Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

CPE Nationals-short recap

Oy, three day trials are tiring! Especially considering my normal work week....

Nationals was the biggest trial I've been to, but it didn't feel all that different from other trials at Clark County Fairgrounds, which was nice. I had no expectations of us (NONE), especially considering I was on my own for 10 days while John was out of town and was trying to work, hold down the fort, and then trial. Thank goodness for the parents or I never could have done it.

There were three runs a day, a standard and two of the six games per day. About 4-500 dogs entered, so lots of runs a day. I'll just try to sum up the major points.

Friday: Standard, Fullhouse, Wildcard
Friday Standard: Worst run of the weekend. I wish I could chalk it up to jitters, and some I can, but oy, some badness. Weave pole disaster. Griff acted like he couldn't see them, and then he popped out at the 5th pole multiple times. We didn't complete either set successfully, and they were only 6 poles. He also had an off course due to really poor handling on my part.
Fullhouse: Q and 3rd place. The only run we placed in. Pretty nice. I love Fullhouse.
Wildcard: Weave issues were present but mild. Consistently this ring made Griff dingy all weekend-I'm not sure if it was the open door, the pigeons, or the light changes. We still Qd.

Saturday: Standard, Jackpot, Jumpers
Standard: again weave poles. Why??? We have worked on nothing but, and he's unshakable in practice. I don't get it.
Jackpot: wow, a traditional Jackpot in which we Q? Amazing. He did come into me, but I was able to send him around the tire to the teeter...go Griff! And in the video, I can clearly see why I made him drop a bar....the wonder of video
Jumpers: ring 2-good run except in the last serpentine where he got distracted (pigeons? sparkly vampires? ) and actually had a time fault-first time ever!

Sunday: Standard, Snooker, Colors
Best day of the weekend. He was tired in colors, steady in standard, and did really well in Snooker.

Overall-I'm very glad I bought the video, even though I hate watching myself. I can see when I was late to cue, when my handling was less than stellar, and when I was working obstacles hard. It'll be good to review, even the crap runs.
He Q'd in 7/9, had four really great runs, 3 so-so, 2 bleh.

I'd really like to get this dog his C-ATCH. He's talented enough. Too bad he didn't get a better handler earlier in his career. Hopefully Zig will benefit from our mistakes.

This will probably be our only Nationals-I can't imagine traveling across the country for a trial-we just aren't that competitive. But it was a fun experience, even considering the time and exhaustion.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Last Sunday's practice...


Did distance work-the infamous jump-aframe-tunnel-jump sequence from 75% of Jackpot runs I've seen. Then me standing in the middle of the arena directing him over jumps and tunnels and out to weaves. He did pretty darn well I must say.
Around-practiced a lot of getting the back side of jumps without my having to work them too hard.
Weaves: practiced. I don't like the slowness I get sometimes-I think it's hesitancy or tiredness, so we stop and take a break.
Contacts: Much better this week, but some creeping on the A frame which again I attribute to hesitancy about the criteria. My bad.


Teeter: worked it. He hates the bang, so we c&t for the bang, rewarded at the bang, and rewarded in his 2o2o position.
Tire: worked it. He wants to go around or thru the side sometimes, but so did Griff in the beginning. Just a lack of being 100% on his criteria.
Weaves: great. He loves weavers.
Contacts: have to watch it, we were getting a little bit of anticipation...lots of rewards for holding them.
Rear cross: don't have it. Can rear cross jumps and tunnels, but no way on contacts esp dog walk.
Front cross: reads well.
Lead outs: working em. He has no trouble with reverse flow pivots. The dog reads body language well.

Entered Zig in his first trial in July if we get in. I want to trial him first at his own barn, so if we don't get into the July trial we'll try for September. I'm not looking forward to nationals, because J will be out of town and I've had to wrangle all this special help for the week he's gone, which is right smack around nationals, plus I have to work the Monday after, which means 40 hrs in 3 days, 3 days of nationals, then 50 hrs in 4 days. Feck.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Practice notes from today

Took the boys to the barn this morning for some practice. Just a few notes...

-Griff really doesn't understand "contact position". If I am I normally am enforcing his contacts, they are great. If I hang back, he won't hit 2 on 2 off position. If I work for lateral distance, he usually stops with all four feet in the yellow but again, not 2 on 2 off. We worked on this some today.
-We worked the jump-aframe-turn tunnel at a distance since it seems to be the most common gamble in Jackpot. Again, contact position was difficult.
-Weaves were really on...of course, he's used to those.
-Getting better at hitting his sit on the table, which we haven't historically done since CPE doesn't require a sit or down or a pause at all on the table.
-Ball is the best reward!

-Worked his teeter-he did several independently, although he still squints his eyes a bit when the teeter bangs.
-he's got nice jump form.
-worked some lead outs-including a reverse flow pivot.
-he still needs lots of work on the "turn" command
-practiced lots of "tire" since he seems to have forgotten how to do it correctly. Tuggy thrown ahead once he was thru helped.
-good weavers!
-worked full height A frame-he finds the contacts hard to stick still on a full height one.

Hopefully I can get Zig into a trial at our barn in July. It'll be interesting.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Worst agility trial ever, or why a botched standard run made me cry and consider never running agility again...

There are as of yet no pictures of this trial. However, one highlight, the concept introduced in the photo below, the automatic pancake machine. Now only one minute stands between you and pancakes!

Granted, the concept is currently flawed in that these pancakes aren't any good, but with time and technological advances, there's hope. This was in the hotel we stayed in, along with scary sausage gravy and bad cinnamon rolls. I had a banana.

Anyway, trial in Gold Hill which is about a 5 hour drive, so it meant hotel stays and driving and bad food. It also was a place I'd never trialed in before. The judge I'd trialed under and liked so I had hope that we'd enjoy the courses. We trialed one day in Portland in April and Q'd in 4/5 runs, even though our weaves seemed suddenly to be broken again, so I was hoping for some good runs and some practice before Nationals in June.

After a crappy night's sleep on Friday night, we were at the trial site by 7:15. Fullhouse was first, and other than a bit of a hasty (read, broken) startline stay, seemed like a normal run for us. Q, no problem. Then things went poorly.

Standard 1st round: again plagued with startline stay break. Everything was going ok though, until a late cued teeter caused Griff to jump on IN THE MIDDLE, something that he has never done before. That's an immediate major fault, and NQ for unsafe performance of a contact obstacle. We finished the run, most of which was good, but that stupid teeter baffled me. Yes it was late, but never before would he have tried to execute it in that way, he'd have blown around it and we would have gone back and fixed it. No refusals in CPE, so no harm would have been done in that case.

Standard round 2: start line stay held, smooth first five obstacles. Then, in a tunnel/dog walk discrimination, he bizarrely took the farther tunnel, rather than the easier and cued dog walk. Then, he would not re-cue and take the dog walk. He took the tunnel a total of four times before I finally realized I could not fix the horrible tunnel suck loop he was stuck in, and for the first time ever excused us from the course. So embarrassed.

Jackpot-nice run, couldn't do the gamble. damn distance.

Jumpers- finally, another q. clean run.

The day was definitely complicated by the fact that I got vomit-y between standard and jackpot, puked once, and then was praying I wouldn't have to run off the course to vomit again. Also, we didin't finish our jumpers run until about 8:30 pm, making it an over 13 hr day. I drank sprite and huddled in our hotel bed, once again only sleeping a few hours.

Needless to say, after two badly botched standard runs on Saturday and a very queasy stomach on little sleep, I was not in the best frame for Sunday. First run was a non-trad jackpot that we totally had nailed-until he knocked the last bar. Fucksocks.

It was the standard run that made me seriously consider never trialing again. There's a stupid amount of emotion after multiple bad runs, sleeping in a strange place, hanging out with strangers, and while I didn't expect us to qualify in this run, it was the way it happened that made me lose it. Lots of dogs were getting sucked into the wrong side of tunnels or missing discriminations, which I was pretty sure would happen to us. But, what actually happened was this:

I entered the ring, the gate steward announced us. I repeated Griff's name. The time keeper hit the "ready" button. I put Griffin in a sit-stay, and started to walk to position. Then, the score keeper, for reasons unknown but probably because she hadn't been paying attention, decides she hasn't heard the first two announcements of his name, can't recognize his breed and yells, " who's this? " in a snotty tone. And I, walking out to my position,without thinking, yell his name. Which , of course, makes him think I'm calling him. So he takes the first jump, but I am in no position to direct him to the next obstacle, so he out of confusion takes a (far, far) off course tunnel. And it's NQ right there.

The rest of this course, he executes perfectly. I handle on the fly because I am so rattled, and all of the traps and pitfalls others fell into don't phase him. He gets weave entries, he gets discriminations. But because of that off-course tunnel, the run is void.

Now I am aware that his release word is ok and not his name, but really, when you scream out your dog's name, you can't blame him for hightailing it to you as quick as he can. The stupid score keeper really shouldn't have hit the ok button until the stupid scribe was ready, and the stupid scribe should have been PAYING ATTENTION! And stupid me should have done it differently. Believe me, I will never, ever, leave my dog again until I am sure they know who we are.

After this run, I nearly called it a day. I had vomited, I hadn't slept for two days, we'd just spent too much money and time and things were full of bad. Plus, people kept saying stupid shit that you just don't say to people having a rough trial. I cried like a dork after the run.

Then I took the dogs for some ball and a swim to cool off, we ran two more qualifying runs, and at least finished on a better note.

I have a lot of work to do in this sport. I need to handle better. I need to leave my nerves at the door. I need to WATCH MY DOG at all times. I need to proof more. I need to proof weaves a lot more.

Oh well. Another ironic thing was that I brought my video camera but didn't record any runs since they were going so badly, and that there was a professional video company there who would have sold us our runs for 9$ and yet they were so full of badness that I couldn't bear to buy them. Maybe the photographer got a good shot or two of us? I'd like to imagine a pretty shot of Griffin on an obstacle rather than the bad memories I have of mistakes, so maybe I'll see if I can buy one.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Xmas with cousin

Cousin houndie didn't appreciate Griffin's focus on the tennis ball, unless he was running away from her so she could chase.