Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend at BOTC Agility

I love the BOTC agility trial - it's probably my favorite show of the season - so much so that not even the (thankfully relatively few) grumpy, snappy and uptight dog people can get to me. It's like dealing with idiots at Christmas time - they get an extra inch of stupidity :-) It's something about the beginning of the season - the promise of many more fun weekends with friends (not the grumpy, snappy and uptight ones) and playing with my dogs - it helps that as hard as I work at our home shows it's still a sleep in my own bed show - even if I have a 12 hour day on grounds.

The rundown from the weekend...Murphy was entered in Open Standard and Excellent Jumpers, Teller was in Novice Standard and Novice Jumpers. We had a provisional judge and an AKC rep - the trial ran slowly because of the judge/rep interaction and the new(ish) regulation that leaving the ring without the dog on leash is now a DQ. Now judges have to watch every dog get leashed and leave the ring...well at 20-30 seconds a dog that adds a phenomenal amount of time to the day - and this was especially true on Saturday when runs didn't finish until well after 6pm. Standard course time (SCT) was really tight all weekend. When you see dogs that typically earn 10+ MACH points every run come out with only 1 or 2 points you know that times are tight for those courses.

Murph had a Murphy day on Saturday - first trial of the year syndrome mostly - he just wasn't so into it on Saturday. Teller came out rockin' on Saturday - we lost some time at the weaves with an offside entry from a tunnel - blowing by and hitting the second pole - but he gamely came back and finished them. Then we had a refusal at the end of the course after the chute - he was so fast coming out of the chute that I didn't cue him in time to turn for the broad jump (90 degree angle after the chute) and he didn't have the ability to stop and pivot. He came back again, got the broad jump and finished the course with a 3rd and Q! That was also Teller's NAP title. Teller's afternoon jumpers run was brillant - just FUN FUN FUN!! To top it off it was a 1st and Q!

Here's the Saturday Video:

Sunday was another day and even Murph got into the swing of things. Murph had a nice standard run until I stepped on him - and then (rightfully so) he didn't want to play any more. I can't say I blame him - so we skipped the weaves and galloped out the last 4 obstacles. Murph's excellent jumpers run was within course time (astonishing because of the tight times) but I got in his way in a front cross before the triple and he had no way to get over the triple so we had a refusal. The SUPER thing was that Murphy not only came back and continued to play, he had a gorgeous rest of the run. Lots of MUCH MUCH MUCH (yes x3) better handlers made the same mistake at that part of the course and their dogs also refused or took down the triple - we were in good company! Murph got his extra dose of meatballs and enjoyed left-over filet from my dinner Saturday night at the Longhorn.

Teller's Standard run on Sunday was all over the place - again we had an entry problem on the weaves - this time after the broad jump - I'm not sure he even saw the entry or knew that was the next obstacle. I've watched the video a few times he just busted out over the broad jump and never collected to the weave entry, then a LATE front cross after the chute (my fault), a GORGEOUS drop on the table, a refusal at the teeter (but no paws) a nice sequence into the tunnel and then he came out of the tunnel and barreled by the dog walk - and I do mean BARRELED! Badass Wooie! He came back and nailed the contact at the end. That was another 1st and Q. Our jumpers run in the afternoon was a thing of beauty. He was fast, nailed his weave entry, I stayed out of his way until the last jump - I told him to "go on" thinking he was committed to that last jump - and he wasn't - he went to the left of it instead of turning. He came around and got it in the end - and it cost us a refusal - but ended up good enough for a 2nd and Q. Teller's tally from the weekend: 4 runs, 4 Q's, 2 first places, 1 second place, 1 third place and 1 new title.

The video from Sunday:

Overall I had some interesting observations and I'm so happy to have the runs on video.
  • Murphy likes it when I run him more like Teller - trust him and move. The rub comes when he's being Murphy and standing on my head shrieking in sheltie voice doesn't change that.
  • I still need to work more weave entries with speed. The problem is getting the speed in training that I have in trials and working at that. I have a plan though :-)
  • As a whole - and I didn't make this connection until this evening - I micromanage the weaves with both dogs FAR more than I do in training. In the vids from this weekend I was very close to the dogs in the weaves, in training I am generally 5+ feet away from the weaves - but in a trial situation I revert to babysitting - not hula dancing (I'd get beaten for that one) but way closer than I ever am in training.
  • After Syracuse I decided I wanted a more concrete dog walk contact - so in the course of a week I put a sit on the end of the dog walk - without a dog walk at home to work on :-) I worked the contact on my teeter at home and it totally transitioned to the dogwalk in a show. On Saturday's standard run you can see that I have control over that contact now - whew!!! I still need reps - and I'd like to get the behavior to the point of automatic sit at the end - but that takes more than a week :-)

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