SUMMARY: I *was* at the nationals! After a nice dogwalk--er, walk with the dogs.
This afternoon, took the dogs out to a park we sometimes go to where people don't seem to yell at you if you have your dogs off leash if they're under control. Lots of people with their dogs off leash. Huge flat lawn where there can be a soccer game and still lots of room to do frisbee with the dogs and no one will even notice. Trail over a nice steep hill with undomesticated vegetation that the dogs can sniff around plus gopher holes galore. Fun.
So about that "if they're under control" thing. I took a pocketful of smelly Zukes with me to practice calling Tika back to me, rewarding, and releasing. She was good on the flat as long as there was no distraction, but she blew me off repeatedly on the hill, or came reluctantly along a path somewhat akin to what you'd see in Family Circus. And then finally she didn't come back at all, and I ended up pursuing her all the way around the hill and back down and halfway into the park before she turned around and I grabbed her and told her what for.
Then when I needed the "come", when she saw a couple of small dogs running and decided to charge over to investigate, I could see her step falter briefly at my call and then she just decided to ignore me again.
Back to remedial recalls. I've done this with her so often--but not often enough.
Fortunately she's good with other dogs, it's just that she often scares the *owners* because she charges in so fast. These were Yorkies or Skyes or some small terrier like that, and when she got near, one of them charged at HER barking ferociously, and Tika put her ears back, skidded to a halt, and turned to come right back to me.
We got in about 45 minutes of frisbee and hiking, and then 15 minutes later when we got home, they wanted to play in the yard, too.
However, I had other plans: Made a huge bowl of popcorn and sat in my office with the USDAA Steeplechase National [World] Championships final rounds playing in live stream on BOTH of the computers in my office (because the live streaming would freeze periodically while catching up on the download and this way one or the other computer was always showing action because they'd download at different times) set to full-screen display.
And also had facebook up to the USDAA page and my own page, posting comments and reading other people's comments as we went along, so it was almost like being in a crowd of agility people sitting in the bleachers watching the show! The next best thing to being there!
All the excitement once again; super-fast runs, amazing over-the-top handling, no holds barred full-out competition with some of the best dogs in the world (there were several World Team dogs in the assorted finals tonight, along with plenty of past champions of various sorts).
A lot of Bay Teamers just missed being in the Steeplechase finals--by fractions of seconds in a few cases. Dang! But my club still had a great showing. And not merely Bay Teamers but people I know fairly well--
Ashley Deacon and Luka (classmates) won the 16" Steeplechase for I believe the 4th time!
In 22", Nancy Gyes/Ace and Jim Basic/Sweep (our long-time instructors) were 1st and 2nd for the longest time but got barely edged out and ended up 3rd and 5th, pretty fine work for the hundreds of 22" dogs entered! And Diana Wilson and Cassidy (traveled to nationals with them 2 years ago), who won the semifinals(!) made what I believe is their first appearance in the finals as first seed, but they had bobbles in the final round, although you could still see the speed of that team. Silvina Bruera and Maja (classmates) also had bobbles but looked pretty darned good.
And in 26", an all-border-collie-except-one-terv group, Rob Michalski and Wings the Tervuren WON (have been involved in bay team together for a very long time & tika & his other dog are doing DAM teammates in december)! And Channan Fosty with Icon had a lovely smooth run to just get edged out and into 3rd place! TWO bay teamers on the podium!
It was exciting and exhausting. I love watching the finals at nationals; that's always one of my favorite parts of going. This wasn't quite as good as being there, but it was still pretty darned good. Thanks to USDAA for working out the kinks in their live feed.
So now I'm worn out physically and emotionallly and headed for bed. Yeehah agility fans!