Saturday, January 7, 2012

Agility Trial - Big Dogs

Today the big dogs and I were at an AKC agility trial. With the new year, I've made some agility related resolutions that I didn't mention on my 2012 goals. The biggest one is to be more prepared and to be more mentally present and be more mentally involved in the day. A lot of the errors that we have on course are because of stupid handler issues that are at times due to me just not being on top of my game. Doing things like getting the truck packed up the night before and having everything set so that I can basically just load the dogs up in the morning and head out to the trial site is actually pretty beneficial. It gives me some chill time in the morning. Makes it so that I don't have to get up quite so early and can get a little more sleep. And it just gives me an overall feeling of being more put together and prepared that will carry over into the day. I also need to have a better general attitude about being at the trial. I started to get to a point where I would go over in my head all the other more productive things I could be doing if I weren't at the trial or getting more anxious to get done ASAP so that I could get to whatever I had planned for the evening, even if it was just hanging out at the house. And finally, I didn't go out and do anything the night before the trial. I wanted to make sure that I got enough sleep that night and that I was seriously ready to compete in the morning. Basically, I needed to really focus on holding up my end of the deal!

I think things went pretty well because of this preparation! I'm not saying that we had a fabulous day and the dogs qualified on every run, but I think I was a better agility partner for them than I have been more recently. Our quality moments were better than they have been, though there's still room for improvement. Then again, there's always room for improvement.

I've also decided that I'm going to start bringing my laptop along to trials so that I can write things down as they occur so that I'm not trying to recall everything several hours after the fact! Or in cases like tonight where I start to run short on time, I would have this whole post already written! I'm going to give a short and dirty version, but I will at least include maps. I didn't want this post to spill over into tomorrow because we've got the frenchie A match. I do have other thoughts and ponderings from today's trial that I will save for another post. So here goes.
First up was Heffner in Excellent Standard. Overall, it was a great run and I was happy with it. Unfortunately we had one slight bobble on the weaves where he got distracted by something, started to pull out of the weaves, and when I tried to pull him back into the same spot, he skipped a pole. NQ. Drat! Otherwise, like I said, great run!
Next up was Bess in Excellent JWW. To me, the course looked like a bunch of serpentines with some other stuff thrown in. And it turns out, that's what the judge was actually going for (I happened to over hear a conversation that he had about the course)! Sweet! We actually practice serpentines and Bess totally rocked them this week! Overall great run, I mostly did well on my front crosses, but an NQ. I botched a front cross that caused a drop bar half way through. After that I was just going with it and I pulled her off a jump. D'oh! Otherwise she was totally working with me and I was very happy with that!
Then Heffner was up in Open JWW. It was not a great run. This is the run that got pondering a few things. I had a hard time getting Heffner's focus at the start line due to a poodle outside the ring. He didn't have any reactive outbursts, but his focus was shot. He actually went around the first jump when we started, which earned us a refusal. Once I got him back in the right spot and we started again, he knocked the bar. There were at least two other knocked bars throughout the course. The second half of the run was actually pretty nice and we were thankfully able to end on a good note. But for a dog who seriously VERY rarely knocks a bar during our practices (and I would know since I'm the one who has to reset them), it just gives me pause. And makes me potentially over think. But regardless, NQ.
Next up was Heffner in Open FAST. After looking at the send portion of the course, I knew it wasn't going to happen for us. I don't practice tunnels at all with the big dogs. Tunnels are strictly for trialing. And that send portion with a push to the opposite entrance regardless of which jump I chose, just wasn't going to work for us. I just don't work on that kind of thing with them. So it was that combined with a generally very lack luster attitude that I was getting from Heffner that made me decide to scratch him from the class all together. I wanted to end the day on a high note with him and we had thankfully done that with the last half of his JWW run. It was best to just leave it at that.
Next up was Bess in Novice FAST. Two thumbs up for a great course!! I loved it! Bess did have one quick fit of zoomies on the course, but we nailed the send, got all the points we needed, and finished with enough time. Qualifying run! And that run was the final run Bess needed to get her Novice FAST title!! Woot!
And our final run of the day was Bess in Open Standard. It's a good thing that bitch is cute! She took off to go check out the people and dog hanging out at the exit gate. I got her to come back, but then she did a lovely back jump over the triple. It was really quite well executed and showed some nice maneuverability. Just not exactly what I was going for. She did however totally nail her down contact on the A-frame. Wahoo!! And then I did this stupid arm wave thingy that totally sent her to an off course jump. Brilliant me! Not too bad of a run, but an NQ.

And now that I've wrapped that all up, I'm going to bed so that I can be rested for the frenchie match tomorrow!! Tomorrow it's all about Ruthie!


Ximena said...

I totally saw you there! I have no clue which run it was, but I'm thinking from your description it was the last one of your day. I was wondering when I saw a fawn Dane at the start line that it was you and then you called her name and I was like, OMG I know that team!

You left so quickly after your run that I didn't get to intro myself but, hey, maybe when Elli and I start trialling, we'll see more of you! You guys did great, even though I only saw you run once. :) good luck tomorrow.

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

Congratulations on Bess's NF!! That Excellent FAST course looks hard as hell. Layla has a great send to the tunnel and I'm doubtful we'd have Q'd on that either. The Excellent Standard course has the same A-Frame/tunnel situation that our most recent one did. It was absolutely the hardest course that I'd ever seen - not just ran, but seen. Not counting crazy world team stuff, but I mean at a regular local AKC trial. I'm waiting for my friends to upload my videos before I post about it, but you'll have to see the course, it was ridiculous!!

Thanks for posting the courses. I love seeing what the courses are like from other parts of the country.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

Yay for the big dogs! Congrats on some nice runs and a new title! That excellent standard looks tough on 15-18!

Megan said...

Congrats on your NF title with Bess! It sounds like you guys had a great weekend!

I also can't pack the car in the AM...have to do it the night before....

Have a great week and enjoy Portland!