Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Big Day is Getting Closer!

It's been a crazy few months! I've been working basically full time lately, so trying to keep up with things has been difficult. But I've made it a priority to still work the dogs every Tuesday night, plus most Saturday mornings to practice for Team Obedience. I think we are indeed ready! A few weeks ago I attended a Show-N-Go with Kaylie to see how we were coming along in Utility. I was VERY excited because it was the first time ever that we did a whole run through clean - if it had been a real trial, we would have qualified! YAY!!! So I'm very hopeful that it will go as well at the Nationals.

Over Labor Day weekend, I drove up to Prescott for an ASCA conformation show to get some practice doing conformation. It's been a while since I've done any conformation with Kaylie. She showed beautifully at the first show, and that's all I could ask for. Just before the first show ended, it started raining. By the end of the first show, it was REALLY raining. Here's what it looked like.

It rained like this for about 30 minutes. I was actually in the ring with a friend's dog when the rain started. My tent ended up being destroyed, and poor Kaylie was getting drenched. The judge finally made her Best of Breed pick, I dropped off the dog I was handling to her owner, and I made a beeline to get Kaylie out of the pouring rain. She was absolutely drenched. I grabbed as much of my stuff as I could and ran to my van where Kaylie and I sat for what seemed like forever. It was freezing and miserable. The rain finally slowed down a bit, so they did hold the second show. Kaylie didn't show quite as well at this show - she was wet and frisky so when she ran around the ring she was more bouncing around - just having fun. Oh well. Shortly after that, we left Prescott to head on down to Tucson for an agility trial. I wanted to get some competition agility runs in before I left for Nationals, so the timing of this trial worked out perfectly. And of course, the rain followed me from up north to down south. Yes, we had MORE rain at the agility trial. Luckily the agility was under a covered arena, so it didn't really affect us too much.

The dogs did much better than I expected at this trial, as we hadn't really done much agility over the summer. Kaylie got 1st in Elite Jumpers and 3rd in one of her Elite Standard runs. She missed a contact on her other Standard run. Conor got 1st in Novice Jumpers, missed in contact in his first Standard run and then took the A-frame instead of a tunnel. Most dogs would take the tunnel in a discrimination set up like that, but not Conor - he LOVES the A-frame. At least he hit is contact. :)

I think we're ready for Nationals now. Check back for Nationals updates.

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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.