Well we had a pretty fantabulous weekend, esp. Cody, and those don't happen all that often, esp. for Cody. He finished up his Perf. MAD title with a beautiful Standard run on a very tricky course and he got first place in a fairly competitive field. For those unfamiliar with agility this is the masters versatility title, meanining you need 3 perfect runs on a standard agility course and one qualifying score in each of the four games at the masters level. It's a lot harder than it sounds, believe me, esp. for your first dog.
But wait, there's more...Cody also got second place and qualified in the Perf. Grand Prix on another tricky course with some tough competition. Stacy Peardot had 2 dogs in the class and we came second to one of them, can't feel bad about that, esp. since he had a nice clean run. But wait, there's even more...his PVP Team came in third place and qualified for 2008 Nationals. I have to be honest though, this was mainly due to our awesome teammates Lucy & Diane. In fact, I think they could have come in 3rd even if we hadn't shown up they were doing so well. Gamblers had a regular gamble in it and it was so hard that only 4 dogs in the whole trial got it and Lucy was one of them. Pretty awesome for an 11 1/2 year old dog.
Lola's PVP Team also qualified for Nationals next year and took 5th place. Only 6 or 7 of the 11 teams qualified so we just made it. She also finished up her master Jumpers title, her first masters title. We picked up another pairs leg and Snooker leg (no Super Q though, off by a second or 2).
The one heartbreaking moment of the weekend was Cody's Snooker run. It was a nice run, some wide turns but we made it through to the end in time. I remembered to sprint for the finish line but I forgot to make sure my dog came with me. Cody took a U shaped tunnel that shot him away from the finish line on the way out and I had to call him to me from across the field to finish. We tied the 2nd place dog for points but were .01 second behind and thus missed the Super Q. Can you say 'Argh!!!'? Oh well, that'll learn me. Cody also picked up another Jumpers leg and he needs only one more for his masters Jumpers title.
Overall, I really liked the courses. We had the same judge last month so I knew what to expect. They were very challenging but fun with places for the dog to open up and run as well as some tricky handling challenges. Some of the courses gave advantage to those with distance skills (or running your ass off skills, whichever you preferred). It was great practice for Nationals and there were lots of people from out of town who came for that reason.
Weave pole performance for both dogs was much improved, Cody missed only 2 entries and Lola missed/popped out on only one that I can remember. Lola had some weird run bys on obvious jumps in Team Standard and the Grand Prix, I forget sometimes that I need to work every jump with her. It's a training issue too I think. Lo seemed slower than normal though this could have been due to the sort of warm temps. It was in the high 70's/low 80's but windy with cloud cover here and there so it wasn't horrible but it was enough to slow her down. On Sunday the temps. dropped into the 50's and she perked up a bit but still seemed slower than normal. I'll be keeping an eye on that, I'm hoping she's not still injured. She seemed plenty sound but she could be hiding something.
Lola hit all her contacts except one up dogwalk. That rarely happens so I'm not going to get too excited about it. She was slow though, stopping on the A-frame, creeping down the dogwalk-ugh. She's been doing well in practice, I think the judge was freaking her out. She had a nice table on Sat. but outright refused to lay down on Sunday. I'm almost certain it was because of the judge's position and before we even ran I thought it might be a problem when I saw where she was standing. Something else to proof for. Cody missed only one contact (dogwalk) but didn't do a single proper 2 on/2 off either. He's so perfect in practice and I do all kinds of stuff to proof it. His tables were both beautiful. We had an off course in Sunday's Std. run so I took him out at the table and gave him a huge reward because he went down so fast. He was excited about that, hopefully his nice tables will continue. We have a fun match before Nationals and also a different place to practice run throughs so we can work on these things, hopefully it will help a bit.
I think lessons with Joy have made a huge difference, esp. in my confidence with my handling and course analysis. I'm going to keep them up until Nationals, they're worth every penny.
Oh yeah, there are photos: http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/thumbpage.aspx?e=3183421&g=03PG004Q0J
You have to hit the 'continue' button but the pics should come up right after that. There are so many good ones, I may have to order some.