a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: So Much Going On!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

So Much Going On!

Where do I even begin to try catching up? I'm not sure it's possible--

Tika's MAD chase: (That's Master Agility Dog title; compare to Tika's C-ATCH chase...) In USDAA, the MAD title is the first major title on your way to earning your ADCH. Well--usually. ADCH requires 7 Standard legs, 5 Gamblers, 5 Pair Relays, 5 Jumpers, and 5 Snooker, of which at least 3 must be super-qualifying Snooker legs. MAD requires 3 Standards and one of each of the others.

Before this last weekend in Prunedale, Tika had 3 Standards, 3 Pairs, 3 regular Snooker and one Super-Q. The super-Q requires thatyou be in the top 15% of those competing, and it's a point-accumulation thing, so it requires strategy, speed, and handling skill. We haven't been able to get a single dang Jumpers leg (bars knocked) or gamblers leg (various reasons) at the Masters level.

So for this last weekend, what I really wanted to achieve with Tika was:
  • Jumpers leg (out of 1 offered)
  • Gamblers leg (out of 2 offered)
  • Super-Q (out of 2 offered)
  • Steeplechase qualifier (making it to Round 2), just because I wanted to

    Here's what we earned:
  • Regular Snooker
  • Standard leg

    Tika in fact ran very well, but her mama blew it multiple times. Here's how the weekend went, in gory detail:
  • Sat. Standard: Our first run of the weekend, and we had 2 bars down, couldn't make a transition from a dogwalk turning into a tunnel, and something else--4 faults in a single run, which is unusual for us.
  • Sat. Snooker: Challenging course that we'd really have to be on our toes to get enough for a Super-Q. I wasn't on my toes--didn't give her enough heads up before the third obstacle that i wanted a sharp turn afterwards, and when I called her back, she back-jumped it, so Boom, we were done.
  • Sat. Steeplechase: Tika ran beautifully on a very fast course against a lot of very talented dogs. She was 10th fastest of just under 50 dogs; only 14 dogs Qed/moved to the second round--but Tika had a bar down, dropping her to 16th place. (Note that many of the other dogs faster than her also had bars or other faults, so several slower dogs who ran cleaner made the cut--but so did a couple of dogs who were faster than her but with faults.)
  • Sat. Pairs Relay: I mishandled a turn into the weave poles, earning a fault--which would've been OK, because pairs is judged on time plus faults (same as Steeplechase)--but our partner, an excellent dog & handler, went offcourse. So no Q.
  • Sat.Gamblers: A very very doable gamble. We missed some points in the opening, apparently due to a missed up contact, but were in perfect position for the closing--and then she got ahead of me and veered to the right to take a jump instead of continuing straight into the tunnel (with me yelling "Through! Through!" behind her). Argh.
  • Sun. Standard: Not a beautiful run, but clean and worth a Q.
  • Sun. Snooker: Getting the highest-possible score would be nearly impossible (three seven-pointers in the opening AND completing the closing sequence). I figured that we could easily do two 6s and one 7, but walked 2 7s and one 6 just in case we needed to try for it. We were in a good running position, so I could see what scores other dogs had earned before we had to run. I could see that I needed only the 2 6s plus the 7, and that was a VERY SMOOTH AND EASY COURSE for us. I told a couple of friends that. I told the lady filming our run that. So we went out there, did the 6, did a 7--and then for some stupid mentally hiccuppy thing, I pushed her back into the 7 again, and we then ran out of time before finishing the closing sequence, which I was pretty sure would happen if we tried to 7s. Where was my brain? The instant I pointed at the obstacle, I knew that I was doing the wrong thing, but it was too late to change it, she was moving so fast. Arghhhhh--
  • Sun. Gamblers: Another beautifully run course, right in the perfect position for the gamble, and she DID it with no hesitation. However, there was a teeter in the gamble, and apparently she didn't hit the up contact, so no gamble Q. ARggggghhhh--
  • Sun. Jumpers: What a long exhausting day. We finally ran about 7:30 in the evening, in the near-dark with the fog coming in--to my brain as well as the field. She was completely wired and my timing was way off. We got 3/4 of the way through before I again failed to signal early enough and when I tried to call her back on course, she took the wrong obstacle. Arghhhh.
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