Monday, April 12, 2004

The Tika Weekend Report

Another weekend, another USDAA trial, in Dixon this time.

Tika was an excellent girl. She stayed in a sit at the start line every time but once, when she lay down after I walked away. But the judge stopped to talk to the scribe, so I was able to put Tika back into a sit. Worked nicely! And I didn't even have to pay the judge extra.

She had lovely contacts--except for the dogwalk-up in the Grand Prix regional qualifier, which she jumped *over*. 2nd USDAA in a row where we've had a straight side-on approach to the dogwalk, and she did the same thing last time. So today I got out my pole in the yard and had her wrapping around it and onto the dogwalk like our instructor showed us in class a few months back; I never faded it when she first showed it to us and I practiced it only a little for a couple of weeks.

That'll learn me. Was discussing this with a co-student & competitor this weekend, noting how I've worked so hard on getting Tika to be able to enter the weave poles & tunnels from any direction, and she said that nowadays she figures the dogs have to be able to independently do *any* of the obstacles around the clock (that is, from any approach angle) because the challenges keep getting harder as the competitors get better. This ain't your daddy's agilitymobile!

She was focused and fast, except the down side on at least one dogwalk, where she just trotted.

She carried out over final obstacles just beautifully (which has been a problem at times where she turns and comes back to me, wasting time).

In Sat's Standard class, there were several places where she spun and and was obviously unclear about where to go next and knocked 3 bars in the process--all stupid handling things although I don't exactly remember what I did/didn't do--but she didn't get frustrated with me, kept working, didn't grab my feet or let her attention wander.

Other than that, she had no bars down this weekend (oh, wait, no, she had one in pairs) --

But I still couldn't get a jumpers leg! In the Grand Prix, she veered towards me as I was running towards the teeter and cut in front of me to take the tire for an off course. In her jumpers run, we had a straight-away heading for a U-shaped tunnel and she was looking at me and starting to veer towards me--I was afraid she was going to cut in front of me and take an off-course on a jump the same way she did in the GP, so I said "OUT through!", and she very nicely did a perfect out, veered *away* from me and took the wrong end of the tunnel. Sighhhh. She was still about the 3rd fastest starters dog even with the extra tunnel. And it was a *beautiful* run otherwise; I was just about heartbroken at my mistake. (You'd think someone with so many years of experience & runs & dogs wouldn't let a little jumpers run get her down...)

That's now 20 USDAA jumpers legs that have had either faults or an E. Unbelievable. I didn't realize that it had been so many!

She took 1st and Q on Sunday in Advanced standard, Starters snooker, and Starters gamblers. She took 2nd and Q Saturday in starters gamblers and Qed in pairs--5 of 8 for the weekend. BUT what I WANTED was a Q in Jumpers to get out of starters and a Q in the GP! (But she did finish her Starters Pairs & Gamblers titles, and she has 2 snooker legs, so she's almost all out of starters anyway except for jumpers.)

Really, she was a wonderful, wonderful dog this weekend.

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