Monday, February 6, 2012

Doberman Trial Weekend Recap

This weekend's trial was held at Clark County Fairgrounds, our most frequented stomping grounds, and hosted by the Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscher Club. Their trials are two of my favorite each year, partially because of all the Dobies that show up and I love them. Our judges for the weekend were David Mancino and Victoria MacVicar. We'd run under Victoria before, not David. I didn't put together two and two and come up with who he was until I heard today. David is a Doberman owner; his wife, Yvonne, runs Flare who won the 24" class at the invitational in 2011 and 2009. Very cool!

So without further ado, here's the scoop:

We ran Standard first and JWW second. The run order was set to tall to small both days but for Excellent that was actually 24/26 running second Saturday. We were first dog in the 24" class for Standard, second in JWW. It's been a long time since we started the class. Quite frankly it was pretty nice!

My game plan was as follows:

  • Set up at a diagonal from #1 to make #2 apparent as the next obstacle plus place me in position to easily make it out in front of the tunnel to direct her properly. 
  • Sweep into the tunnel using the left arm and blind cross out to the dog walk. 
  • Step into her path coming off the dog walk to push out and around #5.
  • I walked the weave entry with both a front cross after 5 as well as a front after. 
  • Rear cross the a-frame
  • Blind cross 14 to 15.
  • Rear cross 19.
The challenges were certainly plentiful. The start line was interesting. The push out after the dog walk to wrap the jump made a lot of dogs who usually run flawlessly very confused. For one second they were pushed so thought they were supposed to go to the tire then pulled back to take the jump. Then front crosses were late and caused dogs to take the off course (9) versus the weaves. Number 20 presented itself as an off course possibility if the 180 wasn't handled well at 13-14. The finish line was not straight so some dogs had difficult there and it was possible to even push out to the tunnel without proper queuing to #20 from 19. 

I'm excited to say that while this was the most disjointed run we've had in a long time, it was clean and it was a Q for 13 points. The first issue that happened was right off the bat. I didn't say "tunnel," I would guess and Vegas saw the dog walk when she came over the panel and headed that direction. I got her set but then my brain game was off so I just felt jerky and off. Got her over the dog walk and around the #5 then I made a late front cross that just felt wrong. Fortunately this and the rest of the "off" feelings I had didn't cause Vegas issue which is why we were clean. It was just not a harmonious run. So with my front cross, I was on the right side of the weaves which set us up for 7-11. She nailed her a-frame contact beautifully which I'm thrilled with. She also handled the send out to 13 and read my blind cross to come back over 14 and hit the teeter just fantastically. Originally I took one look at the finish line from the table and thought I would handle on the left side, but realized when I walked it the line wasn't right to do that without risking a knocked triple since she would need to know when she landed to stride at the angle to hit #19. So instead I worked it from the "inside" which was just right. No video, but a great run and really nice to jump right in and have a Standard leg under our belt.

Jumpers... My game plan:

  • Work from the right for 1-3.
  • Send to #4 and "flip" to #5. 
  • RFP to pull back from 5 and use my right arm to push into the tunnel.
  • Run out to be on the other side of #7 and call to weave; handling from right.
  • 9-11 is fairly straight-forward but I had hoped to work a blind cross in after 11. 
  • Flip from 12 to 13 (assuming I got the blind in).
  • Blind/front cross between tunnel exit and 15 and handle on the right through the end. 

I almost lost her to the tunnel after #3.... Got a good call back before she touched it and that worked out. I was slow on 9-11 so not in a position to blind cross. Alls well that ends well though, as they say. We had a clean run and earned another five points!

End of day total for Saturday: 18 points and QQ. Technically we didn't need the QQ but hey, I'll take it. It does give us that leg up on invitational points.

As a related but just observation/feeling about how we did. It was odd to double-Q Saturday because we were not running as a fluent team. It wasn't anything about Vegas' behavior that caused the problem either. It was me. Not sure why; our last trial was two weekends ago so it's not as if my brain was on vacation from agility. I do know that before our first run someone was talking to me about Danes (Not a competitor; just someone who stopped in to watch?) and is interested in getting one. Few subjects can send me on a tangent like that one between going on and on about the wonderful characteristics of the breed to applying steady and persistent pressure regarding purchasing only from a breeder who really health-tests and is doing the right things, not to mention discussing their temperament, capabilities, health risks, longevity, and a plethora of other oh so fun chitter chatter on my favorite breed. Yeah, so I know as I stepped into the standard ring while they were changing bars I had a fleeting thought, "Do I know the course?" And then stood there trying to recall it. I know my timing was off and my brain was not engaged as thoroughly as it should have been. JWW was fine; I just wasn't pushing like I usually do and I was not handling my best. So I guess all that to say is, sometimes things still come together because the foundation is built right and the dog has the skills, common sense, and drive to take the wheel anyway and "git er dun!" 

Today we ran first thing. There wasn't a Fast class so it really was right off the bat. And wouldn't you know it. I slept through my alarm and we were first dog in 24" again. Fortunately they were doing walk, walk, run, run, which meant 16 minutes of walks plus 5 minutes to the first 26" dog plus a good 7 or 8 in that height running. So we ended up okay. First up again Standard, followed by JWW. Strangely, JWW didn't follow as closely as yesterday. Which meant I worked but that's okay. I like scribing and timing and chatting to get to know others who work. Plus the club is generous enough to give vouchers that can be applied toward future trial entries.

This standard course was B-E-A-UTIFUL! It was flowing and smooth and just plain fun. Of course it didn't hurt that I found a spot or two for a blind cross - my new love! No video here which is a bummer but here's how it played out.

  • Vegas on the left 1-4.
  • Blind cross 4/5 and a LOVELY touch on the a-frame - good girl, Vegas!
  • Blind cross 7/8 and 12/13. 
  • Front cross out of the weaves. 
SCT was 65 on 173 yards. Our time was 48.89 - 16 MACH points!!!!!!! Yea, I was pretty stinkin' happy. AND, I kept my act together. I was there for Vegas like she is always there for me. Thank goodness for no disjointed runs Sunday - amazing considering I only got about 4-5 hours of sleep the night before!

JWW was up before too long. I worked some first and Vegas lamented (loudly) in her crate. I hadn't even picked up course maps until shortly before this run..... And when I did take a look at it I wondered if it would be one of those runs we "could" get because we aren't the screaming-fastest, or if we'd just not make it because I lack the skills to handle some of the technicalities. I think I was freaked out about the start. *Usually* I am more than happy to say our lack of a start line stay doesn't bite me in the butt. Of course I teach my students to work hard at it and not to give up; I learned and applied that lesson with Leo's training.

I hung out course-side while they set, tweaked, and wheeled the course. Apparently I was due a lightbulb moment because I "Aha!" figured out how to handle the opening. Walking it, it made perfect sense and turns out that while people walked it about 50/50 each way, more ran it from the inside than the outside. The plan was to:
  • Severe angle on #1 so it was nearly a straight line to 2 (me on the right).
  • Front cross after the weaves and set her up for a straight line for 9/10.
  • Rear cross 10/11. 
  • Front or blind cross 15/16.
  • Serpentine 17/18/19. 

And we did it!!! The run was smooth and... exhilarating! Everything came together and it felt easy! I had so many comments coming off that course and it felt so good. People watched it and were just impressed. It was nice to feel like a part of the "excellent" crowd. Not to say I haven't gotten compliments on handling before, but it's always nice and on a highly technical course like that with pitfalls for all. It just felt good and I appreciate everyone who had something to say to me.

SCT was 42 on 148 yards. Our time was 35.38 and we earned another 6 MACH points. What a weekend. What. A. Weekend. So proud of my girl. It's kind of ironic that we didn't need the QQs for MACH (Our first, anyway... ;-) so with that pressure off all I did was think about the individual runs not the day in its totality. When they happened, well, wow. So super cool.

Our weekend totals included four Qs, two QQs, 29 Standard points, 11 JWW points, and put us 40 points closer to our goal. We have *just* 208 points to go. Vegas rocks!

And of course she was treated like royalty.... She had a bully stick at the show, a Wendy's vanilla frosty when we got home, and a yummy raw bone she spent a good part of the afternoon gnawing on. All in all, a fantastic couple of agility days with my girl.

Here are a couple of pictures photographer, Joe Camp, took that I scanned in. I will have video later in the week of our frolic in the lovely sunshine, too.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful runs...lovely JWW too, smooth! Congrats on earning all the QQ's you need and good luck with earning those points for your MACH!