Monday, January 21, 2013

Strummer Finally Gets to Play

Poor guy, I took him out to the agility field because they had set up one of the trickier looking Masters Standard courses from last week's USDAA trial and I wanted to give it a bash.  He's been out there maybe once in months and months and he was so excited when he realized where we were going, whine-moaning his head off in the car.  But when I got there there were too many people so I decided to take him for a walk on the nearby open space trails and wait for the folks to leave.  But he so excited for agility, he was having none of this hiking business.  He was tense and stressed and kept trying to figure out how to get me to turn around and getting the leash wrapped around his neck.  Stress sniffing.  It was not a relaxing walk. 

Forty minutes later the people had left but a new person was there and then someone else showed up and long story short, I packed up the poor wound up guy and took him home.  I felt so bad for him.

So today I skipped my masters swim work out and took him back to the field.  Thankfully we finally had the joint to ourselves.

This was the course:

Strum had a beautiful run on his first try, a few wide turns and a possible refusal between 11 and 12 but otherwise clean.  I tried a few different handling choices to see what worked best for us.  Between 5 and 6 I started off with a front cross and got a big wide turn and almost an off course at the teeter.  Keeping him on my right worked the best and got the tightest, fastest line.  The dogwalk was tricky, I ended up being way far down the line of the dogwalk when he came out of the tunnel, got eye contact to cue the dogwalk when he came out and did a rear cross on the flat between the dogwalk and #8 jump.  Not the prettiest sight in the world but it got the job done and he got his contacts the 2-3 times I tried it.

The trickiest part of the course was between the #11 chute and #12 jump.  My initial thought was to stop as he exited the chute, call him in to me a little to re-set his line then send him on his way to the jump but he came out of the chute with too much speed, standing still confused him and left me in his dust.  I ended up with refusals, a run by, even a couple of times where he turned around the jump to his right because I had confused him so badly.  I suppose you could front cross and bring him around intentionally but that would waste a lot of time.  In the end  I ran up to the jump and was standing near the jump with my shoulders facing the jump when he got out of the chute so he knew where to go and could set his line himself.

The threadle at 15-16 caused some people a lot of problems at the trial but it turned out to be really easy.  A forward send after the A-frame and pretty much all I had to do was rotate my shoulders to the 16 jump, there was so much space between and the angles weren't bad at all.

I initially tried a front cross after the teeter but this caused a wide loopy turn because his teeter is so darn fast, I couldn't get ahead of him.  Instead I kept him on my right and rear crossed which gave me a nice tight turn.

Very fun course, I'm looking forward to finally being able to enter Masters Standard at our next USDAA trial in March.

I took some pictures with the iPhone just for the heck of it.  I felt so bad for him losing out yesterday that I stayed extra long playing with him at the field.  It was in the 40's with a nip in the air but sunny and it didn't take much to have his tongue hanging to the ground.

Chilling out in the shade with his favorite chicken toy.

Worst picture ever of a jumping dog but oh well.  He still cracks me up with his goofy expressions.

A splattering of snow on the Continental Divide.  Snow pack is scary low.

I didn't feel so bad skipping masters because I did get up and go to boot camp and I'm still not feeling 100%, stupid head cold.  Double workouts today was probably not a good plan anyway.  And who can deny this face?


  1. The weather looks nice! I'd heard it was really really cold but it seems you all are warming up like we are - hope you get more snow on the mountains!

  2. It was horrible (teens and single digits) for about a week but this past week has been beautiful and it's supposed to be in the 50's and 60's this week. I was running in shorts today, feels like summer after that horrible week.

  3. That's like Boost--- loves loves loves her agility. I have trouble denying her, too, so I understand.

    If those are all iphone photos, they look great to me. I was going to ask what camera you used (I was scrolling up rather than down) to get such nice sharp shots.

    I've been working about 10 hours more per week than I have in a long time--a little shocking to discover that I'm this far behind on reading everyone's blogs. I should be working now, too, but I miss all the stories and photos!

  4. The ones for this post are from the iPhone. I took them as an after thought, wasn't planning on a photo session when I packed up my bag but it was such a nice sunny day.