Friday, January 02, 2009

Sunscreen, Sweat and Sundogs

A day in January with temp’s. in the 60’s is a rare thing and to have that day off work is an even rarer treat. I decided to stay away from the agility field today. Cody & Lola have a trial this weekend and I don’t like to work them the day before a trial. I took Strum yesterday to work on the dogwalk and I’m trying to restrain myself from working him out there 2 days in a row since it seems to be counterproductive. Less is more, less is more, less is more…must keep drilling that into my head.

Instead I decided to seize the opportunity for a bike ride on the trails by my house. All the trails were plenty dry except for Ice Hill which had, duh, a mix of ice and slush and mud. Well, there’s a reason it’s called Ice Hill. There are ways to avoid Ice Hill but they involve riding on the road and you miss out on a bunch of trails and that’s no good, it’s well worth the slog through the muck and the cleaning of your cleats.

As I was riding along I was thinking about the sundogs I've seen in Telluride and Ouray and how I’ve only every seen them once in Boulder. Then about 20 minutes later I looked up to watch some kind of hawk or eagle swooping through the blue sky and I noticed the most amazing sundogs. Freaky I tell you. But so beautiful, bright vibrant streaks of rainbow colors smeared across some cloud formations and merely tingeing the edges of others. I had to keep stopping for a moment of whimsy so I wouldn't crash my bike trying to look at them while riding. What amazing luck to be out on the trails on such a gorgeous day. In January. I love Colorado.

To top it all off I was nearly home and a big sassy coyote ran across the trail right in front of me. He was running along a creek bed trying to sneak up on a prairie dog town. Sure enough a moment later the dog town erupted in a chorus of squeaks. A perfect ending to a fabulous ride.


Tomorrow winter weather returns and I'm off to a USDAA trial. Only one standard run and one Snooker Super Q stand between Cody and his Champ title. I'm not feeling confident about the table for him or Lola. We've been practicing but when I took him to course run throughs at Boulder County Fairgrounds the other week he took one look at the table and took off in the other direction stress sniffing. I did manage to get him on and gave him boatloads of treats and after that he went on happily 3 more times, a good thing in the end but it doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. If Lola has any faults before the table I'm not even going to try to get her on. Other than the table though both dogs looked great at practice last weekend, fit and full of themselves and hitting all contacts, weaves, etc. Hopefully they can keep it up for the trial.

I only have Standard for Cody tomorrow and Standard and the Grand Prix for Lola. For some inexplicable reason the club offered regular titling Gamblers today but all the other classes were Team and Steeplechase then tomorrow they'll have Team Gamblers and the Team Relay. Makes no sense to me, why not put all the Team events on the same day? I didn't want to enter Grand Prix, SO expensive and I have no plans to go to Nationals. USDAA is yanking the local club around again so they don't know if they'll have a Regionals to try to qualify for. She has boatloads of GP Q's so she doesn't need any more for her title. Normally there's no way I'd spend $22 on this class but I didn't want to drive all the way down to Castle Rock (1 1/4 hours) for just Standard but it's the only titling class offered because of the Team events. If Cody wasn't so close to his title I wouldn't have bothered going at all but I want to give it a shot. I love the GP though so it'll be fun and it's probably the only time I'll enter this year. I'm hoping to cut down on $$ for trials this year and not entering the tournaments saves a huge chunk of change.

Cody is first up in the Snooker line-up on Sunday so I'll have to pick the best course for us and hope it's good enough. In a way this is better for me, I hate watching everybody else and double thinking my course. Lola runs last but there's no pressure on her, she has all her Super Q's and her Snooker title. She's also got Pairs and another round of Standard. No Pairs for Cody, he finished his title and it's easier for me to have only one dog in that class. If Lola gets a Q she's done with that class too. We have a great partner, we just have to hold up our end of the bargain.

Strum is sitting this one out. It's a 2 ring trial and I'd like him to get some more ring experience before he has to deal with the distraction of a second ring. Plus it's hard to deal with 3 dogs and I want to focus on Cody this weekend. He doesn't need the extra stress of the little upstart.

Should be a fun trial, great venue and one of my favorite judges (Paul Stoltzenbug). Now to get some sleep. I'm not looking forward to that 5:00 a.m. wake-up call.


  1. Good luck on everything, including being awake & perky in the wee hours.

    Do you have a table at home? Do you play a lot with your dogs on the table? I do find that that makes it more exciting & desirable for them to jump up there if it's usually very exciting at home.

  2. Good luck. I wish I had a trial this weekend. Especially since I am feeling so well.

    As for the table, someone suggested that when you are doing handling practice, to start and end every sequence with the table. Although it isn't something I would do with a dog that isn't intrinsically driven to do agility.

    Paul is also one of my favorite judges. You should ask him where his pony is. (It isn't rude, it's about a real pony, sort of).

  3. Good luck! Go SQ.

    One thing that helped our table immensely was playing table games with the ottoman throughout the winter. On, off, treat already on the table, treat when on the table, all kinds of stuff like that. And we get to stay warm :) We did a lot when JoJo had his cast (course I lifted him off).

    Now I get pretty much immediate downs in practice, trails are a little show, but getting there.

    Have fun!