Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rogue Canine Agility Day 2

Today dawned sunny and bright.....well, it did, but it also dawned early. Too early. The dogs started getting antsy before the alarm went off at 6. So we turned the alarm off and took them all out to do their thing, feed them breakfast, and then got ready. We still had plenty of time to kill as we were figuring on loading the dogs up by 7 and grabbing a bite to eat at the hotel. We read a little and then were ready to go.

Fast was up first today. I don't enter Fast often but I did today. I'd like to get those two remaining Excellent A legs and be done with that last all together. We don't train distance or layering so it's one of those things that's never easy for us. Today's course was a pleasant surprise, though, and I thought it doable.
I loved the long line of jumps leading up to the first send obstacle. Usually with the first run of the day and a long line of jumps like that I have a good chance of having a revved up Vegas. Here's what my plan was:
32 seconds and 60 points. I didn't think about the time going into this. I'm glad I didn't or I might have gotten discouraged. First I should mention that I thought the start line was all across the arena so two dogs before I ran I realized where it actually was. Darn! Slight adjustment and we started behind the line angled toward the first jump as shown above in my planned path. It meant Vegas angling back inward but she did that just fine. She was moving, I was moving, but what happened totally makes sense. I think perhaps if I hadn't been moving out so fast, my abrupt stop at the line wouldn't have been so obvious. She pulled back just short of the first jump in the send bonus so I had to correct and figured I'd give it one try. I brought her back around to the third jump in the line and managed to gain enough speed she was over the first send jump! From there I figured the tunnel made sense and if I was able to get beyond the jump after the tunnel I thought she would take it. She did! I was soooo incredibly proud of my girl! I brought her around and we did in fact complete the rest of the course I outlined above with the exception of the tire making the turn to the jump on the right side. Leaving the course I knew that if nothing else, we got the send and I was immensely pleased with Vegas. It was an incredible feeling to start the day. Turns out we didn't Q as we lost points on time plus were short 1 or so anyway. But who cares?! It was a great run.
Our Standard course today looked like a lot of fun, a couple tricky spots, but totally doable. Here's how I figured on handling things:

  • I would be on the right moving out from the start so I could make sure I pushed into the tunnel instead of pulling her into the off side. 
  • I would then back off and be in the inside (left) for obstacles 4 and 5 with a rear cross planned for the teeter. 
  • I figured I would rear cross #9 to pull her back to the table and avoid the a-frame. She loves the a-frame so there was definite potential for an off course there although they weren't too close. 
  • While Vegas was on the table I figured I would back out and be in the right side of the table to put me in the inside position for 12-13.
  • I had plenty of room to front cross after 13 into the chute and that way I could remain on the inside until the finish. 
Everything was going beautifully. Until I screwed up. I knew it immediately. In that split second that I queued Vegas and screwed up our Q chances, she looked at me and told me clearly I was wrong but she trusted me enough to listen. I was ahead of her where I didn't want to be which is why I did what I did. I was far out on the right of the #9 and ahead of her so knew to rear cross I would run into her. Instead I told her "Out Table!" She looked at me as if to say, "Really? But this jump is right here in front of me." Literally it was a stride from taking off and she adjusted BEAUTIFULLY to do exactly what I told her. Poor girl. She's so reliable and rockin' and I messed us up. I knew it and told her how sorry I was through the rest of the course which was completely beautiful, of course. God how I love my girl and how amazing she is. She runs like a dream and while I am still feeling crappy for my screw-up, I know that I have the bestest girlie ever. 
JWW was a course I was sweating and cursing from the time I looked at the map this morning. Yeah; it was one of those courses. Herky. Jerky. Pulling. Yanking. Poor dog course. And it an extent. The start was very demotivating, I found. From 2 to 3 I almost lost her because she was looking for what obstacle she was supposed to do and there was nothing there that made sense. And then I was asking her to pull around in a 270+ turn followed by an enticing tunnel. But wait! You can't take the tunnel! From there it wasn't so bad. My plan and what I ended up doing were to stay on the left through the weaves but be out beyond the end of the weaves when she came out so I could push to the correct end of the tunnel. Then I would work the right side 8-11 with a front cross into 12. At first I hated the idea of the 19-20. It seemed fruitless. I get that it makes sense to send the dog away from the one setting up/starting but it's hard on the body and just a "wrong" type of motion. To me anything lacking some sort of flow seems too hard on a giant breed's body. It worked out okay but I still hate to have Vegas land and immediately ask her to turn and jump again the opposite direction. As she was coming over #18, I turned and looked at the clock. I have never done that mid-course but I knew it would be tough. We had 47 seconds. We cleared the course clean, our third MXJ3 leg, in 46.14. No MACH points, which was a bummer, but a Q and clean on a tough course. I am proud of my girl. 

And that was the day. Rachel and I had planned on going to try and find a place on the Rogue River to play with the dogs and avoid sitting in a boring hotel all day, but it didn't work out that way. Everything was deep and swift and after trying several places, we gave up. Here's the one picture I got at the first place we stopped. I'm sure there are beautiful places to walk and hike but it was just too hot and too much asphalt radiating the 97 degree day into too much heat for dog pads. 
Our last stop before the hotel was the Dairy Queen right next door for kiddie cones for the dogs. That turned into another disaster but in a kind of hilarious way. I couldn't get my wallet, etc. put away before they had our three cones ready and, of course, two people driving with three cones with a small dog on my lap on a hot day....well, I gave Vegas hers and she swallowed the ice cream immediately and crunched the cone down in one additional bite (two chomps). Lexi was taking her time and Harry Potter doing a fairly quick job of it...while Vegas kept trying to and somewhat succeeding in stealing Lexi's. Lots of ice cream splatters, dog spit, cursing, and juggling things, while laughter reigned. Now we know Vegas is the ice cream piggy.... 

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