Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hot Hot Hot

We had near record breaking heat with temps. in the mid 80's for this weekend's USDAA trial. I wasn't expecting too much because both dogs can get stressy & shut down in the heat, esp. Cody, and it's too early for such heat so they're not even properly acclimated. But they both ran great despite the weather, no Q's somehow but some really nice runs nonetheless and no motivational issues whatsoever. Someone from my training field even commented about how nice & smooth Cody was running and how he didn't seem stressed at all (and she's seen him shut down in the heat before). His contacts were awful for Gamblers, which was the first run, so I kept making him redo them until he settled down. The rest of the trial he was about 50/50. He's got such nice contacts at practice, I can leave him and run the other way across the field and he'll stop and wait to be released. Wish we had more fun matches, it's the only thing that seems to work. The only other issue we had was the weaves. Cody missed just about every entry and they were all pretty easy. I suspect something may be up with his back, I'll have to make time to have it checked out.

Lola's return to trialing went well. She was happy & focused. She missed a contact or two and was having weave issues as well but I've barely done any weaving with her as I wanted to add that back gradually. She got half of a pretty hard gamble and did well in standard on Sat. On Sun. standard run she had a barking fit on the table and refused to lie down and we'd already had a fault so once she finally did lay down I took her out of the ring to reward her for finally going down. Again, without many fun matches there's not much else I can do about the table. She runs across the field to get to the table at practice these days I've been working it so much. Both she & Cody had great snooker runs but missed the weaves at #6 in the closing. It was a weird snooker course and I was thrilled to even make it to the closing since we had to run past lots of obstacles to get to the final red & closing. It was my favorite class of the whole trial. Snooker's such fun when it all goes according to plan.

No Q's in the tourney events, Lo had an off course in the Grand Prix because she was running so fast I ended up too far behind for the move I had planned. Can't remember exactly where Cody's run went wrong but I'm pretty sure it was fine up until the weaves. His Speed Jumping run was a complete comedy right from the start and I didn't enter Lola. No Jumpers for Lola either which was a shame because she would have liked the course but Cody had an awesome run. I caused a knocked bar at the very start but other than that it was a kick in the pants run on a nice wide open (for USDAA) course.

Lots of nice courses this weekend but not a lot of Q's in general for the trial (masters had only 4 Q's total and Perf. had 1 in Sat. Standard). Cody took first place with 5 faults (stupid dogwalk contact) in a relatively large Standard class. One other interesting statistic-Perf. Speed Jumping had faster qualifying times than Championship Steeplechase for all jump heights. Only 3 Q's went out in my jump height and they were blazing fast. I doubt we'd have Q'ed even if we had run clean.

I had an unplanned day of rest after the trial yesterday as I came down with some nasty food poisoning on Monday morning and had to leave work sharpish. I'm not sure how I made it home without having to pull over but somehow I managed, just. After about 4-5 hours of misery I suddenly felt o.k. A bit of queasiness when I woke up this morning but lunch went down just fine and I think I'll try to go to masters tonight. One more USDAA trial next weekend then nothing until July 4th weekend. Well, no trials anyway, I have a triathlon and a trip to Chicago coming up so I'll still be busy.


  1. I think you did the perfect thing on the table-down; it's OK to leave the ring for a reward just like it's OK to leave the ring for a no-no if it's all part of your training. Especially if you've already NQed. I like to make use of my NQ time on course for whatever training purposes I have in mind, as you did. Good for you for keeping your head about that!

    Performance classes are pretty tough sometimes! Last weekend had a gamble that almost none of the masters dogs got but most of the P3 did. Those wily older dogs and handlers...


  2. Lola looked pretty confused when I took her out of the ring after the table but I think if I continue to do it she'll catch on pretty quick. I don't have a problem sacrificing an NQed run for some training, it's giving up the ones that are shaping up to be Q's that are hard to sacrfice.

    My height in P3 has recently gotten really competitive since Stacy Peardot retired Able. Everyone's worried about Super Q's and Speed Jumping Q's. I don't worry about it too much, it's just more motivation to try to get better and not everyone runs clean all the time. But I have a friend who tried Speed Jumping then went back to Steepelchase after she had a run that would have taken first in Steeplechase but only earned 4th in Speed Jumping. This past trial she won the Steeplechase but wouldn't have even Q'ed in Speed Jumping (and might not have even made it through to the finals).

  3. The only thing I wonder about taking Lola out is whether--if she was happy and focused and loving the agility--letting her finish the run would have been a better reward. But I've never met Lola. If it had been Lucy, going to get food is the greates reward ever, so if that's how Lola is then yeah, I agree it was the best thing to do.

    But I know some dogs for whom leaving the ring is actually a downer (lots of them don't like to down on the table, either!)

    Also, I'm curious--I've never done speed jumping, only Steeplechase--is it harder to Q because there are just too many experience vet dogs entered?

  4. Both are based on the score of the 3 fastest dogs. So any class that has one or two dogs who are much faster than everyone else can skew the results so much that only the top 3 dogs qualify. So, yeah, you start getting one or two former national champions :-) into performance, and they can really change the Q rate.


  5. Actually, the 3 dogs in P22 with the fastest scores were dogs from the lower levels who I'd never heard of. Even Stacy & Able got shut out of the Q's despite a clean run (though maybe they had a refusal or run by, I didn't see their whole run). The reason the P classes are so competitive, esp. P22 and P16 (a little P16 Boston Terrier had the fastest time of everyone, P & CH, all heights), is because of the height cutoffs. There are a lot of people around here with fast dogs that don't want to jump 26" (or 16" for the little dogs). The 26" class and 12" class in CH are practically non-existant and the 16" class is pretty small. And of course that 6'-3" A-frame turns a lot of people off. That's why Lola is in P. I'm not sure they've lowered it enough to attract many people out of P, I suppose that remains to be seen.

    As for Lola and the table, leaving the ring isn't really a downer for her and I did it in a positive way. Letting her continue with the run isn't solving the problem so I have to try something. I'm hoping that if I mark the down on the table with a reward right away she'll start to have a more positive view of the table. I think she doesn't want to lie down out of stress, maybe from pressure from the judge and/or whatever's going on outside the ring. If there's a mistake or I cause her to be confused on course she starts barking at me and getting wound up and that will lead to her not lying down as well. I caused a refusal a few obstacles before the table and started a barking fit which carried on well onto the table. I don't think she's refusing to lie down because she doesn't want to stop but who knows what goes on in her fuzzy little brain.