Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rogue Canine Agility October 2011

Last weekend we headed for Central Point, Oregon and the Rogue Canine Agility club's AKC agility trial. Rachel and I had attended a trial here once before recently and really enjoyed it. This weekend was no exception. The judges were Lori Sage and Debby Wheeler - both whom we have enjoyed trialing under previously. Plus they were doing a Halloween costume contest after classes were finished Saturday. That provided to be more fun - and creative - than I could have imagined.

We ran small to tall Saturday and tall to small Sunday. Although the trial was fuller this weekend than the previous, the club handled things efficiently and runs went quickly. Vegas was entered in Fast again as I have been trying to get us our final leg for the XF title.

Here's the course map:
Here's what I had planned out:
Originally I thought we would use the double again after the teeter just because it was in flow but in the end I knew Vegas could wrap tightly after the teeter and since we didn't get points for the jump a second time it was an unnecessary obstacle. My biggest goal with the send bonus was my personal momentum out beyond the second jump to pull her then the wrap and a push back out over the third jump. It turned out to be no problem. Why do I worry about these things? My girl is so awesome. While I knew the the dog walk was there as were the weaves, I didn't want to waste time when I knew that and the ability to accumulate the points is most of what has cost us in qualifying previously. So I opted for a push to the tunnel as a quick exit. Turns out it worked! Vegas was flying and finished the course with 65 points (60 were required) in 28.87 seconds. She was first place and that was our third leg and XF title. So pleased with Miss V - she's so darn reliable!

Next up was Standard.
In walking this course I was going to handle from thel eft side of the 1-4 sequence then make the turn to 5-7. From there I debated on a front cross once she was committed to #8 to wrap and pull her back to the dog walk or to handle from the left again. In the end positioning for both of us allowed me to make the cross. From there to the table, I changed sides and handled from the left again through 14. Then I knew I had to avoid the off course jumps and pull her back to me. There was a slight possibility of an off course again after 16 to the chute but by pulling back and keeping closer to the dog walk Vegas easily understood the chute was the next obstacle. From there I felt confident in my ability to front cross in front of the weaves and that worked beautifully. I had set the chute for the entire 20" class and saw how that handled at the end. I didn't like the cross from the left side of the weaves and knew I had time to do the other which made the pull back to the tire for the final obstacle easy.

Of course all is well in theory, but I screwed up big time. Again. And unfortuntely I didn't catch it myself on course. I thought I had queued Vegas correctly. The area of the course I'm talking about is 4-5. I still don't feel that a deceleration queue was completely necessary at that point as I definitely turned my shoulders. But perhaps I was late doing that and I know I certainly could have moved toward #5 when I called her back to me versus just standing there so know that part is my fault. Regardless, my error made for an off course, particularly devastating as Vegas' time was 55.03 with an SCT of 70. I'm guessing that had I not screwed up we would have been at 17-18 seconds under course time which would have been amazing! But hindsight. What I learned from this was to check my brain into the game for each run the remainder of the weekeend and not just make a plan and barrel through it. I need to more actively think on my feet since I expect Vegas to and I'm the one that has a map and can read numbers. I'm her GPS after all!

The last run was JWW then the costume contest. My walk plan here was a front cross between 4 and 5, a rear cross at 10, and then to run it all out. I ended up with a front cross after 16, too, but other than that, the course ran well. I was particularly excited there were no tunnels to slow us down plus we had two long straight lines of jumps to pick up speed on the finish. Right up our alley.

Our time was 36.05; SCT was 42 for 148 yards. Five MACH points and a really fun run!

Vegas hung out in her crate during the costume contest since I had my hands full with the little ones plus taking pictures of the rest of the participants. I'll add pictures later...but suffice it to say people were very creative. There was Charlotte and Wilbur, an Oregon Duck's fan, Little Bo Peep and her sheep, sheep herders, a Mariachi band, and so much more. Good times and laughs were had for all. Then we headed back to the hotel, picking up dinner along the way, pottied and fed the dogs, and settled in for an evening of R&R. Vegas slept really hard after dinner so I know she needed it. She works herself up too much when crated and I know that anxiety contributes to her tireness.

Sunday we packed up and headed to the trial site after checking out of the hotel. There were no Fast classes offered Saturday and we were running tall to small so things boded well for getting out of their at a decent time.

Again, Standard was up first and JWW followed shortly thereafter. 
One of the biggest concerns with this course was the chute to #3 - avoiding the off course jump since the dogs would be coming out of the chute blind. Of course I almost forgot to pack my brain on this run and was slightly slow. I also remember seeing Vegas look at the teeter after she crossed #3 wondering if she was supposed to take it. But we made it through that section smoothly and onto the teeter and tunnel - to which she shot at like a bat out of hell! Over the a-frame, nice contact, and an absolutely beautiful, tight turn into the weaves. Rachel commented on it several times but wow, to see the video. Spectacular move for my big girl.

The next area was just the maneuver to the #12 jump... to do a front cross after the weaves or not. I opted to do it and she again had a nice tight turn to the table. Here's where I admit we got a gift on Sunday. But, my disclaimer is this: obstacle performance was not unsafe for the breed of dog running and none of it was intentional. Her natural stride based upon foot placement on the dog walk caused her to stride right across the contact but it wasn't called. Super lucky! Although I'm not going to count on luck and will work that one more again from now on just in case. Then we ran home free. Her time: 53.60; SCT: 66; yards: 166. Twelve points and a really fun, really nice run.
Last run of the weekend - JWW. 
This course looked fun, too. The parts I considered in handling options were the weave entrance, after the weaves, and how to manuever the tunnel area to avoid both the off course jump (#16 out of order) and the wrong end of the tunnel. Turns out it wasn't that big of deal. By pulling out and decelerating at #14 the dogs naturally worked toward the handler so then the correct end of the tunnel became the obvious choice. For 18-19 I "flipped" her out toward the wall to come back versus risking me being in the wrong place and causing an off course back jump.

SCT was 45; yardage 159. Our time: 36.13. So proud of my girl! Eight more MACH points.

Our totals for the weekend - 3 Qs, 1 QQ, and 25 MACH points.

Current MACH countdown: 13 QQs & 312 points. 

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