Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fleet Feet CPE Trial March 2011

Today we headed down to the CPE trial being held in Turner, Oregon. I decided to leave Leo home this weekend; it's just easier with one dog and, after today, I'm glad I did. First, the weather is nasty. Second, Vegas needs some serious crate work and I can't give Leo any attention if that's all I'm doing with Vegas aside from working or running. Her anxiety is bad. I have her on an herbal right now that is helping, but it's super expensive and doesn't resolve the problem - just helps with it. But, I'll talk more on that topic later because I think it's important and pertains to many dogs, and Great Danes possibly are more prone.

Today we ran small to tall. The venue has a capacity for just one ring and about a year ago cut the runs each day from five to four. The running order was Full House, Standard, Snooker, then Jumpers. Interestingly enough, during briefing the judge mentioned a new rule most apparently had not heard about and it launched a somewhat lengthy discussion/debate/Q&A session. The issue was about CPE implementing a rule that no gates could be closed to the ring. No gates closed. Period. Apparently that's of concern for some people. We started a bit late because of the discussion. The Full House course was a lot of fun. We needed to run it in 35 seconds, plus I think we get five seconds to get to the table, and needed 25 points.
This was our first level 5 full house run. My primary goal during CPE when I get to choose my course is to avoid tunnels whenever I can. Fortunately the tire is usually out for full house so I could use that for our "circle" requirement. I planned on starting with the jump directly ahead of the tire and moving ahead to the tire, taking both jumps to the right and ahead of the tire, then completing the a-frame twice. I figured from there I would hit the weaves twice, back to back, and then take the tire and call it good. Vegas, per the rule of "expect the unexpected" took the tunnel initially on this course and I had to call her back to the a-frame. No problem - an extra three points. It ran well and we finished in 34.09 with 28 points.

Next up was Standard. Ugg. Four tunnels.
Our judge, Dorris Wiglesworth, is a frequent flier at this venue. She has great courses and we always have fun. Her courses are balanced well for challenges while still having fun. This one had both. There was definite flow to the course. The obstacles were well spread out with a good use of space. And she had obstacle discrimination which I think we can all use often. Being able to push or pull your dog off one obstacle or another makes us a better handler. It teaches us how responsive our dogs to to the queues we think we're using most effectively. All in all this course was not nearly as problematic as I wondered going in. After all, Vegas has a hell of a stride compared to some dogs and that gives me a lot less room for error correction. Somehow though, I felt like I went into it in a semi-daze and just got through it in such a relaxed way. I guess part of that is the difference with CPE and AKC. It's so relaxing in comparison. My goals are no less significant - I want the titles for both organizations. It means I have to handle well and be on my game. Perhaps it's just the atmosphere. I'll have to puzzle on that some more and hopefully try to sort it out in my head later. For now, let's just say I still find my mindset from Standard odd. Anyway, we finished it in 51.37 for second place, completing our second level 5 leg. Yahoo, Vegas!

We had a decent break and lunch between runs at that point. They ran levels 1-3 on separate courses so we had some time. Vegas had a nice romp out in the field behind the barn during a sun break and then hung out the truck a bit since she was being spazzy in her crate.
I'm really bad at strategy. I know my goals with Snooker, I even like the game. But plotting a course is another story. Thank goodness for Rachel! She found a great option and I went with it, modifying slightly for flow. Here's the course with my highlight for the course I planned.
Basically #3 was our pivot point. Red > 3, Red (top of course) > 3, Red (bottom to left of start line) > 3, then begin the course. I almost lost Vegas to the #7a tunnel when I wanted her to take the red, but I was able to call her off in time. We finished the entire course include the full sequence under time for 39 points and a time of 35.93. Second place and our final level 4 snooker Q. Another "yahoo" for Vegas!

Last run of the day was jumpers. I'm so glad they've been running jumpers on Saturday instead of the last run on Sunday. Since CPE tends to have a few tunnels I was super relieved to see this since it just seems a little nicer on V's body. The course had four tunnels but looked like a lot of fun. The most concerning issue did catch a lot of teams - the #15 jump when you're supposed to take the tunnel #14. The course was actually tighter than the map looks in that section and it required the perfect balance, positioning, and control for most people to avoid pushing their dog into the wrong into the tunnel or over that jump. But Vegas rocked, I mean rocked! that course. 32.37 seconds for a first place finish and our first level 5 jumpers leg. Yahoo, yahoo, whoohoo!!
Seriously a darn super star today. She ran so well and was so happy. We're on week three of agility in a row, last weekend being three days. She's trucking on very well and maintaining focus, staying happy, and working her tail off. I love my girl!

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