me to lose her over an off course jump. I ended up getting the front cross in before the dog walk and remember distinctly looking right at her and keeping her in my sight at all moments to bring her toward me with the cross and drawing her off the off course possibilities. The weaves were slightly farther away from the crowd Sunday but I knew I would still have to work them carefully. From there to the teeter, I wanted to push out hard enough to the jump but still pull back to the a-frame. Rearing on the a-frame works well as I can almost always count on her to pause at the apex and look at me. I almost didn't make it and had a moment of panic that she'd miss her contact. No worries. She came down through it not only with a both front paws touching the yellow but a back foot, too. Good girl, Vegas! From there it was off to the table. From there we moved into the serp. I front crossed after the first jump to draw her off the tire and she moved well through the serpentine and the rest was almost a cake walk. I was so proud of my girl. She was moving so well and it was such a better run than the previous day's non-run standard. Her time was 55.18; SCT was 66. Our fourth MX leg and 10 MACH points. Not too shabby for such a rush-rush stressful period. Fortunately being with me is all Vegas cares about and when she's with me life is kosher and happy.

Here are a few of the pictures I had taken at the breed ring earlier:

 I got a kick out of this cute little Harl bitch. She was very pretty and sweet looking.
And this brindle girl is now Mia, once known as Violet, all grown up. She was being handled by Georgia of Daynakin Great Danes.

Alright, so our final "act" of the day was JWW. Our course is below:
Fortunately the weaves were in the middle of the ring this time around, helping to avoid the crowd too close issue that had occurred in some of the runs and was causing dogs so much distraction. We started with a tunnel again. Did I mention I was growing fond of that start? From there the trickiest part was not sending the dog too far and taking #15 versus #3. I had thought perhaps the tunnel would be a draw coming around from the #4 but the #5 jump was angled enough the tunnel was a non-issue. The next little stretch meant I had to really move and my plan was to move in after #7 in a semi-rear cross to push to the tunnel since I don't have a turn command and the last thing I wanted was a refusal. I ended up on the outer side of #8 and coming across the tunnel. As I was telling Rachel, one huge thing I learned from Craig French was how important it was to keep the dog's head out of the tunnel into the weaves. There is enough of a stretch there that they can easily get distracted. All it takes is picking the head up and looking around to possibly stride just beyond the ability to enter cleanly. I kept her head and her weaves were rock solid. I had decided to stick with the right side of the weaves, too, as it seemed awkward to move into a rear cross through the next sequence of jumps. Plus, the exit side of the weaves put her facing the jump following. It worked well. I planned a front cross after #13 and that worked well; I was able to accomplish this and give her plenty of space at the same time. Next up was a wide 180 without pushing too far and coming over the #3. No problem. Then, to flip her out at the #17 or wrap her in? I walked it both ways and even crouched down over the jump and walked as if I was Vegas to see what was most natural. I decided it was more natural to turn out toward the side of the ring. To accomplish this I was closer than I thought to accomplish this but it worked well to give her space and seemed to be the most natural for Vegas' size. She finished the course in 40.52; SCT was 45.

It was a pretty exciting thing to get a double Q at Rose City. I know I'm fortunate in that my girl has a fantastic work ethic and can really dig in and work with me through it all. I'm chalking our botched Saturday Standard run to my stress and also adjusting to the surface. A pretty fabulous weekend hanging out with great friends, watching some awesome dogs in a multitude of activities, doing PR for our breed, showing off my dogs, being able to see them in action and still be amazed by their tenacity and temperament, and some major successes too. Vegas is now at 88 MACH points and three double Qs.

Here's a pic I shot of the two dogs shortly before we left.
The two slept like the dead when we got home and Vegas is still pretty wiped out tonight although she was at least perky today before and after work. That kind of mental and physical environment can really wear on them but I don't think any of us would have it any other way. And so goes the end of Rose City 2011. Until next year. Another year and another show. I can't wait to see where we're at then.

For a quick look back at Vegas' progress since last Rose City, click here.

1 comment:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS on the Double Q!! That's SO exciting! Especially in such a rough trial site.

    I passed along a blog award for you guys! Don't feel obligated to participate, but I wanted you to know I think your blog's awesome.