Fun with dogs

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mt. Bachelor Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial October 1-2, 2011

This weekend was a trip over the Cascades, up to the high desert!  We were trialling in Prineville, OR, a venue I'd never been to before.  I had gotten everything ready for our weekend the night before, and luckily, we had a very abnormally slow Friday afternoon.  My boss was nice and let me leave early, so I got home around 3pm, loaded up, and started my 3 hr drive.  It was a gorgeous trip, the high desert does have a strange beauty to it, especially with the contrast of the mountains in the distance.

We arrived at our hotel around 6pm and got settled in.  My friend Kennedy and her two dogs arrived around 9:30.  I was a bit concerned that our hotel room faced a bar with an outdoor deck and it turns out I was right to be concerned.  There was a lot of drinking and shouting all night (and Vegas, Kennedy's dog, had itchy ears which led to lots of shaking), leading us to have a less than stellar sleep night.  I think this contributed to our less than stellar showing on Saturday.

Saturday, October 1
New judge, new venue for us.  We arrived early (around 6:30) to get some crating space.  Crating was tight at this venue, as a result we ended up in an aisle way.  I will say though, that the grounds (Crook County Fairgrounds) were gorgeous though, lots of space, nice areas to camp.  I do think I'll probably camp next time, as the camping area was nicer than our hotel!

Excellent B Standard
As this was a new judge, we were curious as to what types of courses she would put up.  She runs Border Collies, and sometimes Border Collie judges can put up some challenging courses for big dogs.

When I walked this course, I liked it a lot, turns out though, this was not to be a great day for us.  We got through the pinwheel opening to the dogwalk with ease, albeit a little slowly.  Had to work the dogwalk/tunnel quite a bit (there were some barky dogs in that corner right next to it),  luckily the judge was generous to everyone, not calling refusals unless they were blatent.  I front crossed before 9, then tried to get one in between 10/11 to avoid the off course table.  This is where it all fell apart.  I'm not sure if my cross was a little early, or if HP was tired due to the long night of noise, but he knocked the double.  This threw me off, so when I tried pulling him from 12 to 13 I didn't pay enough attention and he took the off course number 5.  As if things could get any worse, when we arrived at the weaves, there were MORE barking dogs right next to the ring, causing HP to miss his weaves.  Bah, what crappy run!  NQ.  Big time.  We both needed to get our game back together.

Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves
Well, on to the next course. 
I was stoked about this course.  It looked and walked very nicely.  We started with me on the right, around the pinwheel with a front cross between 4/5.  He read it well, pulled around 5 nicely, back to 6, and for some reason, knocked a bar on #7. :(  He knocked it with his front feet, so I'm not sure if he took off too soon or just didn't have enough lift.  He ran like he was really tired all day, so I guess this is just one of those things.  On watching a video, I was trying to get a front cross in there, but I think the bar was down before I started my cross.  So anyway, FC between 7/8 and another between 9/10.  Over the double with a nice weave entry, then we were home free.  Another NQ for the day though.  :(

We stayed through the end of the day to film Kennedy and Leo (his first AKC trial!) which made for a very long day (he didn't run until 5 or 6), then headed back to the hotel to hopefully get some rest.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Luckily night 2 was much more restful, I guess people drink less on  Saturday in Prineville?  We got to the grounds around 7ish and took a little walk to warm up for our courses.

Excellent B Standard

Wow, what a course, this one has some tricks to it.  I walked it with a tunnel/front cross/dogwalk, then over 3 (while being careful to avoid the off course #8 chute), through another tunnel, then over 5, with a pull to the right to get the teeter/jump/chute.  Front cross after the chute to get past that tricky center area and get the 9/table.  Around 11/12, really work the weave entry, because it's near the corner with the barking dogs.  This is where it got complicated.  Kennedy and I walked the portion over and over and over and over.  The major choices were:
  • Front cross after the weaves, over 14, try to get 15 while avoiding the teeter off course, then either front or rear cross between 15/16
  • Over 14, rear cross, over 15, rear cross, then onward
  • Try to get in a front cross between 14/15, then a front or rear between 15/16
  • Actually, the list goes on and on.
My problem was that HP has been having trouble with moving ahead of me (confidence issues?) so our rear crosses of late have been earning us refusals.  I still wasn't any closer to deciding.  The last conundrum came in the closing sequence.  I walked both a front cross between 17/18, and a rear between 18/19.

We came out on course, and I still wasn't 100% sure how I was running.  Then HP blasted off the start line.  CRAP!  Who is this dog?  He's moving forward with confidence, he's running fast, WOW.  Ok, plan changes to rear crosses, because as we run the course he's getting faster and faster and moving ahead of me really nicely.  I feel like I'm back seat driving, running behind him yelling "Go!" and "Turn!".  We ended up choosing to do the set of rear crosses at the 14/15/16 and a rear at 18/19.  So so so thrilled with my boy, it was one of those runs that just FEELS completely right.  We Q'd, with 16 MACH points.  It was our second fastest yards-per-second qualifying standard leg ever, and only by 0.05.  I also take pride in the fact that this course ate the border collies alive, with somewhere around a 20ish% Q rate. ;)

Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves

After our awesome standard run I was ready to tackle JWW.
The plan for this one was pinwheel to a front cross between 3/4, the rest runs as a spiral to the tunnel.  Rear cross after he enters the tunnel.  Call him to get him out of the tunnel in the right direction.  Front cross after the weaves then a run for home.  All went as planned until jump 6.  He came SO close to taking the off course #11, I YELLED his name and he pulled off.  My fault for not anticipating the off course (I was more worried about the tunnel beside #8 and completely didn't work the #6/7).  We didn't get an off course and were still in the running for a QQ.  We finished the course quite nicely, it was fun, and while he wasn't as fast as in the morning, we did get some MACH points out of it.  Q and 4 MACH points.

Totals for the day 1 QQ, 20 MACH points

Totals for the weekend 1 QQ, and  20 MACH points.

MACH totals: 173/750 points and 4 QQ's, almost 1/4th of the way to our MACH!

And a huge congrats to my friend Kennedy and her Pom, Leo, on his first Q in AKC!!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Portland Agility Club, September 25th, 2011

Portland Agility Club AKC Trial, September 25th 2011

After work on Saturday, the boxers and I jetted up to Portland to run one day at the PAC AKC trial.  I spent the night at my friend Kennedy's house so that we would be ready to go Sunday morning.

Excellent B Standard

The judges this weekend were Lori Sage and David Hirsch.  I've run under David before, his courses are fun and fair.  I've also heard good things about Lori and from this trial, it seems that she's also a great judge.

First up was standard.  I debated the opening for this course quite a bit.  I couldn't decide where to put in my cross to get the teeter and not the number 16 jump.  After walking several options, I started on the left and front crossed between 2 and 3.  I was a little late and got in his way a bit but it did work ok.  On to the teeter, a couple jumps, and then a front cross before the A-frame.  Jump, chute, table, then an odd jump with a wrap back around to the left hand side of a tunnel.  Dog walk, jump, weaves (he nailed the entry, and we've had issues with outside weave entries before, so I was happy).  The end provided a challenge, but my plan to front cross after the weaves, then a wrap (front cross) after 17 worked well.  We Q'd for our #10 MX leg, giving us our MX title and 10 MACH points.

Excellent B Jumpers with Weaves

I walked this course and the only place I was worried about was the opening.  After trying a few different combos, I decided to start on the left, and front cross between 2/3.  In hindsight, I should have tried a rear between 2/3 as my front was slightly early and caused a knocked bar. :(.  NQ on this run, but the rest of it was very pretty.  Over 3/4, front cross between 5/6, another between 9/10.  I had a bobble when I forgot my front cross after the weaves.  I tried sending him over 14 but I was late on the cue and earned us a refusal as well.  No QQ for us today.  Bleh. :(  Sorry, no video for this run.

Totals for the day 1 Q (MX leg), MX title, and 10 MACH points.

MACH totals: 153/750 points and 3 double Q's