Thursday, June 30, 2011

Black Forest USDAA trial

Strum and I had a very fun day playing at USDAA in the woods of Black Forest Regional Park.  I had not one but two friends that came to watch.  One lived in the area and I had to meet with her anyway but it turned out she was excited to come see the dogs and stayed for a full 4 hours.  The other friend was in from out of town and also wanted to see the dogs.  He was a good sport about waking up at 4:45 a.m. and he helped me with hauling, setting up and tearing down all my crap.  I seriously need to get myself a Kennel Boy, what a huge luxury that was, especially at the end of a hot tired day. And he took photos.

Strummer's most entertaining run of the day, and his only Q, was Starters Snooker.  Because apparently we can't get around the World's Easiest Snooker Course without providing entertainment for the crowd.

This map is for Advanced but the only difference was that the #5 jump was more perpendicular (ie easier to jump in the closing) and we had to do any of the tunnels twice for 7 points.  Advanced had to do 2 tunnels and Masters had 3.  Only one dog did the 3 and got through the closing in Masters.

Easy peasy right?  I did the #2/7 tunnel twice for all three 7's and then boom the same tunnel again and you've started your closing.  The stupid part is that I did actually cue the poor dog to do what he did.  He takes me so literally.

It may look silly but it was good enough for 1st place.  Thanks to Greg for filming.  It was the only run I didn't bother to ask someone to film because I thought it would be so boring but he happened to catch us on his camera.

I chose a risky handling move in the opening of Advanced Jumpers and didn't quite pull it off.  Otherwise a nice run except for a dropped bar that sounded like it hurt at the end.

Video is of Standard, Jumpers and International Jumpers.  I couldn't be bothered separating them but they're short runs.   Unfortunately I can't find my International Jumpers map.

Missed dogwalk (sigh) and dropped bar (sigh) in Starters Standard.  There was a tunnel after the dogwalk and true to form he extended and missed the yellow.  We were finally seeing some improvement in practice but that was with jumps after the dogwalk.  More on that later.  Then the silly dog goes charging for the dogwalk at the end of the run.  The power of reinforcement I suppose.

International Jumpers was my favorite run.  Such a fun course, I wish I could find my map.  Nice challenges but totally do-able.  Strum missed his weave entry (sigh) and that threw me off a bit so I mishandled the subsequent serpentine (turned into him, ugh, will I never get out of that habit?) and got momentarily lost.  I did actually have a handling move planned after that serpentine but couldn't pull it off because I briefly forgot where I was going.  We also had a standard fault called but I didn't see any bars down so I'm wondering if he ticked the broad jump.  It's too hard to tell from the video.

Here's a video (also courtesy of Greg) of just International Jumpers.

Overall some little things keeping us out of the Q's but still some nice stuff from the Strum man.  Sadly all the things we've been focusing on in training are still the things we're struggling with at trials.  It feels like we're at a frustrating plateau with it all.  I'll have to put some thought into ways to charge up the training to hopefully get us through it.  He's such a great dog, if only we could fix these few things.

My friends were duly impressed both with Strummer and all the other dogs.  My local friend enjoyed it so much that she called me up the next day to tell me what a good time she had and let her know if I go to any more down in Colorado Springs.  She also offered me a place to stay so I may change my fall plans and go down to Fountain for USDAA in October.  Haven't been to that trial in several years.  Best of all though she liked how the dogs all seemed to be loving the game and playing with their humans.  I hear a lot of criticism about USDAA trials being too competitive and having a bad atmosphere but I've never felt that myself about the majority of our local trials and it was nice to have an outsider comment on what a nice atmosphere she felt there.

It was a small, low key trial that moved along quickly, at least on Sunday when I was there, and I had a great time.  The judge had some fabulous courses and was nice to work with.  It was hot, in the 90's, but so dry and with a breeze so it wasn't too bad.  There's lots of shade surrounding the rings and that helps a lot.  I love the venue, so nice to be in the woods and doing agility and there are nice hiking trails for warming up/cooling down the dogs or just having a moment of quiet.  I had been in two minds about going and in the end I'm very glad I did.

Trial Stats

Perf. Starters Snooker Q, 1st place

Perf. Starters Snooker Title

Dogwalks:  0/1 (0%)  (tunnel after dogwalk)

A-frames:  1/1 (100%)

Weave entries:  1/2 (50%)  At least he didn't pop out.

Knocked bars:  2

Teeters:  1/1 (100%) But it was sort of naughty, could have been better

Table was awesome


  1. I thought your runs were pretty nice, and I can tell that you have been working hard with your handling too. I know what you mean about the little things that NQ a run, but that is better than feeling like everything is a mess. You are really close to having it all come together.

    I've heard people complain about the USDAA atmosphere too, and personally have never experienced anything like that at a local trial. There were some 'jerks' at the regional in Brighton a couple years ago that I attended, but I've never had any issue with those at a local show.

  2. Nice job. He is really listening and doing a great job. Hope to see you in Laramie.

  3. Fast dog! Mostly you guys look pretty good together. :-) I managed to get Tika to hop over a tunnel sometime last year, surprised me enough that I then bobbled all kinds of other stuff. Funny to watch, though.

  4. Very nice runs. Congrats on your snooker Q. Ive been trying to get that one. LOL

  5. That *is* quite the creative, entertaining move there in the Snooker. He somehow made it look totally natural!

    Always enjoy the videos -- thanks for sharing.