Monday, March 21, 2011

PAC/GSDCO AKC Trial Day 3 - March 2011

I was so tired today! So tired, in fact, that I took Vegas' crate pad out of her crate, placed it on the floor in our crating area, put a towel over the top, and lay down. I even got her to lay down with me - partially for body heat and partially just to snuggle for a nap. Not sure how long I tried to nap and dozed off and on, but it made up some time so I wasn't shivering and bored. This was actually a bit after we'd got there as I had already taken V out back of the event center for some romp and explore time. It was such a crisp, refreshing, "clean" Spring morning. Of course a good part of my being cold had to do with that little jaunt and wet feet. Oops. Here are a couple of pictures and a video from our walk.
After our "nap" and some more "wait" time, we ran JWW first. The judge and course design was Terri Campbell and while I had some concerns about getting lost in all the jumps, particularly in the mid-section, it was a nice course with good flow.
Good points:

  • The weave entrance was nice. There was a decent amount of spacing between the jump and the weaves. There was little to distract from the weaves but open space between the weaves/jump and the wall. The arena we run in at this venue has high, solid walls surrounding it since it's also used for horse events, etc. Also, there was no need to change sides into the weaves. On another note, I have recently noticed we don't have a "favored" side for the weaves. Vegas has learned to handle well from either side and that's a huge relief. 
  • The tunnel was at the beginning. It meant we could just do it and get it over with. It let her come out and stretch and move. 
  • The course flowed. One jump flowed into another and turns were sweeping and allowed multiple options for handling in many cases. 
Down sides: 
  • There was a tunnel. Perhaps it's just a down side for us, but after two weekends in a row and some really difficult courses on this three day weekend of trialing, a tunnel reprieve is always welcome.
  • Parallel sequences. Jumps 4 - 5 and 11 - 13 through a lot of people. In watching, some forgot the left angled jump #13 and then the flow to the right since previously 5 - 6 was a right to left maneuver. I worried about getting lost. 
  • Off course pitfalls...making sure when we took the triple, #11, that we could pull back up the center of the course. 

Lindsay was kind enough to offer to video for us. I'm so glad she did! Wait'll you see!
Can we say elated? I was so, so, so incredibly thrilled with her run. She did so amazingly well. Her pace was even. She responded well to my body language for the turns, and she manages her stride well between jumps. The SCT was 48 seconds for 169 yards. 10 MACH points on a JWW course. Unbelievable. We were 9th out of 11 dogs that qualified in the 24" class. 

Standard was another 90 minutes or so off, I suppose, by the time we got to even walk. In between things today I just kept Vegas out. I left the midget at home today since I would be packing up and she deserved some solo time where all I had to think about was her. Vegas was stressing pretty good this weekend being crated so keeping her out made her a lot happier. Of course getting all the extra loving she did never hurts either. 

Our Standard course looked okay...definitely some challenges and pitfalls but no crazy stuff like we saw over the last two days. Of course that's my interpretation after assessing it for my dog. 
Good points: 
  • The tire had a nice line to the next obstacle. I always hate when there is an angle or turn to make right after the tire. Vegas is so large that setting her up to take the tire at an angle always bothers me. That frame is heavy and I'd just hate for her to make a wrong move and get tangled up in the thing. Plus, with the tire lower in AKC now, I hate for her to feel rushed and possibly jump too high. Chances are none of these things will ever happen because she's excellent at judging where she needs to be to maneuver a course, but I worry nonetheless. 
  • The chute also had a straight path out the next obstacle. It's always better to see dogs run straight through the chute rather than pulling it with them to the side as they try to move blindly to the next obstacle. I've seen too many dogs tangle in the chute and/or pull the chute right off the barrel to like angled setups. 
  • There was a straight approach to the dog walk. The map may not make it seem so, but there was enough room that she was able to get her footing onto the dog walk straight. The video will actually show it more clearly because she even had time to stride out and pick up speed between the #8 jump and the dog walk. Oh, and as Mr. Robin noted, I do run a Great Dane so the dog walk was stable. Yesterday it was a little shaky due to a bit of a gap at the ramp hinge. He was involved in helping shim it up then and noted how carefully I always check the dog walk when walking the course. I literally grab each ramp and sometimes the top and "shake" them to make sure there's no wobble or give. Vegas has taken three total dog walk falls including one where I caught her and one where she was gimpy enough not to get back up and try again. I won't risk it. 

Down sides:

  • Front cross or not at the #2-3 sequence? It was a tough call to avoid getting in your dog's way or pulling him too far toward the tunnel. It was a sharper angle and had the potential for several things. Leading into the next....
  • The a-frame access was not ideal. It was too angled from where the dog was coming from to give them the striding distance they should have, particularly from that angle. There was one dog that took it at such speed that he hit it from the bottom left corner and wasn't able to straighten himself until nearly the top and at that point he was all the way to the far, right edge. 
  • The tunnel entrances were awful. Who goes right past a tunnel every single course? Apparently this judge feels that's necessary. You lose all momentum when you have to go past something only to turn your body back to take it, and when that something is a tunnel and you're a big dog? It's just harder on them and, quite frankly, unfair. 
  • The table was in an odd place and that's something that struck me right off the bat. Fortunately I had seen some nice handling that made it look easy. Plus, I can always get ahead of V on the dog walk and that allowed me to turn for a front cross to the table. But still, weird. 
  • The weave entrance. Really? Even extremely seasoned, good handlers struggled with this. They were running way out off the double to front cross and pull their dogs into a heel before sending them into the weaves. Dogs and handlers were clear out at the triple ending jump trying to give their dogs the space to maneuver and see the weave entrance. 

I said it a couple of times to a couple of people; I was just going to take it one obstacle at a time. That's all I could do with Vegas. I spent more time analyzing and fretting over the #13 - 16 sequence today than I ever spend on a walk through. I couldn't help it. Yes, I have some advantages of being able to get out ahead of Vegas from time to time. I can beat her through a tunnel and get into position. But I'm still dealing with a lot of body coming at me and less room to maneuver to avoid mistakes, if they start to occur. I have no correction room usually. And she can't turn on a dime like a BC can.

In the end, Vegas pulled out the rock star card again. This girl continually amazes me. And thank you, thank you, thank you Lindsay for videoing this run. I still cannot believe the angle she turned her body into those weaves and then plowed through them. I was in the wrong place. I could feel it but she knew what she was doing and just did her job. I'm sitting here typing this almost in tears thinking of my baby girl and how proud I am of her. I am such a lucky dog mom. Such a lucky mom. That girl goes out there and gives me 100% and then she gives me more. She has run - and qualified - on some of the hardest courses we've ever seen that are not built for her body in the least. And she keeps coming back for more. And smiles while she does it. Can anyone ask for more?
The course was 175 yards with an SCT of 65 seconds. Our time was 59.59. Thirteen dogs qualified; we were 12th.

I almost forgot to mention, when we showed up this morning, within a very short period of time a half dozen people had come up to me and said, "Have you seen the picture Joe took?" "Have you seen the tunnel picture of Vegas?" Apparently there were some good shots. I've never had more than one or two people say anything about there being pictures of Vegas in Joe's prints so this must have been a big deal. I bought all five he had.
Photo Courtesy of Joe Camp
Photo Courtesy of Joe Camp
Photo Courtesy of Joe Camp
Photo Courtesy of Joe Camp
Photo Courtesy of Joe Camp
The plan for when we came home was to feed Vegas a little then bathe her. She was overdue and I figured the warm watter and a nice Zoom Groom rub down would be the perfect ending to a hardworking weekend. She was a bit of a pill getting into the tub when there was standing water so I had to drain it and she stepped in. Once she was clean and mostly dry, she was ready to crash out. We ended up taking a three-hour nap with her snuggled close. She very clearly was telling me she was glad to have me there with her and that she needed some plain, old down time. Here she is snuggled into my armpit covering her face.

Weekend standings: Two double-Qs. Four qualifying runs. Thirty-two MACH points. One very tired Great Dane. One enormously humbled dog mom.


  1. WOW! Congratulations Vegas!

    Mom keeps thinking about tryin agility with me...but I'm so big (36", 150lbs) that she's not sure I'd fit in some of the stuff!

    For now, we'll stick to Rally-O. That way I don't have to crawl through anything!

    wags, wiggles & slobbers

  2. Murphy, you're adorable. :)

    You're about the same size as Heffner so you can probably talk your mom into watching his videos going through the tunnel to see what it's like.