Monday, September 19, 2011

Being the worst

Griff and I just started a new agility class (well, same instructor, different group of dogs). Two handlers I know, both experienced agility competitors with relatively young dogs. The other two I've seen at trials, but don't know.  We have the dubious honor of being the worst in the class.

I am going not to care because a. it's a better learning situation to be in than being the best, b. we are out of practice after being off a month or more, and c. well, it's just agility. Heh. But I did feel a little embarrassed, which is such a stupid emotion. Poor Griffy had probably no idea what to think of me. But we will persevere and get better because of it.

It did remind me that a. we haven't worked contacts in a long time, b. you can't expect distance skills you haven't trained, and c. be careful what you wish for, or you just might get it. I was always trying to get Griff to focus more on me in class because I didn't want a runaway dog, to the point now where he'll try to jump over a tunnel rather than take a jump because it's closer to me. Arg. My fault.

It's funny how ego-driven we are, no matter whether a big, life-or-death situation, or our hobby, we can still get all mixed up in "performing" well. I will go lick my wounds now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fleet Feet trial 9/10-9/11/11

Soooo, agility. Status of agility training has been a bit sketchy since the last trial. I was so frustrated at times by our lack of progress, then following sickness in both myself and my old man dog, I missed most of agility class for August. We did do a 2x2 weaves workshop, which, at least in practice, seemed to really help Griffy with some weave trouble he'd been having. We practiced weaves and jumpwork at home quite a bit. No contacts, no long courses. With Zig, I took a class based at least loosely on Control Unleashed, and since he's turned 1, started some jump work with him. I also (very slowly) have started some 2x2 weaves with him (just one set so far).

We had to sign up for the September CPE trial long before I knew we'd be taking a month off class. I was not at  all sure how it would go, considering Griff hadn't see the arena, a piece of contact equipment, or even run while another dog was nearby since July. And, Saturday, it turned out, was predicted to be close to 100 degrees. Eek.

Let's see: good stuff. Fullhouse: startline stay. Weaves were 1/2. I didn't correct since it's a time issue. No problem with teeter. Ran pretty fast. Q and 2nd (due to points). Bad stuff: weaves were 1/2. One knocked bar.

Standard: nicely run course! No complaints. Both sets of weaves perfect (both 6s). No knocked bars. Q and first.

Snooker: Weaves 1/2. Otherwise, no complaints. Did not make it all the way to #7 but he didn't need the points to Q. It was a very low qualifying snooker, mostly because 5 and 6 were combos and the course was so long a lot of people were running out of time. He q'd and took 2nd.

Jumpers: Pretty good run-now he's in level 5. No complaints, especially due to how hot the day was.

Jackpot: perfect jackpot execution, read reverse flow pivot and rear crosses well. Weaves 1/2. Q! Not very high scoring, since I forgot that in jackpot weaves are only worth 3 and not 5, but it was ok enough. We don't have distance skills so Qing in jackpot is hard for us.

Standard. Beautiful run that I messed up by forgetting where I was going. Caused him to knock a bar, but he still q'd. Perfect 12 weaves. Q and 1st even with 5 faults.

Wildcard: nice run. Weaves perfect. He was a champ. No complaints. Q.

Colors: nice run, good weaves. No knocked bars!!!! YAY!

My main disappointment is that his weave pole performance, while much improved from last trial, was still only about 2/3rds accurate. Not good enough for AKC. And geez, that's all we've been working on! It was mostly about not searching for the correct entry still. He was much better, but still not as solid as I'd hoped. Gotta keep working it, maybe going back to just two poles.

Most of the frustrating things about this trial were other people. People complaining about the CPE rules, the judge, other trivial stuff. One "friend" who likes to take support, can't give it. A dog tried to eat Zig's face, and the owner was a bit annoying about it. Too many people yelling at their dogs in the ring in the name of "training" and thinking that rules (such as the new no gates closed rule) did not apply to them and their dogs.

But it was nice to hang out with several agility people that I really like but don't see often. So many people are friendly, supportive, and just out to do well and have fun with their dogs. I just have to ignore those who aren't.

I am still debating about when to neuter the shrimp. He's 13 months, and I have him on the schedule for the 23rd, but I am kind of hating doing it. I wish his breeder would weigh in for me, but she's not been answering my emails. Hmm.

off to prepare for a six day week! BLEH!