Saturday, June 25, 2011

CRAC AKC Agility - June 24-26

Yesterday kicked off a three-day agility weekend held at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem, OR. We had never trialed here before and not knowing the setup arrived super early Friday although we were showing small to tall with Fast running first. The weather was supposed to be beautiful, moving into warm (upper 70s?), and quite frankly, finally like summer. We met our friend, Rachel, and decided to set up our tents outside instead of crating inside the building, particularly because we were going to be able to tent/crate right by the ring.
After getting unloaded and all set up, picking up maps and stickers, we took the dogs for a romp in an enclosed field. Here are a couple of pictures.

After the four dogs romped a bit, my dogs and I wandered around the fairgrounds. Of course I took a few more pictures.

First up was Standard followed by Jumpers, all days. Friday we ran Standard just before noon and JWW around 2:30. Today was a bit earlier with Standard about 10:15. The courses have been fantastic!
The good news here despite the two tunnels was that they would both be done by #4 plus were relatively short tunnels. I planned on working from the inside (bottom of the map) until sending her into the #4 tunnel. The weave entry was great, just had to control speed after the launch over the double. The most difficult part of the course, for me, was 7-8. In retrospect, Vegas probably would have easily chosen the a-frame since she likes it, but I was worried about the angle from the weaves and what she might choose. I decided a front-cross would work best after the weaves and a rear cross when she was on the a-frame. From there we were good until 14-16 then my concern is she would want the a-frame again when she needed to take the chute. After 17 I planned on (hoped for?) a front cross to the teeter then the turn to #19 would be smoother.
Whoohoo! She handled every stride fabulously, with speed, precision, and enthusiasm. Yardage was 187; SCT was 69. Our time was 54.04. We earned 14 MACH points and MX2 leg #2.
After a snooze and some kicking back time, JWW was up.
I had some concerns initially about getting the right end of the tunnel here. A lot of handlers were having problems running it, and when the 24-26s walked, quite a few led out on the left so they pushed the dog into the tunnel while standing in the center of the curve. With no lead out and knowing if I "stall out" Vegas would get a refusal, I was in a conundrum. I decided to set her up at an angle over the first jump so she could only see the correct end of the tunnel. I figured while she was in the tunnel I would get in position on the other side of #3. The next "hitch" could be the second tunnel but few dogs had issue with it thus far with #9 being angled toward the correct side. Unfortunately we didn't really get a chance. It was an ugly run and I finally pulled her off course. First, I under-estimated my dog. She runs faster now than she has before and I keep forgetting that. In this instance, she was through the tunnel and homed in on the #1 jump again before I turned around. Too late we had an off course which then resulted in a "fail to complete" as I never did get her over #3 the correct direction. That was where my fault and her fault parted ways. If I hadn't deleted the video in frustration you would see she clearly looked at the correct entrance to the #10 tunnel and then chose to go into the center of the curve. Game over and unhappy mom. Just a calamity. I, fortunately, "get over it" quickly, but I am still disappointed. Great courses that I am confident in don't come every day. And every day that passes with my girl is another day older and another day less to run. I know, doom and gloom. But, with a Dane, you just have to be cognizant of that. So no Q, no QQ for the day, but 14 MACH points. There is a ray of sunshine for Friday.

Saturday was supposed to be a bit warmer. I think the breeze actually kept it a bit cooler for the most part. Thankfully! And the arena we're running in gets great air flow and has been significantly cooler than outside which is perfect for agility. Thank God! You just never know this time of year and we certainly have no place to run in A/C.

After getting our stuff unloaded today, maps, etc, we went to the same field to play sans Rachel and her dogs, and our friend, Erin, wandered by. I invited her and her Siberian Huskies in to play and Vegas had a fun romp with Boomer.
Another lovely course! Plus, only ONE tunnel. Yahoo! So the plan was to set her up at an angle on the first jump so she couldn't hone in on the tire. I was hoping to rear cross on the a-frame and then I really struggled with the tunnel, finally deciding if push came to shove I'd run around the back of the tunnel to avoid stalling her at the entrance. One issue, too, was how wide dogs were running after taking the panel jump. More than one naturally looped toward the weaves hitting them at pole 2 or 3. No bueno! Of course I didn't want to pull her off the panel too soon and cause a dropped bar either. Very carefully managed.... After the table I had hoped, too, to rear cross at the teeter. From there the most difficult part was pulling her back from the chute. Even the tiny dogs wanted to "shoot" right out from the chute and had to severely angle backward to the #18 jump. The video shows how things really went... Final assessment? I need to figure out how to handle her super fast and then adapt on the course if I have 'Super Fast Vegas' or regular 'Fast' Vegas.
Another successful Standard run (by the skin of our teeth on those weaves!). Twelve MACH points and MX2 leg #3. Yahoo, whoohoo, good job, V!

We had some more hang out time, rested a bit in our tent, then Vegas and I ran scribe sheets for the 12, 8, 4 inch class during Standard. Then it was time to walk then run JWW. Again, another beautiful course. The first 8 obstacles were quite similar to Standard so I figured we could handle it.
I knew I could work the weaves better this time and also had the advantage of the dog walk not being there as a distraction. I really didn't have a lot of concern about the course.  However, Vegas had different plans. We got to #5 and then she just zoned on me. The dog walk was stacked along the back wall and at the end of it, our friend and local dog photographer, Nina, was stationed with her camera at the ready. Not sure what the deal was but Vegas homed in on her or "something" and missed her entry. Of course I was pisssed. She went away on me after a beautiful start. It wasn't just a mistake. It wasn't even something logical that distracted her. She just "quit" on me. Ugg! So we fixed the weaves with me being a little harsh in calling her back. Her weaves were beautiful. Then, well, she just dove into the wrong end of the tunnel without qualm for what I said. Again, same as Friday, "game over." End of our day and no QQ.

All afternoon I've tried not to be annoyed about it but I still kind of am. Two days. Why? Why did she act that way on both courses? How can we be SO in sync on Standard both days and so out of sync on JWW? It makes no sense, especially since JWW is usually her "game." Oh well. Tomorrow (one hour and twenty-two minutes from now) is another day. Here's hoping!

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