Monday, January 12, 2009

Kaylie's "Re-Debut" in Utility

After a 2-year break from obedience and training in Utility, Kaylie re-entered the Utility ring yesterday morning at our local ASCA trial. We didn't qualify, but I was quite happy with her performance. On the Signal exercise, we got a 35 out of 40, for the Scent Discrimination Article #1, she got a 29 out of 30, we NQ'd on the #2 Scent Discrimination Article, she got a 28 out of 30 on the Directed Retrieve, she got a 29 out of 30 on the Stand for Exam, and then we NQ'd on the Directed Jumping. For her first go-out, she took the high jump on the way out, and then for the second go-out, she took the bar jump on the way out. But I was pleased that she at least ran away from me with no hesitation, which is the first time she'd ever done that. She would usually take a step away, then stop and look at me to make sure that she really is supposed to run away. And even then, she'd only go a few feet away. So we're making progress. I've decided to hold off showing her in any AKC trials, and wait for our ASCA Cactus Cluster trial in March. She had great enthusiasm in everything she did, so that's 90% of the battle. Must work on that "running away from mommy" is a good thing idea!

This weekend is the Arizona Wags for Wishes trial, so now we have to switch gears and get back into agility mode.

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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.