Yesterday I had both danes entered in a CPE agility trial down in Turner, OR under one of my favorite judges. I didn't have any time yesterday to post after the trial due to a dinner engagement, and I've been tied up with other things today and don't have a whole lot of time left today to get this post together. So this is going to be surprisingly short and sweet (I think). Here goes!
We started off the day with Jackpot. I had a looping plan that I was going to do with both dogs and I knew that the jackpot portion of the course was absolutely doable with either dog. All I had to do was basically kill time until the buzzer blew and I could do the jackpot. Pulled that off without a hitch with Heffner. Sweet! Bess had other ideas. She was getting a little stressed by the trial site and just let it rip on the course. Thankfully she didn't knock a single bar and in her crazy zoomies managed to take some additional obstacles and thus ensure that we accrued enough points in the opening. Oh yeah, and she almost took the judge out on one zooming pass. D'oh! End result: Heffner Q with 1st place and Bess Q with 2nd place.
Next up was Standard. Heffner had a lovely run, but was starting to get a little sore from a combination of things that I'll go into later. He initially refused both tunnel entrances. Thankfully CPE doesn't count refusals, so his run was clean. Bess had a mostly good run. I made the bad decision of trying to race her to the end of a straight tunnel at #5 and almost paid dearly for it with a very near miss collision as she shot out of the tunnel like a bat out of hell. There was an audible gasp from onlookers. The rest of the course went otherwise well. End result: Heffner Q with 2nd place, Bess Q with 1st place.
Next up was Wildcard. The game plan was to do as few tunnels with the big guy as possible, which meant that I would do two As and a B on the course. That went off without a hitch. Next up was Bess. Everything was going well until we looped around to do the weave poles at #7. The tunnel was just too much for her to resist and she took the tunnel. That would be an off course. There are no off courses allowed in Wildcard starting at Level 3. D'oh! End result: Heffner Q with 1st place, Bess NQ due to off course.
Our final run of the day was Colors. On this course, I failed Heffner. It's a short course. There's no reason to get lost on it. It's not overly complicated. It doesn't have so many twists and turns that it would be understandable if a handler wasn't paying enough attention and got lost. However, that's exactly what I did. After he came out of the tunnel, I got lost. I spent some time bumbling around. I think there may have been a dropped bar in there, which is an automatic NQ in Colors. I felt awful. I thought I was on my game and really being mentally there for my dogs, but I totally dropped the ball for Heffner. Not the way that I wanted to end the day for him. Bess, I did a much better job with. She actually had her best run of the day. She kept it together and was nice and responsive to me. End result: Heffner NQ, Bess Q with 1st place.
This was the first time that we've trialed at this site. I'd been warned previously that the site most likely wasn't for me by my instructor since she knew what my preferences were with the dogs. For one, the crating space is incredibly limited. This barn has the least amount of crating space available that I have yet seen at a trial site. I have this rule of thumb that if I have to show up to a trial site an earlier than an hour before the trial starts in order to have a chance at having crating space, then it's ridiculous. I got there at 7am and all the crating spaces were fully taken.
Okay, so I end up keeping the dogs in the truck. Wouldn't be the first time that I've done that, though usually it's of my own volition and not because crating isn't a possibility. Unfortunately keeping both dogs in the truck didn't really work too well for either one. Heffner doesn't settle down as well in the truck unless I'm able to park in a secluded enough spot that he's away from the commotion of the trial. Parking was another bummer, but I'll get to that. In a nut shell, Heffner didn't really settle the whole time that we were there. Since Heffner couldn't settle down, that meant that Bess couldn't relax since they were stuck together in the same space. This was wearing on both dogs and I could tell it in their respective performances.
Parking was interesting. There was plenty of parking, but there was no way of getting a spot that was at all secluded away from things. And actually, the further out I parked, the more likely I was to have to deal with people exercising their dogs off leash around the truck. Which was not very cool. Even though it states on the premium in all caps that all dogs must stay on leash unless competing in the ring, there were a ton of people who had their dogs off leash running around in the field where I had parked. Not cool when I'm trying to exchange dogs out of the back of my truck and have one reactive dog who wants to control the activity that is going on outside of his truck. Or the awesome person who only put dogs on leash right before entering the building and then unleashed them as soon as they exited the building so that her dog could go zipping past my truck while I was again trying to exchange dogs for their runs. The loose dogs everywhere on site got really old. Most of the trials we go to are in Ridgefield at the fairgrounds there and the vast majority of people who let their dogs off leash to exercise, do it a good distance away from the rings where they won't interfere with anyone else's dogs. Apparently I've become too used to this and went into this trial with the misunderstanding that managing Heffner would be as simple as it is at the other trials.
Thankfully I only entered one day of the trial. As I said previously, I've avoided trialing at this site but it was suggested that I wouldn't like it. I thought I should at least give it a try since there are so many CPE trials held there. Lesson learned. I will not be entering any further trials at this site.
And that's how this post got much longer than intended. Sorry. I was a bit annoyed yesterday and my usual friends who I could talk this through with were not entered this weekend. Therefore you all get to hear it. Again, sorry. I hope everyone had a great weekend!!