Sunday, December 29, 2013

An Interesting Drama on Trial Morning and Some GoPro Footage

Some interesting drama this morning while trying to leave for the USDAA trial this morning.  It was cold last night, about 18 degrees F, and we got about an inch of snow.  The roads looked o.k. though so I thought I'd be fine as long as I left early.  It was pitch black outside and when I opened the door Strummer refused to leave the house.  In fact he retreated farther into the house.  Which is beyond bizarre because Strummer loves agility mornings and is normally practically knocking me over to get to the garage.  I was worried - was he injured, had a bad experience yesterday that I didn't notice, had I stressed him out somehow?  We'd had a pretty good day and I always tell him he's awesome when he leaves the ring and he seemed happy yesterday.  But he's a weird dog, prone to strange inexplicable behavior like trashing the kitchen the other day because who knows why?  We were gone a whopping 20 minutes and I leave him alone all the time.

I finally managed to coax him into the yard and I proceeded into the garage and loaded a few things into the car then noticed he hadn't followed me.  In fact he'd remained frozen a few feet away from the door, utterly refusing to move.  I went over to him and tried to get him to move and he growled his unhappiness at me but finally followed me into the garage.

I worried throughout the day and watched for any sign of injury or stress but he seemed fine.  I made sure he got extra good warm-ups and cool downs and that I spent some extra time with him.  Totally normal agility day.  Even a little more calm and normal than yesterday.

When it was time to leave I checked my phone and there was a voice mail from Jonny for me to call him which is unusual and I worried something was wrong.  I called and called but he had his ringer off because, well, who knows.  I came home and found a business card from the police with a case number on it but nothing else and he was going to be gone for another 1 3/4 hours.  Super fun worrying what was going on and why there were cops involved.  His car looked fine so it wasn't an accident.

Finally he came home and it turned out someone had started a fire in a small sheltered space next to our garage and backyard fence.

Our psycho next door neighbor has big stacks of wood stored in her driveway and in fact she'd tried storing the piles on the piece of our land where I was standing to take this picture without asking me first and she completely blew her stack when I told her I wasn't comfortable with that arrangement.  I think she has some hoarding issues and I don't want her to start piling her crap in my yard, especially without asking me.  Anyway, the likely scenario is that some homeless people took the wood and started a fire to stay warm in that little sheltered area between our houses and Strummer smelled the fire and/or the people who might have been still sleeping there and it freaked him out.  Poor guy, I should trust his instincts more often.  I never noticed the people when I pulled out of the driveway but it was so dark and I was more worried out what was in the road and the icy street.  The cops said they'd drive by more in the next few days and we'll check the area.  I may put a motion detector light as well.  I don't want people lighting my fence and/or house on fire or leaving human waste.  Haven't checked for that yet.

Anyway, the trial was fun.  Courses were interesting and challenging.  Strum had some nice parts to his runs and some stuff we need to work on.  He won Round 1 of Steeplechase and I filmed his run with my new GoPro camera set to the superwide view setting.

It might not look the best on YouTube but on my big monitor at home it looks great.  I zoomed in a bit with editing software but still it's hard to see the back end of the course on YouTube.  Next trial is in an arena with bleachers and I think it'll look a lot better.  I've become obsessed with the idea of getting a remote controlled quadcopter to film aerial footage from above (not indoors obviously) but that may be going a bit far.  My friend has one on order and I'm going to wait to see how hers works, how hard it is to learn to fly, etc.  I know, just what I need, one more ultra geeky beyond nerdy hobby.

I'm thinking about moving Strummer to Performance so he can jump 16".  There was nothing about his performance at the trial that has me thinking that way, just had a few people at the trial put the idea in my head when I mentioned how old he was.  He's looking pretty grey in the muzzle these days too.  I know he's old in numbers but it's hard to think of him as old.  He's not struggling with the jumps or anything and hasn't slowed down as you can see from the video but I don't want to wait until he's struggling.  I've already entered trials in Jan. and Feb. but his 9th birthday is in March and I think his present will be to move down to P16 for the March USDAA trial.  I'll see how he does in practice at that height before I make a final decision but so far I think it's a good idea.

No trial stats for the moment, they all flew right out of my head but I know he missed 2/2 dogwalks, got almost all his weavepole entries but popped out of the weaves on an easy Steeplechase Finals course and took 6 tries to finally get them right.  Big Le Sigh.  Was an otherwise awesome run.

Ah well, this dog has been an interesting journey.


  1. Whoa, that is a crazy story about your backyard and Strummer's reaction. Good reminder about trusting the dog -- so easy to forget that some of their senses are way better than ours at picking up odd things.

    I dropped Walter from 22" specials to 16" vets for the same reasons -- not because he was having any problems in the ring but more of a proactive thing especially since he was (is) a big top-heavy german shepherd. Granted he was only 6 years old at the time. Your almost-9 year old guy still looks pretty awesome but it's all about doing what feels right to you. Strummer just cares about getting to play in the ring with his best pal :-) (yes that was cheezy, but true, right...?)

  2. I dropped Cody and Lola to vets in NADAC and DOCNA as soon as they turned 7. Couldn't drop them in USDAA though, there was no vets program. Again, they weren't struggling but I didn't want to wait until they were struggling. It never even dawned on me to consider dropping Strummer until a couple of people suggested it because he does look so good at his competition height and he's still so fast but yeah, I think he's getting old enough that giving him a break makes good sense.

  3. Your camera dud a great job! Congrats on your win. That's so weird those people did that but I guess if your homeless, you don't care about other peoples homes either. Sorry. I'm glad you guys and your home was ok.