Monday, August 08, 2005

Hot and Nippy Weekend

The CPE trial in Elk Grove this weekend suffered both from intense heat (over 100 both days) and from horrific mosquitos. I've never seen them this bad there. They were eating people alive. I left on my jeans, rather than switching to shorts, in large part to avoid getting chomped more than just on my arms (and through my shirt, but not as badly).

Despite it all, Tika ran with her usual intensity. She flew off 3 contact obstacles in a row in 2 events; the first two I made her lie down afterwards before continuing, and when that had no effect, I just took her off the course and put her away after the 3rd. Her next 4 contacts in a row were totally gorgeous.

She had one Gamblers (Jackpot) run in which only 2 dogs out of 72 had higher scores--and we could have gotten more but I planned a course where we sat on 3 different contacts and did several touches to reinforce staying put. And she had one Jumpers course where no dog of any height or level--not even those really fast little shelties with short turning radii--ran faster. Unfortunately, she knocked 2 bars in the process, and unfortunately that was the run that she needed for her C-ATCH, and she was allowed a maximum of only 1 bar.

Overall, she was knocking more bars again, it seems--we've been doing virtually NO jumping practice in the back yard, what with the wedding and all the prep and follow-up and me working up in Foster City for a while--but she still managed to earn a nice Standard Q (no bars allowed at the top level), two Jackpot Qs, and the one Colors that she still needed towards her C-ATCH (again, no bars allowed). Only 4 out of 8 for the weekend.

The next CPE that I was planning on attending isn't until Thanksgiving weekend! I don't know whether I have the patience to wait four months for a chance to finish her CATCH when she's so close. There is a CPE the first weekend in October--I wasn't going to go because it's right after 2 USDAA weekends and right before two more USDAA weekends, all of which I'm planning on attending, which is a lot--too much--in a row. There's another one after all those USDAA, which again I wasn't going to do because of so many in a row. On the other hand, if I don't go to that CPE, then that would be an entire month with no agility weekends right before the USDAA nationals, which seems like a bad plan. (Still, even I do go, that would leave me with 2 weekends in a row before the nationals, unless I go to Camarillo for a USDAA, and I wouldn't want to do that AND the CPE.)

I'm pondering whether to just go for one day for each trial to try to get the jumpers run. Driving 2 hours one way with the always-indeterminate agility schedules for one run doesn't seem like a great idea, either, though. And I'd be so annoyed if I DIDN'T get it. Argh.

Jake was uninterested in playing frisbee almost the entire weekend. He ran smoothly but not superfast in the 2 runs in which he was entered; popped out of the weaves in one run (!) so didn't Q, but had a nice Jumpers run on the same course that Tika sped through and earned a Q for that.

Boost simply did not get enough attention or exercise despite my pulling her out of her crate to play far more often than I did the other dogs. She's been a whirling dirvish this morning since we got up (and she insisted on getting up about 6:30 to get started...yawn...). I forgot and left her in the x-pen during one of Tika's runs, and sure enough someone had to retrieve her from where she ran, trying to get to us. Thank goodness she ran up the wrong side of the fence, away from the entrance to the ring, or otherwise she'd have ruined that one Colors run that we needed so badly.

She's fascinated by other dogs doing agility or playing. Very hard to get her attention at all, even briefly, once she's focused on them.

Discovered a couple of interesting things. When Boost is out wandering around and I want her to come, I'd call her name, but get no reaction (have noticed this over the last couple of weeks at least), which is much different from how we started. I don't know why it deteriorated. I have avoided yelling "Come!" because I want to use the command ONLY when I know that she's already committed to coming or when I can actually get to her to enforce it if she doesn't come. But I finally gave up Sunday morning, while she was off leash rooting around in an open field and ignoring "Boost!". I called "Boost, Come!" and she flung herself out of the bushes and raced towards me like it was the most wonderful thing in the world. So apparently I've done a better job of training "Come!" and a worse job of training her to respond to "Boost!" than I had thought.

And the second interesting thing had to do with Jake. He largely seems oblivious to me saying his name any more. I try high voice, low voice, very very loud voice, and so on. If he's headed away from me into an open field, he keeps going and going (sort of like the Energizer Semidachsund) without even a twitch to his ears, which is a little scary when he never turns around at all to see where I am, thinking that I've got a deaf dog about to disappear over the horizon. Imagine dozens of scenes of me over recent weeks or even months, yelling "Jake!" pause, change voice, "Jake!" pause, change voice, "Jake!", getting louder & louder, dog getting farther and farther away, nose to the grassy ground. So, Sunday afternoon, with Boost's reaction in mind, I yelled "Jake, COME!", and he immediately picked up his head, turned around, and headed back to me. Argh. So HE has also learned to ignore his name! What have I done to my dogs?

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