a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Another Weekend, Another Agility Trial

Monday, April 14, 2003

Another Weekend, Another Agility Trial

Agility in the rain is SO much--um--fun. Saturday it never stopped dropping moisture from the sky, sometimes only a drizzle, sometimes closer to a downpour. Not bad enough at any time to cancel the trial, although dogs stopped running briefly a couple of times. Fields remained good all the way through, which wouldn't have been true at many sites. Dixon May Fairgrounds isn't a bad place for agility. And it's only about an hour and forty-five minutes from here. I had planned on camping out overnight so I wouldn't have that drive again early Sunday a.m., but I didn't want to try setting up camp in the rain, so I indeed came home Saturday night & got up again at 5 Sunday morning. Nice thing was that it was a small trial, so I was done running by noon both days.

Jake had an OK weekend. Again I felt as if we weren't clicking on most things. He had a decent gamble opening--not awesome--got his contacts--and missed the gamble just barely; did better than most dogs. I think only one dog of any height got that gamble. A few got it over time, but not many of those, either. He Qed in one standard and won/Qed jumpers; other standard run we were just completely out of synch--he also stopped at the 10th weave pole to sniff at a disturbed spot on the grass, then popped out, and every time I'd try to put him back in there, he'd sniff at the same spot and pop out again. Also big wide turns and missed obstacles and wrong obstacles and jeez what a mess. Snooker was ok except he slipped behind me to take a wrong obstacle. Oh, well.

Tika is such a brat about her contacts. We practiced them all week at home. Did them fine in class. Practiced on the ground and on the trailer ramp at the trial. Came home Saturday night and drilled them. At the trial--flies right off, not even attempting to do them properly. Has been doing her teeters well, but not dogwalk or Aframe. I just put her in a down, asked for her leash, and walked her off the field each time. So that was 3 out of the 5 runs-- In Snooker we didn't get too far; she got sucked in by a tunnel that I was trying to pull her away from, with me standing 15 feet away yelling "Come come come come!" to no avail. But we haven't really practiced running *among* obstacles without taking them, which is a whole additional skill.

Jumpers was a lot of fun--basically a big X across the field joined at the top, with tunnels at the 2 top corners. Holy rocket ship. She did the whole thing in less than 17 seconds; most dogs were in the 20+ range. In fact, she knocked one bar and even with the 5-point penalty added to her time, was fast enough to win her class. One other dog had a faster time--16.08, while hers I think was 16.8--one of those fast german shepherds whose stride is so long that, on a course like this, running full out, I don't think Tika could match him--although maybe, because one leg of the X did curve so that at one point the dog was looking at the wrong jump, which Tika did, although she called off it, she did slow down and change her path a bit to recover. Might have been 1 second's worth.

But to make me feel better, the Shepherd knocked 3 or 4 bars. :-)

She's gone back to pretty much pulling on the leash full time on our walks. Jeez. Now what?

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