Sunday, January 03, 2010

Fasten Your Seatbelt-USDAA Trial Castle Rock

A fellow agility competitor and sometimes blog reader said that to me when she saw that I was getting ready to run Strummer today and it made me laugh.  So true.  Now I'll think of it every time I step to the start line with Mr. Crazypants.

I've been a bad blogger, I know.  It snowed so we dusted off the back country skis and went skiing on trails for the first time in years then we decided to paint the kitchen then next thing I knew it was the weekend and time for a USDAA trial.

Did somebody say agility??!!

I entered a very limited number of classes in the interest of saving money and my sanity since both dogs are in different levels and I didn't want to be running from ring to ring.  Lola ran on Saturday in Masters Standard and Gamblers and on Sunday in Standard and Strummer ran only on Sunday in Starters Standard and Jumpers.  No Q's for Lo but both her Standard runs were so close, just a little handling/timing glitch in each on some darn tricky courses.  So frustrating on one level but on the other hand she was running so nicely, had awesome tables for both runs, hit a difficult weave entry after drifting away from the poles towards a tempting off course trap then coming back at a terrible entry angle and nailing it, and generally running with her happy face on so I can hardly complain.  She turned 9 last month and I don't know how much longer she'll keep going so I'm thankful for every run I have with her.

Damn straight.

Strummer had a beautiful Jumpers run, Q and a 1st place, 6.02 yps.  There were a couple wide-ish turns, otherwise he would have been faster but all the bars stayed up and he stayed focused and on course, can't complain about that.  I had to run my butt off too, there was only one change of side after obstacle 3 and the rest of the course was a series of loops with no side change.

Standard probably didn't look all that great to the innocent bystander but I was so pleased with him.  Hit all his contacts, nice teeter, weaved the full set of poles no problemo, and he was focusing nicely.  I'm finally starting to have some confidence in our teamwork.  Still a long ways to go but today as well as the last DOCNA trial felt like some good progress.

He was also so well behaved in the indoor arena.  He had a few moments but for the most part, such a good boy and a huge improvement over his first time at this arena 3 years ago when he was up on his hind legs screaming and lunging and I had to take him out almost immediately.  It was a 2 ring trial too but there was metal fencing with paper taped to it to form a nice visual barrier and the 2 equimpment trailers in between the rings so I felt like it wouldn't be a problem and it wasn't.  He never even noticed the other ring when it was his turn to run.

Kind of a bittersweet weekend for me since this was Cody's last USDAA trial last year.  He went on to do a DOCNA trial in February and that was the end of his agility career.  He's been gradually losing strength in his rear legs and a few months ago I made the decision to stop taking him running with me.  He came up lame in his front shoulder (can't remember if it's the one he had surgery on) a few months ago but after some brief rest and a slow return to activity he seems to be doing fine.  Jonny had him running off leash at a park today and said he looked great.  But it looks like mostly leash walks and easy off leash running for him from now on.  I've also been working on tricks with him since he loves clicker training and some easy playing in the house and yard.  He's looking so old to me these days though, especially at night when he curls up next me on the couch.

My sweet boy.

Next trial is DOCNA in February only 20 minutes from home.  Hopefully some of this snow will melt so we can get some practice in.  Both dogs had one day of practice at the field and one day of indoor course run-throughs for the entire month of December due to the agility field and my yard being snowed in.  It's unusual for it to hang around for so long and there's talk of more of it on Wednesday so maybe training will be on hold yet a little bit longer.  Guess I'll have to get started on painting the living. room.


  1. Congrats on your super-fast Jumpers Q. I call runs like that "living on the edge".

    I have a photo of Tika sacked out on the couch from this weekend. They look so peaceful, so innocent, so sweet and harmless and perfect when they're asleep like that, don't they!?

  2. Right on, way to start your year off.

    When you said "three years ago" in reference to Strummer I was taken aback, has it been that long? Seems (from my blog distance) like you got him just a year or two ago. Time flies.

    Cody doesn't look too upset about not going the the agility trial. :) Love that photo of him.

  3. Sounds like you had a great weekend. Will there be a video to watch? I hope so.

  4. Yeah, peaceful, innocent, harmless while they're sleeping but then when they wake up...

    Cody doesn't seem to miss agility trials any more. He used to come up to the door when we were leaving and that made me sad but now he doesn't bother. I think he's happy to sleep in and have Jonny and the house to himself for the day.

    There will likely be video but someone else kindly taped me on their camera and of course I don't have it yet. I'll post it once I get it.

  5. The first two dog pics are hilarious. I laughed out loud!

  6. Hey Elayne - I posted Strumm's Standard run here:

    Also I did this comparison of Rip's and Strumm's Standard - pretty neat. They both had snafus after the AFrame though their runs were very similar. Looks like the judge called your dogwalk.

    I wish I would have seen your Jumpers run. Strumm's time was .4 seconds faster than Rip's though we had 1 bar down no NQ for us.

  7. Greg,

    Thanks SO much. The video is great. I didn't realize he'd called the dogwalk, I was sure Strum had got it but it's impossible to tell from the video because of the A-frame. I've snagged the file and I'll embed it in a new post when I get a chance.

  8. Nice job, Elyane. That's my boy!