Monday, October 05, 2009

USDAA Trial, Oct. 2009

Photo by the awesome Ken Gee.

Can we please have cloudy, 39 degree weather all the time for agility trials? I'm probably in the minority here but Lola was so happy and ran so nicely, mostly. I've been at this trial when it's been a sunny, roasting 85 degrees and the dogs and I were melting into little puddles. You can always throw on a warm fleecy hat and another layer of clothes and run scribe sheets or leashes to keep warm but there's only so many layers you can take off before people start groaning and shielding their eyes and maybe involving the authorities.

We were only entered in Masters Gamblers and Standard each day and there were no Q's for us which was a little bit of a let down after our perfect 4/4 day at the last DOCNA trial but such is the sport of agility. These 2 classes are our most difficult and the only ones we have left for her championship so it's not all that surprising. I'm sure if we'd entered more we would have eked out a few more Q's but Lo will be 9 this December and I'm trying to keep her sound by not overdoing the agility thing. It's humbling entering only the things you're not so great at but I know it'll feel amazing when we finally do succeed.

The gambles were not great for Lola. They required the dog to move out ahead of or turn away and move laterally away from you while you were at a stand still and that's not something I teach. She did do one fabulous thing and that was to move ahead of me and finish her weaves while I had to stop at the gamble line behind her. I do work on obstacle independence and I was so happy she was able to do that. She was pretty happy with herself as well and immediately turned back to me with a silly happy grin on her face but the gamble required her to turn away and move away laterally to take the chute so our gamble ended there but I wasn't upset about it since it's not a skill I teach. She had a beautiful opening run on Sunday when it was so cloudy and cold. Saturday was cool, 40's or maybe low to mid 50's for our runs, but the sun was out so it felt warmer than Sunday. In her opening on Saturday she went part way up the A-frame then came off and ran off to sniff at a particular spot then had to go say hi to the judge and I'm wondering is she sore, is she somehow stressed out or what? I do worry about her shoulder and the A-frame. It's possible she was stiff from the cold and the long car ride. I gave her a nice long warm-up and did all her stretches. The world will never know and she didn't run off for any of her other runs so maybe she simply smelled something really good.

Her Standard runs were mostly really nice but for a run-by a jump on Saturday and a missed dogwalk contact on Sunday (seems like ages since she's done that). The only real downer was that the table came after both errors and she had table troubles for the first time since last January. She's been perfect since April after her retrain so I wasn't happy about that. On Saturday she got on the table and stood there staring at me. I had her get off and put her back on and she went into her down no problem. On Sunday she went into her down, then got up and refused to down so I took her off the table then put her back on and she went down then got up again then finally got down again and finished out the count. We'd practiced in the yard on Sat. night as well, one of the advantages of driving home in between, but it didn't help all that much. Guess I'll have to step her training up a bit. I've got 3 months until her next USDAA trial so I'll have plenty of time to experiment with some things.

Other than those glitches she was running great, barking and sassing me, I love running Lola. She may not be the fastest any more but she's such a character and she still loves to play as long as it's cold and there's no table.

I'm back to running both dogs at a DOCNA trial in 2 weeks. Guess I'd better get Strummer back on that running dogwalk thing and maybe think about some weave pole training.


  1. Training. It's a good thing. Most of the time. I find that I'm not the best at working on details. When a young dog is just getting the idea and progress seems fast, that's cool. But troubleshooting (why ARE they doing/not doing that?) and fine-tuning, bleah, would rather do gardening. maybe that's why I'm not in the finals ring at nationals. But like you there are other things I enjoy doing, so I--am--not sure where I'm going with this comment. Just the important part of the post i guess is "I love running lola." That says it all.

  2. Yes, I struggle with the fine tuning as well. Not because I don't want to do it but more because I'm not always entirely sure about what I'm doing.

  3. That's such a keen point. The initial teaching part is so fun/fast/neat, then the niggling details drive us batty for years on end. Love the earlier photos of Lola!

  4. Oh wow, 39 degrees... just did the conversion and can I just say I am jealous!! That's the best, running our dogs when they're feeling so fresh and peppy.

    Those gambles, just never know what tests they're going to throw at us. That's definitely the class Walter and I have the lowest Q ratio in. Still fun to try though.