Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pioneer Valley Kennel Club...

We were down in Granby again this weekend. Same bat place, same bat times (approx). Had some super moments - and some utter failures :-) I'll break it down - mostly because it's helpful for me to think about what went wrong and what went well - even if it's only decompressing.

Saturday started with standard - lets just say it was not our high point ;-)
The opening sequence was nice, the course pretty much expected you to layer obstacles, a straight line in the opener with a tempting off-course to a tunnel. I layered a jump and he got the teeter (yay), then came around and layered another jump and instead of pulling to the table he took the triple backwards - then lost his mind a little bit - jumping off the table to pick up (as in rip out of the ground) the number for the weaves, retrieving it to the table to hand it to me (I sheepishly handed it back to the judge). Then he blew his a-frame popped out of the weaves...lets just say it was less than stellar - but he was entertaining.

Saturday JWW he eek'ed out an Excellent A JWW leg. He wasn't particularly fast, mostly because of his weird angles to some jumps - he was wide on quite a few turns - particularly the 180 to the weaves, a 270 and a 1.5 pinwheel. We got a "gift" and left with an Ex JWW leg (our first excellent Q!).

Today's standard course was wicked technical. Some tight angles and interesting choices and a hard weave entry. He blew his A-frame (again) but other than that handled the course cleanly.

JWW was a different story. He took an off-course tunnel then really struggled with his weaves - I think he had three shots before he got them - it was weird, that's not like him AT ALL. The last line of jumps he didn't handle a layered jump - which was all my fault as I didn't keep my hand out to send him away from me - as a result he actually jumped INTO me (though not making contact) - it was not our finest moment :-)

Oh but we did win a spiffy new dog bed in the worker raffle. It's really PURDY and POOFY and just so happens to fit in Murphy's crate in my rig perfectly. I'll have to see if he likes it!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Eastern Springer Spaniel Club

The problem with entering trials three months ahead of time (that close 3+ weeks before the trial) is that in the case of outdoor trials ANYTHING can happen. In this case it was tropical storm Dan. The Dufrense Park in Granby is a nice place to trial - lots of trees mean easy shade, REAL bathrooms, plenty of space for three rings of agility and ample parking/walking paths, etc. The downfall is the occasional snapping turtle and the unfortunate experience of that place in the rain. Several years ago I was at a trial there with Murphy when we had something like two inches of rain in an hour - the whole place was a sloppy mess with really bad footing. The show committee decided Friday afternoon (as it was raining) to move two of the three rings to the parking lot area - which is actually better footing all around I think - though I'm sure it gets dusty when things are dry....

Anyhow, they moved the two excellent rings to dry ground but left the Open/Novice ring down in the swamp - and it WAS swampy!!! When I walked the course on Saturday I had to contemplate footwear. Do I trash the new shoes that have good traction (rubber cleats) or do I wear the crappy shoes that have bad traction (worn down tread)? I opted for the good shoes and minced my way around the course. My intent was to run the Open Standard course conservatively with Teller - hoping he'd handle the turns better - particularly the bit that was under water - if I held him back. The answer there is that he doesn't like that one bit - and I confused him by not playing the game with him. Net result was a whole scribe sheet of complaints. Wrong course to the wrong end of the tunnel, missed a-frame contact, bar down, refusal as I backed off a jump before he was committed. I was glad that it was too rainy for the camera because it was a crappy run and 100% my fault. Saturday's Ex JWW run was equally blagh. Teller was distracted by the swallows that were buzzing over his head on the startline, so when I released him he actually stood up, smelled and cost us a refusal - very un-Teller like. He ran the rest of the course nicely - if not a bit slower than I'd expect for him - this was in one of the other rings (with better footing) but it was still raining non-stop so who knows what smells were in the dirt.

Sunday dawned a little dryer - though the footing in the open ring was no better. Less wet, more muddy - and got slippery over time. Another not so great runs for us - Teller slid on a corner, ended up too deep for a single bar and knocked it, came off the table through that upright and blasted over the a-frame - missing his contact, then as we came around off the chute the teeter hadn't reset from the dog ahead of us (so we skipped it), which put him at a bad angle for the double which also came down in spectacular fashion. Not our best performance, but we both left the ring as sound as we went in - which is more than I can say for other people.

Sunday's JWW run was really nice - lots more positive than negative. We NQ'ed on a wrong course - Woo adding a jump to the weaves (which actually made for a HARDER entry that he got). He was under SCT though, if we hadn't added a jump (more on this in a couple of paragraphs).

Monday runs were all in the same ring - up in the parking lot area - much better footing. Teller was the first dog on the line in standard and kept it together, listening and getting his contacts for a first and Q! Thankfully he saved the weekend!

Monday JWW was gorgeous - I really wish it was on video somewhere - but alas....Woo made it cleanly through 1-17 (opening with a serpentine that was lovely if I do say so myself), then instead of picking up a 180 after the weaves (#17) he went right for the out jump (#20) - a wrong course (obviously). For the first time ever I called him after the weaves to turn, he looked at me and took the #20 jump anyway - with a look of "yeah, pretty sure you're wrong".

So...Woo is going to see some broken lines at speed - don't take what's ahead of you if I'm telling you to turn :-) Entirely expected with a baby dog forced to run with a bad handler :-)

The really good thing - his weave entries and staying in the poles - were right on all weekend. On and off-side weaves, I had speed and determination in the poles - I love that - we have worked hard since GMGRC for that and it's paid off.

We do need to work some more contact stuff...I need to figure out a way to get 5-10 reps in every day....easier said than done honestly. I did notice that he's now jumping the apex of the a-frame - he's never done that before - he's getting more confident and he's getting stronger - I think that's a large part of why we didn't have a-frame contacts on Saturday and Sunday. Monday's contact was exactly what I ask for in practice - maybe he was tired, maybe it was the work we did on the dryer vent at the hotel on Sunday night? Dunno - we'll see!