30 May 2009

Pics from today

Drifter got his Grand Prix! I am so relieved. Now if I can just get a Steeplechase Q and a Team Q at the 2 Regionals, I will be all set for Nationals and can work on AKC over the summer/fall.
Kiba had a couple good solid runs, except she hit one bar in each, and was really toenailing her aframe contacts in snooker. I would've sworn she missed all 4, actually, but he gave us points for the first 3. I made her actually do a 4-on-the-floor lie-down in standard, which is our fall-back behavior when she gets goofy and starts going boing. Seri had a great run in standard; wasn't nearly as off-her-stick as I expected after 2+ months off from trialing. The end line was kind of odd, I had to pull her past an off-course tire, then push out to the last jump, and she was much more attentive than I expected and I had an awkward push to the last jump, which happened to be a double, and she knocked it. But that was her only fault, and she really was running well so i was pleased.

Drifter was 2/2 clean runs. I was very pleased with him. He ran standard flawlessly except for our 20-second table (didn't work on it, and every time I tried to lead out a couple feet he levitated up off his elbows again!). And Grand Prix was lovely. He did rattle one bar so badly that the judge went and checked it after we ran (we were first), but due to the actual bouncing in the cups I could tell it wasn't jammed it. He smacked it exactly vertically, apparently, for it bounced up and down and then settled back in the cups. I had already paused and said "HEY" at him for hitting it, and when it didn't fall I was like "uh oh, got to get going again!". Luckily that bar was a complete 180-degree wrap, so my hesitation next to it was completely faultless and only wasted a couple tenths of a second, if that. So he did win.

Anyway, here's a couple photos from today. I will upload a couple videos tomorrow but if my software still isn't working they will be unedited videos, but that's still better than nothing. The photos are links, because I haven't bought them. This site allows links to individual images though, which is nice.
Seri about to descend the dogwalk.
Seri in the tire.
Seri aframe, braking because I told her to lie down.
Seri jumping.
Drifter exits the chute.
Drifter, in typical nonphotogenic style, attempts to be as aerodynamic as possible.
Strange aframe shot. Skimming the apex as usual.
Gratuitous great shot of Schiz, who I ran in Grand Prix.
(we had one off course, where I thought she had committed to a push-out into a tunnel, and I faded away, and she came back in and hit the DW instead. Aside from that, it was a fabulous run)

I am not kidding

My area really DOES have a ridiculously high rate of Lyme disease.
I work and train in chester county, it's only a few miles away from me.

off to the Flexi USDAA trial today

29 May 2009

this week and flexi

This week I ended up cancelling class Tuesday because of the iffy rain situation. Pretty much all week its been a moderate (60-80) temperature, but the humidity is so high that when I run or the dogs run, we get hot very quickly. So Tues, Wed before class (that I teach, not run in), and Thursday as well, I took Drifter and Kiba to the park for a more moderate sort of exercise. Each day we went about 40 minutes or so, but I took trails with fairly rough terrain for the area, with good hills and twists and roots and rocks, so at least they were moving their muscles in all directions. Also they got to swim a bit here and there where we had water access. If you're my facebook friend you could see the mobile upload photos of parts of the reservoir park.

Why didn't Seri come, you might ask? Well, because she's had some sort of stomachy thing since Tuesday morning. Diarrhea. Not the totally constant sort where she's out every 10 minutes, and not so bad that she wouldn't eat and drink. But definitely looked slightly lethargic, and I didn't want her running in the humidity with an upset stomach. yesterday my mother withheld breakfast, and I gave her rice with some chicken for dinner, and started her on probiotics added to the pepto. And she seems to be better. I will give her the regular kibble for dinner (it's just California Natural Chicken/Rice anyway, nothing very rich!). And keep up the pepto and probiotics for a day or two, then drop the pepto. They are all staying on probiotics for the Perry trip. I think that helped Drifter on the MN trip (he often gets so excited and stressed that he won't eat half his meals and gets some "squirts" here and there).

Anyhow, Seri looks good today so I did go train all 3 of them briefly, and was happy with how they ran. We have a half-day of USDAA tomorrow (2 runs per dog), and I am really hoping Drifter can get a Grand Prix Q. He needs a 2nd one still. Seri and Kiba are just in a couple titling runs. Seri hasn't shown since March, so she will be pretty wild, but she's handling very well in practice so the foundation is there, i will just have to exaggerate a bit in the ring, that's all. Nothing new:-)

24 May 2009

training, running, and heat

Got together with a few other people and set some tough courses yesterday morning. All 3 dogs ran quite well. I can see Kiba stuttering now and then at 22, but on the majority of the jumps she seems OK. I think it's just a minor mental thing for her, and a size thing. She's just a little teensy thing to be jumping big jumps (well, big for her). And doing 16 in AKC is good while she's doing it, but it makes the 22's look even bigger when we go back to USDAA. Poor little Kiba!

Seri even did very well on the handling, although her weave entries are not looking so great lately. I will work on that over the next two weeks; she's usually pretty good except for the hardest ones at trials. Just haven't worked her enough the last couple months. Tryouts ate my brain:-)

I can tell you, though, that the months of doing pull-through's, 270's, 180's, hard crosses, etc, has made tough courses seem easier. Drifter has lost most of his annoying little habits like trying to wing out away from me on long lines, and thinking certain types of pulls "must" be followed by a rear cross. He and I don't seem to miscommunicate anymore. We've gotten to the "amazing teamwork" state of being that I acheived with my flattie before I lost her. Anyhow, courses are a little tougher now, but my handling is better, so it evens out. If we could just leave the bars up most of the time, we could be SOOO amazing!

Kiba does well too, but being so little jumping the jumps, I have a strong feeling that her speed will not last as Drifter's has, and I don't think she'll be getting faster still at 7 years old. But we'll see. I've learned never to count that little dog out.

And Seri has a big career ahead of her. I just need to teach her some caution and body awareness. Hard to teach a dog that they should want to be careful with their own body. Still, she's getting it. She's a fun dog.

This morning I woke up before 6am, and it wasn't hot yet (only around 60F although very humid already) so I piled Drifter, Kiba, and Seri into the van and went to the park. I layed off the swimming for a few days to let the tightness in their backs subside, and since it was still cool we went to a part of the park with some mild hills and few people (it's a loopy dead-end trail area). So I ran/walked and they ran/trotted for probably 30-40 minutes, until we were all tired of the humidity and long wet grass. I didnt' think that was really a very great exercise session, but the humidity must have gotten to them because they've all looked exhausted all day! I will try to take a walk tomorrow morning too, assuming I'm not up too late tonight. If I don't go early, all the hikers and bikers and Sunday Strollers come out. Ick.

23 May 2009

I got a few videos up on youtube, but my editing software was on the fritz so I'm not going to embed them. www.youtube.com/dksagility

22 May 2009

3 whole days.

So I actually have 3 whole days home this weekend. Shocker! I had originally entered the local AKC trial, but pulled out a few weeks ago because it was just too much money to run in that many trials in a row, especially with Regionals coming up. Regional entries were $370ish for my 3 dogs. Two weeks in a row! I wish NE and SE Regionals weren't so close together. A week or two between would have been nice. However, Drifter has historically done well at the NE, even being a weekend after a travel weekend (he's won the GP there twice).

As far as Drifter's mystery limp last Saturday, we went to see Ria yesterday, as a previously scheduled pre-Regional check for all 3 traveling dogs, and we found one of his toes was bruised. Seems he stepped on a rock, or possibly mashed it on the edge of the dogwalk when he flailed briefly. Aside from that, he was quite sound. His psoas region (groin) and pelvis were both lovely. However, both his and Kiba's backs were quite tight. We suspect this was from the introduction of swimming to their exercise regimen. I've been attempting to keep the sessions short, but its still a brand new exercise that their bodies weren't used to. Ria loosened them up and they should be fine. Seri was in pretty good shape. She's still on the tail end of her heat, so I had to ferry her and Drifter in and out separately. Keeping her upstairs has worked fantastically though; Drifter's been eating well and even gained back the weight he lost going to MN.

17 May 2009

A little aggravated

First off:
Last night Drifter tried to get on my lap in the recliner, and I said NO, he ignored me and jumped on anyway, so I gave him a little shove, he got the hint, and he jumped off (I didn't push him off, he jumped on his own). When he landed and walked away, I noticed he was limping in the right rear. Not good. So I get up and walk him around the small room and watch him move. It was a funky kind of limp. His back foot was pointing a bit, like he didn't want to put quite full weight on it, but the limping motion itself was not overly pronounced. He pulled it forward a little awkwardly, put it down, then picked it up before it extended fully behind him. VERY concerning! So I got down and moved all his parts. Checked pelvis, iliopsoas region where he's had previous issues. He stretched out fine back there. Checked knees and stifles, flexed and stretched. Nothing. No heat or inflammation, no pain response. Weird. When I worked through his toes I got a slight growl at first, but when I tried to identify which toe or part of his foot, he showed no response at all. WEIRD. So lots of watching him walk and touching and stretching and flexing and I could NOT figure out what it was. And he looked better after 10 minutes or so. So my best guess was that he had stubbed/jammed a toe when he jumped off the chair. My floor is very hard, thin carpet on top of concrete (basement), so that's a plausible guess.

I took him to the trial this morning, and walked him around and saw no lameness, warmed him up over a jump and still saw nothing. He was only jumping 20" anyway, so I ran him in Standard. Well he was fabulous, no sign of pain on the dogwalk or jumps, and he ran it in 35 seconds at 5.13YPS, winning by 3 full seconds over another fast BC who also has running contacts. And he still looked sound after I was done.

In JWW he managed to knock a bar on the 3rd jump of a serpentine, just got careless flying at who-knows-how-many YPS, and got too close to it. His usual issue. I stopped and growled at him, then finished, deliberately pushing the end and he left the rest up. I didn't reward him by tugging though.

Kiba was a dork in JWW, which was first for her. It was jump, a very long distance to the second jump, then a good deal smaller distance to the weaves. And she missed the weave entry. And when i brought her around she missed it again! Then she got it and when I praised her, she popped out! I was a little peeved, but she did the rest of the course flawless when she finally got the weaves. Then in Standard I cued and moved too early on a fast but harsh angled front cross, and she hit the bar (at 16!). She was good other than that. I even let her run her frame and she hit it. Her dogwalks in particular are VERY fast this spring. She was only a second slower than Drifter in standard, running at 36seconds, so probably around 5YPS.

When I got home I took Drifter out back to do some quick jump grids, more to keep building muslce and remind him about bars than anything. I didn't intend to work a long session after a trial. He hit more bars than usual, and I notice in the tight bounce grid (just 3 jumps close together, same stuff we've been working for a couple weeks) he was not powering up and over correctly. He was hesitating before taking off, then sort of flinging up. Usually he doesn't do this. He's usually quite natural over 26. So I'm guessing his mystery lameness last night was NOT a stubbed toe, and it's probably a minor muscle pull of some kind. Luckily we already have an appointment to see Ria on Thursday, so I will simply refrain from any work till then. He has tomorrow off anyway - we're going to see Star Trek in imax, already have the tickets bought. Tuesday evening I have class, but I am hoping to take him to the park for a short on-leash walk and swim. Wednesday he will either swim or simply putter around while I set courses and the students walk. Thursday I will see if there is actually anything wrong with him. I am admittedly a bit paranoid, but I don't generally see things where there isn't something to see. I know my dogs and I've got a good eye for movement.

16 May 2009

Princeton/Lower Bucks Day 1

As I mentioned, both dogs were at their lowest heights today. Now, I haven't practiced Drifter at 20 at ALL, and HOLY CRAP he was faster than I ever remember at it. And I don't think he's slowed much by higher jumps, but man oh man I was farther behind than I thought I'd be. Had to resort to standing and calling and doing a somewhat awkward rear cross in JWW. BUT - we double Q'ed. I am happy with that! He took about 10 seconds or more on the table in standard, as it took several seconds to get close enough to a down to get the judge to count, and then I took two steps backward towards the see-saw (needed to be close enough to keep him from flying off) and when i backed up he sat up again. So I moved back in and took several more seconds to get him down again, and when the judge finished the count I told him stay and took a few steps back again. He did what was, for him, a pretty good see-saw. He's finally starting to run up with the actual visible intention of sliding to a stop instead of having the intention of flying off, and sometimes getting away with it if the board goes down fast enough. Anyways, he almost lost his balance on the dogwalk (hilly ring), but ran the course gorgeous. Was 48 seconds with the looooong table.

Kiba was a whacko in the beginning of standard and went off course. Oh well. Unusual for her so not a big deal. They both have 2 double-Q's on the year now. I am really hoping they each get another one tomorrow, as I don't have any more AKC till July after this. I still don't feel too bad though, as this time last year Drifter had only one, and Kiba had just gotten out of Exc A and hadn't even run in B yet! So I'm ahead, AND they are both more consistent this year.

I am loving feeling so confident about Drifter's contacts. I am not even watching his aframe, and his dogwalk seems to have sorted itself out nicely lately, as long as I remember not to drill it, and follow certain rules when running him (easy rules, requiring nothing more than advance direction and very good timing, which I have).

Anyway, a good day, even if I did feel slow with Drifter flying like a cheetah over the 20" jumps:-)

15 May 2009

Long List, and a year to work on it

I think my handling is solid. I stay on course probably 98% of the time, with several VERY fast dogs. I use few verbals.

However I need to push Drifter more in Jumpers. At Tryouts we were several seconds off, and we were 5th in JWW at Nationals in 24". And no, that's not a horrible time. And I know which corner lost it for us too (I was late on a front cross at the end). But still. He is fast. Now he needs to gain confidence and that ability to keep his feet up at all times. With his build and jumping style, I am putting a lot of emphasis on strength training this year. He has a low-skimming style of jumping, rather than a flying-through-the-air style. This means neither he nor I have a lot of room for error in his jumping. Upon review of Tryouts, there are a couple things I could have done to maybe avoid a couple of the bars, however they were ALL things he could have done on his own. Not things normal dogs need to be set up for. And Drifter's not that abnormal. So this year he is going to learn to set himself up for that stuff. We've done a lot of work on "unsafe" contact entrances, "impossible" weave entries and the like. But impossible jump approaches are the next thing. And of COURSE I've worked on them before, but when I work on jumping I get a little too focused on him, and I often don't work on him doing his job WITH me running full-tilt by/around/behind/screaming/crossing/stopping-suddenly/etc. I have worked on it some. But not enough, evidently.

I am also getting fanatical about fitness. He already has good muscles. You can see the muscles of his shoulder flexing as he runs from 40 feet away. So we are continuing to add in the swimming and combining it with the hiking (my local park is a reservoir!). And doing lots of strength-training type jumping exercises, which I will attempt to continue working several times a week in addition to the educational jumping sequences I will be doing.

And I am going to try start laying it all out for every run, and expecting him to do the same. I think he understands what I want from him for every obstacle, but he is a pushy dog, excitable sometimes, and when he gets pushy and/or excited, he just forgets to judge his jumps before he arrives at them, and BAM goes the bar. Or WHOOSH goes the see-saw as he flies off it. So I am going to start running as if he knows what to do about bars and see-saws and the like without extra help from me. I'm going to start transitioning away from babysitting things, away from growling LIEDOWNYOUBETTERSTAY on the see-saw. And if he doesn't hold up his end, he will be leaving the course. This is how we do it in practice. And now it's how we do it in the ring. He needs to hold up his end, and i will hold up mine. He understands at this point in his life, there are no questions in his mind when we incur a fault like a bar. He simply forgot to do his job in the excitement of the moment. He needs to remember. Firm but fair. And I'm pushing this year, not him! (well, he can push too, i want to get more consistency, and even more speed if possible!)

And no, he won't shut down. I don't expect I'll need to walk him off more than once a weekend or so. He's a tough, but very smart dog. He'll work it out quickly. Walking off is something he understands. He's done it before.

And it's funny, every time I start a post about what I am going to work on this year, I come back around to bars, and the correction thereof. I guess it's not really surprising, considering our performance at Tryouts. But fear not, I am also very focused on educating and strengthening Drifter, even more so than the correction process. I am going to show him how to do it (not that he knocks bars in practice much anyway!), make him so strong it seems easy, and also correct it if he does it wrong. Three-pronged attack, only one of which is a negative aspect. And he is tough, he really does not try hard to avoid something like that with no punishment whatsoever.

Anyway, so the lofting over jumps thing is something we will work on. I was thinking when I started this post about speeding up jumpers. There's really no reason he shouldn't be the fastest Jumper dog. He's fast! And he's tight! So I thought maybe since I've spent so much time on jumping and tightening turns and crunching front crosses, that I've neglected to show him that he can run really fast at the same time. So I'll be pushing him a bit harder, and not working quite to hard to over-tighten our turns. i think I lose a bit of time now and then by tightening the turns so much that it takes him more time to get going again. I need to moderate that tendency. Tell him where he's going, get him turning, but let him decide the tightness to a certain degree. Within my parameters, obviously.

13 May 2009


This weekend I am going to the Princeton AKC trial. Its about an hour deive, give or take. I had entered Drifter at 20 this weekend, because a couple months ago I was convinced that I wouldn't be going to tryouts next year so the jump height wouldn't matter. But oh well, I can still count 2Q's and points towards nationals and his mach. He did get a double Q the weekend before Tryouts at 26 so at least we do have a small start. After this weekend at the lower heights I don't have any more AKC till July. I am genuinely hoping all the hard work, training, and fitness will pay off and my dogs will 2Q more often this year.

12 May 2009

World Team Tryouts 2010 rule changes

Generally you need the same things to qualify, except now starting June 30th the large dog candidates HAVE to get their Q's at 26 and not 24. I guess this will make the 26" class at Nationals a little bigger. Most of the Tryouts attendees ran 24 there, with a few exceptions. Oddly small and medium dogs can still choose to jump 12 and 16. Why they didn't add in 14 and 18 just for them is a mystery to me. If they can jump 2" lower and still Q for everything, why can't large dogs? And YES of course I'm looking to qualify quicker, it's EXPENSIVE! Although I have to admit for consistency's sake I was considering making Drifter do 26 again this year. It's not my favorite height on AKC courses, but he really needs to work to keep his feet up, and it will make him a better jumper for sure, I guess.

I just really don't like things that are "unfair" and to me this doesn't seem right - the small dogs can "cheat" for their Q's, and the big dogs can't. Sure, we're only being "forced" to jump the actual competition height at FCI, but if that's the big priority, then why the heck didn't they introduce a 14 and 18" class too???

They also shortened the qualifying period by 2 weeks, so it ends March 31st. Which is fine. 2 weeks is not a big deal. Don't know if I'll get Seri Q'ed or not, but I'll try.

So 26" in AKC it is, from now on, since I'm not entering any in June (Regionals ate my money!)
I have a feeling I'll be walking off several courses before Drifter gets the idea of knocked-bars=crate-time.

11 May 2009

More teaching gigs!

I'm not thrilled about taking on more evening work, but I don't mind teaching and I definitely could use more spending (read: agility trial) money. So a few announcements:

Starting June 18th I'll be teaching an evening class at Kerales Farm for Leslie Whitney. We're starting out with a 4-week session to see what we get. It will be 4 Thursdays at 6:30pm, running and hour and a half. I am teaching. Contact Leslie for details on payment, signing up, etc. I believe it's a masters-type level handling class. I usually set up courses or long sequences and pick out particular skills to work on.

Also a few times over the summer I will be heading out to Cherie Fischer's place in Freehold NJ. We are tentatively planning for a few Thursday late-afternoons, working around the sessions at Leslie's (so either late May or July).

I am also available for privates at our regular privately owned field. I have trainer's insurance now so I can teach people and the field's owner is protected from those students sueing her. You can contact me (rdrift at gmail dot com) about that, or if you want an email about anything else I'm doing.

10 May 2009

weekend of sleep

I caught up on my sleep this weekend. It felt great to have two nights of nine hours of sleep! ahh!
Friday I took Drifter and Kiba for a walk in the reservoir park. It was nice and sunny and in the 70's, so I even let them swim for a few minutes at a couple spots. They were very excited about this! All three of my dogs-who-are-not-Drifter were a bit neglected over the last month as I cracked down for Tryouts, and all 3 of them put on a pound or so. DJ is great about not overfeeding, but underexcersiging will do it every time! So Kiba is on a good tough exercise program. Seri is in heat and is living upstairs with my mother (she only has bitches so nobody to be bothered by it). I've been trying to get her out and work her a bit every day or so, and my mom runs her when she can, but I can't take her hiking or swimming with Drifter for another 2 weeks. This year is still a gaining-experience year for her, so it's OK if she's not the fittest of the fit by Perry, although I'd love to get a semifinal bye or two. She's a naturally powerful dog, so she should be fine.

I've been working on tough bounce grids with the dogs. This serves two purposes. It really gives their muscles a workout, and it makes them think about the mechanics of their jumping pretty well too. I started with some very tight grids - full height jumps only about 5-7 feet apart. These will really beef up their muscles. Also Drifter's bars are mostly when he gets underneath the jumps (too close before taking off), and in corners like push-through's where he comes round the corner and the bar is right there above him; so tight bounce work will help him remember and memorize how to use his body to move straight up and LIFT over the bar. He's not a natural lifting/floating sort of jumper. He is always 1 milimeter over the bar and all business. Not pretty, but despite his occasional bar he DOES have pretty good form. He's not inverting his back, doesn't fling, and is capable of some very serious collection. So we work on bounce grids. I do not follow any "famous person"s guidelines - I adjust it and shift distances according to what I see and what I want to work on.

He did these pretty darn well until today when I tossed a toy then released him through the line. OH MY that was a bit different than a recall or me beside him with toy in hand! Suddenly its hard to focus up on the bars while also thinking about the toy. We worked through it but it was a bit of a shock to see him go UNDER a few bars that were really tight together. Brain fart! Good stuff. I've been doing the same things with Kiba but with more emphasis on just increasing her fitness level and her confidence at 22".

09 May 2009

just another update

Now that I am not blogging at work, and I have a blackberry for email, messenger, and Facebook access, I'm just not on the computer as much anymore. So updates will be a few times a week rather than daily. Too bad for you. Anyhow. The long drive to MN and the 5 nights of not working, coupled with the Central time shift and long daylight of the oncoming summer, had me unable to fall asleep early enough to get a reasonable amount of sleep this past week. So I was fairly tired most every morning. I was glad I had not entered a trial for this weekend. Last night I "stayed up" till about 9:30pm, then went to sleep without even bothering to set my alarm. My dogs will wake me if they need out. And they didn't. I got a solid 9 hours. I feel quite nice now, although I am enjoying sitting around and reading this morning. I do need to finish laundry and vacuum.

Dogwise I've been doing some thinking to come up with goals for this year. I am not that worried about titles, in general, and I am much more interested in winning large events. I love the competition and the idea of proving myself. This is nothing new; I've known it for years and thus have focused my training and handling on that, rather than simply qualifying. Since I made the decision that I wasn't going to try to get onto the USDAA/IFCS team, I have to come up with new goals. So I have the Southeast and Northeast Regionals coming up. But honestly without worrying about IFCS points, the team classes become training classes (not NQing on purpose though!) and the GP and Steeplechase, lacking byes into the Finals, are now reduced to "run clean" to get a semifinal bye classes as well. I always enjoy the atmosphere at Perry, and it is a great competitive environment, but I feel no drive to push myself overly hard. Instead I am going to use my remaining USDAA trials to work on Drifter's jumping at 26". As I stated previously, I am going to be marking every bar he hits. Obviously at a Regional I will not be able to walk off the course, but I will make every effort to pause and growl at him a bit. That behavior is no longer acceptable under any circumstance.

Goals for 2009 for all 3 dogs:
Drifter: 1. Drastically reduce knocked bars 2. Qualify for AKC Nationals and Tryouts 3. Finish MACH by next March/April (needs 10 QQ's) 4. Do well at USDAA Nationals at 26"
Kiba: 1. Qualify for AKC Nationals as quickly as possible, hopefully by mid-summer 2. Make Finals in Steeplechase or GP at Nationals for 22"
Seri: 1. Get out of Novice in AKC 2. Qualify for Tryouts next spring (have till April) 3. Do well at USDAA Nationals - no E's! 4. Improve impulse control and body awareness in general
Drake: 1. Train him:-) 2. Enter a few trials in the fall

Ultimately i want the year to work like this:
June - get as many semifinal byes for the 3 dogs at Regionals as possible
July - finish Kiba's 6 double Q's and work on Drifter's, get Seri into Open/ExcA
August-October - Kiba trials less, Drifter finish doubleQ's for Nationals, Seri into Exc B
November - USDAA Nationals
December-Apr - Finish Tryouts Qualifying for Seri, get some Tournament Q's for 2010*

*if USDAA Nationals has been announced in a closer location - after 2009 I am not returning to AZ for this event. And as I've stated, I am focused on nationals/international events. Thus, if i am not attending nationals, I feel no motivation to bother attending local trials.

06 May 2009

big decision, by the way

For some reason I forgot to mention this is my recap blurb the other day. On the 17-hour drive home I made the decision not to try for USDAA/IFCS world team this year. This means i can skip the extra long drives to IL and MA for those two events, and instead do some local AKC.

I had bumped Drifter down to 20" for the one AKC trial we're entered in, because like Kiba I just wanted to get his QQ's and be done with it, but I think now I'll put him back up to 24 after that. He's got one QQ already at 26", so we can move on from there. Hopefully I'll get one or two at 20" so we'll have a couple out of the way. If I'm really lucky (I should be after Tryouts!! Grr!) maybe Kiba will 4Q again and she'll be 4/6 out of the way. That would be lovely. Once she's got hers for the year I may not show her for a bit for monetary/financial reasons. I'm really, really, wanting to save some extra money up this year. I will also start entering Seri all the time, at 20" I think till she's in Excellent just to get up there as quick as possible, then we'll go to 24 and I'll make a valiant effort to take her to Tryouts next year just for sh*ts and giggles. She's certainly a bit of a wild card, but she has the power and mind to do it if she keeps it together. Anyhow, she's got till next April to Q for that, and it wouldn't take quite as many QQ's so she has an off chance of pulling it off. Would be fun to take two dogs. I won't freak if she doesn't make it though. She'll go in 2011 for sure. My main goal with her for this year is to get her into Excellent B so she's all set to get her Nationals Q's next year.

I am going to leave Kiba at 16 for now. Once she has her Nationals Q's I'll decide whether to go back up to 20 or not. She really loves 16 though, and with more and more BC's staying at that height I don't feel quite so silly. I'm still on the fence about doing Nationals though. She was only half a second off Steeple's time, not bad considering he's at least half again her size...

So that's my big decision. No USDAA team. Several people I know who'd planned to try for that aren't doing it now, and the first 4-star event was puny, so I'm curious as to the quality of dogs who will end up on it.

Drifter's going to spend this year staying at 26" in USDAA, and getting walked off for bars. I dont' usually condone such a harsh punishment, but with him I really want to impress on him that it is NOT alright to be careless with toes. He's very talented, he can do this.

05 May 2009

Tryouts summary

Well if you want to see all the runs at Tryouts, go to agilityvision and buy the VOD. Cuz I didn't get any taped. Didn't want to be bothered. Drifter handled great. I was spot-on for almost everything, but for some bizarre reason Drifter hit one bar. One bar - in Every. Single. Round. Yeah. Has he ever hit 5 bars in one weekend? Maybe, but if he has, it's been a looong time since he's done so at any height. 5 bars? WTF? Ria (PT) said he felt pretty damn good all weekend. He even handled the slick surface pretty well, not sliding much at all. The first round I deliberately slowed up at the extended double at the end because I wanted to make him slow down and LOOK before he took up, but it backfired and instead he took off and THEN looked, and hit the bar. The second two runs that day he just got underneath a bar on a tight 180 and knocked it. Sunday I was determined to put in two good runs to show them we could, and he just hit random bars again. I was so frustrated. I was told that they were really watching me too, and if we had run clean at least a few times we might have had a shot. Several people ended up telling me I should definitely come back next year and they were sure they had liked me. Sigh. Months and months of hard work, training, mental acrobatics, fitness. And it wasn't the courses that defeated us. We had NO off courses. The two dogs they did pick? Off courses. Both of them. I expected them to take one of the dogs they took, the other I wasn't sure, but I think performance at Nationals was the key on that one. Two off courses out of five runs isn't that impressive, to me. But then again 5 bars down in 5 runs isn't great either. Anyway, Gayle was kind enough to send me this video of round 1, so if you don't want to pay for coverage, here's your only hint of how we did. Just multiply the great run plus a bar times five, and you'll have my weekend.