Sunday, October 31, 2010

The road sign read "AX"...

So, not the actual "tag" - and not my photo. get the idea.
As I was driving to Massachusetts on Friday to pack up some servers in a datacenter (and my dogs with me on the way to the Granite State Sheltie Club trial) I noticed graffiti on the back of a highway sign (south-bound just north of the 293/93 junction) that read "AX". I don't what the "tag" was for - but it made me smile - an omen. A SIGN! The road to Teller's AX has been a tough one - contacts have been so hard for us...if not the a-frame, the dogwalk, then his teeter issue popping up at the end of summer. Then there have been the (many) standard runs when it's been my error or miscalculation that has cost us a Q. We're consistently putting in JWW Q's (we're better than 90% Q rate in JWW) - we just haven't come together in standard. It's time - there's my sign.

Saturday morning started early - JWW - tall to small - Woo was the 8th dog online - bleary eyed and optimistic we started the day with a Q (unfortunately no video of that run). Not a bad way to start the weekend Woo!

Saturday's standard was a lovely course - I left the walk pretty early because I was frustrated with my fellow walkers - too many conversations in the middle of the ring and too many people randomly stopping and spinning for no reason. I went out to my van to get Teller's cookies and just visualized for a few minutes - re-centered myself and collected Teller. His standard run was ON, he was honest and we were clean. When we got to the second tunnel you can hear the timer SCREAMING at the judge that there was a timing malfunction. Timers - if there's a malfunction stop the dog before obstacle #5 or don't stop them at all. I ignored the screaming timer and finished the course. The rules are pretty clear - if the run was otherwise clean there are two options: dog and handler may choose to run the course for time only (no faults are judged) OR if the judge believes that the dog was at or under SCT the handler may elect to take SCT. Since we were in Excellent A and time really doesn't count for anything important (no points involved), I elected for SCT before he even gave me the option :-) A few folks told me I should have re-run it for training purposes - but when my dog gives me 100% effort - I'm not going to ask him to do it again without a compelling reason to do so.  Watching the video I timed about 56 for the run (more or less) - that's pretty consistent with one of Teller's standard runs which typically vary between 3.0 and 4.0 YPS. SCT was 66.

Yes Race-Fans - that's a QQ for T-Woo! Teller is now Can CH, AX, MXJ, NAP, NJP, CD, RN, CGC, CGN....

Today's runs were a mixed bag. Teller flicked off on a wrong course in our standard run (to the chute after the panel instead of the weaves) - I'm not at all sure why he did it. After we NQ'ed I pushed his table a little and he came off - good to know - I have a lot of distance/duration on the table at home - I haven't poked at what we have in trial - I'm not entirely sure that I told him to wait either. In JWW Teller missed his weave entry - this one was all on me - I got too far ahead and pushed him into the second gate.

Now for the good stuff - Teller's contacts were good all weekend. I'm finally feeling like our work is paying off. This is the second trial weekend (the first was Syracuse) where he got all of his contacts in all of his runs...OK, he's not stopping in the contacts like he does at home, but he's putting in the strides, checking himself and getting into the yellow. So I've got a game plan and we'll keep going.  On a purely selfish note, I'm relieved that any future QQ's will count towards the big "M"...points are coming along as well.

The judge this weekend was Rob Robinson - I've never trialed under him before - but was pleasantly surprised at both his courses - open, challenging and fair for both the tall and small - as well as his demeanor, enthusiasm for the sport and kindness to exhibitors...I hope decision makers for other "local" clubs felt the same and invite him back for future weekends....

Woo's vid from the weekend:

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