Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fleet Feet CPE Agility, March 24-25

Wow, CPE agility just doesn't look the same at all after having done AKC for so long. I just have to get that out there right away. I have always been a staunch believer in CPE, and I still am, but just don't think it's fun any more for Vegas and I. We're close enough to our C-ATCH that we'll go ahead and finish it out, but beyond that... Let's just say I prefer having a numbered course at all times plus having the total number of tunnels on course limited is an extra advantage. I don't know. I guess with CPE it just seems too difficult of a battle for time for V and it's not like she's slow. That's a bit demotivating to me, too. So that's that. Just wasn't the "funnest" agility weekend last and I'm glad this weekend is AKC again. :-)

So they run four classes a day down there at all five (+) levels and Vegas was entered in two Saturday and three Sunday.

Saturday she didn't run until midday/early afternoon. It was a while. And quite a bit of (unhappy) crate time.
This was a tough one. Meaning tough decisions. I actually made a comment that I wished my friend, Rachel, was there to plot a course. Or maybe that was Sunday for Jackpot. Regardless, falls into an example for my comments above. So anyway, my plan ended up being to take the red on the right (just above the right-side "s"), 6A, then 6B. Then 6A as a red, 5B, 5A, red in the middle, then the 5s again. That worked just fine. Then, after taking 5A, we ran down past the tunnels and over #2, wrapped the jump and into the tunnel. It's not as obvious on the map but 5A, B, and 6A were mostly a serpentine and needed to be handled that way. Some how I dropped the ball though, and she took the wrong side of 5B and we got whistled. BUMMER!  That didn't leave us with enough points so no Q. We still need a single Snooker leg for C-ATCH requirements. Hopefully in April.
Other than three damned tunnels....

My plan here was to angle her to the #1 jump so she saw the tunnel, blind cross the tunnel exit for #3 (handling from the left for 3-5), rear cross 7 (I think....?), rear or blind at 15/16 and head for "home."
SCT: 36
Yards: 135
Our time was 32.14 and 0 faults. That was our final needed Jumpers leg for Level 5.
Sunday Vegas was entered in all but Standard. First up - the dreaded Jackpot. And unfortunately I didn't sleep well at all and was grumpy as all hell. I actually considered packing up and scratching our runs. I was just out of sorts. That said, I did map a course as best I could (Rachel! Needed you!) and went with it.

The course...
My mapped plan:
You see, there were three jackpot choices. I wanted to avoid tunnels if I could, other than the first, and do one as much in flow as possible. wasn't to be. Vegas was feeling a little rummy maybe, too? I know I wasn't acting off but dogs are perceptive so who knows. Regardless, she wasn't listening or tuned into me. So we took the jump, tunnel, double, then she missed her weave entry? On a set of 6? Fixed that, took the next mapped jump, then the following, but she decided to dive into the tunnel? I was lightyears away from the tunnel but it sucked her into its vortex like some crazy (novice) dog. that point, I knew it was over and I, quite frankly, was pissy. So I decided to "call it" and we left the course. NQ. Crap. Cause we need five of those damned buggers. *sigh*

We didn't run Standard. I included it for the sake of emphasizing another reason why I'm none too fond of CPE any longer for V and I. Reasons: 1) Three tunnels. Okay, this is actually a good number for CPE. I'm used to seeing 4 and 5. 2) Look at the weave entry. Seriously? Who does that? Almost nobody did it prettily. It was awkward and un-fun. This isn't a criticism of the judge designing, by the way. It must be a venue thing cause many of the venue courses have wonky crap like that making the courses demotivating and un-fun. 3) Look at those weaves! Six poles. Yes, you have to do them twice, but 6 poles for high level dogs? 12 poles. 12 poles for experienced dogs. But again, just something that's okay/acceptable in CPE's rules. 4) 12 to 13. Looks like a fairly straight shot, right? Not in actuality. This was really hard for dogs! Their handlers couldn't get in good position no matter what they did because of the weave angle and entry (not to mention the up end of the teeter sticking out there). All I can say is, thank goodness there are no refusals. 5) Along the lines of the weave entry.... It doesn't seem like a big deal perhaps to angle the last jump from the one prior. However, look at the line. It's a fast line from 18 to 19, dogs are accelerating and looking straight at the tunnel. And where are the handlers? No way to easily get where they can tell their dog where to go. Umpteen dogs took the wrong end of the #13 tunnel versus the last jump.
CPE is just getting frustrating to me. The challenges presented aren't always logical to handling dogs in a safe manner. They seem to involve a lot of yanking and pulling on the dogs and that can be hard on some. There are dogs that can handle it. For my big girl, it's not my preferred way of running her and taking care of her in the sport we love. It's not a criticism of the venue overall in any way other than that it's not as right for us any longer as it once was. One of the glories of living and learning, I suppose. As a disclaimer, too, I did enjoy running Leo. A 4" jumping dog that has lots of room for maneuvering/handling is a far cry from 120" pounds jumping 20". There. Done.

Oh, and fortunately we don't need any more standard legs. Whew, V!

We needed just one Wildcard leg for Level 5, too. So here we needed two Bs and an A. I chose 3B, 9B, and 11A. No way of getting around all the damned tunnels. Three of them no matter what; a fourth if we had done our A for 9. We had 39 seconds to complete this 107 yard course. We did so in 31.47 for our required Q and a first place. Yea, V!
Colors, surprisingly, we need all five Level 5 legs. Of course I looked for the path of least tunnels...they both had the same number. So that "option" eliminated, which one flowed the best. Well, I really didn't like the circles one as it was just at 3, 4, 5. So I chose squares. My plan was to give her a good signal for the a-frame (to avoid the tunnel discrimination) and even a little RFP action. From the #5 tunnel I was able to move out a bit and cross in front of the #7 tunnel to send her in. I got a blind cross in between 9 and 10 and we were pretty much home free.

SCT: 35
Yards: 96
Our time was a smoking 26.23 (YES - even with three tunnels!), another first place, and our first of the five legs.
So all in all, three more legs necessary for her C-ATCH out of five runs. The other thing I discovered is that while doing the right thing for her body and reducing the number of runs because of both the number of tunnels and the herky-jerkyness of the courses, it's hard to have her in her kennel so much between working and running Leo. She was stressed, not understanding why she was just hanging out, and it hindered our working on the first runs a bit.

At this point, we have the following to complete for C-ATCH:

Five Jackpot legs
Four Colors legs
1 Snooker leg

Not too shabby except that it's possibly five trials just to complete the Jackpots assuming we qualify in each one we get entered in. So our C-ATCH could be a while off. But it's doable and very close. Love this girl. She is so amazing.
Silly girl was supposed to be posing with her ribbons but didn't want to let go of her tug. Of course then we had a rousing game and she was thoroughly pleased with herself.

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