30 April 2008

Weekly update

I've already re-discovered that I'm a lazy blogger:-)
Anyhow, I had last weekend off from agility. Went down to the field where I train (privately owned) and worked my dogs and myself quite hard on Sunday. Every time I see a video of international competition it makes me get all determined again to go out and do it myself. Drifter is easily among the fastest dogs in the world (not just boasting, it's true!), I just have to get him and myself consistent enough at 26" to make it on one of the teams. I had given up entirely on FCI, however. . . he's doing so well this year that I'm bumping him up to 24", and if he gathers the qualifications to go to Tryouts next spring, then I'll go. Why not?? I can't lie and say I don't want to. I'm not a very politically correct agility handler though, so I'd almost certainly never make the team unless I won my way on. I don't think any of the big names involved with the selection truly dislike me, it's just that I don't make it a point to go out of my way to become a household name or suck up to anybody.

I'm glad I took two weekends off. It's giving me a chance to get out to the field, and to the 2 classes (one I teach, one I attend thanks to Sharon's payment), and get some real good practice in. Kiba's slowly starting to lose her "la la la I can't see you" behavior, Drifter is tightening up his corners like I always knew he could, and Seri. . . . well, she's getting around the course.
Late last week I changed my mind again and dropped her back down to 22". She just seems happier there, and to my surprise she didn't over-jump anything when I ran a sequence at 22. She also didn't fly flat-out either, so she jumps it well. I will deal with running back and forth at regionals!

Sports update - The Flyers are somehow STILL in it (second round of playoffs)! The Phillies are playing "well" with streaks of "fantastic" and fewer and fewer spots of "WTF". Sixers are still in it but sinking fast.

21 April 2008

Weekend recap and an Ooops.

Went down to VA Ruff Riders over the weekend. Stayed in the RV. Overall the dogs ran "OK" with everybody having some good points and some bad. Actually Drifter was decent overall, he missed his first a-frame in gamblers, probably a result of the 5'6" and 5'10" flip-flop that I completely didn't prepare him for, but after that one he nailed the rest in typical high-speed fashion. Got the gamble, laid down a smoking Steeplechase, winning round 1 by 1.5ish seconds. I was thrilled to have him running not only fast (which he always is) but also very, very tuned in on the corners, and not a single step of 'fighting' with me over where to go next. After that we ran Standard, and he knocked the first bar, which is pretty unusual for him so I wasn't upset, then he went down on the table, RIGHT AWAY! that was a HUGE break-through for him, as just 2 weeks ago I had to walk him off in AKC for not doing that exact thing. Yay! Kiba ran a little worse, missing 2/4 a-frames in gamblers (the first 2, so I did it twice more for points), not getting the gamble, and knocking several bars. I need to work on redirects out of tunnels with her, she wants to just come to me all the time despite my body and voice telling her to go elsewhere. She ran a very quick steeplechase course, only 1.6 or so off Drifter's time, but knocked one bar. She still Q'd, at least, and i was very, very happy with her speed and enthusiasm on that course. She also ran very well in Standard and missed Q'ing by knocking the very last bar (she turned rather violently in mid-air to look back at me, who was saying "good girl"). Seri was the Wild Child again, flying around Starters standard, bumbling her weaves about 5 times in Steeplechase, and then a couple more in Starters gamblers. She got the gamble, at least, and she didn't knock TOO many bars overall. She just forgets to look up when she flattens out.

Sunday it was pouring and storming when we got up in the RV, and I packed it in and headed home. The 2 older dogs have their GP Q's, and Seri wasn't running fantabulously anyway, and doesn't really "know" wet equipment well enough to be safe.

So. . . then I had tickets to the Phillies/Mets game, which due to ESPN being the broadcaster, was scheduled at 8pm. OK, no big deal - except I had to be at work at 5am (and that was my boss being lenient, usually it's 4am). So DJ and I stayed through the 7th, by which time the scoring was finished anyway, and then we went home. Got back around 12:15am or so, let the dogs out, set the alarm and dropped into bed. I KNOW I set the alarm. I set it, and then remember looking at it and thinking, "Gosh, it looks funny with only one dot lit up - usually we go to be in the PM hours so there are two dots lit up, one for "PM" and one for "Alarm".
We were then woken up at 5:30 by our boss calling DJ asking if we were coming in at all. YIKES! overslept by a whole hour (had to be up at 4:15 or so). HOW the HELL that happened, I still do not understand. When I got up, the alarm was off. VERY VERY STRANGE considering I remember the sequence of events with setting the alarm and noticing the single dot - meaning it was turned on. Oh well! Our immediate boss was a little peeved, but our higher-up boss seemed to find it sort of amusing and didn't bug us too much. Luckily Mondays are a little slow due to the trucks being loaded on Saturdays.

Now I have 2 weekends off to train my dogs and catch up on sleep.

I'm also excited about the 4th season of Doctor Who being broadcast on Scifi - I don't usually watch Scifi but lately we've become big fans of the new Doctor series BBC has produced, along with Torchwood. Really good stuff!

18 April 2008

off for the weekend

Getting ready to finish our paperwork and get ready to leave work. After that I'm headed home to throw some clothes and dog food in a bag and head to the USDAA trial in VA this weekend. Hoping Seri gets a Steeplechase Q, maybe. I've had a bit of a minor crisis about what height to jump her lately. I had moved her up to 26" for a couple of reasons - one being that she is a long, tall, lean and lanky girly and it almost seems silly for her to jump 22" (she can measure over 20.5), another reason being that I do plan to jump her 26 eventually, perhaps as early as next year IF I feel that she comes together enough to at least make a token effort at qualifying for IFCS, and the last reason being the selfish one - I'm bringing her along to 3 USDAA Regionals this year, and tentatively planning to bring her to Nationals as well. With Drifter down at 22, and Kiba being too small to jump 26 without yanking her spine out of alignment. . . that would make THREE dogs at the same height. Now, I have a LOT of mental stamina and am not an easily daunted person, however. . . . that's asking a lot. The groups out at Nationals are not that big, and I was sometimes running just to make my turn with TWO dogs last fall (tenting is far, far from the rings). So I thought, hey, Seri is a lanky, athletic dog, I will jump her 26 and not have the crazy conflicts. Now, Seri really doesn't have any trouble clearing 26, not at all. And she is healthy, sound dog. Her issues lie more in the direction of remembering to LOOK for the next jump. . . sometimes she gets so caught up in RUNNING FAST that she forgets to guage the jump takeoff. OK, I understand that, no problem. I've got plenty of experience with jump work, believe me, that's fine. However. . . . I wonder if she might have an easier time learning to adjust at 22 then at 26. So I go back and forth, but really, it's almost the end of April; Regionals are only 6 weeks away. I really think she's staying at 26.
But I'll probably continue to have second thoughts about it. Especially after dropping Drifter and watching him do so well.
(of course, I may be bumping him back up next spring for IFCS - the boy just refuses to shrink that extra 1/4 inch!!! and he's running so well)

17 April 2008

Kiba's AX and AXJ title runs!

So last Thursday night was a night for dropping things on feet. At home, DJ picked up a cake cover which he didn't realize I had placed a big knife on top of. . . and it fell point-first into the top of his foot. Ouch! He's OK, but was a little traumatized by the event. It hit the bone (luckily?) and didn't really bleed much at all. Nasty little cut though, and was in just the right (wrong?) place to rub on his boot when he walks at work.
That SAME evening, one of our managers here at work (who is in charge of supervising one of the "lines" of trucks being loaded), dropped a TABLE on his toe, and broke it. It was a big, heavy table. Supposedly it was some girl's fault, and no alcohol was involved. Anyway, he couldn't work for a few days, and I ended up going in to work on Saturday morning.
Since I was busy with that, I couldn't go to the one day of Dauphin's AKC trial that I had entered. Now, admittedly, the weather forecast involved rain and thunder and I was tired and hadn't wanted to go anyway, but still, the work thing is a good excuse. (the day then turned out sunny and gorgeous, go figure!). So I told my mom she could take Kiba and run her. Kiba needed one leg to finish both AX and AXJ. I figured even if she got one, it'd be great, and if not, big deal. Kiba is pretty easy to run except when she has brain farts (she visited the judge the weekend before!).
Well, don't you know, my mom qualified in BOTH classes with my little dog to finish both her titles! Geez! And she's never run her before, ever, so that's not bad. Although I have to admit, like lots of fast dogs, Kiba was probably not running full-out since it was a new handler. But I'm not complaining at all! I'm glad to have her in B now with Drifter so I can concentrate on getting them both their double-Q's for AKC Nationals.

I've made some slight updates to the website.

10 April 2008

By the way. . .

after all that whining last fall. . . I finally got myself a van:-)
It's a certified used Odyssey, a 2005 with low mileage. Not perfect (not many options) but it's got all the safety features, and it's got LOTS of doggy space. Which is good, since I rather unexpectedly found myself with a new puppy as well, and 4 border collies in an Element. . . NOT going to work!

Trying again

So, I started this blog back in November, then quit immediately because I (wisely) realized it was going to turn into a rambling bunch of nothing since I was posting silly drivel at work.

Well I'm at work again, however, I've decided I'd like to use this as somewhat of a trial journal. To include both Q's and anecdotes about funny situations, pieces of courses that gave people grief (or dogs who did so) or sometimes things that just plain piss me off.

Unfortunately, I'd like to start off with the latter object. I was at the Delaware County AKC trial last weekend, a 3-day trial at a lovely park site in Newtown, PA. We lucked out on the weather, and even though my dogs were annoyingly unfocused for most of their runs, everybody came away with one JWW Q, even Seri who is a complete Novice. The judges were all great, being people I've known in agility on and off for years. However. . . some older middle-aged guy really ticked me off. He doesn't even know it, but I'm angry at him! See. . . he ran his husky. He thought his husky ran clean. His husky did run clean, except it apparently missed its dogwalk contact. A judge I have a lot of respect for was juding this run (Excellent standard), Scott Chamberlain. He has been judging for many, many years. I have always thought he is one of the most fair judges out there. He is great with contacts, refusals, etc. His courses are always difficult but do-able. That's all I can ask for. This Husky Man, however, was very upset. He, being the God of Husky Contacts, decided that his dog did NOT miss the contact. He went back out into the ring 2 dogs after his run to argue with the judge. Scott, being the experienced and polite man that he is, simply shook his head and said "No" and probably told the man what his dog did. Husky Man comes STOMPING out of the ring like a THREE-YEAR OLD who has been denied a Hershey bar. I think "OK, good, get the hell out of here!". But no, he wasn't done. After my run (where my dog proceeded to be pretty much COMPLETELY retarded:-) as I walked back to my car, I heard him yammering on some more to someone else about how "if the judge made a mistake he shouldn't take it out on" him. OH MY I shot him a look but he didn't see me. I wanted to smack him upside the head but wisely held back. WHAT A LOSER! His husky was NOT that fast. This judge has consistently judged Drifter's running dogwalk, which, I'll add, has been clocked at 1.35 seconds. If he can do that, then surely he didn't totally mis-judge Husky Man's silly dog, who probably took upwards of 2 seconds to get across the thing, and probably slowed down and hopped off the yellow as the old guy looked up at the next obstacle.

www.getrevd.com/rosanne I wrote an article on there about my feelings on the subject of respecting judges.