SUMMARY: Fun but not a lot of Qs.
Had both cameras with me all weekend, but here's the only thing I photographed all weekend--pulled off the freeway on my way home tonight. This is out on I-580, across the Diablo range of mountains (that's Mount Diablo about 40 miles north). The Central Valley for the most part is a huge expanse of agriculture. Wanted to give a sense of the traffic streaming by on the interstate (tail lights).
The weather cooperated: Cool to cold but clear; pretty much perfect for the dogs. Actually took my fleece jacket off for a couple of hours this afternoon. But frost in the morning.
There are so many fun, wonderful people in agility. Spent a lot of my weekend laughing. At one point, I explained Tika's priorities to someone who was petting her: "Food, toys, attention." Jim D., standing near by, said, "Sounds like a man!" I miss my agility friends when I'm not around them. Plus all those dogs! For someone who's loved dogs since at least 4th or 5th grade, agility is a good place to be.
Tika got attention and treats and we practiced tricks and wandered around letting her sniff the ground for stray iotas of food, one of her favorite activities.
Boost and I had some lovely portions of runs, but only one that 100% lovely. So our superb weekend of last november (last time we competed) did not hold up. Only one Q of 10 runs, but it was a 6th place out of 32 very fast dogs, so that was a bonus. One of those Standard runs where everything just clicked. My knee felt good (all weekend in fact) and I felt that I could really move around the course. I pushed the envelope a bit on everything and she seemed to love it.
Our Grand Prix was 95% perfect like that; I took a risk that she'd pop out of the weaves to do an aggressive front cross, and sure enough, she popped. I watched about 30 other dogs do exactly the same thing when their handlers tried the exactly the same move, so it wasn't a surprise, really, and the rest of the run felt SOOOO good.
- Saturday Pairs: Entered the weaves wrong, so had to restart them, and popped out, so had to go back to pick up the last pole, so with the 10 faults plus all the wasted time, we did not Q. Our partner ran beautifully, though.
- Satuday Standard: Lots of nice bits, but the handler made three small handling errors resulting in 2 refusals and a knocked bar.
- Saturday Gamblers, wow, a stellar opening... well, OK, not quite, because I briefly forgot what I meant to do next while she waited at the bottom of the Aframe, and then she came off early to see what i was doing, so I had to turn her around to get her back on my plan. As a result, we were only halfway through the weaves when the whistle blew, so we ended up with 29 opening points, about 6th highest of all dogs instead of 2nd or 3rd. The gamble itself, bleah, not even close.
- Saturday Snooker: Knocked two bars in the opening, including a red after which she hit another obstacle, so whistled off after 8 obstacles.
- Saturday Steeplechase: Two bars and ran past the weaves entirely. Not entirely sure why, although she might have been running straight into the late-afternoon sun. Still, I didn't see other dogs missing that entry.
- Saturday Jumpers: A few parts very nice, several parts with runouts and refusals and at least one bar down.
- Sunday Jumpers: A runout that I'll blame on her and two dumb handling moves resulting in two refusals in a row. But the rest really nice and fast, including some great rear crosses! (one of our big weaknesses), and she kept her bars up.
- Sunday Standard: Just about perfect as noted above! Felt great! Q and 6th place.
- Sunday Grand Prix: 95% perfect as noted above. Felt great! 6th fastest time of 32 dogs in her class, really felt great!
- Sunday Snooker: A spot-on perfect and aggressive opening and then I got ambiguous on the #2 in the closing and got a refusal. But what we did felt great!
I found it interesting that, although I released her quickly from contacts all weekend to just keep moving and be exciting, she still kept sticking them almost all the time (waiting for my release). Yeah! What a good girl!
Her table-down in the two Standards were GORgeous--fast down and no problems with the hydraulic elbows.
And back to Tika. Another sign of her aging is this: I always share a little of my lunch with them at trials. I open their crate doors and they have to be lying down to get a tidbit. Tika has *always* struggled with her self-control--down for a few seconds, then popping to her feet. Down again for a bit, then popping to her feet. Also, she LUNGES FRANTICALLY to grab food out of the air, and as a result half the time hits it and sends it flying instead. Something weird happened today--she lay there quietly the whole time and picked the treats calmly out of hte air as they came towards her. Makes me sad at the same time that I'm glad that she is finally behaving herself at almost 12.
And, yes, her birthday is this week. Oh my.
I slept well in the hotel Saturday night. I think I'll sleep well again tonight. Must go have some dinner and then to bed.