a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: What a wonderful weekend at USDAA: Tika's Turn

Monday, April 19, 2004

What a wonderful weekend at USDAA: Tika's Turn

Backfill: May 1 '04
Tika was 7 for 9 this weekend at the USDAA in Elk Grove--a bit better than the previous weekend, indeed. She didn't Q in either Advanced Gamblers class (her first time in Advanced Gmbl); she did one of them beautifully but knocked a bar; the other one she did the sendout to the 2nd obstacle perfectly but didn't do any sign of an "out" to the 3rd--something to work on.

She had two MOST lovely Starters Jumpers Qs, taking 1st place in both--which finished her AD (finally!). No spins or hesitations anywhere. That's after *20*(!) starters jumpers Qs without a clean run among them. Probably not a record, but that covers a year and a half of jumpers runs. What a relief! Now she'll be in Advanced in everything--except, oh, wait--

She had two VERY lovely Advanced standard Qs, taking 1st and 3rd--which means that she finished her Advanced Standard title in 2 weekends! So she's now a Masters Standard dog...yikes...

She Qed in the Grand Prix on a course that eliminated about 50% of the 22" and 26" dogs, for 9th place of 37 26" dogs (of all things, she missed her weave entry!). Now we need one more Grand Prix Q to be able to go to the Nationals in Arizona in November. Now, finally, it's in sight. (She Qed her 1st 2 GPs ever, last year, but was 0 for 4 for this year until now.)

She & partner Qed & took 3rd in Advanced relay--delay was largely that she missed the weave entry *twice*.

And she Qed and took 3rd in Starters Snooker--she knocked the first bar but I've learned my lesson and have been planning for *every* red jump "what do I do if she knocks *this* bar?", which I never had to do with my other dogs. -- This finished her starters Snooker title.

Start line: Stayed every time; lay down once but otherwise didn't have to repeat the "sit".

Contacts: Oh. My. Goodness. She is so good! I still need more speed on the descent. And why all of a sudden is she getting the dogwalk up. Luck? We've practiced casually with the little yellow contact board our instructor loaned us but not *on* the dogwalk, so maybe that or maybe not? I stopped running her up the side that's in a depression in my yard so that she was always flying onto it. Maybe that or maybe not? Probably luck.

Weave poles. This was the word for the weekend. BObbled in GP, in Pairs, and in both gamblers opening sequences. Sheesh.

Flat-out speed: Sunday's jumpers was a way hauling fast course where the dogs could go wide open. I'm still trying to figure out where she fits with the "big dogs" on ground speed:
  • Of all 22" and 26" dogs (43 dogs) who completed the course without spins or other bobbles, Lark Plummer was one second faster but knocked a bar; Annie (?not sure who this is) was .4 faster but knocked a bar; Kobe Cutherbertson was .1 faster but knocked a bar and has an AWFUL stutter-step--if Bill could fix that, he'd be dynamite! And Ty Rodgers was .2 slower but he knocked 2 bars...hmm, actually I wonder whether he actually ran past a jump and had to go back for it? I'll have to ask Sandy.

  • Anyway, I don't know whether I could have coaxed an extra second out of Tika any way in the world. But the fact that I'm thinking about that instead of how to avoid knocked bars is a nice change. :-) That was 145 yards at 6.75 YPS.
And why isn't she knocking bars all of a sudden? I've been doing some of the Susan Salo exercises but not all of them and maybe only a couple of times a week. Been trying to do circles with her in both directions over jumps. And jumping her at home and in class at a mixture of jump heights. Luck? Progress?

I'm repeating over and over "don't get cocky!"

So, after all that--last trial, Tika was in all Starters except had just moved to Advanced Standard. This trial she was in Advanced Standard, Pairs, and Gamblers and still in Starters Gamblers and Snooker. For the Bay Team trial in 2 weeks, she'll be in Masters Standard and Advanced everything else. Quite a shift in quite a short time-- (I had thought that USDAA had "versatility" titles if you finished all of your titles at a given level--but noooo; versatility is just about getting your 3 std legs and at least 1 of each of the 4 games. You get nada extra for getting 3 of each of the games other than the games titles. So Tika finished (because she couldn't move up) her Starters Snooker, Gamblers, and Pairs titles, and had 2 of the 3 legs for her Jumpers title. Pretty dang good, actually. But no reason to stay in Starters for that 3rd jumpers leg. I can be knockin' bars in Advanced as well as I can in Starters!)

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