Monday, January 19, 2009

3rd Day at Wags for Wishes

What a day! Conor and I are finally starting to work as a team, and I'm getting a good feel for his timing. I still need to step it up a bit, as he is one fast little bugger, but I'm getting there! We started off with his FAST class, and it went just as planned. He got all the necessary points as well as the send bonus, so he qualified, finished in 3rd place and finished his title -- his first agility title!!! His Jumpers run was going along nicely, and then came the weaves. He'd missed all the entrances on all the previous runs throughout the weekend, so I fully expected him to miss the entrance again. I hung back a bit so I could call him back and re-send him, but by golly he hit the entrance perfectly, went through them in the blink of an eye and was off to the next couple of jumps before I could even realize what had just happened. He left me in the dust!! I tried to salvage the run, as by that point he hadn't gone off course, but I was just too far back and couldn't get where I needed to get to in time -- he was just way too fast. He eventually took a wrong jump, and I could hear the judge sigh. And in my head I heard my teacher Jim say "trust your dog." I should have trusted that he would have hit the pole entrance and not popped out. Next time I will! Then we ran his Standard course. Of course the tire jump was the first obstacle AGAIN! First day I tried placing him right in front of the tire . . . that didn't work. Second day I tried running from start line with him . . . that didn't work. This time I placed him pretty far back, did a nice lead out and bent down so he could see me through the tire hole and told him to jump, and by golly THAT WORKED -- he jumped THROUGH the tire instead of going under it!!! So far we're running clean. We made it through obstacle by obstacle, hitting everything perfectly, and hitting all his contacts. We get to the weave poles, and he does miss the entry, but in Novice Standard, refusals at the weaves aren't counted. I quickly get him back in, and he finishes them without popping out. We're getting pretty close to the end, and then comes the broad jump. It was at a very weird angle, so I was worried that he'd cut the corner again, but he made it over with no problems. Just 3 more obstacles, and we'd be done. I had to concentrate on each obstacle as they came, because I know if I think too far ahead, I mess up. And I didn't want to push him too hard over the teeter, as he does have a tendancy to fly off that if he's going too fast, so I kept cool, he hit the teeter contact, then over the last two jumps, and woooo hooo!! He ran clean!!! Conor got his first Novice Standard leg. And placed 3rd place to boot. It was so very exciting.

Kaylie's Jumpers run was very, very tricky, but lots of fun, and she ran clean and Q'd. No placements though -- it's pretty hard to place when some of the top people in the country are running against you with them darned Border Collies. But she was 11 seconds under time, so we got more points added towards our MACH speed points. Her Standard run was going along very nicely, but by golly that darned dog walk contact got us again. I swear they put poison down on those contacts. It was a great run otherwise, so I'm still very happy about that.

We're looking forward to next weekend for another AKC agility trial. I'm only showing Kaylie, so it shouldn't be so exhausting.

1 comment:

Diamond Girl said...

You rock! You are my hero. Nice job with Conor!!!

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.