Monday, January 11, 2010

Qualifying for the DOCNA Championships

Spent this past weekend in Queen Creek for a beautiful weekend of DOCNA agility. The weather couldn't have been better. It was very cold in the mornings, and thankfully I was able to find one of those little portable propane heaters. It was perfect and kept me warm when I wasn't walking a course or waiting for my turn. But by 10 a.m. the sun was out and the temps were perfect. We had some fantastic runs this weekend, except for the one where I completely forgot the course. I watched one of my friends go, and she forgot part of the course (and didn't even realize it), and then I watched the gal that ran before me, and she completely forgot the course. Lesson learned - just don't watch anyone ahead of you. But most of the runs the rest of the weekend went pretty well. Best of all, Kaylie qualified in the North America Challenge, got 1st place, and is now set to go to the Championships in Grand Junction, Colorado. Unfortunately, Conor did not qualify. There was a dog walk/tunnel discrimination challenge - they were to take the dog walk. As we were walking the course, one of my friends was so worried about her dog taking the tunnel. I was so confident, and said as long as you're pulling to the left the dog won't even see the tunnel. The thought of Conor going through that tunnel never even entered my mind. Well, my friend's dog took the dog walk, and Conor took the tunnel. Lesson 2 learned - never assume your dog is going to do the right course. LOL! My teacher is always telling me to trust my dog. Well . . . not sure what to think about that anymore!

Anyway, here's how the Wonder Doggies did this weekend:

Specialist Standard Run 1: NQ
Specialist Standard Run 2: Q - 3rd Place
Specialist Standard Run 3: Q - 2nd Place
Specialist Jumpers Run 1: Q - 4th Place
Specialist Jumpers Run 2: Q - 1st Place
Specialist Snakes & Ladders: Q - 4th Place
Specialist Trigility: Q - 1st Place (with Kaylie doing the Gamble portion)
Specialist Traditional Gamble: NQ
Specialist Strategic Timed
Gamblers: Q - 2nd Place
Specialist North America
Challenge Q - 1st Place

Intern Standard Run 1: NQ
Intern Standard Run 2: NQ
Intern Standard Run 3: NQ
Intern Jumpers Run 1: Q - 1st Place
Intern Jumpers Run 2: Q - 1st Place
Specialist Traditional Gamble: NQ
Specialist Strategic Timed
Gamblers: Q - 3rd Place
Intern Snakes & Ladders: NQ
Specialist Trigility: NQ
Intern North America
Challenge : NQ

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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.