a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Tika's Doing Great

Monday, February 10, 2003

Tika's Doing Great

I was so frustrated with her first thing Saturday morning at Elk Grove; I couldn't take 2 steps towards the exercise or potty areas without her throwing herself at the end of the leash. I was nearly in tears with frustration. A couple of very experienced dog people told me this weekend that their very driven, high-energy agility dogs did that their entire lives til they got too old to do it any more. Small comfort, I guess. I *did* want a dog with drive--

She did her best to make it all up to me with some really spectacular agility this weekend. It's working some, because this morning as she pulled at the leash on our walk, images of her Full House run kept whipping through my brain and the endorphins just kept going right off the scale.

She is a blast to run! Rem and Jake at their very best sometimes were like this, but Rem did it all out so seldom, and he never did have a lot of speed on contacts or weaves even at his fastest, and even Jake was at his best only with a little bit of revving beforehand (and I'm so lazy--).

Wish I'd pestered someone to tape all our runs this weekend. Man.

Results summary: Here's the scorecard for the weekend. Six runs, six qualifying scores. You know how often I've gone 100% for a weekend with my other dogs after 6 years of competing? Once, with Remington. Admittedly, both of these were CPE trials, where they're a little more generous about faults allowed, but she also did it in style: Five first places out of 6! Again, admittedly, there were only 5-10 dogs in her class each time. But get these bonuses:

  • There was that dream-like Full House run very first thing Sunday morning. This is a game in which you invent your own course, where each obstacle has a certain number of points, and following a few basic rules you try to accumulate as many points as possible in 30 seconds. She blazed through that thing and followed my plan beautifully. Here's the thing--ALL levels, from 1 to 5, used exactly the same course and had the same amount of point accumulation time (well--not quite--big dogs get 30 seconds, little dogs get 35 seconds), so in an extremely rare occurrence, I could compare her to all 126 dogs in the trial. One other dog, at Level 3, got the same number of points. Only one dog got more--and that was an extremely fast little Level 3 dog who had 5 more seconds in which to accumulate points. At her second trial ever! Man, I find it hard to believe myself--

  • In her Jumpers run at the end of the day Sunday, she did 110 yards, including 3 sharp right-angle calloffs, in 19 seconds. I don't think she slowed down even a scrap anywhere on the course, and I felt really good about my handling, too. She was a Level 1 dog (lowest out of 5 levels). Usually every level has a more complicated course, but in this case, all Level 1 and Level 2 dogs ran the same course, so I could compare her time to 75 other dogs, all heights and breeds. She beat all 75 of them! (Closest one was .02 behind her, so, OK, it's really a wash when you consider the human factor in clicking the stopwatch, but OFFICIALLY we did it!)

Full House was first thing Sunday morning, and people rushed over to congratulate us on our run, and for the rest of the day I encountered people saying, "Oh, that's the *fast* dog!" You can only imagine what kick this gives me. The biggest compliment came from Ralph Frazier, whose new dog Tally Ho! was also at her second-only trial (Tika's too). Entered in a different jump height, but as I had been scanning the results from the various runs, her times kept coming up so unbelievably fast that I knew there was another star in the making there. I watched her run, and boy, Ralph has done a great job with her. I kept thinking to myself, "Boy, I'm sure glad we're not competing in the same jump height category, 'cause Tika wouldn't be getting all those 1st places!" Ralph came over later on Sunday after Tika's first couple of runs to say, "Boy, I'm glad we're not in the same jump height category; Tally Ho! wouldn't be getting so many first places."

I was just floating.

You also have to understand that the quality of competition has increased so much. My jaw was just about dragging on the ground, watching so many Level 1 & Level 2, new, dogs and their speed and their level of skill on the courses. We're going to have to keep working at this to keep ahead of them.

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