a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: NADAC Weekend

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

NADAC Weekend

Saturday was a good day for us at the NADAC fund-raising trial in Elk Grove. Jake finished his O-NATCH, which is a double NADAC agility championship. Tika finished all three regular novice titles: Standard (NAC), Jumpers (NJC), and Gamblers (NGC). Each dog had 6 runs: 2 standard, gamblers, jumpers, tunnelers, weavers. Both qualified in 5 out of 6, and both placed every time (Jake not unexpected because there were only about 1-6 dogs in his class; Tika was competing against 12-24, though).

Tika's Runs: In her first standard run of the day, she flew off the aframe and I made her come back and redo the whole thing. She hit her contact on the teeter but didn't stick it, and I made her come back and redo the whole thing. She stuck the dogwalk contact nicely, and in the second round she stuck them all and I didn't have any handling bobbles worth mentioning and she qualified and took 1st.

Her start-line stay was wonderful all weekend.

Her contacts were on-and-off-again. In gamblers, she flew off the dogwalk the first time; I made her come back to the contact point and "touch"; she stuck it and 2 teeters the rest of the opening. Got the gamble nicely, which was just jumps and tunnels.

Can't make weaves when she's out ahead of me and moving quickly-- in gmbl opening, she flew past them the first time, hit the entry the 2nd time but was moving so fast she bounced off the 2nd pole and skipped a couple. In her 2 standard runs on Sunday, she blew past the weaves both times. When ahead of her going to the weaves, she does great--witness her weavers run, consisting of a bunch of tunnels and 4 (?) different sets of weave poles, all of which she got beautifully, and none of which she was out ahead of me for.

She blasted through her tunnelers run in what I thought was about nearly flawless as a dog could get, although it's possible she veered slightly away from one tunnel before going in and maybe slowed down a wee itty bitty bit when I called her from one tunnel to another. There were actually 2 dogs out of *all* dogs entered, all levels all heights, faster than her--one by less than a tenth of a second, and one by a full second, but I know that dog has been doing agility for a while because I've seen him for quite a while. Still, Tika was pretty amazing.

Also makes it extremely difficult to handle her on anything other than a wide-open course. We're nowhere near understanding each other on sharper turns, so it feels like I'm teetering on the edge of a chaotic run at all times--which sometimes they descend into.

Yards Per Second: Tika was 3 seconds faster than Jake on the tunnelers course, and he was moving fairly well, although I wouldn't say he was at superjake speed. Tika covered the course at a speed of 6.36 yards per second. Think about it! Jake's speed was 5.34 yps, which is still respectable. Jake's fastest yps ever was 6.12 on a jumpers course (which is *dang* fine!), but nearest after that was 5.69 (which is also pretty fine--for comparison, looks like most of his runs where he's over 5.25 are good for a 1st place--).

For a comparison on how different obstacles affect YPS--the weavers course was exactly the same as tunnelers except that 4 tunnels were replaced by sets of 6 or 12 weave poles. Tika did go past one tunnel and I had to turn her and get her back in, so we probably lost 2-3 seconds, but she blazed through that thing at 4.06 yps--only dog faster than Tika was 3 seconds faster (no tunnel bobble--makes their average 4.58 yps), so that's a fine speed on a weavers course. Jake, whose weaves are OK but never does them superfast in competition for some reason, had no bobbles but was still 3 seconds slower than Tika, averaging 3.63 yps, which was decent but not blazing.

Jake: Still--he's doing pretty good for an 11-and-a-half-yr-old dog.

He's getting to be pretty reliable, especially since now, this weekend at least, he's actually starting to stop on contacts with 2 on, 2 off, after struggling to retrain for a while. We divided errors--he popped a contact once & missed 2 "outs" although one of them I could have perhaps handled more strongly if I hadn't thought it was easy for him, and I forgot where I was once. That doesn't happen too often any more, either.

He seems to run hot and cold on "out"--2 runs this weekend where I depended on his strong "out", he came in towards me. Guess I need to keep practicing it or he loses it. Missed a fairly easy gamble that way, missed a dogwalk/tunnel discrimination that way. We've been practicing "outs" in the yard today, and sure enough, he's acting like he's never done them before. Sheesh. So much for my Jedi gambling master who'll actually swerve away from me on an "out."

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