Sunday, November 1, 2009

Agility Trial Day 2 and Halloween!

Since I didn't post yesterday, I've got a few things to catch up on. For starters the agility trial. I still have to look through the videos and see if there is one worth posting. Sat. wasn't a whole lot better of a day. We had some good stuff and some not so great stuff. Our first run of the day was again FAST. I figured this really shouldn't be a problem for the dogs. The send challenge portion of it was something that neither dog should have had a problem with and I felt pretty confident about it. I didn't map out my first three jumps all that well and plotted a course that was initially going to make it difficult for me to get either of the dogs to hit the jumps as flawlessly as I wanted them to. So that was a my bad from the beginning! The distance portion of the course was again relatively simple. A tunnel with the perfect opening leading straight to the teeter. I was going to be further away from the teeter than I usually am, but I figured it wouldn't be a problem for either dog since they nailed the teeter on the FAST course yesterday. I really need to learn to not think things like this! BOTH dogs went right on past the teeter. Ug! I couldn't get either one turned around and onto the teeter without incurring a fault (I think it's because they crossed the tape line when they got turned around). And if you get faulted on the send portion of the course, it's an automatic NQ. Bummer! The rest of their run was quite good otherwise!

After FAST we had a bit of a wait and then it was time for Jumpers. Bess went first and had a pretty nice run. We had a slight bobble at one point (again, things are a little hazy now that it's the day after and so many things have gone on between now and then!), but it was handler error! We did get a Q on that run though!:o) After I put Bess in her crate I ran out to the truck to get Heffner. I gotta tell ya, I should have had the forethought to talk to the gatesteward yesterday and have the running order of the dogs switched. I really should have been running Heffner first. He was sooooooooooooo amped up when I would get him out of the truck. And it didn't help any that I then had to run him into the building and to the start line without much time to clam him down. If I were running him first I would at least have him a little bit more together before our runs. Not that I think it would have helped with how distracted he's been, but he would have been calmer and maybe I could have gotten some slightly better performances out of him. But I digress!

Heffner's Jumpers run was only marred by the weaves. I was seriously cursed on the weaves with him this weekend! It's something that I would have expected from Bess because I haven't worked with her as much on it as I have with him and he's just been so much more consistent than she has. However, Bess just totally showed him up in that department yesterday. While she didn't get the weaves on her first attempt, she did on her second. I think I made two attempts with him and then just gave up and ran the rest of the course. The rest of the course went quite well and I was otherwise pleased with his run, I just don't know why he suddenly acts like he doesn't understand what the weave poles are. ARG!

Last run of the day was Standard. Since there were weaves on the course, I had a feeling that it was going to be a wash for Heffner, but I was hoping to pull off a pretty nice run with Bess at least. We had the dog walk with the funky texture on this course again and I stuck by Bess' side as she went up the ramp. She was hesitant and a little shaky going up, but once she hit the top it was smooth sailing from there!:o) I was very proud that she just kept on trucking and overcame her texture phobia!LOL She did well on the rest of the course too! We ended up coming from the weaves on the off side, which I unfortunatley haven't practiced a whole lot with her. But she made it through and did a good job. The only thing that killed us at the end was that she went sailing around the final jump and when I called her back, she back jumped it. Which is an off course and automatic NQ.:( Otherwise, she did REALLY well and is doing a good job of listening to me and coming back to me when she gets a little overly enthusiastic on a course.:)

Then we had Heffner. I think he was just mentally done. He was totally amped up and just wanted to play. There were enough dogs between him and Bess that I really tried to calm him down before our run, but he was all prancy and just wanting to GO! This wasn't all together bad. The first half of the run was actually pretty nice! He did go up to the photographer and say a quick hi there, but came back to me. However, he didn't want to do ANYTHNG on the table. ARG!! He has NEVER had issues about following commands on the table before this weekend!! ARG!! We were supposed to down and I could only get him into a sit for just a second or two and then he popped back up. His tail was wagging the whole time. He even tried giving me kisses. Which I wouldn't let him do because I think that counts as contact with the dog, even though he initiated it. I finally gave up and just got him off the table. We had one jump to go and then the dreaded weaves. Ug! And you guessed it, that just wasn't happening. I sent him over the final few jumps which he quite happily sailed right over. He was pretty pleased with himself. Happy little boy bouncing and wagging his tail. I was frustrated though.

I have seen what this boy can do and I know what he's capable of and this just wasn't even close. I think I would have been less frustrated if this was just another trial with another one coming up soon, but it's not. Due to the dog shows that I've got Bess entered in, skijoring races, and a few other things, we're not going to have time to enter another trial until some time in Feb. most likely. It's great to have the time off to practice, but at the same time to, I kind of feel like we need a redemption trial. I need one to fix my handler errors with Bess and Heffner needs one because I need to know that I can bring out my little rock start that I see in class!

On the up side, our instructor was there and she got to watch our last runs. It was pretty evident that I was frustrated with Heffner's run and she had some good things to say which really helped. I need to focus on the positives. He's still a young dog and can only improve from here. We've over come some pretty big obstacles with his reactivity issues. This was the first trial that I've taken him too that I didn't have him in his gentle leader the whole time (AKC doesn't allow gentle leaders on the grounds during a trial) AND while I was switching out dogs I was literally running with him through aisles of dogs in crates, x-pens, and out and about and he didn't so much as twitch an eye at any of them. That in itself is HUGE! And the other big positive about his runs was that he was very obviously HAPPY the whole time that he was out there. His tail was up and wagging and it was definitely evident that he was having a good time. So I'm going to take that and try to focus on that. She also said that there are a few things that we can work on in class, i.e. weave pole entries.

In summary, Bess Qed in Jumpers, but no Q's for Heffner. Both dogs behaved well and I need to focus on the positive and not be such a Negative Nancy!:o)

Not only was yesterday the agility trial, but it was also Halloween! I didn't have a whole lot of time at home after we got back from the trial because we were going over to a friend's house for a party. I was able to snap some pictures of the dogs in their costumes though! These costumes were made by my friend Rene!

The costume idea came about because I sometimes things come out of my mouth before I can stop them!LOL Rene, who works in the same lab that I do, brought in this dragon costume that she had made for her cat. She had told me about it and I told her that she absolutely had to bring it in because I just wanted to see what it looked like. It was ADORABLE! As soon as she showed me, without my brain halting the words before they flew out of my mouth, I said "OMG, could you make ones for my dogs?" I took a second and then I think I said something about how she didn't actually have to, but if she was willing it would be so cool! And she did! I told her that I'd pay for whatever materials she needed, obviously. She wasn't entirely sure that she could go from making a costume for a cat that was living with her that she could put her hands on, to making two MUCH larger costumes for giant dogs that she would have to go off of measurements from me. I think she did a fabulous job! She came over on Mon. night and did a final fitting to finish things up and make sure that the measurements were looking correct, and they were done by Thur. morning! I think I might add some string to go under the chin to hold the hoods more securely in place, but I think they look great! Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to any costume contests with the dogs, but that just means that I have them for next year!!>:o)

A couple night ago I also was fiddling around with some Halloween garlands that we have and decided to do a little dress up with the dogs (trust me, you'll get used to seeing this a LOT during the month of December!!)! I'd like to say it was because I was sick and had been housebound for a few days and needed an outlet, but I would have done this to the dogs otherwise!

Happy belated Halloween from my crew!! I hope everyone got lots of candy and had a great night!


The PR Gang said...

Congrats on your Q's and positive moments at the trial.
Love the pics of Heffner and Bess in their costumes. Their expressions are priceless....Oh brother, here she goes again!

Jennifer H. said...

First off oh goodness the dragon costumes are just too much! They are so cool and the dogs look fantastic. Love the Halloween doggy decor pics too. Happy Howloween indeed!

And HUGE congrats on Bess's Q at the trial. That is SUPER that she got over her texture phobia too. It sounds like both dogs are actually doing really well, even with the minor bobbles! I know it's hard to not get frustrated and focus on the positive but I think you are doing a pretty great job of that.

Thank you for sharing your weekend with us!

brooke said...

OMG. I LOVE their costumes! So cute!

M.T. said...

CONGRATS on your Qs!!!! We were actually talking about how challenging handling a breed like Danes in agility is at our last agility session, so more kudos to you!!!

And wow, those are some spiffy costumes! ;)

Jazzi said...

Hi I am Jazzi and it is nice to meet you two.
Your costumes look great and you are so patient letting your mom put all this other stuff on you!! I dont think I could be that patient.
Hope to get to know you better and thanks for visting my blog, stop by anytime and i will check yours out also.

Chelsea + Shiloh said...

So smiling... love the light shot and the autumn leaves... your two do that with such dignity :) mine would eat them