I was in a spontaneous mood this weekend and decided to take advantage of day-of entries at a NADAC trial 35 minutes from my house. 'It's a great opportunity to work on Strum's inability to weave in the trial ring issues' is what I was thinking. I hardly ever do NADAC and there's some weirdness about the venue that I'd either forgotten about or wasn't expecting. Like those goofy hoops they use. I didn't realize they put them in Standard and I'd forgotten about them in Weavers. In fact I'd forgotten about them full stop. People say 'Oh, don't worry about the hoops, the dogs figure them out right away.' Those people have not met Strummer. He was o.k. with them a year or so ago in a Weavers class so I put him through the practice hoop a couple of times and didn't think twice about them. Until one of the hoops came flying towards me and whomped me on the head during our Weavers run after Strummer tried to jump over the top of it. Unsuccessfully. I wonder if anyone else in the history of NADAC has ever incurred a 20 point fault from a hoop. I have it on video for those of you who weren't able to be there and enjoy it in person.
Here is another little twist from the fine folks at NADAC. They don't stake their weave poles. You can watch the video to see how that turned out for me. Maybe if I go to enough NADAC trials I can get footage for a whole 'agility bloopers' video.
Weavers and 2 rounds of Standard
NADAC May 2010 from colliebrains on Vimeo.
Strum ended up with 2/4 Q's (Standard & Tunnelers) though none of them will count for anything because I entered him in Elite (Masters) classes and he's in Novice still. Elite classes in NADAC are more like the Advanced level in DOCNA and maybe Starters in USDAA and I wanted the extra challenge for him though I wouldn't say his Standard runs were challenging. That's not to say I didn't mishandle and end up with an off course in one of them. I'll blame it on a lapse on concentration after the running dogwalk. Good practice for me though, I need to be able to learn to run fast and keep my head. I will say there was a bit more challenge to the Elite Standard courses then I had at the last NADAC trial that I ran the older dogs in several years ago so maybe things are improving a bit or maybe I just got lucky.
I'd call the weave pole training a guarded success. By his 3rd run he finally looked like he was going to hit an entry and make it all the way through but those darned unstaked poles came up and smacked him in the butt. The unstaked poles proved challenging for him for all his runs I think. It's strange though because I don't train with staked poles since my bases don't have holes to put anchors through and I've never noticed him having such problems. I guess he's going so gangbusters a the trial that he hits them with a whole different level of enthusiasm.
The club had the solid rubber contact surfaces and they're awesome. I was a bit worried about Strummer's running contacts on the the slatless equipment but the rubber provides such wonderful traction that he looked great, better than on the sanded surfaces. He easily hit both A-frames and had one good dogwalk, the other was iffy. The judge gave it to me but it was reluctantly. Impossible to say for sure if he hit it from the angle of the video. One of the DOCNA trials at the end of the month is having rubberized surfaces for the contacts though it's the granule type and not the solid rubber that NADAC uses. I'm looking forward to it, I think it's going to be great for the dogs. Another bonus was that dogs were so quiet going over the dogwalk and A-frame that Strummer was a lot calmer waiting for his turn to go into the ring. That sound of nails on sanded wood sends his brain through the roof for some reason.
Overall it was a fun, relaxing day, beautiful cool cloudy weather. Started out the morning in the mid-30's and it climbed to maybe high 40's. low to mid 50's. Perfect for agility if you ask me and Strummer agrees.
Next weekend is 2 Strummer runs in a USDAA trial then a weekend off then 2 weekends in a row of a full slate of DOCNA. Normally I would never sign up for such madness but I'm trying to get Strum out of Advanced so I can try to qualify him for Champs in the Masters division. Though with a good likelihood of Lola not being able to compete I'm not sure if I'll go for just one dog and make the other 2 sit in crates all day. On the other hand it's only a 4 1/2 hour drive to Grand Junction so in the end I'll probably go. I've got a hotel room reserved already so I'm set if I want to go.