Wednesday, May 27, 2009

LEAP May 23-25th, 2009 and catching up...

To say that I've been feeling a little flat out is an understatement. I feel like I'm zooming from one thing to another - with only the occasional opportunity to blink. Both boys are doing well - Murphy is enjoying his semi-retirement and Teller is coming along nicely.

This past weekend we found ourselves at the LEAP trial in Massachusetts. You may remember that Teller finished his NAP and NJP back in April and then I moved him up to 24" at the TMAC trial the first weekend of May (also our first outdoor trial of the season). The leap trial is at a different venue, same general area - and was a good opportunity to see what we've accomplished in the three weeks between TMAC and LEAP with limited training time.

We started the day with Novice STD - first class of the day - some assorted rushing to get there and settle in (me not him). It was an interesting course opening - chute to the weaves - we bongled the weave entry twice, got back on course then I overshot the table - but it was good enough for 2nd and a Q - surprisingly well under time.
Jumpers was a rush - He broke his startline before I was ready for him - forcing me to rear cross when I hadn't planned to rear cross - which put him wide around the first left-hand turn - which Teller SAVED for me by slicing a jump with an gazelle like leap! The rest of the run was so smooth - good enough for another 2nd and Q.

Holy cow I screwed up our standard run. We had a great sit-contact on the dog walk but from the teeter to the tunnel I didn't effectively communicate which end he should go into (wrong course), then coming around the back side I didn't support the broad jump and he jumped THROUGH the side (refusal). I did get a rear-cross on the weaves until I called him out prematurely (bad handler), then I failed to support the last jump (refusal) and he backjumped (wrong course) to get back to me....even with all of that he finished under time and did not seem to mind that his handler stunk up the course :-)
Jumpers on Sunday was HOT and Muggy - he ran just before a T-Storm rumbled though - it was a nice clean run for his NAJ title, but also a 1st and Q!


JWW was first on Monday - I had planned to run the first line one way - and ended up running it differently - I expected to be further ahead of him after the tunnel and I wasn't - this cost us a refusal, but the rest of the run was GORGEOUS - 2nd and Q!
We somehow ended up being the last dog of the trial to run on Monday...I miscued the tunnel (refusal - but not a wrong course). I was more or less pleased with everything else - given the distraction of the packing up, the heat and humidity and of course my mis-cues at the weaves...1st and Q!

We're going to work weave entries this week and startlines :-)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

TMAC 2009

We're home! It was an exhausting weekend - not a lot of sleep (for a variety of reasons) and a lot of running around. One of these trials I'm going to strap on a pedometer and see how much walking I do on an average trial weekend...Teller's first outdoor trial of the season, our first weekend at 24" - lots of new things for my baby dog. I made a couple of mistakes and I'm still feeling out what I need to do in a trial situation to handle his work ethic.

The good points:
  • He held his startlines for all four runs - waited when I asked him to and went when I asked him to - LOVE that.
  • No sniffies, no rolls, no socializing with ring crew and no checking out
  • Woo had a blast with all four runs - LOVE that enthusiasm.
  • 24" proved to be much more my issue than his issue.
  • Speed is still not our problem - well it's not HIS problem it's MY problem. He really "dug in" to the turf - he likes the turf and he handled even wet grass well.

  • What I learned (broad terms):

  • I need to get him some off-leash running while we're at trials - I am so paranoid about ticks at this particular venue that I don't really take them off the field - but he definitely needs to get out and do some running - it's as much as a release for him as it is exercise. I saw that in today's runs - he really wanted to open up on the straight aways and that was just needing to move. I forget that on a typical day he'll spend 20 minutes or so really romping hard around the yard...we miss that in confinement - Murphy never needed that - Teller really does.
  • I need to trust him more - recurring theme here?
  • We need to work lines of jumps, sending him ahead of me .

    Run by run decompression:
    Saturday Standard:

    Sort of a fluke thing on the teeter I didn't give him a good approach to the obstacle and when he reached the pivot he only had three legs on the teeter, so when it moved he bailed. He had a good a-frame contact and I LOVED his dogwalk contact. The sit work I've done in the last two-three weeks has paid off. We had an off-course tunnel and a run-by the weaves - happy feet! The last two obstacles were a tunnel to a wing and I didn't support the last jump - yeah, recurring theme here and he ran around it - totally my fault.

    Saturday Jumpers:
    Fun fast run - nice startline (though I didn't get the first two jumps on film). The last 5 obstacles was a rounded turn to three jumps that were basically a straight line but offset. He didn't see the line and I failed to judge his point of commitment so we had a refusal - Again - totally my fault (isn't it always)- he came right back though, finished the course well under course time for his first NAJ leg.

    Sunday Standard:
    I got frazzled at the beginning of the run. When I pitched his leash he went to retrieve it - I don't even know if I told him to wait when I threw it - but he came right back and setup nicely - but it blew my cool - and it shouldn't have. (umm, trust your dog Erica). When I left him at the startline while my back was turned and I was walking away I heard a very excited woman outside the ring say "He's on the move!" - thinking she was "helping me" (warning me that he had broken) I turned quickly and released him - he was waiting where I left him but I totally released him before I was ready, before I had situated myself or was prepared to have him off to the races. Because I wasn't ready I was way further back than I wanted to be for the dogwalk contact and never told him to get the contact. It was badly handled on my part - I shouldn't psych myself out like that. I bobbled jump #3 to the tunnel, he was wide on the broad then committed to the chute blasting past the weaves. He came back - had nice weaves, got the chute (apparently his new favorite thing)and around to the teeter - which he stuck, saw the tire to tunnel to A-frame - but didn't see the line to the last jump (the double) - bounced out of the ring then bounced back...this is where a run/retrieve/blow off steam session would have helped him. We're still feeling this out - learning what he needs to be successful :-)

    Sunday Jumpers:
    Jumpers was in the pouring rain - not my favorite thing - apparently Teller doesn't care - pretty typical Teller. Due to some difficulties we didn't get the opening part on film - he was happy, confident on the footing, got his weave entry, held his startline - seemed to see the lines better - or I handled him better - or both, there was one spot I was concerned about on a turn where the straight line was really tight - he landed to deep and took the bar down - it was unfortunate but it happens and that was the only bar to come down all weekend - I'm not worried about it - but I will setup some striding sequences.

  • In all I'm pleased with the weekend - and happy with our progress. When I got home I had to setup my tent to dry it out - it was so wet that I had to call a neighbor to help put it up because the weight of the fabric just wasn't lending itself to a solo setup. It's supposed to be clear tonight and it's probably already dry but I'd rather not go play with the tent in the dark. Living on sandy soil I really had to get a little crazy with the stakes and tethers and I'm sure my neighbors think that I've completely lost my mind camping in my front yard. :-)

    Oh and another net positive - I won a new pair of turf shoes in the worker raffle - identical to the pair I bought last fall - which I just LOVE - just enough of a short rubber cleat to give me some nice traction - but not so much to get me "stuck" and risk knee torsion (which would be bad). Retail on those shoes is about $175 (my current pair was overstock purchased at a deep discount) and I've been so protective of my pair never wearing them outside, neurotically changing socks repeatedly, taking them off between even indoor runs - The weird things we do for the sake of agility!

    Considering my lack of productive sleep this weekend I'm up way past my bedtime..I'll try to post the videos tomorrow when I've had more sleep :-)