Monday, August 25, 2003

Tika's USDAA/SMART weekend

Tika was a very good girl almost all weekend.


SUMMARY BY TOPIC: 7-run weekend.



Contacts: Very fast, pounding into 2-on/2-off! (Teeter might even be a little faster after a couple of days of the new teeter-accelerator-training.) She had one Aframe where she went down so fast and hard that she sort of bounced off at the end, but stopped right where she was (rear feet about 6" on the grass), with her front paws out and shoulders lowered as if she had stopped with her rear feet ON the contact. It was kind of cute, actually. She turned her head to look at me and started to back up (an interesting behavior, given that I've NEVER made her back up to get on a contact), so I just gave her the OK and went on.

Contact speed: I didn't get any of her runs filmed or timed, so I still don't know how fast she's doing those contacts. But much faster than she does them in class.

Up contacts: Missed up-contact on Dogwalk in both standards. Argh. I know she's missed them before; when do we decide to work on something for that? (She did exactly same entry in gamblers and got the up--at least the judge called 5 pts for the DW.)

Start-line: Very good except iffy in steeplechase & broke in following round. Practiced a lot after that between runs and she was fine again. Oh, wait--one standard I led out 3 obst's, turned, put up my hand, hesitated--and she went without "OK." I let it go then, too, but we practiced more later and she was OK the next round.

Feet: Mouthed my feet after lots of sloppiness in steeplechase run, and a couple of times grabbed *at* feet at end, but came off it quickly each time and NOTHING like those times I couldn't walk because she had hold of my shoes.

Attention: Very focused and working hard.

Successes: 1st in snooker with 51 pts, fastest course time in jumpers of all heights, very high opening pts in gamblers, fastest or almost fastest course times in standards. Very ugly steeplechase but that was mostly me plus inexperience.

Weaves: high-speed practice with her in the yard has paid off--she missed only one entry all weekend, and I'm thinking that I did something odd after the preceding jump.

Competition: There were a couple of mini dogs who had 51 snooker points who took 6 seconds less than Tika. But I suspect that they have running contacts, whereas she stuck her contacts and I took time for a good long "good girl" and moving myself into position and all. Also there's a terv, Apache?, who was really close to her or beat her by a partial second a couple of times? Is that another of Rachel's students? Man, there are some super fast dogs out there--many having course problems, too--knocking bars, really slow or sloppy contacts, missing weave poles--but they'll be scary by the time they get to masters. We can't slack off at all. Dang!

DETAILS BY CLASS:



We picked a snooker course that had three Aframe 7s, and she handled beautifully all through for 51 points, 4 solid Afr's and a good teeter, too. Certainly our best run of the weekend.

In gamblers, she paid good attention--got 2 more Afr's, a dogwalk, and a teeter. The gamble started with a tunnel going away and curving to the right--she came back in to me instead of "out" [I might not have pushed enough because it looked obvious], and we fumbled and did a BEhind to get her back out there, but then she did it all beautifully although over time. Her opening pts were 2nd highest of any dog, I believe, and we were on the down slope of an Afr when the whistle blew, so we were close on those extra 5 pts. :-)

Standards--well, those missed UPs on the DW either saved me from feeling bad or my bad handling kept it from mattering: I forgot the course the first day (pretty hard on a novice course!) and then on the 2nd day she knocked the top bar of a triple on a lead-out-pivot that I might have turned too soon on. But everything else was great. And she had the fastest or 2nd-fastest times both times! Even WITH holding on the contacts.

In steeplechase--wow--definitely our worst. She stood up at the start. I repeated "sit" and she did, but then she walked forward and paused. I let it go (dumb--I really wanted to run her on the course) and on release she ran AROUND the first jump. My handling wasn't up to her green level--we had miscues and wide turns, although she was trying really hard, and then I forgot the course towards the end, and when I was trying to regroup her, she finally had had enough and came in towards my feet. I stopped, made her sit [which she did IMMEDIATELY, which is a big improvement from previous feet-biting incidents], and then jumped her off the course. Oh, well.

In pairs, which was after the steeplechase, I paid for letting her get away with the sloppy start line, because she did NOT stay during my lead-out, so I had to call her back--she went sniffing for a few seconds, but finally came--put her into a sit and continued, and she was beautiful after that. (Our partner--Ken Boyd's new BC Digby--took time out to go visit with the judge, so we were well-partnered for that round.)

In Jumpers, she completely flattened an entire double-jump--standards and everything-- (Gail & Anne said that it looked like I hesitated and did something odd with my shoulders and tika was trying hard to react to it)--which slowed her a bit but she didnt' seem disconcerted and looked at me alertly as if "what next?", so I kept going. She also knocked the following bar, which doesn't surprise me. But we still had the fastest time of any novice.

I'm very happy with the way things are going.

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