29 July 2010

Another brief post:

Went to a 3-day AKC trial last weekend down in Salisbury MD. Great site, only down side is the big bright skylights in the ceiling that make bright sunspots on the floor. May have lost a Std Q due to that, as he REALLY misread a takeoff spot on the last jump Saturday. Regardless, he QQ'ed on Friday, his 3rd in 4 days of showing, and that finished his MACH title, finally. I've shown AKC so sporadically with him, it was good to finally get that done. So he's now NAC MACH ADCH Drifter OF (we finished our OF as well!).

The rest of the weekend he hit bars or had silly mistakes, so I was pretty disappointed, as I really think we need to get our Q rate way up there to be seriously considered for the AKC team. Also, as a personal goal I am really trying to get our consistency to be a strong point rather than a weak one. I was gratified to hear more than one person say they were surprised he was knocking bars - that shows the progress we've made from the rushing 3-year old Drifter who would over-run his takeoff spot all the time! He really isn't hitting many bars this year, so I ran my hands over him and am pretty sure he must have mildly tweaked something in his rear Saturday morning on the weird mis-jump at the end of Standard. He was chipping in a bit more than usual Sat/Sun, and this was causing the other bars. Oh well. We'll get there. I am really trying to enter AKC trials on a regular enough basis for our strengths to shine through and pull our averages up.

I only had him at this trial, for financial reasons and to let Kiba have down time between trials. Her back has been pretty bad this summer, and I don't think back to back trials are going to be great for her. She needs QQ's for nationals still, but I'm confident she'll get them before the end of November. She is also 3 (ish?) QQ's away from her own MACH. . .

Seri is looking good lately, and I went ahead and bravely entered her in a 3-day AKC trial on good soccer footing at the beginning of September. Because she gets spayed next week, that only gives me about 2 weeks of jump work afterwards, so I entered her at 20" her first time out and skipped FAST. We'll try to get a few legs towards our AX/AXJ titles, and once she's in B we'll make a token effort to Q for Tryouts. I know she's not ready for the Team, but I'd love to get her the experience and exposure. Most people don't know her at all yet.

19 July 2010

2 weeks

Well I never did go through more photos from our trip. A lot's happened in the last few weeks. But to finish our UK story, briefly, competition videos are on my YouTube page which is linked in the sidebar. i have the classes uploaded individually. Each one pretty much tells its own story; we had a lot of really close moments. A bar in each round of Biathlon kept us from the Gold; we ended up 4th. A stupid missed weave kept us out of placing in Individual Jumpers (his only bad weave entry). A back-jump/missed rear cross cue kept us from Gold in Ind Standard. But. He ran well. In fact he really only hit one bar - the other one he smacked the wing, not the rail itself.

Monday after the competition I attempted to drop Ria off to fly home, but the ash cloud had cancelled all flights out of Bristol so she went with us over to the capital of Wales; Cardiff. We toured all around the castle and fort, went to a vodka bar for lunch (I had a drink called "Purple Rain"!), then went down to the bay side, walked around, enjoyed seeing the familiar settings from Torchwood and Doctor Who, then had ice cream overlooking the water. After that we headed back, I took Ria to her airline-provided hotel in Bristol, and we crashed for the last night. Tuesday we saw a tourist-trap cave to waste some time; drove on some of the TINIEST "ROADS" i have ever encountered - seriously barely one car wide, I was afraid to go to fast for fear of oncoming traffic, or sheep, or whatever! And once back to London, I walked Drifter, dropped him off at the cargo terminal (a little scary!), gassed up the rental car, and got on our way. No timing problems this time, no dog problems, no nothing. Smooth. On arrival in Newark we got our stuff, passed through customs, went to get the car (much easier to pick up the dog crate after getting the car!) and got to QuickPak just in time to pick Drifter up without a hitch. He was fine, as always, although I feel bad for the poor guy. He never seems dehydrated, and he's never hungry even when he should be, so he gets through no problems and I wouldn't hesitate to fly him again. Well, maybe a little.... but I'd do it.

Last weekend I went to an AKC trial on one day, and USDAA the next. And Drifter was great. He double-Qed at 26" with 2 nice strong runs. Then Kiba Q'ed in PSJ for her 2nd Q, so she's Q'ed for that at USDAA Nationals. We also tried for PGP but she knocked a bar. I also found out about another close relative of Seri's beginning to seize. So after hearing about the first one a few weeks ago, this new one, and some serious thought, I decided not to breed Seri. I love that dog and think she's got all the potential in the world, BUT the risk is a bit too high for me. In addition, I am getting her spayed and she will be able to get back on track for her career as soon as she's healed from that (assuming we get the green light on her wrist being healed, which I expect to get soon). She WILL be at USDAA Nationals (not in GP, no time to Q after being laid up all summer). And I'm hoping maybe I can get her to Tryouts. She won't make AKC NAtionals, but even Tryouts would be fun. I am currently searching litters in Europe instead, looking at different lines of dogs that consistently produce natural jumping, healthy dogs. I've found a few I like, one this fall, one next year, and a couple others I'm waiting on replies about.

Drifter seemed a bit "dumb" on the doxy. I'd never heard that before, but since I've taken him off it he's gone 5/6, with the only NQ being a just *barely* refusal of crossing a plane by like 3 inches before taking something without even doubling back. . . His jumping is looking fantastic. I'm hoping to be able to push him a bit soon. I am very hopeful we can pull up our Q rate from our 2 not-so-great trials in April and June. I know that consistency and keeping bars up are our keys to getting on the radar for World Team selection next year, as those were our weak spots last time. If we can just keep our bars up, and get our Q rate up (we were above 50% in '09, but I want to be around 80%), we can do it, I'm sure. He's doing very well.

04 July 2010

Couple random pics

A few random pics from our sight-seeing with the Moureaux's on the Tuesday before the competition. All are from Karen Moureaux at dogsportphotos.com

In no particular order!

After Stonehenge we tried to find another nearby stone monument, but ended up finding "Woodhenge" instead. Which, disappointingly, was more like "Concretehenge" since the wood monument had rotted out long ago and been replaced by concrete placeholding "stumps". Weird.
Drifter and I walking among Woodhenge and thinking it a bit silly:
Group shot. Drifter is bored. Driven *LOVES* cameras.

Drifter is very bored, but also relaxed! (he's rolling)

Group shot. I apparently closed my eyes . . .

View of the side of our hotel. Gorgeous, no?

Cheddar, heading back to the cars after finding out the cave tours were closed for the day.

Parking area at the gorge. Dark grey Audi in front - yeah, my upgraded rental car! A4 2.0TDI wagon. Loved it! Totally want a diesel now!

01 July 2010

SMKC and lame dogs

Sorry, no more trip info yet. I have a 3-day weekend coming up so will get it mostly finished then, hopefully. Today's is a short post.

Last weekend I went down to the Salisbury Maryland AKC trial. Took Drifter and Kiba - was originally going to be Drifter and Seri, but at this point I am being super duper cautious about rehabing Seri's wrist and it looks like I won't run her till after the pups. This trial was thankfully in an air conditioned soccer building, with very nice rubber bit-filled soccer turf. Very large building, so the AC didn't keep it frigid, but considering it was about 100F outside, the 78 or 80 inside felt just fine.

Drifter was entered at 26". Saturday we started the day with Open FAST, where I tried to plan a plan that would test his jumping on the surface, and he did quite well. In Standard he had another moment reminiscent of the goofy crap he was doing at Keystone 2 weeks ago - I pulled in preceding a rear cross, and he ignored the pull cue and pushed off the anticipated rear cross - off course. Couldn't believe it. Early in the course too. After that he did the sit on the table quite well, nailed a lovely dogwalk, then hit the triple at the end. Which didn't thrill me but I wasn't being very careful at that point either. It had a special MACH bar on the top, with horizontal stripes that made it weird to look at. After that run I just went for it in JWW and while he had one wide corner he did go clean with a plenty fast time. On Sunday we started with Standard again and he ran clean with a lovely run except for taking at LEAST 10 seconds to lie down on the table, meaning he got a Q but it wasn't fast enough to count towards our "8 and 8" for Tryouts. Still, I was hopeful for a double Q. JWW was a nice open course again, but the skylights in the building were throwing weird bright sunspots on top of and near the jumps. Drifter over-jumped #2 then just ran right past a straight on weave entry, so I think he either jammed his toe landing (he's been off on a toe all week now), or got blinded over the jump so he momentarily couldn't find the weaves. He definitely looked confused when he stopped next to pole #4 looking at me. Sigh. So close. I finished and he was lovely - zero bars. So only the one bar all weekend. But no double Q's.

Kiba also had some minor issues, pulling off only a Novice FAST Q and a single Standard Q. Her back has been VERY tight lately and she is hitting bars even at 16" sometimes. Poor little whack-a-doo dog. I bought her a Thundershirt for car rides to try to relax her circling and panting a bit.

So this week I've got Drifter on leashwalking and swimming because of his jammed toe, Kiba doing the same because of her super tight back, and Seri just starting to move about a bit off leash due to her wrist. So I'm not actually doing "agility" right now. . .

I'm off this weekend anyway, after which I have a mixed AKC/USDAA weekend with Drifter in AKC then Kiba in USDAA Performance Tournaments. By the way, FINALLY USDAA relented and allowed 24" weaves, how cool is that?!