Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trials are over for now until the end of December. Whew!!! The Wonder Dogs have been very busy racking up those titles over the past few weeks!! Kaylie competed in the AKC trial hosted by American Belgian Tervuren Club and the Superstition Kennel Club the second week of November. This was a 4-day trial -- we competed in 3 of those days. Do you know what WFWWFW means? It means a lot of fun in AKC agility terms! Kaylie went wild on her Jumpers run on Saturday, deciding to just make up her own course. She doesn't normally go that off course, but I guess she just decided her course was much more fun. Then we missed the weave pole entrance in the Standard run, so no Q's on Saturday. :( On Sunday, Kaylie's Jumpers run was beautiful, and she Q'd, but the Standard course was insane. I don't know how anyone qualified, but some did. We actually only had one small mistake -- there was a portion where the dog had a choice between a tunnel and the A-frame (they had to take the tunnel), but the way it was set up, it was VERY difficult to direct them to the tunnel, because a jump with wings was in the way -- darn wings! But other than that small mistake, it was a good run. On Monday, the courses were still VERY difficult. Everyone thought the judges would have given us a break and made the courses at least a little less challenging, but alas, them were some evil little judges. As I sat waiting for my turn, I saw no one was making it through clean. Finally, our turn -- we ran it CLEAN!! Woooo hoooo!! Kaylie finally finished her Master Standard title!! And the most amazing part is that only 2 dogs in her class qualified, and she got 1st place!! What a way to finish a title. Then on to our Jumpers run. Man it was tricky. Unfortunately we made just one little mistake, and that's all it takes for no Q. So no double Q's for the weekend. These were by far the most challenging courses I've come across though, so I'm thrilled with the Q's I did get!

The following weekend we went down to Tucson for the AKC trials down there. I was showing Kaylie in agility and Conor in obedience. I left the house at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, figuring that would give me plenty of time to get down there by 7 a.m. Of course there was an accident on the way down there, and I ended up having to sit in traffic for 1.5 hours. I was getting really stressed, as I had no idea how long we were going to just be sitting there. Finally, we started moving! YAY!! So I drove as fast as I possibly could (I stayed right at the speed limit, as there were police EVERYWHERE!!!) I was really starting to stress though because it was getting closer and closer to 8 a.m. -- the start of my first class!!! I finally saw the sign for the Pima County Fairgrounds was about 10 miles away, and it was about 7:20 a.m. I was really starting to panic because I didn't want to miss my run, especially after sitting in traffic forever. I'm a firm believer of the calming effects music has, so I always listen to my favorite music on the way to trials. I was feeling the stress to the max this time, so I set my Ipod on continuous play of one of my favorite singers, Jason Castro. I just love his voice!!

I just kept thinking to myself, relax, relax, relax! I finally pulled into the parking lot at 7:45 a.m., and saw they were walking the course. Out of the van I jumped and ran over and walked the course. Little did I know that there were hurricane force winds too!!!!! Oh my gosh!!!!! Then I found out that Kaylie was the first 20-inch dog. There were a few 24-inch dogs, so I had a few minutes at least to get checked in and get my armband sticker, get Kaylie pottied and warmed up and then try not to blow away. We ran clean, and as I went to get my scribe sheet, the scribe told me that the timer didn't go off, so I needed to talk to the judge to figure out what I wanted to do. I was like, WHAT???!!!! I didn't want to have to do it again. I spoke with the judge, and he said no matter what, I will still Q, even if we knock a bar the second time, or if we have any other fault. I really didn't have anything to lose. So we ran it again, and it actually was a little better -- we ended up getting 2nd Place! YAY!! Unfortunately she took an extra jump on her Standard run, so no Double Q. :(

Sunday, the wind was even more incredible, and it was COLD!!!!! I was so sick of the wind, I just wanted to leave. But, I'm a sucker for punishment, and I stuck around. Our Jumpers run was awesome -- I think the wind and the cold really helped Kaylie -- it made her just fly! She ended up placing 1st in Jumpers!! YAY!!! Then on to our Standard run -- like I said, that wind was making her just fly. She was flying so fast, that she ended up flying right over her contacts on the dog walk AND A-frame. So, another weekend with some great runs, but no Double Q's.

Then there's the Conor. I showed him in obedience at the Tucson shows. This little dog is so awesome. He had 2 legs towards his CD going in on Saturday, so I was hoping out of the 2 days, we could Q in at least one of them to finish his CD. I wasn't sure how he was going to handle all the wind, especially on the sits & downs. That 1-minute sit on Saturday was the LONGEST minute of my life, as I knew if he could make it through that, then the down shouldn't be a problem. HE DID IT!! YAY!!!! And best of all -- he ended up getting 1st Place. Wow. And then he did the same thing on Sunday -- he just didn't miss a beat, and got 1st Place again. What a good little boy!!

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Kaylie - The True Wonder Dog

At our last DOCNA (Dogs on Course in North America) agility trial in Prescott, Kaylie did fantastic! We are trying to be the first team to earn the MEX (Merit of Excellence) who started in the Beginner level. We are getting VERY close. All the other teams that have earned the MEX were grandfathered in at higher levels. Kaylie was just starting her agility career when DOCNA was created, so we had no choice but to start at the beginning. And as it is, I believe there are under 20 teams that have even earned the MEX to this point.

Well, going into the trial at Prescott, we needed 2 Specialist Gamblers legs and 2 Specialist Standard legs. In DOCNA, there are two types of Gamblers runs -- Traditional and Strategic Timed Gamblers. Unfortunately, we have only earned 3 Traditional Gamblers legs -- one from the Beginner class, one from the Intern class and one from the Specialist class. All the other Gamblers legs have come from the Strategic Time Gamblers. So, I knew going in that the chance of getting that Traditional Gamblers leg on Saturday was slim. We walked into the ring, and I knew Kaylie was on fire and ready to go. The Gamblers class is usually the first class of the trial, and Kaylie is usually absolutely wild in the first run. Well, this was no different. She was incredibly fast, and I was not -- I kept getting in her way, and things just fell apart. At 30 seconds, the buzzer rang, which meant I had to get to the gamble portion of the course. I sent her over the jump to the tunnel -- she took the wrong end of the tunnel, then came right back to me over the wrong jump and that was the end of that. No MEX for us this weekend. BUT, she did qualify in the two Standard runs she needed, getting First place both times, and she got her Strategic Timed Gamblers leg on Sunday, earning a Second place. Wooo hooo Kaylie!!! Out of 10 runs over the weekend, we qualified in 8 of them, placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in all but one run -- our Jumpers run on Sunday. I got lost on the course and just got confused. Luckily, Kaylie can read the numbers on the cones (that's the only explanation I can come up with) because she ran the right course despite my mess ups! Hence the name "Wonder Dog." So we still Q'd, but got 6th place. Still, not too bad!!

So, our next DOCNA trial will be in Pinetop the end of August. Hopefully we'll get our MEX there! Just one Gambler leg to go.