a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Lovely Lovely Tika Agility Girl

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Lovely Lovely Tika Agility Girl

Hard to believe it's the same dog as last summer, or maybe even last fall.

This was two trials in a row with lovely contacts, lovely start-line stays while I led out, sometimes quite a ways, no leaving the course (well, once, briefly, 2 weeks ago), no biting my feet. This weekend she didn't get faulted on *any* of her dogwalk up contacts, which had been an ongoing problem (probably will continue to be, i'm guessing--I don't think we've really solved it, just gotten lucky). And she knocked only 1 bar all weekend.

Here's another go-figure moment: In the last 2 agility weekends, we've done 4 jumpers courses. In two of them, we were perfectly on course and had the fastest course times, but she knocked a bar in each. On the other 2 she's had offcourses but didn't knock a single bar.

We had a lovely gamblers run on Saturday but she blew past a jump in the gamble itself that I don't think she ever saw--several of the larger faster dogs did the same--and I think IMHO that the jump was much closer to the preceding tunnel than it should've been (only about 13 feet--I got out and measured it at the end--which is closer than the usual minimum of 15, and MUCH closer than it should've been especially for a novice course where the dog's in the tunnel and can't see the next obstacle). AND it was on the opposite side of the dogwalk down ramp, so I think they were probably looking at the ramp. But she did the harder part, send away and pull back, just beautifully.

course map for Saturday's novice gamble

Interestingly, they set up the "same" course in another ring (because we were running out of time and had an extra ring) and the tunnel and jump were aligned differently and had 3 or 4 more feet between them, and Tika ran it as a Standard course and had no problem at all. So I suspect it was laid out badly from how it should have been.

course map for Saturday's advanced standard (detail)

Both of her standard runs were lovely--no bars, no up contact faults, no off courses--but we got a Refusal fault in each of them on contacts! So this is something new... Nothing she did. The first one was a tunnel-under-Aframe-wrap-and-go-up-Aframe trick--which we had done in *exactly* the same situation in the preceding Gamblers course 2x in a row perfectly! Although the course was set up in a different ring, and I know that it was tweaked differently between the 2 rings, so I suspect that the tunnel didn't extend as far the second time, perhaps? For whatever reason, I apparently didn't let her come out far enough before turning her to push her up the Aframe and she missed the up.

tunnel under Aframe map

The second one was a very difficult opening to go up the dogwalk. Lots of dogs missed it. I'm still not sure how I could ever have gotten it. She tried to make the turn but ended up leaping *over* the ramp and then coming back for it and sort of missing it again--

course map for Sunday's advanced standard opening

I did consider running on her left, rather than her right, and flipping her away from me up the ramp, but I was concerned that if she got even a little ahead of me she'd pull to the left for an offcourse on that inconveniently located jump.

But she did do a gorgeous gambler's run on Sunday for 2nd place out of about 14 dogs and a very fine Snooker course for 1st.

She is so much fun to run, and she has so much fun on course, and now that she's much more confident about what her job is and what I'm going to be doing out there, there's so much less stress going onto the course.

Overall, Tika had only 2 Qs out of 8 runs, but she's looking so good out there.

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